Friday, May 31

Roasted Rhubarb

Roasted rhubarb with custard and crumbled vanilla cookies

When it comes to cooking methods, roasting is a great way to coax the best flavour and natural sweetness out of many vegetables and fruits. Rhubarb is no exception. In fact it could be argued -- with apologies to rhubarb lovers everywhere -- that this infamously tart stalk needs all the help it can get!

Rhubarb is wonderful in pies, cakes and jams, especially when paired with strawberries, apples or ginger, but it also stands well on it's own. Stewed rhubarb is a classic condiment or sauce and is dead simple to make. Simply cook rhubarb and sugar, with a bit of water to cover the bottom of the pan, until the rhubarb cooks down. You get pure rhubarb flavour to spoon over ice cream (my grandpa's favourite) or another sweet base.

The problem with stewing is you need to stir it. By the time the rhubarb is cooked, it's lost all body and structure and disintegrates into a soupy, well, stew. Some people think this is good (my grandpa, for one) but it's possible to have all that pure rhubarb flavour and keep some body and texture, too. This is where roasting comes in.

I can't promise that roasting will convert rhubarb haters to fans, but it will certainly bring out the best of this rosy stalk.

Roasted Rhubarb in Wine

Serves 4-6, depending on use

The key to this dish is to not stir the rhubarb after it has started to soften. Stir once after 15 minutes while it's still firm, then leave it alone. The sugar, wine and juices from the rhubarb will cook into a lovely syrup while the rhubarb softens but still holds its shape.
  • 1 pound fresh rhubarb, cut in 1 1/4 " pieces 
  • 1/4 cup white wine (fruity not oaky) 
  • Raw rhubarb with sugar and wine
  • 1/4 cup sugar (add 1 Tbsp more if your wine is quite dry) 

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In an un-greased, 8" square glass or ceramic baking dish, mix together rhubarb, wine and sugar. Roast for 15 minutes. Stir to make sure sugar is dissolved. Return pan to oven and roast -- without stirring again -- until the rhubarb pieces are fork-tender and the edges are starting to caramelize, but there is still liquid in the pan, about 30 minutes longer.

The wine, sugar and juices will have cooked to a simple syrup which will thicken slightly as it cools.

Let the rhubarb cool undisturbed in the pan. Serve warm or chilled.
Roasted rhubarb

Variations:
  • Add an empty vanilla bean pod, cardamom pods, ginger root or orange peel in with the rhubarb at the start of cooking. 
  • Replace the white wine with blush or rosé wine for a pretty pink tone and an extra touch of sweetness. 
Serving Suggestions:
  • Spoon the warm or chilled rhubarb on ice cream, cheese cake, custard, pound cake, or shortcakes. Layer it in a parfait with strawberry yogurt and crumbled meringues. 
  • Mix it with strawberries and fill a pastry cup or a shortcake biscuit.
  • Use it as a condiment (along with caramelized onions) for roast pork or lamb burgers.
Rosy rhubarb!
Roasted rhubarb and strawberries with pastry and cream

Monday, May 27

Picture Perfect Spring

If I had to choose a favourite sign that Spring is in full swing and Summer is almost here... well I just couldn't. There are too many happy harbingers, from hummingbirds to asparagus to lilacs and other blooms. So instead of trying to pick just one, I'll share a selection of photos that make my heart sing at this time of year.



Hummingbird at the feeder
Protecting his territory
Pink apple blossoms for pink-fleshed apples
Aspargus is ready to eat!
A pair of ducks on the pond
The world is green again!


Tuesday, May 21

Huntsville Half - Band on the Run 2013


Saturday June 8, 2013. Races start and finish in River Mill Park in downtown Huntsville. Same location for the post-race music festival.

More than just a race event, the Huntsville Half - Band on the Run is a festival of running and music. This, the second year of the event, features multiple distances from a 1 km kids run to a 21 km half-marathon, plus a fantastic line up of musicians as part of the music festival.

Race Events

  • Half Marathon (21.0957 km – to be exact)
  • Half Marathon Relay
  • 10 km
  • 5 km
  • Kid’s Race
Canoe-Heads are welcome on the 5 km run. Yup, some people do this portage-style, carrying a canoe over their heads!


Music Festival

The post-race music festival will be rocking River Mill park in downtown Huntsville all afternoon. Free for event participants. Non-racers can buy tickets in advance ($10 here) or at the door ($15). 

  • Local fave Tobin Spring and Laganza are opening on the main stage, followed by
  • Three-time Juno Award winning band The SHEEPDOGS
  • with special guests The Sadies

It gets even better...

After the race (definitely after the race!) you can rehydrate with a sampling of local beers from a licensed beer garden just steps away.

And even better still...

We've partnered with the fine folks behind the Huntsville Half to offer a VIP Package when you stay at Fern Glen Inn and run in the event.

Your Huntsville Half Race Weekend package includes:

  • An upgrade of your race entry to a VIP race package
  • Your race kit will be waiting for you at check-in on Friday night
  • 2 nights accommodation for two people
  • Full, delicious breakfast each morning
  • Use of 120-acre property with private trails and guest lounge
  • Free 16oz stainless steel water bottle
Rate: $219/couple + tax

Book online and mention Huntsville Half in the Notes section or call us toll free at 1-866-311-8519. Make sure to register for the race in advance on the Huntsville Half website.
Not a runner? You can come out just for the music! $10 in advance (purchase online here) or $15 at the door.

Looking forward to seeing you!