Frozen Food Month: Celebrating with Bananas, Rhubarb, & Strawberries

My task list and I have a passive-aggressive relationship. I look to my Reminders app to help me remember things I must do, but get angry each time a reminder pops up on my calendar, iPhone, and tablet. I mean, the app is stalking me. Nagging me.

It nags me to write-up the recipes for the dips and dishes we served at a party way back in early January. It reminds me to take photos of our Japanese lantern inspired compost bin (inside and out) and write about lessons learned. It reminds me … sorry, I am sure you don’t care about my relationship with my task list. I never seem to cross things off. With each new, yummy success, I find it harder and harder to revisit the meals and food waste ideas we tested last December and January. But I will get to time someday.

But today’s entry is based on a treat that is too good to wait. And seasonal. It combines a springtime favourite of ours, rhubarb, with strawberries and frozen bananas. Its vegan. It healthy. Its easy. And, its yummy. What is it?

Mock Vanilla Ice Cream with warm Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote

Mock Cream with Compote

Make the compote first. If you are fans of rhubarb, make lots. It can be used on toast, mixed with yogurt and muesli, added to muffins and smoothies, and served with pork and chicken. We also make a crumble with the compote that Jean-François devours. The compote is a great way to save fruits and berries that are showing their ages.

Also, we freeze bananas. Every banana that enters our home is immediately stripped and frozen. This is a great way to keep fruit flies at bay and have bananas on hand when you need them for pancakes, smoothies, breads, and mock-ice cream. If you do not do this, put one unpeeled banana per person in this freezer at least three hours before making this  dish.

For the compote:

  • 8 oz. fresh Strawberries, washed with tops removed, and quartered
  • 6 stalks of Rhubarb, washed and chopped into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 cup fresh Orange Juice (with lots of pulp)
  • 3 tablespoons Coconut Sugar (Honey would also work if you are not vegan)

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Cover and let sit for 2-3 hours until the rhubarb sweats and the strawberries begin to release their juice.

Bring fruit mixture to a simmer on medium low. Simmer until rhubarb is very soft. Remove from heat and set aside.

Mock Vanilla Ice Cream

To make the mock-vanilla ice cream:

  1. Remove one Banana person from the freezer
  2. Slice Banana(s) into 1/2 inch discs. (This is highly advisable, or you risk damaging a beloved household appliance.)
  3. Add Banana(s) to food processor, mini-prep, or blender with a good dose of Vanilla (we added 1 Tablespoon per person) and a tablespoon of the juice from the compote.
  4. Pulse until creamy.

Spoon the mock-ice cream into bowls. Top with compote. Enjoy.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Fuzz is for peaches

One 20 hour flight later, I’m back in LA (for a little while anyway) – and one of the first things we did when I returned was head to the farmers’ market in Torrance. I figured a little sunshine and fresh food would help me forget my jet lag.

I was wrong.

We didn’t do much shopping in the end, though we did pick up some stunning Seascape and Chandler strawberries – two varieties that are bursting with flavor, especially when they’re perfectly ripe (as these were), and bright red all the way to the center.

Seascape & Chandler strawberries

Our Seascape & Chandler strawberries, begging to be devoured

It seems that whenever we get strawberries at the local supermarket, we find one or two in the middle that are covered with fuzz – and the rest of the batch isn’t far behind. That’s why I’ve gotten in the habit of soaking berries in a vinegar and water solution for a couple of minutes before putting them in the fridge (I use about 3 cups of water and 4 tablespoons of water). That kills the beasties that lead to fuzz (and waste), and the berries generally keep for a couple of weeks after that. (It helps that supermarket berries are inevitably underripe.)

None of the berries from the farmers’ market had any fuzz, but I soaked them in a vinegar solution anyway – just to be safe. I needn’t have bothered, as they only escaped being eaten for a couple of days. The few that weren’t eaten immediately, ended up in strawberry rhubarb crisp.

Strawberry rhubarb crisp (serves 2)

Ingredients

  • ½ cup cut strawberries
  • ½ cup cut rhubarb
  • 1 Tbsp +1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1 Tbsp rolled oats

Directions

Preheat your oven to 375℉, and grease a baking dish with butter or cooking spray (you can do the planet a favor and make your own cooking spray with oil and a spray bottle). You want the fruit to be about an inch to and inch and a half deep – for this quantity, a round dish with a 5¾ inch diameter did the trick.

Toss the cut strawberries and rhubarb with 1 teaspoon of the brown sugar, then place it in your greased baking dish.

Melt the butter and stir in the flour, rolled oats and remaining sugar – then crumble the mixture on top of the fruit.

Bake at 375℉ for 45 minutes, then enjoy while it’s still hot.