Did you miss me?
I missed you too.
In fact, I always miss you.
You are so pretty.
So, the reason that I haven't posted lately is that I had my parents and nephew visiting for a week and we spent a portion of their visit at our cousins' lake cabin about an hour north of Brainerd. I don't know that region of Minnesota v. well, so I can't be more specific than that really, other than to say that it is one of the prettiest and tick-ridden parts of the Land of 10,000 Lakes, and storms there feel a little more horror-movie-esque than they do when I'm safely in the confines of my sixth floor condo. But that all sounded a little darker than I meant. It was actually a wonderful trip, and we ate loads and loads of red meat and bacon and big, syrupy breakfasts and super rich desserts made by my cousin, who makes a habit of substituting sour cream for yogurt and heavy whipping cream for milk. I am fatter having gone on this trip.
Before we left, as I mentioned in my last post, I got some rhubarb from the farmer's market. Rhubarb is so interesting. It looks like celery spray-painted red, which is weird in and of itself. And then after you touch it your hands smell like delicious summer candy. But then you take a bite and no no no. I mean, I know some people like it, but they're weird, right? It just makes my mouth pucker thinking about it. But then it cooks down to something mild and semi-sweet and chutney-ish. It's wonderful. I think I love rhubarb, so there was a rhubarb frenzy in my kitchen last week. The rest of the month's posts are going to document the frenzy. Hopefully you'll enjoy it because maybe you love rhubarb too.
We have so much in common.
The first thing I made with the rhubarb was a quick bread based on this recipe. My modifications can be summed up as follows: I used mangos instead of strawberries, as I had some mangos that were going soft and I didn't want to use up my beautiful strawberries quite yet in a baked good; I used Cointreau because I didn't have rum on hand (well, except Bacardi 151, which I didn't use for fear of starting my oven on fire); I used a tad less oil; I substituted yogurt for sour cream; and I doubled the recipe, because I feel that one always should make two loaves instead of one because it takes the same amount of time and is super easy to double and then you have one to share and one to hoard, which is kind of my style. I also used coconut instead of pecans in my crumble because I am allergic to nuts. The crumble, which I only put on one of my two loaves, was so-so. Its flavor was fine, but it turned out a little dry (coconut absorbs more moisture than nuts), and it didn't really stick to the loaf so it was sort of a crumbly unnecessary mess. I'll skip it next time, but I'm posting the recipe for it in case you want to mess around with it a bit and let me know how to make it better.
Mango Rhubarb Loaf with (optional) Coconut Crumble
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Makes two loaves (about 10-12 1/2" slices per loaf)
1-1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup oil (I used olive oil)
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons Cointreau or Grand Marnier or good rum
2 cups flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 cup plain yogurt (I used whole milk yogurt)
1 cup diced rhubarb (you'll want fingernail-sized pieces, like in picture - I am so helpful!)
1 cup chopped mango
Coconut Crumble Topping (Optional)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
6 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
Beat together the brown sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla and liqueur or rum until creamed. Combine the flours, salt, spices, and baking soda; stir. Add dry ingredients to first mixture with the yogurt. Stir in mangos and rhubarb.
Divide evenly and spread into two well-greased 9×5-inch loaf pans — the batter will be very thick.
Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle over the loaves.
Bake at 350° for about 55 to 65 minutes, or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.
Let cool about 10 minutes in the pan and then about 10 minutes outside of pan before diving in.
Have at it.