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Crumbly Carrot Rhubarb Muffins and Raspberry Chia Jam

I enjoy curating lists. I realize this is not a unique character trait; I know and love many fellow list-makers. Two lists I keep, inspired by the movie Amelie, are my likes and dislikes. The things we embrace and those we shun are windows into who we are, a way of showing rather than telling our life stories. What do you keep close? What do you recoil from?

A recent addition to my "likes" list is "cookbooks organized by season" (showing). Cooking seasonally is important to me (telling). I recently borrowed Sarah Britton's new cookbook My New Roots: Inspired Plant-Based Recipes for Every Season from the library and devoured its pages in less than a day. The photos are full of life and light, the recipes sprinkled with highlighted ingredient notes where Sarah shares her holistic nutrition wisdom in a completely accessible voice. I ordered three copies of My New Roots (two for gifts) and have been scheming to cook from it nearly every day. 

Two of my first successes from the Spring chapter were these delightfully chunky yet tender oat-flour-based Carrot Rhubarb Muffins and a riff on her Strawberry Chia Jam (I used raspberries). For the muffins, I swapped eggs and coconut oil in for the applesauce she suggests in her version as  I wanted my muffins a bit more dense and filling, with protein and fat to satiate my voracious morning appetite. My rhubarb supply hailed from my neighbor's backyard (with permission of course), but I suspect there should be plenty coming into markets soon for your baking pleasure. 

 
oat flour carrot rhubarb muffins | funkybeetsblog.com
 


The raspberry chia jam is a breeze to make; all the ingredients are combined in a blender or food processor and refrigerated overnight, no cooking or pectin required. This ruby red, pleasantly seedy jam is amazing on waffles, toast, ice cream or yogurt. I imagine it would be pretty good on carrot rhubarb muffins as well (though I can't say for sure as we gobbled those up before I could locate some berries and whip up the jam).

 
raspberry chia jam | funkybeetsblog.com
 

In other news, I've been published!  My food writing appeared in this Sunday's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.  Check out the link below to find the online version of my story on how to throw a laid-back picnic party complete with light and tasty recipes to impress your friends without turning on the oven!

http://www.jsonline.com/features/parties/pick-fresh-light-dishes-for-perfect-picnic-party-fare-b99498244z1-304605071.html

Recipe note: If you are gluten intolerant, be sure to use certified gluten-free oats and oat flour as many brands of oats contain trace amounts of gluten due to cross contamination. Also, these muffins are a bit on the crumbly side, I suggest using a plate and fork to catch any stray morsels of goodness.

Crumbly Carrot & Rhubarb Muffins

Adapted from My New Roots: Inspired Plant-Based Recipes for Every Season 

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 free range eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/3 lb carrots, grated
  • 3/4 cup walnuts
  • 4 thin stalks rhubarb, sliced into thin disks (about 1/4 lb)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare muffin tin with liners or cooking spray.
  2. Add oat flour, oats, sugar, spices, salt, baking soda, and baking powder to a large bowl. Whisk well. 
  3. In a food processor, pulse walnuts until roughly chopped (or chop manually). Set aside.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk honey, eggs and melted coconut oil until combined. Add to flour mixture and stir just until moistened and no dry spots remain.
  5. Fold grated carrots, chopped walnuts, and sliced rhubarb into batter.
  6. Distribute batter evening among 12 muffin cups and bake for 25-30 minutes, until muffins tops are golden and glistening and toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool 5-10 minutes before removing from muffin tin.  Enjoy warm with jam, butter, or coconut oil. 

Raspberry Chia Jam

Adapted from: My New Roots: Inspired Plant-Based Recipes for Every Season 

Makes about 1 cup

Ingredients

raspberry chia jam | funkybeetsblog.com
  • 1/2 lb fresh raspberries
  • 1 Tbsp honey (I used wildflower)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds

Method

  1. Wash raspberries and place in blender or food processor. Add honey, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt. Blend on high until smooth, about 30 seconds.
  2. Add chia seeds to blender and blend again until just incorporated.
  3. Pour mixture into a jar and refrigerate until thickened, about 20 minutes. 
  4. Keep in fridge for up to a week.

Rustic Roasted Applesauce

For me, receiving fruit in a CSA basket is the equivalent of getting a king size candy bar during trick-or-treat at age 10: so special. That's why when organic apples appeared in our veggie box two weeks in a row, I hoarded them away like a greedy squirrel and started searching for a recipe to honor these rosy, perfectly imperfect gems.

local apples

The farmer's newsletter said he wasn't sure what variety these apples were, but that they were organic and therefore slightly blemished, but mighty tasty. A mystery apple! Joy! Their flavor was tart but not pucker-inducing, the flesh was firm and robustly textured, they were generously juicy, and perfect for making applesauce. 

This recipe hails from the infamous Zuni Café Cookbook by Judy Rodgers.  I borrowed it from the library after seeing several of my favorite cooks and bloggers site it as one of their must-haves. So far it hasn't disappointed.  This applesauce is nothing like the kind that comes in a jar at the supermarket.  It is at once chunky and silky, and absolutely sings with apple flavor.  My mouth is watering as I write this and so are my eyes because my apples and the sauce I made from them are long gone.  I ate it plain, also in oatmeal and swirled with plain yogurt and cinnamon.  I loved every bite. If you have any apples hanging around, you betta' make this applesauce toot sweet.

Recipe note: If you don't have 4 pounds of apples, scale the recipe back and adjust ingredients accordingly.  It's still worth it to make a small batch.  The sugar is pretty minimal, letting the apples' flavor shine and making it a versatile sauce for serving with anything from ice cream to pork chops. 

rustic roasted applesauce | funkybeetsblog.com

Rustic Roasted Applesauce

adapted slightly from the Zuni Café Cookbook
makes about 3 cups

Ingredients
 

  • 4 pounds apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • Up to 1 Tbsp of sugar, depending on the sweetness of you apples
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
     

Method

Roasted apples
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Place the apple chunks in a 9 x 13 glass baking dish and sprinkle with sugar and salt, toss to coat. 
  3. Shave butter into thin slices and "drape" over the apples (cookbook wording, beautiful).
  4. Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake until the apples begin to soften slightly, 15-20 minutes. Remove apples from the oven and carefully uncover the pan. 
  5. Raise the heat to 500 F and return apples to the oven.  Roast until the apples begin to turn golden brown on their edges, about 10 minutes.
  6. Let the apples cool slightly, then slide them into a bowl and mash them with the back of a wooden spoon until you have smooth, yet chunky sauce,  Taste the sauce and season with more salt and sugar to your taste.
  7. Add the apple cider vinegar to brighten the flavor if desired. (Judy Rodger's advice: try a drop of cider vinegar on a spoonful of the applesauce first to see if you'll like it.)
  8. Store in a jar in the fridge for up to a week.
 
rustic roasted applesauce | funkybeetsblog.com
 


Smoky ‘Shroom-and-Kale-Stuffed Pattypan Squash

I wish I'd been around when humans got down to the business of naming things.  I’d definitely be pretty psyched to have been the one to point at a scurrying gray rodent with an endearingly bushy tail and say, “We should call that a ‘squirrel’ from now on.” And speaking of awesome names, heirloom vegetables might just be one of the deepest wellsprings of hilarious, beautiful and downright odd monikers known to man.  In the tomato family alone, there’s “Chocolate Stripes,” “Mortgage Lifter,” “Pink Oxheart,” “Brandywine,” "Big Rainbow," "Enchantment," "German Johnson," and “Grandma’s Recliner.” No wait, that last one was made up by Molly and Matt of Spilled Milk, one of my very favorite podcasts.

Take pattypan squash.  It’s hard to say without a hint of a smile, right? These flower-shaped beauties are also known as scallop squash, which describes the elegant curves of their edges.  (Cue John Legend song here.)  Come to think of it, that tune could very well have been written about heirloom veggies: all your perfect imperfections… Anyway, according to rareseeds.com, pattypan is “a very ancient native American heirloom squash, grown by the northern Indians for hundreds of years.”  So thank you northern Indians, for cultivating this delicious fruit we still enjoy today.

beautifulveggies

The pattypans we got in our box this week were about fist size, perfect for stuffing with goodness to preserve their unique geometry and create a hot-lookin’ main dish.  To stuff a pattypan squash, treat it like a pumpkin destined for jack o’ lantern status: saw out the top of the squash with a paring knife by aiming the blade at about a 45 degree angle down into the flesh and cut in a circle; you should wind up with a cone shape when you pull off the top. Then using a metal spoon, scrape out the seeds and some of the flesh of the pattypan, making a decent sized compartment for whatever you’d like to stuff inside.

 
hollowsquash
 

My creation was born of what dwelt in the fridge: collard greens, red Russian kale, cream cheese, and cremini mushrooms.  You can stuff yours with just about anything; grains, greens, and/or cheese work especially well.  Here’s my recipe:

Smoky ‘Shroom-and-Kale-Stuffed Pattypan Squash

Ingredients:

stuffedsquash
  • 2 large pattypan squash, tops removed and insides hollowed as described above
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, divide
  • 2 cloves garlic, mince
  • 5 collard green leaves, ribs removed, shredded
  • 5 red Russian kale leaves, ribs removed, shredded
  • 8 whole cremini mushrooms, dice
  • ¼ cup cream cheese
  • smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and salt to taste

Method:

  1. In a medium sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and sauté for a brief minute before adding the shredded greens.  Reduce the heat slightly and cook the greens until bright green and tender, adding water to deglaze the pan as needed, as you don’t want the garlic or the greens to brown or burn.  Remove greens from the pan to a small bowl and set aside.

  2. Using the same pan over medium heat, add the second tablespoon of olive oil.  Add the diced mushrooms to the pan and stir to coat with oil.  Once the mushrooms are tender and glossy, lower the heat and add the cream cheese, stirring to encourage melting.

  3. Add smoked paprika, cayenne and salt, tasting the mixture with each addition. (Don’t be shy with your spices, the cream cheese tempers the heat quite nicely.) Add the cooked greens back to the pan and mix all ingredients until uniformly incorporated, then remove filling mixture from heat.

  4. Using a spoon, stuff the kale and mushroom mixture into the squashes, pushing down on the filling with the back of the spoon to make room for more goodness.  Overstuff so some filling is visible coming out of the squash, then place the little caps on top. Cover the outside of the squash with a light sheen of olive oil to prevent scorching.

  5. Bake stuffed squash in a 400°F oven for about 20 minutes or until thickest part of squash can be pierced with a fork without much difficulty (but is not totally mushy).

  6. Serve warm alongside a simple green salad and sliced fruit of the season.

Method:

  1. In a medium sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and sauté for a brief minute before adding the shredded greens.  Reduce the heat slightly and cook the greens until bright green and tender, adding water to deglaze the pan as needed, as you don’t want the garlic or the greens to brown or burn.  Remove greens from the pan to a small bowl and set aside.

  2. Using the same pan over medium heat, add the second tablespoon of olive oil.  Add the diced mushrooms to the pan and stir to coat with oil.  Once the mushrooms are tender and glossy, lower the heat and add the cream cheese, stirring to encourage melting.

  3. Add smoked paprika, cayenne and salt, tasting the mixture with each addition. (Don’t be shy with your spices, the cream cheese tempers the heat quite nicely.) Add the cooked greens back to the pan and mix all ingredients until uniformly incorporated, then remove filling mixture from heat.

  4. Using a spoon, stuff the kale and mushroom mixture into the squashes, pushing down on the filling with the back of the spoon to make room for more goodness.  Overstuff so some filling is visible coming out of the squash, then place the little caps on top. Cover the outside of the squash with a light sheen of olive oil to prevent scorching.

  5. Bake stuffed squash in a 400°F oven for about 20 minutes or until thickest part of squash can be pierced with a fork without much difficulty (but is not totally mushy).

  6. Serve warm alongside a simple green salad and sliced fruit of the season.
 
stuffedsquash2
 
 
cutelittlestuffedsquashies