Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins

The other night I was feeling kind of down because I wanted something to snack on but there’s not really anything I can have. I didn’t want to snack on nuts or fruit, so that leaves nothing. I was looking at some food blogs and found a few recipes. I wanted to have some snacks on hand for when I feel snacky and have that snack craving satisfied without having any chips (oh salt and pepper kettle chips how I miss you!). So this blog post is going to be all about snacks.

Rhubarb. How do I describe it. It looks like celery but it’s pink and it has a bit of a sour taste. I’ve never encountered this plant before moving to Canada. The first time I was introduced to it was in a strawberry and rhubarb pie from a local cafe, Fifendekel. The cafe is known to Edmontonians. It’s a simple place that serves simple sandwiches (subway style where you pick the ingredients you want), a soup, cookie, or pie. It’s simple but it works and it is good food. If you go during lunch on a weekday, you better be prepared to wait in a long line. And if you see an open seat, you better grab it or it’ll be gone.

I’ve never cooked with rhubarb and I saw it at a grocery store yesterday and decided to pick up several stalks. I found this recipe from Vegetarian Ventures and decided to give it a go.

According to the Flavor Thesaurus:

Rhubard is a vegetable native to Siberia. The leaves are poisonous; it’s the pink petioles, or stalks, that we eat. Once its intense sourness has been countered with sufficient quantities of sugar, the flavor becomes fascinating–a combination of aromatic, candied strawberry notes with a cooking-apple fruitiness, plus a strong, thick note redolent of a greenhouse full of ripening tomatoes. The fruity notes are able to withstand cooking, and retain their freshness even after sugar has been added. Rhubarb is best paired with overtly sweet ingredients, such as maple syrup, honey or anise, then smothered with even more sweetness in the form of vanilla, almonds, cream or butter. Some take advantage of its gooseberry/cooking-apple sourness to pair rhubarb with fatty meat and oily fish.

So there you go. I’m really intrigued by the rhubarb and vanilla pairing. And there’s even a pairing for rhubarb with saffron!! That, I think, I might have to try sometime soon.

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You have to roast the rhubarb with strawberries coated in sugar. I didn’t want to use the white sugar so I used brown sugar. Brown sugar is just sugar with molasses in it.

The recipe calls for spelt flour. Spelt flour has less gluten than regular wheat flour and can be tolerated by some people with a gluten intolerance/sensitivity and even by some people with Celiacs. I didn’t want to take a chance of throwing my elimination diet out of the window, so I opted not to use it. I saw some buckwheat flour at the same grocery store I got the rhubarb from and it was about $14 for a kilo (if I remember the weight right). I bought half a kilo of buckwheat groats on Sunday for about $5.

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Up close they look like little triangles and they have a nutty flavor. The groats (seeds) aren’t related to wheat at all despite its name. Buckwheat has no gluten, some consider it a super food (you can read about the nutritional benefits here), and the groats are actually seeds of a flower that’s more closely related to rhubarb.

I put the groats in a coffee bean grinder to make my own flour.

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I was actually quite happy with the results and I was proud that I made my own flour. I made buckwheat flour that’s pure buckwheat with no chance of contamination from anything else, and there’s nothing else added to this. Plus, this was less than half the price of a bag of ready-made flour!

I mixed all the dry ingredients and then added the wet ingredients. I used hemp milk in my muffins instead of coconut milk. The recipe does say that “any milk will do here.” So that’s what I did. Then you toss in the strawberries and rhubarb. You fold everything together and then bake them.

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The recipe says to bake them for 18-22 minutes. I think I ended up baking mine for a good 30. I didn’t know how the buckwheat flour would react and I wanted to make sure the muffins were baked through. The muffins were good but I think next time I’ll add more sweetness, more strawberries and rhubarb, and something to make them more moist. Maybe it’s the buckwheat flour but I found the muffins to be a bit dry but not overly. I’d make this again.

I also ended up trying to make the quinoa and cacao crispy treats from Deliciously Ella’s youtube video. I bought a box of buckwheat puffs and decided to give it a try. I won’t post photos because it was an experiment. She doesn’t give the recipe by calling out measurements or anything. She just says you need a few ingredients. I had the buckwheat puffs, peanut butter, cocoa, agave syrup, and vegetable oil. I tried to watch the measurements she used but it didn’t work out exactly like hers. However, it was still good. I just ended up doing mine by taste. They’re good and they’re satisfying without being overly sweet.

Tonight we’re going to have breakfast for dinner. We’re going to have gluten-free blueberry pancakes and the Hubs and little one will have bacon. I’ve just been craving sweet things lately and I’m trying to get all the sweetness I can in two days.

I hope you all enjoy your Thursday. It’s almost Friday!!

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