Rhubarb Compote


It’s springtime, and even though I might have a bad back, I’m a die-hard gardener.
Some of the most simple and rewarding treasures of a garden are the ones taken for granted. Possibly because they are so easy to grow they are often over-stepped. Take rhubarb, it’s one of the first things up and it doesn’t need any tinkering, thank goodness it’s so big and bright I get a red reminder to pick some and make something like this for breakfast. Although, I’m sure if you have leftovers, rhubarb is one of those great flavours that can pair really from sweet to savoury. Give it a try. Today I did with breakfast!

RHUBARB COMPOTE

2 Cups Chopped Rhubarb Stalks
1 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Water
4-5 Cardamom Pods
Small 1/2″ nub of Ginger, peeled and minced
Juice and Peel of one Tangelo (of course you could use an orange)
Pinch of salt

Add rhubarb, sugar, water and cardamom pods to a medium sized saucepan and bring it to a simmer.
Scrub your tangelo, then using a vegetable peeler, remove the outmost peel, leaving the bitter pith.
Add the juice, peel and a pinch of salt to the rhubarb and return it to a boil.
Reduce it to a rolling simmer and cook for about 10 minutes until the rhubarb is tender, but not mushy and the liquid has reduced and thickened.
Set aside to cool then remove the cardamom pods, and the peels, if desired.

Spinach Pesto


I used to be one of those people who would see those enormous tubs of spinach, you know the ones that are at least a pound, and not imagine what sized family could possibly consume that much salad in a week. Seeing that baby spinach weighs a little more than air, that’s quite a bit of greens. However, since converting and making a “baby spinach only” vow, it’s on my weekly grocery list. I put handfuls of it into just about everything I cook that will take it; like soups, omelettes or pasta. The rest go into my every other daily salad or into this super mild and creamy staple: pesto.

SPINACH PESTO

2 Cups Baby Spinach Leaves
Handful of Flat Leaf Parsley, about 1/2 cup
4 – 5 Large Basil Leaves
1/2 cup Walnuts, lightly toasted
3 Garlic Cloves, peeled
1/4 teaspoon Salt
Pinch of Freshly Ground Black Pepper
3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Pile everything but the oil into a food processor and combine well.
Using a spatula, scrape the sides then reattach the lid.
With the motor running, drizzle in the oil through the feed tube one tablespoon at a time until everything is smooth but not oily. You may only end up using 2 tablespoons. (Use the remainder for topping the pesto, if you’re keeping it in the fridge.)

Pesto may be kept in a sealed container, topped with oil. Otherwise, it freezes very well in ice cube trays or flattened, in a ziploc bag, where you can break off desired amounts for soups, crustini or pasta for one.

Yields about 1 Cup.

Raspberry Coulis


Perfect and quick addition to pancakes, swirled into cheesecake and of course, anything chocolate.

RASPBERRY COULIS

1 Cup Raspberries, frozen is fine
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/4 Cup water
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice

Heat everything in a saucepan, bringing it to a simmer.
Once the sugar has dissolved and the raspberries have broken down slightly, cook for 1 – 2 minutes more then remove from the heat.
Using an immersion blender, purée the mixture.
Strain through a mesh sieve to remove the seeds, if desired.

Vegan Caramel


A super treat perfect with so many things especially vegan brownies, Caramel Walnut Tarts and coffee.

VEGAN CARAMEL

1 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/4 Cup Vegan Butter, like Earth Balance
1/2 Cup Soy Milk
Pinch of Salt

Make sure to have everything ready… mise en place, as they say.
Melt the sugar in a large saucepan over medium, heat.
Remove the sugar from the heat once it has liquified and has become a light amber colour.
Note that it may take a bit to get things melting, but once it gets going, keep a keen eye on it as the sugar will go from ligt to amber to burnt quickly.
Add the margarine, whisking while it melts.
Sprinkle over the pinch of sugar.
Finally, add the soy milk. Take caution as it will spatter and bubble. (Sugar is much hotter than water when it boils.)

Whisk the caramel until it’s smooth. Transfer it to a heat resistant container like a mason jar or a Pyrex measuring cup. It will continue to thicken as it cools.
Refrigerate until you are ready to use. Warm briefly prior to serving to liquify.
It will keep for up to two weeks.

Yield 1 Cup.