Showing posts with label desserts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label desserts. Show all posts

Rhubarb...Summer's First Bounty

Strawberry Rhubarb jam...summer's first bounty...and what you can make with it...maybe Strawberry Rhubarb Crostata...a simple recipe to make after you have processed your Strawberry Rhubarb jam. Find recipe here.

There's nothing like fresh picked rhubarb. I just received my yearly supply of rhubarb from my Sister-in-Law. I always look forward to that phone call that says, "it's ready"! The possibilities for rhubarb are endless...rhubarb cake, pie, bars, crostata, jelly, jam or just eating it with a little sugar on it. Oh how I remember as a child how good that sugared rhubarb was in the summer.  It wasn't until I got older that I learned to appreciate the many versatile ways rhubarb could be used.  So start chopping that rhubarb up and make some jelly, jam, cakes, pies, bars or whatever. A wonderful treat at a low price... 
Don't forget to freeze some for winter. Nothing better than having a summer taste in the winter time. I always freeze some for desserts. I pack 2 cups of chopped rhubarb in plastic bags (because most recipes call for 2 cups of rhubarb), label and freeze up to 6 months.  What a wonderful surprise for the family having the taste of summer in those cold winter months.
This recipe is fairly easy. With the prices of everything these days canning some of the bounties of summer is a way to save a little money and enjoy the tastes of summer during those long winter months. They also make great little gifts for friends and family for the holiday season.

I have been canning for almost 50 years.  Yikes, when you write 50 years it almost seems impossible that I've been doing it that long. But I love being able to use all those great canned goods for desserts, pies, salad fixings, salsa and a plethora of other great condiments.
Strawberry Rhubarb Crostata - a great way to use that Strawberry Rhubarb Jam. A quick and easy breakfast delight, or dinner dessert. You can find this recipe here or click on the pictures above to see the recipe.

Time to make Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
Place rhubarb, sugar and water in a large Dutch oven and start cooking. Keep stirring until all the sugar is dissolved.
The picture above shows the rhubarb, sugar and water cooking. After slow boiling it for 10 minutes, add the drained crushed pineapple and cook for another 5 minutes. The pineapple is a little secret ingredient.
The above picture shows what the jam looks like after adding the strawberry Jello. Keep mixing the jello until it has all dissolved.
Now you're ready to fill your canning jars. Using a wide funnel made for canning makes this job a whole lot less messy.  It's worth it to purchase the funnel.
After filling jars, wipe the rims of each jar, place lid on top and then place the bands on the jars. Give the band one good twist. Do not over tighten. Now your jam is ready to be processed in the water bath. Make sure the water is slightly boiling before you put the jars in the canner.

Can you freeze the Strawberry Rhubarb Jam?
For those of you that don't want to go through the process of canning, you can always make a batch and put in jelly canning jars and freeze. Make sure you label them. They will last up to 6 months in the freezer. 
And here you go...processed, labeled and ready to be stored for those cold winter months or gifts for family and friends. Don't forget to leave one out for yourself. Nothing better than an English muffin with butter and jam!!!

That's it.  It sounds a little daunting, but trust me it's very easy. I tasted the jam that was left over in the pan and it was delicious!

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam Recipe
This recipe will make 6 half pint Mason jars

Ingredients:
  • 5 C. rhubarb, cut finely (about 1/2" in size)
  • 5 C. sugar
  • 1 C. water
  • 1 20 oz. can of crushed pineapple, drained (secret ingredient)
  • 2 3 oz. boxes of strawberry Jello
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice ( I add lemon juice. I just think it gives a little kick to the taste.) 
***I was able to get 7 pints of jam

Directions:
  1. Wash rhubarb thoroughly
  2. Chop rhubarb into 1/2" size pieces
  3. Add rhubarb, sugar and water to a large Dutch oven or large cooking pot.
  4. Bring the rhubarb, sugar and water to a boil, stirring constantly. Once it starts boiling set a timer for 10 minutes. I turn my stove down a little, but let it keep on boiling.
  5. After 10 minutes add the pineapple and keep stirring. After 5 minutes everything should look transparent.
  6. Turn off heat to pan and immediately and add the 2 boxes of strawberry Jello. Stir until dissolved.
  7. Place your sterilized jars on a clean towel and start filling the jars with a ladle leaving 1/2" headspace in each jar.
  8. Clean the tops of the jars with wet paper toweling and place lids on each jar. Place bands on the jars making sure the lid is centered on the jar and twist once to make sure the lid is in place.
  9. At this point your canner with water should be at a low boil. Place each jar in the canner with a jar lifter. Lower jars into the water bath, cover and set timer for 12-15 minutes.
  10. Raise canning basket and wipe the lids off.  They will have a little water setting the middle that should be wiped clean.
  11. Place a clean towel on the counter and remove each jar from the canner and place on clean towel. Space the jars about an inch apart, so air can flow around them. At this point the lids should start popping. Not all will pop, but the small button in the middle of the lid should be flat. Run your finger over the top to make sure it is flat and not raised. That ensures the jars are sealed.
Canning 101 . . .
First things first. If you have never canned before you will need a few utensils to invest in, canning jar lifter, water bath canner, mason jars, and a wide mouth funnel. Also you will need a ladle for filling the jars. As you do more and more canning, you might need other tools. But for this recipe you will only need basic tools. 
When canning make sure all your produce is washed clean and free of any little pests that might be hiding.  Wash thoroughly. For this recipe you will need  finely chopped rhubarb, sugar, water, canned crushed pineapple and strawberry Jello.  These are all the ingredients you will need to make Strawberry Rhubarb Jam. 

Purchase canning jars at the grocery store.  Wash them good and then sterilize.  I actually put them in the dishwasher and run a complete cycle. Sterilize the bands and lids.  (Place on stove in pan with water and boil them.  Keep them in water until ready to use.)  Make sure they are very clean. When filling jars make sure you leave a 1/2" headspace. After you fill the jars, remove lids and bands with tongs from the the hot water pan and place on clean dish towel. Make sure you wipe the jar rims with a wet paper towel.  If there is any food left on the rim, the jar will not seal. Place lid on the jar and place the band over the lid. I twist the rim once to give it a good seal. Don't overtighten. One strong twist does the trick.

While you are preparing the jam, the water bath should be on the stove heating. You need the water bath boiling before you place the jars in the water bath. When it comes to a full boil, turn it down a little bit and place your jars in the water bath. The water bath does not need to be at a full rolling boil when placing your jars in the canner. Like I said before, bring to boil and turn down a bit before you add the jars. Process for 10-15 minutes depending on the recipe. Follow recipe instructions for canning time. Turn off stove and remove jars from water bath using a jar tong. Place the jars on a clean towel on your counter. Wipe any excess water off the lids and wait for the wonderful sound of the lids popping. Your jars are sealed when they pop or the lid is smooth in the middle. Do not move jars from counter for 24 hours. Let them cool and place in your pantry for winter or gifts for friends and family.
Here is a video from youtube that will help the novice with canning. 
 
This video let's you know that canning is safe and fun to do.  Come September and October you can process all those wonderful fruits and veggies by canning them. I love making salsa and this is a great way to preserve that wonderful salsa for use at Thanksgiving and Christmas or for just everyday or as gifts.

One Final Thought
I hope the process of canning in this post will help the novice start the process of canning foods. It's been around forever and I'm sure I will be canning forever.  A great tool when prices at the grocery store are out of sight...and remember you'll be tasting all these good things this winter and I'm sure it will bring back the smiles of summer! And don't forget, this jam can be frozen also...







Always remember..."Life's short, eat dessert first!"...words to live by 
  

Banana Sour Cream Cake..... "The Best!"

There's nothing better than a banana cake with cream cheese frosting and lots of nuts. It's irresistible. This cake is so moist and light in texture. I'm sure the sour cream added to the recipe makes it so very moist. The frosting has cream cheese in it that makes it less sweet and is definitely the best frosting for this type of cake. A great everyday cake or a great dessert when company comes. We all have those left over ripened bananas. I make muffins, bread, and any recipe that ripe bananas can be used in and now I've added my favorite, Banana Sour Cream Cake!
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This recipe is one of the original recipes from My Food and Family by Kraft. I loved receiving that recipe magazine in the mail oh so long ago. I think everyone received it at one point. I checked the internet to see if it still exists and it does. Every recipe in that magazine was a winner. This recipe for Banana Sour Cream Cake is one of my favorites. As you can see from mine and theirs, I love nuts on cake, so mine has a lot more nuts.

Here Is What You Will Need for Banana Sour Cream Cake...
You will need the following: yellow cake mix, eggs, mashed ripe bananas (about 3), sour cream, and oil for the cake. You will need cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and walnuts for the frosting.

Let's Make a Banana Sour Cream Cake...
Beat cake mix, eggs, bananas, sour cream and oil with a mixer on low until combined, scraping bottom of bowl often. Beat on medium for 2 minutes to make sure all is combined.
The original cake recipe was baked in a 9X13 cake pan. I chose to use two 8" round cake pans instead. Grease bottom and sides of can pans and place parchment paper in the bottom so the cake doesn't stick. Bake for 35 minutes. This cake is dense, so you might need to cook a little longer. To make sure it is done, use a toothpick in the center. When it comes out clean, the cake is done. Allow cake to cool before removing from cake pans.

How To Make Perfect Parchment Cake Rounds...

I came across this method of cutting parchment rounds and it makes perfect parchment rounds every time. It's by Martha Stewart...

A Perfect Parchment Paper Circle
by Martha Stewart

It's Time to Frost Your Cake...
Once your cakes are cooled, it's time to frost. I have made a lot of cakes in my lifetime and found that a turntable is the best way to frost a round cake. You can find many different turntables on the internet or the big box stores. They are very reasonable and make cake decorating so much easier. 
This turntable is plastic, but does the job very well. I purchased it on Amazon and it was very inexpensive. You can find it here. I place a non-slide liner, which can be purchased at the Dollar Tree, under it, so it doesn't move. 
The cream cheese frosting is so delicious. The cake is moist and the cream cheese frosting is just the right sweetness. It's so good! After you have frosted your cake, cover it completely with chopped walnuts, or chopped nuts of your choice. I think the walnuts are the best for this type of cake.

And Here It Is...
Making This Cake In A 9X13" Pan...
If you prefer, you can make this cake in a 9X13" pan. Follow the directions for the recipe below, but rather than using two 8" round cake pans, use a 9X13" pan. Grease your pan and place parchment in the bottom. When the cake has cooled, cut it in half and frost just like you would for the 8" pans. You are creating a layer cake with the 9X13" cake.


This cake only has 5 ingredients and the frosting only has 4 ingredients.  It's not only great tasting, it's relatively inexpensive to make.  

Banana Sour Cream Cake Recipe...
Ingredients:
  • 1 pkg. (2-layer size) yellow cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 3)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup oil
Frosting:
  • 1 pkg. (8 oz.) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 pkg. (16 oz.) powdered sugar (about 4 cups)
  • 1 cup Planter's Walnut pieces
Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2.  Beat cake mix, eggs, bananas, sour cream and oil with mixer on low until moistened, scraping bottom of bowl often. Best on medium 2 minutes.  
  3. Pour into greased and floured 8" round  pans. Bake 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  
  4. Cool cake completely in pan on wire rack.  
  5. Beat cream cheese and butter with mixer on medium until blended. 
  6. Gradually add sugar, beating well after each addition. 
  7. Remove cake from pans. 
  8. Place 1 8" disk on cake platter. Frost. Top with remaining 8" cake disk and frost top and sides. 
  9. Press nuts onto sides and top. Refrigerate leftovers. 
Well, that's it for this week...

I think I could talk all day about cakes.  Any kind, any shape, any flavor. In another lifetime, I was a cake decorator. If you walked into my house on a Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday, you would swear that you were in a bakery. I have to say I was at my lowest weight when I decorated cakes. You would think it would be the other way around, but it's not. After smelling the goodies and eating a lot of frosting, the idea of eating cake wore off. After I ended my cake decorating career, the taste of cake once again came back. Only this time it was just for my family and me.







Always remember..."Life is short, eat dessert first"!...words to live by!