rhubarb rose jam

Happy Sunday!!! It feels weird to have my computer open on a Sunday but Cousin Elaine and I made this rhubarb rose jam yesterday that I am first-day-of-summer-camp excited about. I wanted to write it down ASAP so I wouldn’t forget it and also so that we can all have time to make it over and over before rhubarb season ends. 

It is based on Claire Ptak’s rhubarb and angelica jam from The Violet Bakery Cookbook, only I’ve swapped out angelica and added vanilla bean and rosewater. Rosewater might be my favorite friend of rhubarb and because I was making this jam as party favors for Rob and Hansaem’s very elegant wedding in Paris later this month, I figured rosewater would be the perfect addition. And the vanilla bean just kind of gives the whole thing a luxurious hug. 

The measurements below are for a very big batch (triple of Claire’s), this made enough to fill 25 cute 2-oz Weck jars, and my 5.5 quart dutch oven was the perfect size to hold everything. If you don’t have a jungle of rhubarb in your yard that you need to use up or a zillion party favors to make, you can either get your calculator out and calculate a third of these ingredients (the timings stay the same), or come over and take some of my rhubarb. 

In a good container with a tight fitting lid, this will keep in the fridge for up to a month, but of course you can also can it with sterilized jars and seals and the whole bit. Yesterday was my first time doing the latter! Cousin Elaine is the canning expert of the family, so she and I spent the afternoon sterilizing jars and dipping things into boiling water to kill the cooties. Canning always seemed intimidating to me when I read about it on paper but when Elaine walked me through the process it all made complete sense. So if you’re considering canning for the first time, my biggest recommendation would be to get yourself a Cousin Elaine.

Happing Jamming!!


Rhubarb Rose Jam

Makes enough to fill 25 cute 2-oz jars

ingredients

1,500g (3 lb 6 oz) rhubarb, chopped into small pieces

1,125g (5 1/2 cups + 2 tb) sugar

juice of 3 lemons

1 tsp rosewater

1 tb vanilla bean paste or 1 vanilla bean, scraped

clues

In a large heavy pot, combine the rhubarb and half of the sugar. Cover and macerate at room temp for 1 hour. 

Add the remaining sugar and lemon juice to the pot and bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Once it comes to a boil, let it boil rapidly over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. It might get a little spitty, so be careful and wear an apron, and if it gets too wild you can reduce the heat a little bit. It’s ready when most of the rhubarb is translucent and the consistency has thickened (it will continue to thicken as it cools). Reduce the heat to low and stir in the rosewater and vanilla bean. Carefully give it a taste to see if the rosewater is where you want it. 

Spoon into sterilized jars and seal or transfer to containers and keep in the fridge for up to a month. 


-yeh!

strawberries and cream frozen cocktail with cardamom and pistachios

I have a funny relationship with strawberries! I didn’t used to like them, which was three times more embarrassing than my banana phobia because people are supposed to love strawberries the way they love summer and baby animals. When I was a kid I didn’t really like any fruits or vegetables, so this was pretty on brand and most grownups in my life went with this but strawberries were often treated like an exception. Surely you’d eat a strawberry, they are like candy! Nope, no, they’re slimy and getting the way of the chocolate and vanilla in my Neapolitan ice cream. This came to a head in high school, when during a concert band tour of Germany, I stayed with a host mom who greeted me with a big bowl of strawberries and sugar. She didn’t speak English except for when she left the room and I whispered to my friend that I didn’t like strawberries and she overheard me. You don’t like strawberries?? She asked, poking her head back in. I felt so bad! I pretended like I was kidding and choked some down, discovering that I actually kind of enjoyed them but was not yet ready to admit it. 

Eight years later, with grownup tastebuds, I was back in Germany during strawberry season and had an opposite experience, where I braved a downpour in the name of small juicy strawberries from the market that were red all the way through and perfectly sweet. They were marvelous! I still have never had anything else like them. And even though sometime in the course of those eight years I grew to not fear them, I can still probably count the number of other times I’ve deeply connected with a strawberry on one hand: chocolate dipped strawberries on the lawn of Ravinia with Jaclyn and Katie, a shortcake at Blue Hill, and a daiquiri sipped out of a cocoa dusted glass at a speakeasy in Hong Kong. 

So maybe it’s that I’m making up for lost time or maybe it’s that I’m in need of vitamin C, but these days I have strawberries of all forms on hand at all times. *Slathers on strawberry scented lip balm*. And right this moment I am craving one of these here strawberries and cream frozen cocktails but it is morning time and don’t tell me that it’s five o’clock somewhere, I am too old for that today. 

What makes this a cocktail is Prairie Organic Vodka, which is from Minnesota! I was so excited to find out about them. It’s distilled from organic single vintage yellow corn that is grown on family farms, just a little south of where we live. I’ve always known that corn is super common around here, we have corn farmer friends, but Prairie Organic is the first vodka I’ve tasted made from it. It is so smooth, even a little bit creamy, which is why it goes so well in this cocktail. And I love that its ingredients can be traced back to sustainability conscious Minnesota family farms, just like Eggboy’s!

A great thing about this cocktail is how unfussy it is. I’ve always been extremely impressed with my friends who can welcome me into their house and carry on a conversation as they fiddle with fancy tools, light things on fire, drip precise amounts of bitters into a glass, and spin me a very complicated cocktail. I am not that person yet, maybe one day, but for now I appreciate a simple fun thing that is good by way of great ingredients. A nice glug of cream, strawberries (bonus points if you picked them?!), and a smidgen of cardamom, which will add beautiful dimension. I also like a pistachio rimmed glass for crunch, nuttiness, and color.

Cheers to the weekend, friends!!


Strawberries and Cream Frozen Cocktail with Cardamom and Pistachios

makes 2

ingredients

A drizzle of honey 

Finely chopped raw or roasted pistachios and freeze dried strawberries, for rim

2 c (280g) frozen strawberries

1/4 c (50g) sugar

1/4 c whole milk

1/4 c heavy cream

1/4 c Prairie Organic Vodka

1/2 tsp vanilla

A good pinch of ground cardamom

Dried rose petals, optional

clues

Apply a thin even layer of honey around the rim of two glasses (I find it’s easiest to drizzle it directly on the top outside edge of the glass and then use a small rubber spatula or knife to spread it all around) and then coat it with the pistachios and freeze dried strawberries. Set the glasses aside.

In a blender, combine the strawberries, sugar, milk, cream, vodka, vanilla, and cardamom and blend until smooth. Pour into glasses and top with pistachios, dried rose petals (if using), and another tiny pinch of cardamom. Enjoy!


-yeh!

Thank you so much to Prairie Organic Spirits for sponsoring this post! This recipe is only intended for those of legal drinking age (21+) and should not be shared or distributed to any underaged persons. Please enjoy responsibly! 

Photos by Chantell and Brett Quernemoen

rhubarb cake!

It is my birthday! And also Doug’s and the eve of my Dad’s and the dawn after Stefani’s. And maybe also yours??? Happy birthday to all of us! It’s a great day to turn 29. 28 was honestly starting to feel a little stale, although it was a great year! It had a solid ratio of time spent doing things I love (making cake! traveling about! sitting on the couch with Eggboy watching tv eating dinner with my favorite spoon!) to things I don’t love (brushing my hair! cleaning the fridge!) so I’ll try to keep that going. Overall I think one big takeaway from this year was that I learned to like doing healthy things more, like drinking green juice and being up to date on my dentist visits. Kind of vanilla, right?!? My 22-year-old self would have felt so ashamed that this was my big birthday takeaway but well here it is. It’s probably just that my older wiser brain can now see further into the future and know more easily when something that feels fun at the time, like putting too much mayonnaise on my french fries, isn’t going to feel good in my belly after an hour. Which doesn’t mean I don’t do that anymore I just do it less. 

So with that I’d like to announce a temporary hold on my birthday breakfast sandwich tradition, for I will be having a green juice. And then I’ll be working out, and then getting a massage with the strongest masseuse in town, then I’m going to lunch at the museum cafe, and then I’m going to sit down with my favorite cookbooks and plan really awesome dinners for the rest of the week until dinner time when I’m going to make chèvre chaud salads for Eggboy and me. A salad! For my birthday dinner! I barely recognize myself. I’ve just been craving it soo hard since Paris (omg cannot wait to tell you about Paris) and fried cheese on a salad is my favorite form of balance. 

There will also be this rhubarb cake but not until the weekend when I defrost this sucker for some friends!! It was going to be an alpaca cake until I realized that llama has a silent “l” at the beginning and that’s way more quirky and cool than the trendy alpaca. No offense, alpacas. So this is a happy llama cake! It was inspired by this embroidered llama and I used this cookie cutter. My biggest challenge was making it not look like a baby shower cake, hence the mustard yellow frosting. 

I’m so happy that I could use some of our backyard rhubarb in this. Before it even popped up, I knew I wanted to make a pink fluffy buttery cake. Just like Stella's and Adrianna’s strawberry cakes but rhubarby. Only when I googled rhubarb cake the only things that came up were cakes with entire stalks of rhubarb in the batter or upside down cakes. So I experimented, using my sprinkle cake as a general roadmap and turning to Stella's and Adrianna’s cake as examples for incorporating fruit purée. I thought I’d have a long road of hibiscus-cake-style tweaking ahead of me since rhubarb is quite sour and anytime you change the pH of a batter you need to pay attention to the leavening amounts, but it turns out strawberry and rhubarb have extremely similar pH levels. So the first go was deeelicious! Fluffy, buttery, fruity, and bright. A handful of moisture tweaks later and here it is! It's so tasty and the sourness of the rhubarb balances the sweetness really nicely. To emphasis the rhubarb flavor, I’ve added a layer of rhubarb jam between the layers, along with buttercream. I like a basic vanilla buttercream with this but if rhubarb buttercream is speaking to you then go for it!


rhubarb cake

makes one 2-layer 8" cake

ingredients

cake:

10 oz (284g) rhubarb, chopped

1/4 c water 

1/2 c whole milk

2 3/4 c (352g) cake flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 c (225g) unsalted butter, softened

1/4 c (50g) flavorless oil

1 1/2 c (300g) sugar

Red or pink food coloring, optional

4 large egg whites, at room temperature

2 tsp vanilla

 

assembly:

vanilla frosting (recipe here) or rhubarb frosting (recipe below)

rhubarb jam (1/4 c per layer)

sprinkles, marzipan, optional but recommended

 

clues

Preheat the oven to 350°f. Grease and line the bottoms of two 8” cake pans with parchment and set aside. 

Combine the rhubarb and water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium high. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the rhubarb is very soft. Let it cool and then combine with the milk in a blender and purée until very smooth.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the butter, oil, sugar, and food coloring, if using, and beat on medium high until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add the egg whites one at a time, mixing after each, and then add the vanilla. Reduce the mixer to medium low and add the dry ingredients and rhubarb purée in three alternating additions, mixing just until incorporated. Do not over-beat. Divide the batter between the two cake pans and spread it out evenly. Give them a tap on the counter to get rid of any air bubbles and then bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs; begin checking for doneness at 30 minutes. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make your frosting of choice! 

Stack up the layers with a thin layer of frosting and rhubarb jam in the middle. If you want to get really fancy and have more rhubarb jam distributed throughout you can slice the layers in half to make four very thin layers. To make the cake pictured, add a layer of funfetti cake in the middle.

Decorate with sprinkles and a marzipan llama. Or alpaca. Up to you.


rhubarb frosting

makes enough for one 2-layer 8" cake

ingredients

8 oz (226g) rhubarb, chopped

2 tb water

1 1/2 c (338g) unsalted butter, softened

5 c (600g) powdered sugar

2 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract

1/4 tsp rosewater, optional

1/4 tsp kosher salt

3 tb heavy cream

pink food coloring, optional
 

clues

Combine the rhubarb and water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium high. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the rhubarb is very soft. Let it cool and then purée in a blender.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until soft and creamy. Add the powdered sugar gradually and mix until combined. Add the vanilla, rosewater (if using), and salt and then gradually mix in the cooled rhubarb puree. It may look curdled but continue to beat for 3-5 minutes until combined. Add the heavy cream and food coloring (if using) and beat until combined.


-yeh!

Photos by Chantell and Brett Quernemoen

Pictured: Sweater (cuyana), Funfetti socks (old navy), cake stand (mosser glass)



P.S. Thank you, friends, soooooooooooo much for all of your sweet messages about Girl Meets Farm!! I am so darn thankful for your support and I cannot wait to show you behind the scenes pics and vids and tell you all about the process of filming. Don’t forget to mark your calendars for June 24th, 11am eastern/10am central/11am pacific!
 


pistachio nutter butters + a giveaway!

Hello to my birthday month, the month where I get to chill a little more, eat a little more, and spend a little more, at least at Sephora, so I can get my free birthday lip gloss. Every day feels like pizza friday during birthday month! And this month I’m going to Stars on Ice so like, wow, if you thought I freaked out at the Olympics, just wait until Meryl and Charlie take the ice. I cannot wait.

Here are some photos from over the weekend when I met Nile’s Beethoven dog puppy, Frida, and then went to the Empire gala! We danced our butts off, wore big dresses, sang, it was the perfect eve to birthday month. 

Now I’m kicking off May with two recent objects of my obsession: pistachio nutter butters and jewelry that reminds me of rainbow sprinkles. Pistachio nutter butters felt like such an obvious thing to do, given my love of pistachio butter (see: pistachio buttercream and pistachio pudding pops). So I replaced the peanut butter in my favorite peanut butter cookie recipe for pistachio butter and they came out chewy and amazing. And then when sandwiched with creamy pistachio frosting, they just got better. They are thick nutty wonders of the cookie world. And, yes, they deserve to be rolled in sprinkles.

Speaking of sprinkles, I have the most fun giveaway happening over on Instagram for the colorful ring that I’m wearing in these photos! I have been a fan of Elisa Solomon’s jewelry for years, ever since finding her rings at Catbird. (I sometimes just go onto the Catbird site just to look at this ring). Her jewelry is right up my alley, it’s colorful and whimsical and dainty and every time I look at my ring I think of rainbow sprinkles!! So I could not be more excited to partner with her on this giveaway. To enter, head over to Instagram (but if you don’t have Instagram, you can leave a comment here)! And be sure to check out her other jewelry, like this Sven cat ring!!! 
 


Pistachio Nutter Butters

Makes 8 large cookies

Ingredients

Cookies

1 1/4 c (160g) raw pistachios
1 1/4 c (160g) raw almonds
1/4 tsp kosher salt
zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 c (200g) sugar, plus a couple more tablespoons for rolling
1 large egg

Filling

6 tb (85g) unsalted butter, softened
1 c (120g) powdered sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp almond extract
a pinch of lemon zest
Optional: splash of rosewater

Sprinkles
 

Clues

Preheat oven to 350ºf. Line two baking sheets with parchment and set aside.

To make the cookies, in a high powered food processor, blend the pistachios and almonds for 10-15 minutes until spreadable. Remove 1/4 c (or 64g) of the mixture and set aside for the filling. To the food processor, add the salt, lemon zest, almond extract, and sugar to the food processor and blend together. Add the egg and blend to combine. Scoop out 16 tablespoon sized balls and roll in sugar. Place on baking sheets 1 inch apart and flatten with two presses of a fork to get a crisscross pattern. Bake for 12 minutes (they’ll still be very soft but they’ll firm up as they cool). Let cool on the pans for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the filling, in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, blend together the butter and reserved pistachio butter. Add the powdered sugar and blend to combine. Add the salt, vanilla, almond, lemon zest, and rosewater, if using. 

Fill a piping bag with the filling and pipe in the centers of half of the cooled cookies, sandwich them with the other half of the cookies and then roll in sprinkles. Enjoy!


-yeh!

photos by chantell and brett quernemoen!

apron from enrich and endure, cookie plate from le creuset