Rhubarb Loaf Cake

rhubarb1Rhubarb has always equal parts intrigued and intimidated me. I would eye the long
beautiful stalks at the market and think, I should really just buy some and learn what the heck you’re supposed to do with them, and then not do that. I would think, I should at least ask someone who knows or read a few recipes, and then not do that either. Every year. I recently wrote about my grandfather and pineapple and how seeing pineapples makes me think of him. Rhubarb does that too. He loved a strawberry rhubarb pie, and because he did, so do I. But I’d never ever tried working with rhubarb myself.

rhubarb2But twice recently I’ve recalled the summer two years ago when my solution for My Tiny Sous Chef’s refusal to look at any vegetable was taking her to the Farmer’s Market and letting her pick any single veggie she wanted, with the only rule being that we would then look up and she could select a recipe, and she had to taste it – not like it – but taste it. And I won the face off over veggies! So I decided to apply that rule to myself, and approached an unfamiliar stall this past weekend at the market. “Tell me about rhubarb,” I said. And she did – lots. She told me I’d never make jam as good as hers, but I could try. And suggested cutting a stalk up into bite-sized bits and sprinkling them with sea salt for a snack (TRY IT!), and then she helped me pick out a pile of beautiful red rhubarb and assured me I would figure the rest out in a snap. And I believed her. And then I started looking at recipes and found something I knew I could make my own. The result was so good that I’m going to use the rest of my rhubarb bounty to make at least two more just this week. IT IS INSANELY DELICIOUS. And light, and sweet but not too sweet, tart but not too tart, and seasonally perfect. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEEDrhubarb4
* 2C flour
* 1/2t baking powder
* 1/2t baking soda
* 1/2t salt
* 1 stick butter, melted
* 1C sugar
* 2 large eggs
* 1/2C sour cream
* 1/4C milk
* 3 stalks, or about 1 1/2C, diced rhubarb

WHAT TO DOrhubarb3
Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after adding each.

Alternating, add first some of the flour mixture, then some of the milk, then some of the sour cream, mixing well after each addition, and repeating until you’ve added everything and the batter is fully combined. Fold in the diced rhubarb and pour the batter into the loaf pan.

Bake 70 minutes (or until a knife or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean). Try to save a slice for someone else. I dare you. No, seriously. I dare you not to eat it all.

Matzah Crunch

In honor of the first night of Passover, I’m skipping my usual Meatless Monday post in favor of this delicious treat that I weirdly only ever remember to make at Passover every year, even though it’s super easy and not holiday specific. You make it Passover-friendly by using a matzah base, but if you don’t celebrate Passover or don’t have a handy box of matzah around (what?? you don’t have a box of matzah in your pantry?? HA!), saltines are the other option and they are totally equivalent. Making this always reminds me of big family holiday gatherings. This was my cousin’s and my sweet contribution and I loved making it with her, and now I love passing that onto my kiddo.

My Tiny Sous Chef and I made this over the weekend to have ready to enjoy this week as a treat. Very few easy ingredients, and endless options as far as toppings. And it’s basically candy, so, yeah. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEEDmatzahcrunch9
* matzah (or saltine) crackers
* 1C brown sugar
* 1/2C butter
* 1C semisweet chocolate chips
* toppings of your choice (For this recipe, we used: rainbow sprinkles; blue crystal sprinkles; walnut pieces; and yellow raisins. Other good ideas: sea salt (!); candied ginger; nothing (because, chocolate and caramel, hello); other nuts; dried cranberries; etc.; etc.; etc.)

WHAT TO DO
Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with tin foil, and then spray lightly with a nonstick spray. Then build a single layer of the matzah. You will need to break the matzah up to fit, which is fine. Set aside.

matzahcrunch1

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt together the sugar and butter, stirring constantly, until it comes to a boil or just about – about 3 minutes or so. Keep stirring for another 3 minutes or so, again, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and bubbles — but be careful that it doesn’t burn! — and turns a beautiful caramel¬†color.

matzahcrunch2

Remove from heat and immediately pour the caramel over the matzah, using a spatula to spread it over the pan into a single layer. Bake 10 minutes (checking occasionally to make sure it’s not burning).

matzahcrunch3

Remove from the oven and immediately spread the chocolate chips over the hot pan and spread over the caramel. Let it stand a few minutes, allowing the heat to begin melting the chocolate chips, then spread the melty chocolate into a single layer over the caramel.

Sprinkle immediately with toppings and refrigerate to allow to set, at least 30 minutes.

Break into pieces and store in an air-tight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, if you can make it last that long!

matzahcrunch8