Rhubarb Lemon Loaf

I love rhubarb. Partly because of its perfectly tart taste but also because it signals that summer is on its way. Gone are the days of trolling the produce aisle for limp lettuce and sad root vegetables. Rhubarb brings with it asparagus and then strawberries and then a summer full of beautiful local produce at the farmers market.

I've reached the point where I've tried all the somewhat logical methods of inducing labour (pre-pregnant Hillary believed that babies come when they're ready, million-weeks-pregnant Hillary is desperately hoping that eating a pineapple near the ocean under the light of a full moon is what will get this party started) and now I'm firmly planted in old wives' tales territory.

Which brings me to the rhubarb.

According to family lore, eating rhubarb is a natural way to induce labour. The internet is less supportive of this claim but like I said, reason left this party weeks ago.

This loaf is tart and zingy. It's perfect with a giant latte for breakfast but it also shines as some next-level strawberry shortcake (pile sliced strawberries and mounds of freshly whipped cream on top of cooled slices).

Adapted from this recipe.

Ingredients
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk (or 1/2 cup milk + 1-1/2 teaspoon lemon juice)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-1/2 cups fresh rhubarb, sliced approximately 1/4" thick

Streusel Topping (optional)*
1 Tablespoon melted butter
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease 9"x5" loaf pan.

Whisk together flour, lemon zest, baking soda, and salt.

In separate bowl, whisk together egg, brown sugar, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla.

Gently mix flour mixture into wet ingredients with a rubber spatula, just until moistened. Fold in rhubarb.

Mix together streusel topping ingredients until crumbly.

Spread half of the loaf batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle half of the streusel topping over batter. Spoon remaining batter into pan and top with remaining streusel topping.

Bake in preheated oven for 60 - 65 minutes, until toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

*If you're not a fan of streusel crumb toppings, leave it out and keep your loaf naked. Another alternative is mixing together 1/2 - 1 cup icing sugar with a few teaspoons of lemon juice to make a glaze that you pour over your still-warm-from-the-oven loaf. If you do the glaze method, I recommend using your toothpick to cover the surface of your loaf in tiny holes that the glaze can seep into for maximum flavour. 

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Frozen Watermelon Gin Lemonade

BC is having a bit of a heat wave and staying hydrated is important. Don't even try to tell me that gin doesn't count. I'm hot. Gin is cold. It's science.

If you don't love gin, or really want to taste your other flavours, use vodka or white rum instead. The amounts below made two very large drinks; alter for the size of your blender, the size of your glasses, the number of people you're serving, or your own personal taste (we like ours quite minty).

1 - 2 cups frozen watermelon cubes (you can use fresh watermelon + ice cubes if you don't have time to freeze your watermelon but you'll end up with a diluted watermelon flavour)

1 small handful fresh mint leaves

1 cup lemonade

2 - 4oz gin (I'm not going to tell you how to live your life)

Blend together until smooth. Enjoy!

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Sparkling Strawberry Mint Lemonade

BC is in the middle of a bit of a heat wave right now and my family is a bit befuddled. We don't do well with heat. Today Grady told me I couldn't be grumpy because he was grumpy enough for both of us (and he totally was).

This drink is light and refreshing and tastes like summer in a glass. Add gin or vodka if you're serving the adult crowd.

Step 1: Gently muddle a few (4 - 6) fresh mint leaves and a sliced strawberry in the bottom of a tall glass.

Step 1.5: Feel very smug if you grew the mint and/or strawberries in your own garden.

Step 2: Add ice.

Step 3: Top with lemonade and soda water in the ratio you prefer. We like it 1:1 in our house.

Step 4: Enjoy!

If you want to take this drink to the next level, replace the mint with 0.5oz of rosemary simple syrup. There's something magic about the combination of rosemary, strawberries, and lemon.

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Green Tea Lemonade

I love the shaken green tea lemonade from a certain coffee shop but I don't love spending $5 for one (#scotchblood). 

I decided to try to make it home and I'm so pleased with the result. It's as fresh and zingy as the coffee shop beverage but less sweet because I used just a titch of local honey as opposed to multiple pumps of simple syrup.  

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I brewed two green tea teabags in a litre of boiling hot water and let it steep for ten minutes, then added about 1/2 teaspoon of honey. Remove the teabags and chill your green tea until ready to use. To serve, fill a glass with lots of ice and top with green tea and lemonade (I do 2/3 green tea and 1/3 lemonade.) Enjoy!