Rhubarb butter, you are my new best friend!

I used to have a donkey named Rhubarb Butter. Just kidding. I had a donkey named Donk. And a pig named Gip (that would be pig spelled backwards). I was young and too busy to think of good animal names. I take that back, I had cats named Fescue and Newton. Anyway, back to rhubarb butter. Bake or simmer down your rhubarb until it’s concentrated and your life will be transformed. Use it in gelato, ice cream, add to your pies to boost flavor, or just use it as a pie pop filling. Make yogurt parfaits, baste your chicken with it …

Just like in the last post, you’ll cut up as much rhubarb as you have and sprinkle it with about 1/4 cup sugar per pound of vegetable (rhubarb is a vegetable). Or less. Or more. Let that sit overnight in the fridge, and when you get to it, place it all in a pot. The pot is important because rhubarb is acidic and you cannot cook it in aluminum or unfinished cast iron. The radiant heat produced by an enameled cast iron pot is ideal because you’ll cook it on your lowest flame for about 3 or 4 hours. Stir it occasionally at first, and often after it thickens or it will burn and you will cry. You can also try roasting it in a slow oven on a cookie sheet. I  haven’t tried it but it might work.

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Rhubarb Sour Cherry Pie, I love you so!

Rhubarbe tarte, je vous adore! If my French language skills were as good as my pies, I’d be in fine shape. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, and I think my French teacher would agree. I don’t know, maybe I should spend more time with a textbook than Elle a Table magazine, but that’s my method and I’m sticking with it. Besides that, when you place a piece of rhubarb pie on top of a Elle a Table magazine picture of rhubarb compotee, that pie gets sucked in to the magazine. I first figured that out when I put my unglamorous lunch on top of a picture of  a French luncheon salad.

We’ll be making perky seasonal salads like this one in retro drinking glasses in my Garden-to-Picnic Table classes this summer, but right now, I want to talk rhubarb. My green-tinged tangy rhubarb is going biserk out in the garden and the pretty northern red rhubarb is plentiful in the stores now. Let’s make a pie!

First you’ll need about a pound and a half of rhubarb. The green leaves are poisonous. Cut them off. If your rhubarb is the green-stalked variety,  substitute a little of your rhubarb with a few squished strawberries, raspberries, or fresh cherries so you don’t get that celery-pie thing.

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International Biscuit Festival!

This pretty much sums it up. What a fun and inspiration-packed four days spent in Knoxville last week. First there was the Wednesday night Alton Brown show in the lavishly restored historic Tennessee theatre. He took us on a witty, sciency quest to re-create his grandmother’s southern biscuits. Then there was the first annual Southern Food Writer’s conference created by John Craig, Dawn Coppock and friends (John’s the Biscuit Boss/organizer of the Biscuit festival). What a truly talented collection of food writers, publishers, bloggers, journalists they collected for this event. I had the great pleasure of presenting a session with Jodi Rhoden about collecting recipes and old-time advice from the southern women in our lives. Then there was the (included with the conference, mind you) dinner at Blackberry farm. Over the top elegant/farmy…. how about a soup of poached trout swimming in a clear smoked local buttermilk broth topped with fresh-plucked watercress? Geez! Continue Reading →

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Pink Lady’s Slipper Tea Party

There’s a National Park in our back yard. For real. A short 20 minute hike through the woods and up a mountain will land you on the Blue Ridge Parkway. But wander just beyond our campfire ring, into the woods come May, and you’ll find yourself in the midst of hundreds upon hundreds of spectacular Pink Lady’s Slipper orchids. They’re native to these Appalachian mountains, and cannot be moved and they just grow where they grow. You’d better celebrate them when you are given the gift of their company and so that’s what my girlfriends and I did on a recent chilly spring afternoon.

Armed with  pink prosecco and our grandmother’s vintage hats, we toasted (and toasted) the arrival of our pink pocketed posies. Continue Reading →

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Stinging nettle pesto and branch lettuce salad!

 

 

It’s feasting time here at our Appalachian mountain cabin. The morels have come and gone, the ramps are getting scarce, but the branch lettuce and stinging nettles are in full swing.

Take a little walk with me to the creek and we’ll collect some branch lettuce for a salad and some stinging nettles for pesto. We’re heading though the yard to the woods where it’s damp and creeky. Continue Reading →

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Flipped for Flapjacks

The Guinness has gone but the oat flapjacks remain…. I take that back, I highly recommend flapjacks plus Guinness for dessert tonight. I’ve been staring down photos of oaty Irish flapjacks for years and finally baked a tray of them for an Irish-themed St. Paddy’s day potluck and now I can’t stop making them. And giving them away, and now more people are hooked and it’s gotten out of control. So I’m posting this “recipe” so I can be free of the torment of it all. Think carefully before you make these. Please.

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How did you whip that up so fast?

So says my husband as I plopped dinner on the table tonight. After returning from a chilly evening stroll with the dog, I wandered into the kitchen to assemble dinner before Wayne had to leave for his weekly radio show. 30 minutes later, dinner appears in the form of a sort of chili. It smelled great, tasted like it  had been long-simmered, and thus prompted his question “How did you whip this up so fast?”

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St. Nik Breads … Weckemaennchen. The perfect simple holiday gift of love!

St. Nikolaus Day is officially December 6th, but it’s never too late to have fun making these, er, ummm, renegade versions of German holiday breads also known as Weckemaenwchen in honor of Nicholas, Bishop of Myra. My friend, Renate, grew up in the Rhineland region of Germany, and she taught me to make the official version of these traditional breads, which are supposed to look like St. Nik. Somehow, they get away from us every year, and they have taken on a life of their own.
They make a nice breakfast treat or you can dry them for festive decorations. Or, if you’re like me, take pictures of them and make that your holiday greeting card … from our quirky family to yours! Continue Reading →

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Holiday Open House and Winter Cooking Classes

Grab an Apron and Let’s get cookin!


To Register for Classes:
Contact Barbara at logcabincooking@gmail.com
Class size limited to 8, so don’t delay!
We are located 5 miles east of Asheville in Haw Creek
Hide N’ Bake: Special  Holiday Refrigerator Cookies and Savory Crackers        Wednesday, December 7th, 6:00-9:00pm $45 
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Upcoming Cooking Classes

German Santa Breads

Stay tuned for January and February Cooking Classes

Meanwhile, head down to the Nov. 7 post for information on this December class and open house:

Wednesday, December 7th, 6:00-9:00pm $45  
Hide N’ Bake: Special  Holiday Refrigerator Cookies and Savory Crackers  


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