Sour Cream Cake

“The time has come, the Walrus said, to evaluate your stock of home-canned goods from last year.”

(First drafts of Carroll’s poems always needed a bit of smoothing out.) But seriously, I recently checked over our stash of all I’d canned last year. 2010 was the first time I’d canned more than a few batches of things. Most were spontaneous recipes, spurred on by compelling blog posts or a surplus of fruits. It was interesting to keep track of what we ate and what languished on the shelf. Apparently we’re not big on pickled veggies. Other things, however, took me by surprise. Break out the rhubarb chutney and man! we’ll eat that stuff.

The jams have been popular as well. It doesn’t hurt that there’s still a few school-age children still hauling pb&j’s 5 days a week. There are still a few jars of jam gathering dust out there, so I made a few sour cream cakes recently to utilize these. This cake is incredibly versatile, keeps well for three or four days, and is great for breakfast, teatime, or dessert. My first iteration used applesauce, the second, jam. Either way the sauce is swirled through the batter.  I also made a lovely vanilla bean cake with this. All variations follow.

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Bread and Jam for Frances

I know they say not to harvest rhubarb after the 4th of July. To them I say, phtooeey. Our rhubarb is still growing strong, and as a matter of fact! all our local crops are a little behind. This is the Northwest way.

This jam isn’t really a marmalade, as there are not citrus rind pieces in the final product. I wanted something a little saucier, a little jammier. As for flavor, it’s still plenty tart; it’s rather like a rhubarb lemonade but… jam. Rhubarb marmalade. Rhubarbalade. Spoon it on English muffins, or vanilla bean ice cream, or just spoon it on spoons and eat it by the spoonful.

Rhubarb Citrus Jam, or, Rhubarbalade

Makes 7 half-pint (8 ounce) jars

Be sure to wash all the fruits very well before cutting them. Note that you do not peel the citrus fruits.

8 cups small-chopped rhubarb

1 orange, cut into sixths and thinly sliced

1 lemon, cut into quarters and thinly sliced

1 lime, cut into quarters and thinly sliced

1 cup light brown sugar

6 cups white sugar

1 package pectin (6 ounces)

Prepare the canning jars and hot-water bath and have simmering at the ready.

In a large pot, stir together the rhubarb, orange, lemon, lime, and brown sugar. Over high heat, stir the pectin in and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the rhubarb and citrus pieces have begun to break down.

Pour the contents into another bowl (or one of those eight-cup capacity glass measuring cups — so handy!). Crank the mixture through a food mill or press through a strainer back into the pot. Stir in the white sugar and return to a boil. Boil hard, skimming off the foam, until the mixture reaches and will stay at the gelling point (220˚ at sea level).

Remove from heat and skim off any additional foam. Ladle into jars, wipe the rims, seal with lid and ring, and place in the hot-water bath. Once the hot-water bath water is boiling, start your timer for 10 minutes and boil the jars for 10 minutes. Remove from water, let cool, check the seals, and label and date.

Fruity Quinoa Salad

Recently asked to bring a gluten-free dish to a party, I did some quick browsing and decided on this fruity quinoa salad from Oh She Glows. I haven’t done much gluten-free cooking, and was nervous that there would be eight thousand other quinoa salads at the party. Thankfully this was not the case, and I received many compliments on it. It’s a very moist salad, thanks to the sweet and peppy dressing, and (4th of July bonus!) the fruits are oh! so! patriotic!

Quinoa is a seed that can be cooked and used very much like rice. It is a complete source of protein, has a mildly nutty taste and a light but chewy texture. Quinoa is the hippy kid next door you secretly envy. Quinoa is so cool, it’s practically an astronaut.

Fruity Quinoa Salad

adapted from Angela Liddon, Oh She Glows

(I left out the original almonds in case of allergies, but I think adding a cup of toasted slivered almonds (or any other nut — chopped hazelnuts! pecans! yum!) would add delicious flavor and a delicate crunch.)

  • 1 cup dry quinoa (or 4 cups cooked quinoa)
  • 2 pints strawberries, rinsed, stemmed, and halved or quarted (depending on size)
  • 1 pint blueberries, rinsed
  • 1 pound cherries, rinsed, stemmed and pitted, and halved
  • generous 1/4 cup lime juice (from 2 limes)
  • 1/3 cup real maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup toasted slivered almonds, optional (see note)

Cook the quinoa according to package directions, OR rinse well, bring to a boil in 4 cups water, and let simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 more minutes.

Spread the cooked quinoa on a large platter or cookie sheet to cool. You can let it cool while you wash and prep the fruits.

Combine the lime juice, maple syrup, and balsamic vinegar together in a small bowl and whisk well to combine.

Put the cooked quinoa, fruits, and nuts if using in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over and mix well to combine.

Makes a HUGE amount, more than 12 cups. This salad keeps well up to four days. Make some for your party tomorrow, and take some in your lunch all week!

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