Last week, just before the deluge of rain took over for 5 days, I went to our local farm stand the same day the "Strawberries!" appeared on the sign. I was the first one there on a rainy morning and even opened the doors with them. Eager for strawberries? You bet!! It's been a year since we've tasted that lovely berry, and I'm ready to get preserving!
I discovered that they also had stalks of fresh rhubarb as well. And asparagus! I've been trying to find asparagus that wasn't grown in Peru. Why, when we live within perfectly wonderful asparagus growing farms, are we only offered the spears from Peru in local grocery stores? It's a mystery to me, but I wait the whole year to get asparagus fresh from New Hampshire soil at the farm stands, and I'm glad I did. I bought two large bunches and we had steamed asparagus one night and they made a lovely addition to the omelets I made for dinner. Asparagus and swiss omelets from our own chicken's eggs, yummy! I have always wanted to grow my own asparagus, but you need to be in a place for more then three years in order to reap the rewards of your labor as the plants take time to mature enough to withstand the cutting of their shoots in the spring. So far, I've not been anywhere long enough to have that be the case. This is why we are so very badly wanting our own little homestead, a place where we can put down long growing roots of many kinds.
With rhubarb and strawberries on the countertop, I spent a nice evening last make some strawberry rhubarb sauce. I managed two 1/2 pint jars which I will freeze for a nice treat mid January. I very much enjoy that sauce on a bowl of french vanilla ice cream every once in great while. Scoop out a little scoop of vanilla and ladle on a few tablespoons of that taste bud waking sauce, and you're experiencing the reason why eating local can't be beat.
I wanted to make some rhubarb coffee cake as well for breakfast, so I woke early and decided to make one bright and early on this first sunny morning in a week. Little Red is a cake hound, and he is always asking for pancakes or muffins or coffee cake for breakfast. So, this morning I decided I would humor him and make some coffee cake. He walked out of his bedroom sniffing the air like it was Christmas morning for his nose, and a big gapped toothed grin on his face (he lost 4 baby teeth almost at once recently!). He knows a good thing when he smells it cooking.
This recipe for Spring Rhubarb Morning Cake is a good 'un. Make two and freeze one for later if you choose, it freezes nicely. It got rave reviews (and yammerings for seconds!) for me this morning, so give it a go. (Pssstt, it's also ridiculously easy, so leave all that box mix stuff to the amateurs, okay?).
Spring Rhubarb Morning Cake
1/2 c Butter (use the real thing, it's worth it)
1 1/2 granulated sugar (cane sugar is best)
2 eggs (farm fresh if you've got them)
1 c sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 c all purpose flour (or 1 1/2 c white whole wheat and 1/2 c all purpose)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
2 c finely chopped fresh rhubarb
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1tbls flour (any kind will do)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tbls butter
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
2. Cream butter and sugar together in large mixing bowl (I used my Kitchen Aid stand mixer for mixing the whole recipe)
3. Beat in eggs one at a time
4. Fold in sour cream and vanilla
5. In a separate bowl, mix flour(s), cinnamon and baking soda. I use a whisk it adds a bit of air and mixes nicely without pockets of soda remaining.
6. Fold in rhubarb.
7. Place in a generously greased 13"x9" cake pan.
8. Mix topping ingredients with a fork until crumbly.
9. Sprinkle evenly over the top of the batter. Mind the edges so every piece gets its fair share of topping.
10. Bake 30-40 minutes, depending on your oven, until a knife in the center comes out clean.