A popular message among the food industry as of late is “fresh is best”. While I do believe in eating fresh vegetables when I can (you can find me at the local Farmer’s Market most Saturday mornings), there’s a lot to be said for frozen vegetables. Frozen veggies are generally cheaper than fresh and still count towards your daily recommended intake. Maybe fresh veggies pack a bit more nutrients than frozen (don’t quote me on that, I’m no scientist) but how measurable is it, really?
There’s also the seasonal factor. If we just eat fresh, are we stuck just eating brussels spouts and potatoes all winter? What about the green beans, the snap peas, or the bell peppers?
Fresh vegetables can be a lot more satisfying in terms of flavour, but tossing a cup of frozen green beans into a stir fry is just so darn convenient. Season them with some sauce, salt and pepper, and you might not even know they’re not fresh!
If you’re trying to pinch pennies, or are just craving a vegetable that’s out of season, there’s no shame in buying a frozen bag at the supermarket. Like I said, it still counts!
(Canned vegetables I eat in moderation, because of the added sodium, but that’s a whole other conversation.)
I’m no stranger to frozen veggies. My freezer is full of them! I have no problem buying a bag in bulk at the supermarket. Or, if I find a really good deal on veggies at my local market, I’m likely to buy a whole bunch, take ’em home, and freeze ’em.
The other day I bought a bundle of rhubarb at the market for just a few dollars (!!!). I had a recipe in mind for some of it, but the rest of it went in to the freezer for future use.
The beautiful red stalks freeze wonderfully! Rhubarb (yes, rhubarb is a vegetable!) is such a gorgeous piece of food. In cooking the tart stalks, they’re cut into pieces, tossed in a skillet, and cooked down with some sugar until the rhubarb breaks down and becomes a lot sweeter in flavour. This results in a softer, chunky, jam-like consistency.
Frozen rhubarb can be cooked down the same way. Toss a few cups in a skillet and cook them down. The resulting texture will be just as soft and sweet! You can even toss a uncooked pieces of frozen rhubarb into most baking (muffins, anyone?).
It really is a beautiful thing. There’s no excuse to not enjoy rhubarb all year long!
To freeze rhubarb, cut it into 1/2 to 1″ pieces, then place on a wax paper-lined baking tray and freeze until firm. Transfer the frozen rhubarb to a freezer bag and voila! Use a cup here and there as needed, just thaw it at room temperature.
This loaf cake is dense, moist, slightly chewy, and topped with a mouthwatering cream cheese/rhubarb marble. The result is a sweet (thanks, cake!), slightly tart (thanks, rhubarb!) flavour that will rock your socks off.
I call this a “cake” because the base is somewhat cake-y in terms of texture. It may not be a traditional cake, but it’s just as pretty as one! Cut into squares and serve warm or cold, on their own or topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, because you only live once.
Whether you use fresh or frozen rhubarb, the result is the same. Cook it down with some sugar until it becomes thick and jammy. Layer it with the cream cheese mixture on top of the cake batter, then use a knife and swirl it around the cake, creating a beautiful marble effect.
Did you really need an excuse to stock up (stalk up? HA) on rhubarb? Freeze it while you can!
|Rhubarb Cream Cheese Marble Cake|| |
- Rhubarb mixture:
- 2 cups rhubarb, fresh or frozen, cut into ½-inch pieces
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- Cream cheese mixture:
- 125 g (half a package) cream cheese, softened
- 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- ½ tsp all-purpose flour
- Cake layer:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- ⅛ tsp baking soda
- ⅛ tsp salt
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted and slightly cooled
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1½ tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8" square baking pan with parchment paper with edges draped over the sides (to help lift out of the pan after baking). Set aside.
- To make the rhubarb mixture: combine rhubarb and sugar in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until the rhubarb has released its juices and has broken down, 8-10 minutes. Let cool to the touch.
- To make the cream cheese mixture: in a mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg yolk and flour; set aside.
- To make the cake: in a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine melted butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar; stir well. Add the eggs and vanilla, and stir until incorporated.
- Add flour mixture to the sugar mixture, stirring until combined. Transfer batter to prepared baking pan.
- Alternatively spoon the cream cheese mixture and the rhubarb mixture over top of the brownies. Use a knife to swirl a marble effect.
- Bake 35-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
- Once cool, remove cake from the pan by lifting the edges of the parchment paper. Slice and serve.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.