Rhubarb Fritters

Rhubarb Fritters // NotWithoutSalt.com

Rhubarb Fritters // NotWithoutSalt.com

Last week I did something a little scary, a lot vulnerable, and a bit awkward but totally fun: I Facebook Live’d. Is it a verb? Probably, totally not. But we talked rhubarb fritters and that’s all that really matters. If you want to check it out it’s still up on my feed (for how long? I have no idea.) or watch it below. You all were so fun, so supportive and encouraging. Thanks to those of you who tuned in! To date the demo has been viewed over 5,000 times and that, my friends, is awesome (and terrifying).

Facebook live is the most recent (or one of) social media tools to hit the internet. Being a grandma in internet-land (I mean I’ve been blogging for nearly 10 years!) I have watched many things come and go. I’ve seen vibrant, active websites become internet ghost towns and witnessed “the next big social app” fall apart before it caught on. I still feel a bit old – wasn’t snapchat were the young kids went for sexting and now I’ve JUST started snapping (nws-ashrod). Oh man, now I just sound like a real life grandma. But Facebook Live is fun. Super fun.

With Facebook Live I get to cook for you in more than 10 second clips and we can interact through questions and comments in real time. Away from the internet I get the opportunity to teach many cooking and baking classes so I’m thrilled to be able to use those skills with all of you. I’m not sure if this is one of those things that is going to catch on or be left in the dust by whatever is coming next but in the meantime I’m having fun and I hope you come join. I’ll be doing another live demo this Thursday (4/14) at 2:30 pm PST. I haven’t quite settled on what we’ll be making (currently thinking cocktails because it’s DATE  NIGHT!) so if you have any ideas please let me know. Or if you have any questions you want me to answer feel free to write them on my Facebook page or leave in the comments below. Or tune in and ask live! The internet is fun.

Rhubarb Fritters // NotWithoutSalt.com

Rhubarb Fritters // NotWithoutSalt.com

Rhubarb Fritters // NotWithoutSalt.com

These rhubarb fritters were last week’s demo as I said and I wish I could have shared them through the screen. They’re perhaps a bit more doughnut than fritter. Meaning there is more dough to fruit than what I originally intended and you are welcome to add more rhubarb if you’d like but I was thrilled with the result. What I particularly love is that the rhubarb is cold poached in sugar and a bit of spice for an hour or so before the doughnuts are fried. The sugar soaks into the rhubarb sweetening it from the outside in while still maintaining a bit of crunch. The only time the rhubarb is cooked is during the frying process so you get a vibrant rhubarb tang, a pleasant freshness but – with the help of the glaze – enough sweetness to satisfy.

The glaze is made from the reduced liquid that comes from the cold poach along with a good bit of lemon juice to offset the flurries of powdered sugar that is whisked in. If you have a vanilla bean on hand I’d eagerly suggest you add that as well as I’m such a softy for those black flecks and the perfume they bring with them.

While we were devouring our doughnuts after the show Brandi walked in (we filmed at The Pantry where I often teach) with rhubarb mousse. So if you happen to have some rhubarb mousse lying around please do as we did and stuff your fritters with it. Rhubarb and more rhubarb is totally my idea for a good time. Mousse or no mousse these beauties are sure to sweep the internet or more likely, and even better, been seen in our kitchen on repeat.

Rhubarb Fritters // NotWithoutSalt.com

Rhubarb Fritters // NotWithoutSalt.com

Rhubarb Fritters // NotWithoutSalt.com

Rhubarb Fritters

4 cups bread flour

1/3 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 1/2 teaspoons yeast

4 eggs

zest from 1/2 a lemon

3/4 cup water

1 stick butter, soft

1 1/4 pounds rhubarb

3/4 cups sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

pinch freshly ground nutmeg

oil (sunflower or other flavorless oil) for frying


Glaze:

1/2 cup reduced rhubarb syrup (reserved from the rhubarb filling)

1 1/2 – 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

juice from 1 lemon

pinch flake salt, in the glaze or to finish the doughnuts

Put all the dough ingredients, apart from the butter, into the bowl of an electric mixer with a dough hook and mix on a medium speed for 8min, or until the dough starts coming away from the sides and forms a ball. Turn off the mixer and let the dough rest for a minute.

Start the mixer up again on a medium speed and slowly add the butter to the dough, about 1 tablespoon at a time.

Once it is all incorporated, mix on high speed for 5 minutes until the dough is glossy, smooth and elastic when pulled.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave to rise until it has doubled in size, about an hour. Knead the dough just briefly it to get the extra air out, then re-cover the bowl and put into the fridge to chill overnight. This overnight rest gives the dough a deep flavor with a soft, sour tang. If you are in a hurry you are welcome to skip this step and just carry on. 

The next day, take the dough out of the fridge and gently press it into a large rectangle about 1-inch thick.

Trim the ends off the rhubarb and cut the stalks into small dice, about 1/4-inch cubes. In a bowl combine the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and rhubarb. Give this mixture a stir and then let it sit for at least one hour. Stir the rhubarb occasionally.

Drain off the syrup into a small saucepan. Reduce the liquid to 1/2 cup and then set aside.

Layer 1/3 of the diced rhubarb onto the right half of the doughnut dough. Fold the left side over the rhubarb like a book. Gently press the dough down again, give it a 90° turn and repeat the process until all the rhubarb has been layered in. Cover the dough with a towel or plastic wrap then let rest from 10 minutes.

Gently roll the dough out to about 1 1/2-inch thickness then cut into 2×2-inch squares (or really, whatever size you’d like). This dough can be quite sticky when it has lost its chill from the refrigerator so don’t be afraid to use a good bit of flour to keep it from sticking.

When the dough feels light and airy, no longer cold, and springs back very slowly when touched they are ready to fry.

Heat about 3 inches of oil in a large high sided sauce pan or dutch oven. When the oil has reach 350°F the doughnuts are ready to fry. Add the doughnuts to the oil, a few at a time as you don’t want the oil temperature to drop too much. Fry for four minutes, flipping them over halfway through so they brown evenly. I like them good and dark – color equals flavor! Remove them from the oil after four minutes to a rack set over a sheet tray or paper towels set on a plate.

Let cool slightly before drizzling the glaze over the top.

For the glaze:

In a bowl whisk together the reduced rhubarb syrup along with the juice of 1 lemon and 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar. Whisk until no clumps remain. If it looks too wet add a bit more powdered sugar. The thicker the glaze the thicker it will be on the doughnuts.

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Radish Tartine with Pea Butter and Lime

Radish Tartine with Pea Butter //NotWithoutSalt.com

I sort of feel like we’re about to embark on one of those slideshows your great aunt made you come over and watch. She’d lure you in with the promise of something delicious and then before she fed you there were slides of her latest vacation. The beauty of the Internet is you can go right on and scroll through the slathering of photos I’m about to share and jump right into the recipe.

If you are about to do that sort of thing let me first get you excited about the sandwich that tastes of a spring-flecked field. I’m not even sure what that means but I do know that one bite in and I was whisked completely out of winter and well into spring where things taste of green, of new life, of subtle sweetness, of timidity and a bubbling hope of things to come. All through my travels in London and Paris there were faint hints of spring; flower stands showing off their pastel hued wares on every corner, little buds breaking free from their cocoons and dotting the bare branches with signs of life, plump white and green asparagus, small strawberries with ruby flesh all the way to their core, peppery radishes and green peas that pop in your mouth like the sweetest candy.

As I often do with travel inspiration I took bits and pieces from our experiences throughout the trip and turned it into one dish. But I have to say that it was a simple radish salad from Spring that really set me on the path that led here. It wasn’t even my salad, it was Ashlae’s vegan option that she so kindly let me sneak a bite. It was the frilly pile of chartreuse lime zest on top of quartered radishes that lured me in. Radish and lime? Yes.

Radish Tartine with Pea Butter //NotWithoutSalt.com Radish Tartine with Pea Butter //NotWithoutSalt.com

A few days before the trip I recounted the itinerary  to some of my closest friends. I skimmed over a few words and places quickly moving passed just how amazing the following week was to be because frankly, it sounded too good to be true.

“I want to see you scream ‘I’m going to Paris!'” My dear friend told me. She wanted my face to light up and to acknowledge the crazy goodness that was this trip. I wanted to scream it too because of course I was ridiculously excited but vulnerability held me back.

Brené Brown talks about joy being the hardest emotion to experience. Seriously. I didn’t believe her at first but I totally get it because I do it; I always mask joy. If you have children I’m sure you’ve exhaustedly put them to bed only to wander back into their room to watch them sleep about 20 minutes later. You look down at their face; angelic and still, and your whole body feels tingly and on fire with love that overwhelms. That joy is abruptly halted when you play through all the horrific scenarios in which you could lose that love. Okay, moving right along before I puddle onto my keyboard at the thought.

Brené (I feel like we’re on a first name basis at this point) says, “We try to dress rehearse tragedy so we can beat vulnerability to the punch.”

I thought so often of my friend’s comment throughout the trip and I thought why I minimize my joy. In part I think I do it to protect those around me. I mean, my girlfriends that following week were all going to be home taking care of their babes while I was off prancing around Europe – that didn’t seem fair. But hiding my joy in the trip, I realize now, doesn’t protect them.

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There’s another story Brené shares about a 60 year-old man who spent his whole life trying to beat his expectations to the punch. He said he was just going to stay right in the middle, that way if things didn’t work out he wasn’t devastated and if things went better than expected he was pleasantly surprised. And then his wife died and his immediate regret was that he didn’t live into his joy during their life together. Curbing his expectations and living in the middle did not protect him from the pain he felt at the loss of his wife of forty years.

I’m terrified when things are going so well because then I’m just waiting around knowing that at any moment somethings gotta give. At any moment I’m going to experience great pain or loss because life simply cannot be this great. You know what? That’s kind of true. Life is hard and things break and people we love die and we experience pain. That’s the truth. But the other truth is that numbing the joy in moments of happiness will not save us from experiencing great loss. Never fully experiencing  joy will not keep us from suffering.

Knowing that truth and walking into this trip with that reminder helped me to experience it with utter gratitude. It was such an amazing gift and even the whispers of fear that creep in as I’m typing this: “They’re going to hate you for gushing so much about how much fun you had. Why rub it in? The moment you hit publish on this post something’s gonna give but at least you wrote down the happy moments so you will always have that. Live it up now, girl because imminent doom is approaching quickly.” I want to actively practice gratitude and feel the joy because that is just the sort of life I want to live.

London // NotWithoutSalt.com London // NotWithoutSalt.com London // NotWithoutSalt.com London // NotWithoutSalt.com London // NotWithoutSalt.com London // NotWithoutSalt.com London // NotWithoutSalt.com London // NotWithoutSalt.com

So having said all of that let me tell you a bit about my crazy, wonderful trip.

I told my kids I was going on this trip to go make sure London and Paris was ready for our family trip in June. They all had a bit of nerves about the idea of a train going under the water so I assured them that I’d go check it out and make sure everything was up to snuff. I thought at this age they would pick up on the sarcasm but they didn’t. In fact it was that high speed under water train, Eurostar, that took me on this trip. London to Paris in just over two hours! I was a bit disappointed when the train didn’t dive into the water and flip its tail like a dolphin but I got over that the moment we arrived in Paris. Well, I think I actually was over it when we were drinking champagne on the way there.

Right before leaving another friend had texted, “Don’t worry about curbing your expectations because Paris is going to blow you away.” My friends know me so well. She knew that I was terrified of being disappointed by my first trip to Paris and she knew that that was such a silly fear. The moment I walked out of the train station I knew it too. Every where I looked beauty overwhelmed me. Butter colored buildings with black cast iron details that outline the windows and balconies and the smell of sizzling butter as we walked passed the waffles on the street. Cobble stone streets pave the way for market stands selling perfectly plump red currants. Every sense was open and I was taking it all in.

Look at that, somehow I skipped right passed London and am already talking about Paris. I love London. We toured the streets of Portobello and ate everything along the way, made traditional English scones and shortbread in a flat in Notting Hill , bought and sampled tea at Borough Market, and ate some of the best Indian food I’ve ever tried at Dishoom. On top of all of that Ashlae, Bev and myself took an epic walk all over the city taking in all the sites one must see when in London (hello, Big Ben!) We ate breakfast on top of the city at the Sky Garden  before getting on to the train and heading to Paris.

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In Paris we took another food tour all through Montemarte learning how to shop and chose the right places for baguettes, cheese, and chocolate (those stickers on the window? They actually mean something – like how many awards they’ve won. The French take that seriously). We had a private lunch/cooking class at Spring (remember the radishes?!), saw the waterlilies at the Museé de l’Orangerie and I cried big fat tears of joy. We ate macarons for breakfast at Ladureé  and ate fries and drank wine at the Cafe des 2 Moulins (otherwise known as the Amelie cafe) and Bev cried big fat tears of joy.

Notice a theme? Joy. And I lived it and felt it and am so incredibly thankful for it. Thank you to Eurostar for planning an epic trip. I also don’t know how you managed to choose the funnest group of folks to travel with but you did. Thanks.

Here’s the run down of most of the places we went. The highlights for sure:

London

Portobello Garden Italian Cafe
https://www.facebook.com/Portobello-Garden-Caffe-654459517967701/

R. Garcia & Sons (The UK’s best Spanish grocery)
http://rgarciaandsons.com/

Fabrique Swedish Bakery
http://fabrique.co.uk/

Books for Cooks
http://www.booksforcooks.com/

The Spice Shop (London’s tiniest, most fragrant shop!)
www.thespiceshop.co.uk 

Ceramica Blue
www.ceramicablue.co.uk

La Cave a Fromage (cheese & wine)
http://www.la-cave.co.uk/home.php

Melt Chocolates
http://www.meltchocolates.com/

Caroline Hope – Cooking Instructor

http://www.teaandscones.co.uk/

Dishoom

http://www.dishoom.com/

Sky Garden

http://skygarden.london/

Great Northern Hotel (LOVED this place)

http://www.gnhlondon.com/

Ace Hotel London

https://www.acehotel.com/london

Paris

Secret Food Tours

http://www.secretfoodtours.com/

Spring Restaurant

http://www.springparis.fr/

Museé de L’Orangerie

http://www.musee-orangerie.fr/en

Ladureé

https://www.laduree.com/en_int/

Café des 2 Moulins

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caf%C3%A9_des_2_Moulins

The Latin Quarter – just go, all of it is lovely.

Radish Tartine with Pea Butter //NotWithoutSalt.com

Radish Tartine with Pea Butter //NotWithoutSalt.com

 

*This trip was sponsored by Eurostar but the photos and gushing words are all mine.

Radish Tartine with Pea Butter and Lime

Serves 2

 

2 to 3 tablespoons pea butter (recipe below)

3 to 4 radishes, thinly shaved

1/4 cup radish sprouts (optional)

1/4 cup pea sprouts (optional)

1/2 teaspoon lime zest

a few mint leaves, roughly torn

flake salt

olive oil

thick cut bread, toasted (crispy on the outside with a soft interior)

 

For the tartine:

Slather the toasted bread with a good bit of the butter. Top with the thinly shaved radishes then the sprouts and mint. Finish with lime zest and flake salt and a light drizzle of olive oil. Enjoy right away.

Pea Butter

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

1 cup fresh or frozen peas, blanched until tender

1/2 tablespoon lime juice

1/4 teaspoon (or more) sea salt

 

Process everything in a food processor for at least a few minutes. You want to get the peas as smooth as possible.

For the best texture pass the butter through a fine mesh sieve.

Taste and add more salt if you’d like.

Store the pea butter in the fridge for up to one week.

 

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