Culinary Inspirations

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Just to give some forewarning, today’s post is going to be Monday-ish.  You know how Mondays are?  It’s the day when you wake up and have a million thoughts, plans and lists going all at the same time–that’s this post.  Monday-ish.

So, here we go…Give me a good book and an even better piece of produce and I am a happy camper.  Last week, I reached for two of my favorite books and some of my favorite spring-time produce, and I was off.  I have often talked about this book before in past posts, but Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver is a book that will change your world.  Not only is it a beautifully crafted piece about Kingsolver and her family’s journey toward eating locally, but it is also filled with the most delicious recipes! I looked out my kitchen window to find our strawberry and rhubarb bed was overflowing with goodness, so I knew this was the book I needed.  I went with one of my favorite recipes in that book: the strawberry rhubarb crisp.  This recipe is a family favorite, using very little refined sugar, and I love cooking it up in my small stoneware baker because I can cook in it and serve from it.  This time, I chose to dish up this gooey creation in our nourish soup bowls, which I thought looked just lovely because of the matching color profiles.  The other reason I have so many of these bowls on hand is because $2 of every bowl is donated to Feeding America.

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Also growing in our strawberry and rhubarb bed is asparagus.  We didn’t have a great crop of asparagus this year, so we supplemented our own with some from the farmers’ market.  I tried a new recipe, pistachio-crusted asparagus with feta vinaigrette, from Ashley English’s Handmade Gatherings to showcase this delicious perennial.  It was absolutely divine.  In fact, every recipe I have tried from this book has been a crowd pleaser.

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Now you may have noticed that when discussing the strawberry rhubarb crisp, I mentioned (and linked to) a few of my favorite kitchen essentials.  Please understand, it is not my intention to lure you to my blog with discussions of holistic living and sustainability and then try to sell you something.  Instead, I would love to share some of the kitchen items I use every day, because they help to make my life easier.  My hope is that in sharing this information, I can also help to make your meal preparation easier.

The other reason in sharing this information with you is to provide a means to contribute to my family financially.  After 3 years of debate, I have decided to leave teaching for good and homeschool my daughters.  I have wanted to homeschool ever since my eldest went off to kindergarten, but always held back because homeschooling was just too very far outside the box at that time in my life.  But as I mentioned last week, I need to do what I believe is best for my family, and for us, homeschooling is where it’s at 🙂  I have never beed more sure of a decision in my life, but the fact of the matter is that there will be a gap in our income.  I have worked (or maybe I should say dabbled) as an independent consultant with Pampered Chef for over five years, and I believe it’s business model is one that is keeping with my family’s belief structure.  It is based in Illinois (where we live), many of the products are made in the U.S., they provide funding to Feeding America and the American Cancer Society, and they allow women and men to work from home and put their families first.  So, from time to time, I will share some products that I use, and it is up to you whether or not you would like to link to them and find out more information.  I hope you understand my reasoning in doing this.

Well, if you have followed me through to this point, you have made it thought my Monday stream-of-conciousness post.  Books.  Produce.  Recipes.  Pampered Chef.  Homeschooling.  Lots of Action.

I wish you all a wonderful week, in which you can work through all those thoughts, follow through on all those plans, and check off all those items on your lists.  Happy Monday, friends.

Strawberry Rhubarb Cream Crisp

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‘Tis the season of strawberry and rhubarb, and our kitchen is quickly becoming laden with these early summer lovelies.  This past weekend I played around a bit to come up with a variation to a traditional fruit crisp.  After some experimentation, I came up with this recipe that goes together very quickly, making it the perfect dish to bring to a summer picnic or backyard barbecue.

This crisp is not overly sweet, so it allows the flavors of the sweet strawberries and tart rhubarb to shine through.  Coupled with the rich, earthly flavors of the pecans and oats, this is a treat sure to please the masses.

Strawberry Rhubarb Cream Crisp

For the crumble:

1.  In a food processor, pulse 1/4 cup raw pecans.

2.  Add 2 cups rolled oats, 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg to the food processor.  Pulse 2-3 times.

3.  Add 1 stick of cold butter (cut into bits) and 2 tablespoons raw honey to the food processor.  Pulse until a crumble forms.

4.  Set aside.

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For the filling:

1.  Combine 2 cups strawberries (diced), 3 cups rhubarb (diced), 1/3 cup honey, 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream, 2 eggs (beaten), and 1 teaspoon almond extract in a large bowl.

2.  Add 1/2 cup flour and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon to the fruit mixture.

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Assembling the crisp:

1.  Pour the fruit mixture into a 9X9 inch pan.

2.  Spread the crumble mixture over the top of the fruit.

3.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes, or until the top of the crumble is golden brown.

Enjoy!

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*A note about all my recipes:  I use all organic ingredients, local when available.  I use non-homogenized milk, and all of the dairy we use is from animals raised on pasture. I also use oils that are non-GMO verified.  All our meat is raised locally on organic feed, and our beef is grass-fed, grass-finished.  All our spices and cane sugar are fair-trade certified and purchased through a cooperative.