Saturday, April 3, 2010

Spring Cleaning

I think of spring cleaning as a mental exercise as well as a physical one. So here are a couple of odds and ends as I clean out the cobwebs.
  • Leftover Chex Mix -- at least my modified take on the 1955 version of the recipe -- can be frozen and defrosted successfully. Why, you ask, would anyone bother to do this? For one thing, frozen Chex Mix slows down the children and the midnight snackers, who have limited self-control. Not that I'm referring to anyone in my household, of course.
  • Radicchio is not a great addition to a pot of vegetable soup. The taste is fine (if you keep the bitterness in balance), but it turns the soup the most unappetizing shade of reddish-blackish-purple. Must. Eat. Without. Looking.
  • Radicchio-vegetable soup is still better than parsley soup. 'Nuff said.
  • Caboodle is leery of kitchen experiments. Whenever I try out a new vegetable-based recipe -- even during the dead of winter -- she asks whether our farm share has started up again. We are about two months from CSA season, and I have recently finished up the last of our rhubarb and corn. We still have some frozen herbs and applesauce.
  • Rhubarb Chutney is excellent with sharp cheddar and crackers, but makes a surprisingly good snack with peanut butter on a rice cake. Had I thought of it, I would have made some to use as charoset on Passover. Maybe next year.
Rhubarb is coming into the markets, so this is a good time of year to try out the chutney recipe. The original version calls for nuts, but the chutney does not suffer without them.

Rhubarb Chutney
Slightly adapted from The Food Channel

1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/8 cup cider vinegar
1/8 cup water
1/2 Tbsp grated lemon zest
3 rhubarb stalks, ends trimmed and sliced crosswise
1 piece of cinnamon stick, about 2 inches long
1/2-inch knob of ginger, peeled and minced
1/2 cup golden rasins
1/8 tsp salt

Combine the sugar, vinegar, water, and lemon zest in a non-reactive saucepan. Stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Add in the rhubarb, cinnamon, and ginger, and cook over medium heat, stirring often, for about 15 minutes or until the rhubarb is tender. Stir in the raisins and cook 3 minutes longer. Cool completely.

Store the chutney in a covered jar or plastic container and refrigerate. It'll keep for several weeks in the refrigerator, and can be frozen for longer storage. Makes about 2 cups.

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