Monday, July 1, 2013

Much A'do About Rhubarb

Photo: Rhubarb, round 3.  I am so happy this plant came back this year.   Maybe I'll do a pie this time!

SO much to do!  Good morning!  This weekend I took my scissors to the rhubarb plant again.  This is the third round of fruit I've gotten from my wonderful and generous little plant.  It's not so little anymore, and I didn't know how big it would get when I bought it on sale at Wal*Mart last summer.  It's made me a believer!  

Wowzuh, it's been so good to us.  It's just July and I've gotten a big old batch of rhubarb ginger jam, some to freeze, and now these yummy rhubarb muffins.  I had to Instagram and Facebook that picture, and got several suggestions in response to my "what do I do with this batch?!" quandary.  I'd not ever thought of muffins with this tarty loveliness, so I researched some recipes.  (Dear Pinterest, I love you so!)   

Here's what I found.  It's a terrific and easy recipe from a terrific and cleverly named blog called Arctic Garden Studio.  I realize Idaho Falls is no Fairbanks, but it is nice to have a resource and an ally in the world of Nothing Grows Before June!  I also enjoy that she uses yogurt--it makes these muffins so moist and spongy.  Terrific!  I used Hermes Greek Gods, and NOT the non-fat version.  I'll not have it!  Please note that I used mini muffin tins for two dozen treats, and also got a 1/2 dozen large muffins out of this recipe.  Here you have it!

Cinnamon Rhubarb Muffins, from Arctic Garden Studio (who adapted it from Fine Cooking)
2 cups AP flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar (I use raw cane sugar)
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup whole milk yogurt (I use Hermes 
Greek God regular--not non-fat--yogurt)
8 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups diced rhubarb
3 T granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degreesF, and line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper or foil baking cups.  I used Pam instead of cups for the little ones--you need to grease or line!  

In a large mixing bowl, combine the first six ingredients and whisk to blend.  
In a medium bowl, whisk together the next four ingredients until smooth.  Next, with a spatula, lightly stir the yogurt mixture into the flour mixture until the batter just comes together.  Be careful not to overmix.  Gently stir in the diced rhubarb.  The batter will be thick.

Divide the batter equally among the muffin cups, using the back of a spoon or spatula to settle the batter into the cups, or slam the pan on the counter to settle just as nicely (her suggestion, and it works well!).  The batter should mound a bit higher than the tops of the cups. 

In a small bowl, combine the sugar & cinnamon and mix well.  Sprinkle a 1/2 teaspoon of the mixture atop the large muffins (about a 1/4 tsp. on the minis).
Bake until the muffins are golden brown, and a pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 18-22 minutes.*  Transfer the tins to a rack to cool, then carefully lift out the muffins.   Enjoy (several at a time)!

*I baked these--both the minis and the large ones, baked separately--for 15 minutes.  We also live at an elevation of 4,700 feet, and I can never get baking times right.  I decided to check them at 15 minutes and they were perfect.  

Uh, don't tell anyone, but I've already eaten three...  Thanks to my friend, colleague, and fellow East Coaster & Nationals fan, Ken, for making the winning suggestion.  I shall share with him tomorrow. 

Meanwhile, I discovered rhubarb is one of those words that starts to sound funny if you say it enough. 

Rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb,


Sunday, June 30, 2013

Kitten Fishin'

Two Christmases ago my Mister got a fly rod and we've been itching to use it.  Or learn to use it, as it were.   Last summer flew by, and the fall and spring came and went; it's finally time again.  Idaho is prime trout fishing territory--80% of the trout consumed in the United States is produced in Idaho.  How do you like that?  I learned that on Good Eats about two weeks after we moved here.  We have got to get on the river!  Anyway, the weather finally warmed up, then there was a load of overtime at work, then a stellar vacation back to Charleston, and we found ourselves with a weekend at home.  Yesterday morning, after sleeping in till 9:00 (what?!) and playing with kitties in our newly fenced-in backyard, we went to the library for fly fishing how-to and to the fly shop for fishing line.  When we got home Rob got to work on spooling the reel, but not before untangling the line from the package it came it.  I should mention here that Blackbeard, one of our silly cats, is obsessed with string.  Once when he was exploring the garage (it's our outdoor cat compromise)  he came back in the house with a bungee cord and it's been one of his favorites since.  He's insane for shoelaces, and once nearly destroyed the laces on a pair of rental cross country ski boots.  And he drags them all into his food bowl every day, a strange habit that I don't understand, but I love.  But I digress...  So Blackbeard was chasing the sting all over the place, as it was stretched from the den and across the hallway, back and forth, as Rob was trying to spool it and unknot it, etc., etc.  Too cute.  
Finally it all got sorted out and reeled up, then we went out back ("Now that we have a fence I'm going to practice casting so nobody can see me," he says) and tried to cast.  Here is what ensued.  

helium balloon?  flying a kite?
nope, fishing for kittens.
You need to zoom in.  Do you see his mouth?!  And those talons?!  My favorite part is his shadow, tail straight out.  It's too much!  

Hopefully we'll get a big old cutthroat or steelhead on the end of it, but for now this is fun.  

Tight lines,


Friday, June 14, 2013

It's Plantin' Time!

Good Friday morning!  It's a bit chilly here, and so windy, so I'm inside writing this instead of outside visiting my garden.  Oh well--I need the time inside I think.  I've nearly abandoned the inside of the house over the last couple days.  If I can get the kitchen cleaned and the bed made, we're golden.  

Anyway, we learned the hard way last year that April is too early to plant.  *gasp*  That was so foreign to me--I'd been eating fresh garden tomatoes by then for years!  About two weeks too late someone told us, "Yep, Memorial Day or when the snow melts on Taylor Mountain, whichever happens last."  What?!  For the record all the snow finally disappeared from said mountain in June.  We hiked & camped in the snow over Memorial Day Weekend, an absolute first for me.  So weird! 

With that knowledge this year we waited, and I am glad.  We did put the veggies in at the beginning of May or so, but made sure we bought frost-hardy, Idaho-friendly plants.  School ended the Friday after Memorial Day, so you know what I spent Monday & Tuesday doing!  I raided the local nursery and got busy in the backyard.  

Dahlias are one of my favorite flowers, and I'm glad these are coming up so well.  My zinnias--an absolute favorite--are trying, but I think something's eating them.  I'm working on those guys.  In the meantime, here's my first bloom from the dahlias.  They're so sunny and nice, and I enjoy seeing what color they'll turn out to be.  I've got a red one working on opening, and it will be fun to see what other colors we'll get.  Last year we planted a dinner plate dahlia--those were awesome!   

In other corners of the flowerbed and patio pots, I'm happy to report we're getting our first peony.  I planted a bulb last year and got the plant but no flowers, and this year it came back with one bud (yay for successful perennials!).  That bud is finally starting to open, and I hope it finishes by Tuesday.  That was one of our wedding flowers (that's why I bought it to begin with), and Tuesday is our second anniversary.  How cool would it be to get a bouquet flower on the day we celebrate our wedding?!

Well, that's it from here for now.  Have a perfect Friday, and I hope the weather wherever you are is good, safe, and makes you happy. 

With dirty fingernails,


Thursday, June 6, 2013


ahhhh, those warm days.  perfect days, like today.  love 'em.  got to wear a skirt, with flip flops, and opened the sunroof!  woot--i cannot get enough.  I went to Mass, chatted with the gals at school for a bit, went to Pilates, and ran some errands.  There is nothing like doing things that have needed to get done, and all in the same morning.  So nice!  Library books are returned, birthday cards and potting soil have been purchased, oil is changed, and I got to try on fun dresses.  All to a fabulous soundtrack courtesy of the Pat McGee station on Pandora.  

afterwards, I hung out with a gal from work, visiting and chatting student-free while we packed up her classroom (we're getting our rooms painted over the summer).  then we met her daughter & husband for a pint at Idaho Brewing Company before walking over to the art museum to begin the Thursday artwalk.  

it was a fun, productive, and relaxing day.  i had to write it down.  thanks for reading.  

to many more,