Thursday, May 23, 2013

Summer (food) Lovin'!

I love that the GTA seems to go right from "end of winter" to "full on summer" in a snap.

My garden is in full swing already:

From Left: Gooseberries, strawberries and chocolate mint, rhubarb, red currants, zucchini
And here are the window boxes:
Orange mint, baby basil, and oregano

Wee tiny basil in the far corners, and my perennial chives
So, I'm excited for all the herbs, especially a huge crop of basil.
Meanwhile, I harvested the three largest rhubarb stalks, which yielded a full POUND of rhubarb.

What to do, what to do?
Strawberry rhubarb cobbler, naturally!

I try to eat "lower carb" on a regular basis, so I modified a few different recipes (mostly, the lighter strawberry rhubarb cobbler recipe from cooksillustrated (note: you need to sign up to access their recipes).

I also made sugar free vanilla bean icecream (with my own homemade vanilla)-- here's the total result:
Strawberry rhubarb lower-carb cobbler, with sugar free vanilla bean icecream
First, the ice cream recipe:

This makes a great base for any sugar-free icecream.  You may just need to adjust the sweetness, for different flavors like coffee or chocolate.

Ingredients in the base:
2c. whole milk
1c. heavy whipping cream
2 eggs (yes, raw eggs.  you could substitute lecithin powder if you prefer)
2T. glycerin
2T vodka
1/4c. xylitol (do NOT use erythritol. It makes it crumbly)
pinch of salt
additional Splenda (liquid or powder) or other sugarfree sweetener to taste
Flavor options:
2-3T excellent vanilla extract
1/3c excellent cocoa powder (might need more sweetener)
I used my own vanilla extract (10 vanilla bean pods, split down the middle, immersed in an almost-full bottle of very cheap vodka.  Sit that in your cupboard for at least 8 weeks, shaking it once daily).
Blend all the ingredients you choose to use in a blender, then pop into your ice cream maker of choice.  I'm using a Whynter Sno ice cream maker, but any brand would be fine. Follow the maker's directions.

Next, the Strawberry Rhubarb cobbler.
The basic premise is to remove some of the liquid from the fruits by roasting them first, and thickening with a bit of starch.  Flour makes it too glumpy, and we're going for a lighter texture.
I 1.5x the recipe, to use up all my rhubarb.
16oz of rhubarb, cleaned and cut into about 1/2inch chunks
3c (about the same weight) of strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and cut into large chunks if they are big
1T of corn starch (could be potato or tapioca as well)
2T coconut palm sugar (slightly lower glycemic index)
2T or so granular Splenda (or other sweetener to taste-- could try all Splenda)
Low Carb Biscuit mix of your choice-- use enough to make 6 biscuits, and add about 1/3c splenda to the mix
Cinnamon/sweetener mix to sprinkle on biscuits
Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Meanwhile, mix the fruit, starch, sweeteners of choice. 
Pour into a 8x11 pan (I used the smaller glass pyrex) and place on a cookie sheet covered with either parchment paper or aluminum foil (in case it bubbles over).
Bake the fruit for 20-30 minutes, until juices release. SET A TIMER!
When the fruit is done, remove from oven, lower oven to the temperature specified for your biscuits (mine was 350), and give the fruit a stir.  You might need to at a tablespoon of water, if it's not quite juicy enough, but you don't want it runny.
Mix up your biscuits and add the extra sweetener to the mix.  Drop in 6 even blobs over the fruit. Top the biscuits with a sprinkle of cinnamon/sweetener (I had Truvia on hand).
Return to the oven and bake for another 20-30 minutes, per the biscuit directions.


Lower Carb Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler fresh from the oven

Remove from oven and let cool so you don't burn your mouth to shreds!

Enjoy warm or room temp, with ice cream!

ETA: Nutritional Info

This depends on your bicuit mix-- low carb or made from scratch.
Giving full credit to who made biscuits from scratch and used a full 1/3c of sugar in the berry/rhubarb mixture, the info would be:

280 calories
52g carbs, 4g fiber (this would change of course based on your sweetener, if you use all the starch, and what biscuits you use).

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