A day of French-inspired food

I’ve been reading a book called French Kids Eat Everything by Karen Le Billon – it was recommended on a parenting forum I read. The descriptions of the food and the culture the French have around food inspired me so I decided to try what the book says is a traditional French breakfast: baguettes with butter and jam.

I thought about this before going to bed, and looked up a recipe for baguettes (of course) in Mark Bittman’s How to Bake Everything. I halved his recipe (sort of) and didn’t quite follow his direction (he didn’t indicate using a pan of water to help steam the bread, but in looking up a video on YouTube for the shaping technique I came across that tip) but the whole family was extremely pleased with the results. The recipe below is what I actually ended up doing.

French Baguettes

Yield 2 mini baguettes (or in our case, 4 micro baguettes, roughly 100 cal/piece.)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt + 1 pinch
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour + 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup water + more water as needed
  • 1/4 cup semolina flour

Directions

Combine 1 1/4 cup flour with 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of active yeast in a mixing bowl. When ready, combine with 3/4 cup of water. I used a stand mixer with dough hook. Once the ingredients are fully combined, they should form a pretty thick and sticky ball of dough. Cover bowl and leave in fridge overnight.

The next morning…. add an additional 1 cup of flour to the bowl and combine, adding additional water as needed until you have a nice ball of dough. We made 4 micro baguettes, so we cut the dough into 4 portions and shaped into baguettes.

Line a cookie sheet (we used a silicone pad) and sprinkle semolina on top. Place the baguettes on top. Snip the top of the baguettes with scissors on the top if you like. Cover and place on top of oven (for heat) for 30 minutes.

Grab a baking dish and fill with water, placing on bottom oven rack. Preheat oven to 465F. Heat from the oven will help the dough rise more.

Once 30 minutes are up, uncover and stick the baguettes in the oven for 15 minutes, turning the pan halfway.

Let cool for at least 5 minutes. Enjoy with butter and jam. πŸ™‚

Turns out today was a lucky day as our monthly local winter farmers’ market was on starting just before lunch and our supply of fresh food was dwindling. After a leisurely breakfast of baguettes, fresh cut strawberries and blueberries, and homemade whole plain yogurt, we cleaned up and headed out, arriving 5 minutes before opening. 

We started by visiting a vegan food booth, where we shared a bean and rice chili and a veggie burger on naan with a Swedish hot citrus drink (Limca.) Then, Ray took the kiddos to the kids play area while I picked up the food.

The produce prices, unlike other farmers’ markets I’ve been to, were really reasonable. I stocked up on broccoli crowns and carrots, also picking up a large head of cabbage, fresh mesculin, 4 bulbs of garlic, and a dozen eggs. All of the food was grown / produced in MA (grernhouse grown.) The kind farmer who helped me out waa impressed by my roll of $5’s and reusable bags. πŸ™‚ Ray also picked up a bottle of hickory syrup for me, something I’d been wanting to try. There was no milk so we picked that up at the supermarket.

One of the things Le Billon’s book suggests to help picky eaters expand their palates is do dinner in 3 courses – soup, main, and dessert – and for the soup essentially make pure vegetable purees to allow the kids to experience one vegetable at a time, unadulterated. I was interested in trying it because I had hope it might work – she had tried everything I’d tried with the same exact results and yet this technique worked for her. 

Happy to report it did for us too, so far! M ate spoonful after spoonful of her carrot until it was all gone, and C gave it a real try. 
Carrot Puree

Makes enough for 4 very small (1/4 cup) tasting portions

Ingredients

  • 1 medium carrot
  • Water

Directions

Peel and chop the carrot into even-sized pieces. Steam on the stove for 10 minutes. Since the next dish has pasta, I cooked pasta in a covered pot of boiling water and used a steam rack from my crockpot with perforated tin foil on top to steam the carrots.

Pop the carrots into a blender or food processor with about a half cup of water. Blend, increasing water as needed for desired consistency. 

We had new produce we’d picked up but I also had a head of cauliflower that I’d gotten last weekend that I forgot about until I saw it today and I wanted to cook it off. I found a recipe on the New York Times cooking site that ended up pretty amazing because of a secret ingredient Ray thought to add – homemade whipped butter. He had picked up a pint of heavy cream when he grabbed our milk so C could to try to make her own butter with it, like in Eric Carle’s pancakes book.

Rigatoni and Cauliflower al Forno

We followed the Times’ recipe here, with some minor mods:

  • We substituted about 3/4 shredded mozzarella for the fontina, and didn’t use romano.
  • We used dried sage and parsley because it was what we had.
  • Per serving we used a 1 Tbsp dollop of freshly made whipped butter. 
  • I had a small mesculin and bell pepper salad on the side which seemed to go really well.

It was so good. The “OH MY GOD, where has this flavor combination been my whole life??!!?” kind of good. 

You can also premake it and freeze it easily, and have it on the table in 20 minutes some future night.

That’s all for tonight. Enjoy!

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Jackfruit and Jicama Slaw Tacos

Since I made Cooksmart banh mi tacos the other night, I’ve been wondering what to do with the 3/4 head of cabbage I shredded for it that was left over. Ray had also picked up a jicama and guacamole on a whim, as well as this prepackaged texmex jackfruit stuff made by the Jackfruit Company (found at Whole Foods):

I searched around for recipes with jicama and cabbage and found a lot of slaws. So I made a cabbage-jicama slaw, while Ray heated up some corn tortillas and the jackfruit. We assembled everything into tacos and it turned out great, so I figured it’d be worth blogging!

Jackfruit and Jicama Slaw Tacos

Ingredients

  • 1 jicama, peeled and julienned (if you can’t obtain one, apple works!)
  • 1/2 head of cabbage, shredded
  • 1 bell pepper (or a few mini bells), sliced thinly
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1.5 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • Salt
  • Corn tortillas (we used 3 per person)
  • Guacamole
  • The Jackfruit Company texmex jackfruit
  • Shredded cheddar (optional)

First, prep all of your ingredients as noted above. Then whisk together the shallot, canola oil, rice vinegar, sugar, and lime juice, adding salt to taste. Combine jicama, cabbage, and bell peppers and toss to coat in dressing.

Next, heat up the jackfruit in a skillet. Heat up your tortillas (we wrap in a wet paper towel and put in the microwave for 1 minute.)

Finally, assemble your tacos. Use a spoon to coat the tortilla in guac, then add the slaw, and top with jackfruit. Add cheese if you like (so flavorful, not necessary unless you love cheese.) Enjoy!

Bonus recipe: Pineapple Banana Smoothie Bowl

I didn’t make the pineapple banana smoothie from the aforementioned banh mi taco Cooksmarts recipe because I didn’t have any bananas. We picked some up today. I am not feeling well today, though, so I didn’t want to have to clean the blender. I enjoyed it as a bowl instead. πŸ™‚

Ingredients

  • A couple of pineapple slices, chopped (we used fresh, but canned will do!)
  • One banana, sliced
  • 1 cup plain yogurt

Combine and enjoy, blender cleanup guilt-free!

Beet Pickles!

So we have a lot of beets lately. I’m not really sure what to do with them. I’ve roasted them and sliced them before but I’m just not that into them prepared that way. Sigh. Since we just did cucumber pickles this weekend, we were thinking, why not pickle the beets? So tonight I searched for a pickled beets recipe and found this one from beetrecipes.org:

Tangy Pickled Beets by Kim Stakal

We followed the recipe pretty much as written except we didn’t have tarragon so we used rosemary. I took pictures so I’ll rewrite the recipe as we prepared it.

Pickled Beets

    • 5 medium beets (roughly 1 pound)
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 2 Tbsp salt
    • 1 tsp dried rosemary
    • 1 tsp mustard seeds

Chop the greens off of the top of the beets, and trim the bottom root off as well. Rinse them, scrubbing them with a vegetable brush under the tap, cleaning off all of the dirt. Then, slice them very thin – you can use a mandolin like we did or slice them very thinly with a knife.

Grab a large jar (we used an old tomato sauce jar) and sterilize it by submerging it in boiling water for 5 minutes. Place all of the sliced beets into the jar, pushing down on them if needed to fit them in.

Combine the water, apple cider vinegar, sugar, salt, rosemary, and mustard seeds in a pot, and set it to boil on high. Once it starts bubbling, remove it from heat and let it cool for 2-3 minutes.

Pour the liquid on top of the beets – we used a funnel to keep things neat. Completely submerge the beets. If there isn’t enough liquid, top it off with some extra water and apple cider vinegar.

Refrigerate for 3 days and then they will be ready to enjoy!

    • Servings: I’m going to guess that it’s 7 servings.
    • Weight Watchers Points per serving: 1

Pickles!

We cleaned the refrigerator out today and discovered we had 10 cucumbers. A lot more than we thought we had, for sure! What to do? We decided to make pickles. πŸ™‚ This recipe is very heavily based on Mark Bittman’s recipe from his How to Cook Everything Vegetarian cookbook with minor changes based on our taste.

Pickling Spice

  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 small dried red chilis
  • 1/4 cup mustard seeds
  • 2 Tbsp allspice (whole)
  • 2 Tbsps dill weed
  • 2 Tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 Tbsp black peppercorns
  • 2 tsps cloves (whole)
  • 2 tsps cardamom seeds
  • 1 tsp white peppercorns
  • 1 tsp green peppercorns

Crush the cinnamon sticks; break them into small bits. You can roll a jar or can on top of them to help break them up. Place the pieces in a bowl.

Chop the dried chilis up into small bits – if you are sensitive to spiciness, leave out the seeds. If you like a little spice, leave only 1/4 to 1/2 of the seeds. If you love heat, leave ’em all. Add the chili pieces to the bowl.

Measure out all the other ingredients and add them to the bowl. Crush the ingredients in the bowl lightly – I used the bottom of a clean jar and pressed down on them. Crush them enough so you can smell the aroma but you don’t want to completely crush or grind them into a powder.

Pour the spices into an air-tight container and store. This makes roughly 1/2 cup of pickling spice.

Pickles

    • 2 pounds cucumbers (we used a mix, including a lemon cucumber!)
    • 6 Tbsp salt
    • 3 cups white vinegar
    • 2 cups water
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1/4 cup pickling spice

Grab a large bowl. Wash and scrub your cucumbers, and slice them up. You can slice them into quarters for spears, or you can slide them into rounds, depending on which type of pickle you prefer. If you have a mandolin, you can use it, but all you really need is a knife.

Set a large colander out. Take 1/3 of your sliced cucumbers and layer them on the bottom of the colander. Sprinkle roughly 1 Tbsp of salt evenly on top of this layer of cucumbers. Take another 1/3 of sliced cucumbers, place them in the colander, and repeat, sprinkling roughly 1 Tbsp of salt on the layer of cucumbers. Place the rest of the cucumbers in the colander and sprinkle one last tablespoon of salt evenly on the cucumbers. Place the colander inside of the large bowl you took the sliced cucumbers from. Stir up the cucumbers in the colander with a spoon or with clean hands to make sure the salt is evenly distributed, and allow the cucumbers to sit for about 2 hours to sweat water into the larger bowl.

Mix the 3 cups of vinegar, 2 cups of water, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 of pickling spice, and 3 Tbsps of salt in a pot. Heat the mixture to a boil, then remove it from heat and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes.

Remove the colander with cucumbers from the large bowl, and pour out the water in the large bowl. Move the sliced cucumbers from the colander to the large bowl. Then, pour the cooled-off pickling brine over the cucumbers in the large bowl and let it cool to room temperature (we waited about 45 minutes.)

Sterilize some glass jars – it took us 3 jars, two empty peanut butter jars and one empty tomato sauce jar – by pouring boiling water into the glass jars and letting it sit for at least 5 minutes. Transfer the cucumbers along with the brine into the jars – we used a soup ladle, and seal them tightly. Let them sit in the refrigerator for at least 3 days, after which they will be ready-to-eat.

    • Servings: Hard to say! It’s 3 jars of pickles! πŸ™‚ Let’s say it’s 12 servings.
    • Weight Watchers Points per serving: 1

Espresso Machine

Mo and I finally decided to a get an espresso machine a couple of weeks ago. We ended up on a used Pasquini Livia 90 that we found on craigslist. Turns out the girl who used to own it lives right up the road from us, so it was easy to pick up.

We’re still trying to figure latte art out, but so far it’s been a lot of fun.

Here’s a video of me playing with the new toy.

(youtube for now, will add oggs a bit later)

The Durian Experience

The Durian

An H-mart opened up nearby, so we took a trip yesterday and ended up picking up a Durian fruit. We’d never had it before and were up for an adventure! The Durian came frozen – we let it thaw overnight so that its shell was a bit more pliable, and opened it up.

I have to say – the smell was not like dead bodies or stinky gym socks like some folks have written online. To me, it had a very heavy sulfuric / rotten eggs smell. It tasted good to me, but only if I held my nose. If I let the smell penetrate my noise, I simply could not enjoy it in my mouth at all. When I ate it, it felt like it stunk up my whole mouth – I had to drink something to rinse it out with every mouthful. It’s a savory kind of fruity taste. It was mild so I’m guessing it wasn’t super ripe.

The smell doesn’t let loose as soon as you open it – it took a few minutes for us to fully absorb it. Note that Ray enjoyed the durian a whole lot more than me – the smell didn’t really bother him at all!

The Durian

We made some videos of the opening of the durian and the aftermath:


The Durian Experience, Part I


The Durian Experience, Part II

Butternut & mushroom soup and yummy crusty bread

So we attempted the ‘Butternut Squash and Duxelles Casserole’ in the latest Vegetarian Times print magazine but it came out a bit of a disaster. The problem? We used butternut squash we had chopped and frozen from our bi-weekly share and didn’t bother to defrost it first. Whoops, look at those frost crystals:

Butternut Squash and Mushroom Casserole

So, hopefully we won’t make that mistake again. I mean it came out *looking* pretty great:

Butternut Squash and Mushroom Casserole

But the butternut was lukewarm-to-cold. We kept it in the oven double the time Vegetarian Times recommended, still not much improvement. So we decided to make it into a soup! With crusty bread on the side to go with it!

Butternut Squash, Mushroom, and Spinach Soup

Butternut Squash, Mushroom, and Spinach Soup

Ingredients

  • 8 oz mushrooms with stems
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 tsp butter
  • Parsley (we used dried flakes, 2 tsp)
  • Black pepper
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 2 Tbs all-purpose flour
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 oz munster cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped – and DEFROSTED
  • 10 oz frozen spinach (a little over a cup)
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp dried minced onion
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 3 dried chilis

Directions

Pull the stems from the caps of your mushrooms, and stick them in a food processor in batches until you’ve got mushroom paste. Put the mushroom paste in a large bowl.

Before:
Butternut Squash and Mushroom Casserole

After:
Butternut Squash and Mushroom Casserole

Peel the shallots, chop them roughly (no need to be precise or pretty), and food process them into a paste as well. Add that to the bowl with the mushroomy paste.

Before:
Butternut Squash and Mushroom Casserole

After:
Shallot Paste

Warm up a skillet (we use cast-iron) and melt the butter. Add the bowl of mushroom and shallot paste, and cook it for 5-10 minutes. It’ll get really fragrant and delicious smelling. πŸ™‚ Towards the end add the parsley and salt and pepper to taste:

Butternut Squash and Mushroom Casserole

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Grate 3/4 of the munster cheese into a bowl and keep it next to the stove. Whisk the milk, flour, and garlic together in a small saucepan on low, simmering. Whisk until it gets thick – it’ll happen fairly quickly – and then add in the grated cheese. Add the nutmeg now too, and remove the saucepan from the heat.

Butternut Squash and Mushroom Casserole

Layer 1/3 of your squash chunks in a casserole dish. Glop 1/3 of your cheesy sauce on top with half the mushroom-shallot mix. Add another layer of squash. Layer another 1/3 of the cheesy sauce and the rest of the mushroom-shallot mix. Add one final layer of squash, the rest of the cheese sauce, and shred the rest of the cheese on top of it all.

Bake in the oven for about 50 minutes:

Butternut Squash and Mushroom Casserole

At this point you should have a delicious casserole. We goofed, so ours was not quite delicious. In either case, you may have a couple of servings of this 8-serving casserole and be at a loss as to what to do with the leftovers. Fear not! You can make a yummy soup.

Butternut Squash, Mushroom, and Spinach Soup

We used 6 servings of the casserole above, and put them in a cast iron pot. We added 8 cups of our homemade veggie broth, and a 10 oz package of frozen spinach. We seasoned it with 3 dried whole chilis, 1 tsp dried minced onion, 1 tsp garlic powder, and 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast. Bring this all to a boil, then simmer for 5-10 minutes until you’re ready to eat!

Crusty Bread

Homemade Bread

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 packet of dry active yeast (or 2 packets of old dry active yeast as in our case πŸ˜‰ )
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Butter (we used Earth Balance vegan butter)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup skim milk
  • 1 Tbsp minced rosemary
  • Sesame seeds (~1-2 tsp)

We used a stand mixer, but you can mix by hand as well, it’s just more work! Add the all-purpose flour, wheat flour, yeast, salt, sugar, and butter in a large bowl and mix well. Add the two eggs. Mix well. Add the milk and mix at least 30 seconds more with the mixer.

At this point the flour may be quite sticky – if so add some more wheat flour until it’s reasonable to handle. Toss the 1 Tbsp of rosemary in and work it into the dough using your hands. Then, pull the dough out of the bowl and pat it (it should not be sticky! If so, flour as needed) into a nice round ball, then place it back in the bowl and cover it with cling wrap.

Let the dough rise. We gave it three hours, and it doubled in size. It may take less if you’ve got more active yeast than we did. You could also leave it to rise in the fridge over night or while you’re out at work.

Once the bread has risen sufficiently, preheat the oven to 350 F and lightly flour a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan – we used a silicon one. Pat the dough into a rectangle a bit bigger than the loaf pan. Lengthwise, fold the left and right sides of the rectangle to meet in the center, then pinch them together. Fold the short sides under so that the loaf is the right length to fit into the loaf pan. Set the loaf into the loaf pan and pat it down, and sprinkle the top with sesame seeds. We made diagonal cuts along the top of the dough as well for decoration.

Bake the bread for 40 minutes. The smell of the bread and the rosemary is going to make it hard to wait the full 40 minutes. But once the 40 minutes are up and the top of the bread is nice and golden, you’re in for more torture – you’ve got to let the bread cool. πŸ™‚ Pull the loaf pan out of the oven, place a cutting board on top and flip it over. The loaf should come out without much trouble. Now let it cool on a wire rack at least 10 minutes and try not to eat it whole. πŸ™‚

Homemade Bread

Homemade Bread

Stretch Your Veggies!

Homemade Veggie Stock

Tonight was the first time we made homemade veggie stock!

It’s so convenient to buy stock at the store, isn’t it? We love the little single-serve tetra packs… just grab one and you’re done, it’s about a cup of broth per pack which is what recipes typically call for so you don’t even have to worry about using up a half-used open veggie broth later in the week before it goes bad.

I have always felt a little bad though, using the pre-packaged veggie broths. Tetrapacks are made of composite materials making them trickier to recycle. Plus, it’s extra money.

What we’ve done over the past couple month is to save our food scraps – that last little bit from the end of a carrot or onion, or the dark green ends of leeks and scallions – and dump them in containers in the freezer. This week I noticed we had five containers full of scraps so I decided to try my hand at making some broth with them.

We started out with scraps from some of the following:

  • Carrots
  • Leeks
  • Potatoes
  • Onions
  • Scallions
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Eggplant
  • Bell Peppers
  • Kale Stalks

We stuck them in a stock pot, filled it almost to the very top with water, added some salt & pepper and a tablespoon of oil, and brought it to a boil. (It took a while in such a big stock pot!) Then, after it boiled, we simmered it for a good hour or so.

Homemade Veggie Stock

Next, I strained all the veggies out using my silicon strainer, and dumped them into a bowl.

In the spirit of using what you’ve got to its full extent, sustainability, and just plain hippy-ness, Ray took the strained scraps a stuck them in our bokashi to help make nutrient-rich soil for our garden. πŸ™‚

Homemade Veggie Stock

I’m now letting the broth cool down. Once it’s cool, I’m going to pour some into ice cube trays so we’ll have convenient little cubes we can melt down as needed. Any excess that doesn’t fit in the trays I will pour into glass jars to also stick in the freezer.

This was so easy. I will probably not have to buy broth ever again. All it takes is a little discipline to wash your veggies really well and to save the scraps!

Tofu Pad Thai

It’s been a while since we’ve posted. πŸ™‚ Sorry about that. Enough folks have mentioned that they miss the blog such that we decided to start this back up again! It’s a shame though – we missed the entire summer produce season. πŸ™‚

Tofu Pad Thai

This recipe is adapted from a Weight Watchers recipe – and it’s even lighter than theirs. We substituted broiled tofu strips for the chicken, which when broiled with a light spray of oil, results in a nice crispy fried-like texture that mixes well with the noodles and veggies.

Windowsill-Grown Baby Carrots

We used some apartment-grown produce in this recipe, by the way. Not a huge yield, no, but from a single pot placed in our kitchen windowsill, which doesn’t get so much light, we’re pretty pleased. They were very sweet and crisp, and made the meal more special!

Ingredients

  • 4 oz firm tofu
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 large head of broccoli (enough for 2 cups of florets)
  • 2 Tbsps soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsps lime juice
  • 2.5 Tbsps sugar
  • 3 oz dry rice noodles
  • 1.5 tsps minced ginger
  • 1 Tbsp minced peanuts
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1.5 cups bean sprouts

First, set one pots of water on the stove to boil. You’ll need enough water to cover the dry rice noodles in a medium-sized bowl.

Turn the broiler on. Press the tofu and pat dry if you like, and slice it into long thin cutlets. Cover a broiler pan with tin foil, place the tofu cutlets on it, and spray lightly with the oil of your choice (we used canola oil.) Stick the tofu in the broiler for a few minutes, and make sure to watch it so it doesn’t burn – let it crisp & brown, though. You’ll need to flip the tofu and broil some more to crip the other side. When the tofu’s set, pull it out and set aside.

Pour the boiling water over the noodles in a medium-sized bowl, enough to cover them, and let them sit for 20 minutes. Set some more water to boil for steaming the broccoli and carrots. As it boils, chop the broccoli into florets and the carrots into rounds, and steam for 8-10 minutes in a steamer basket in the covered pot.

Next, mince the ginger. Mix the soy sauce, sugar, lemon juice, and minced ginger in a bowl and set aside. (This is your fakin’ fish sauce.) Crush the garlic cloves and mince them, and drain the nodles.

Time to pull out the wok! Spray lightly with oil and let it warm on medium high. When the oil is hot enough, toss the minced garlic and red pepper flakes in and sautee until the garlic is fragant after about a minute or so. Next, toss in the drained rice noodles and fakin’ fish sauce. Stir and cook until blended maybe 4-5 minutes. We added 1/4 cup of water and added the broiled tofu strips and cooked an additional 3 minutes or so. Toss the carrots and broccoli in, stir to combine for maybe 1-2 minutes more, and you’re almost there. Garnish with the peanuts and you’re ready to eat!

Tofu Pad Thai

  • Servings: 2
  • Weight Watchers Points per serving: 7

(p.s. Sorry the pictures on this post aren’t as nice as usual – my Canon’s battery was dead πŸ™‚ )

Sweet Rhubarb Compote Tarts

Rhubarb Compote Tarts

Lately we are crazy about rhubarb, which is in season in New England right now. We bought 4 huge stalks, unable to resist the tangy & sweet temptation, and that night found out that you have to use them quickly after purchase before the stalks start to get soft. We decided a quick & easy compote used as a filling for little tarts would be the perfect solution.

Rhubarb Compote Tarts

This recipe is super, super quick. It looks and sounds more complicated than it is. Of course, if you went with plain phyllo dough and shaped the cups yourself then it would indeed be more time-consuming and complicated. You can save yourself the trouble with pre-made though! (We found Athens Mini Fillo Shells at our local supermarket in the freezer section by the pre-made pie crusts.)

Because this recipe is so quick, and because it doesn’t tend to store so well (we noticed the leftovers got soggy in the fridge after just one night) you’ll want to make this the day of the occasion (doesn’t have to be special πŸ™‚ ) you’re making them for. Any leftover compote can be stored in a jar or container in the fridge and eaten applesauce-style (yum!) You’ll need a large pan with a lid for this one.

Ingredients

  • 4 stalks of rhubarb (a little over 1 pound)
  • 1 large apple (we used a Braeburn)
  • 4 teaspoons organic granulated sugar
  • 4 teaspoons brown sugar
  • Small pre-made phyllo tart shells (we used 2 packages, 30 pieces total)

First step – if your phyllo cups were stored in the freezer like ours were, you’ll want to pull them out now to let them defrost a bit. Next, wash and brush your rhubarb stalks. Chop off either end of each stalk and dice. To avoid the awkwardness of the curve of the stalk, we first halved the stalks, then quartered each half length-wise and chopped from there. (See photo below.) Wash and dice the apple as well. We’re talking a fine dice here, a cubed inch or less.

Rhubarb Compote Tarts
Rhubarb Compote Tarts

Heat a large lidded pan (lid off) at medium high. When the pan gets hot, spoon your diced rhubarb and apple mixture into the pan. Add 4 teaspoons of organic granulated sugar and stir well. Turn the heat down to medium low, and cover. Let it cook for five minutes.

Rhubarb Compote Tarts

While you give the compote some time to cook, pre-heat the oven to 350 for the phyllo cups. After the compote’s five minutes are up, pull the lid off and check it out. You should start to see at least some progress towards the mixture starting to look a little bit like applesauce! Stir some more, cover up again and depending on doneness you may need to give it 5 more minutes more and check back. (We cooked ours until there were just a few solid chunks of rhubarb and apple left, and it was mostly applesauce-y.) Once turn, turn the burner off and remove the compote from the heat.

Rhubarb Compote Tarts

Line a baking sheet with foil or with silicon baking sheets and arrange your phyllo cups out on the sheet. Spoon the compote into the cups – we put about 1 1/2 tablespoons or so in each cup. Once you’ve filled the cups, take 4 teaspoons of brown sugar in a little bowl and sprinkle a little bit of brown sugar on top of each cup until you’ve gotten a little bit into each one. Place the phyllo cups in the oven, and bake for about 10 minutes. Wasn’t that easy? Enjoy!

Rhubarb Compote Tarts
Rhubarb Compote Tarts

You can make as many or as few tarts as you’ve got shells for. The leftover compote stores easily and makes a nice fruity cold dessert.

Rhubarb Compote Tarts

  • Servings: Depends on how many tart shells you’ve got. With 30 shells, we figure 3 tarts is a serving, so that’s 10 servings, plus we had 2 cups of compote leftover, and we figure 1 cup of compote is a serving as well, so 12 servings total.
  • Nutrition: 3 shells is 2 Weight Watchers points. 1 cup of compote alone is only 1 Weight Watchers point. Yay for rhubarb!

Rhubarb Compote Tarts