Thursday, May 05, 2011

A taste of spring - salad greens, edible flowers and rhubarb

The incessant April rains seem to have eased off a little, now that we have moved into May.  We've been watching everything green up with this warm weather, and have been enjoying first harvest of garden goodies.  A rabbit has been visiting our garden, and we just discovered it's been overnighting in our grow tunnel which provided a wonderfully cozy home under the raised plastic sheeting surrounded by rows and rows of young fresh lettuce to nibble.  We've taken off the plastic as the grow tunnel was overheating with the sunny days, and hopefully now the rabbit will move on.  Upon taking off the plastic I noticed the one end of the bed was at it's prime (we've been trying to eat up the salad greens in the greenhouse to make room for trays of tomato seedlings in there, so we haven't been checking the grow tunnel as much lately) - cilantro to full height, full heads of lettuce ready to harvest, swiss chard and red kale perfect for steaming, and chives ready to burst out any day into purple flower.  Today my young daughter and I sat in the garden path and had a feast of fresh salad "burritos", with chives, cilantro and parsley which she loved rolling into several layers of colourful greens.  Mmmmm.

Also some baking, to make room in the freezer and use up the last of our pumpkin from last season.   These moist and delicious gluten-free pumpkin cupcakes (see recipe below) for the various friends we have who are eating gluten-free these days, garnished with fresh violets picked by my little helper!... and since that same visiting rabbit, or maybe some squirrels, had neatly chopped off several stalks of rhubarb that were just starting to shoot up and left they laying in the path, I decided to make the first rhubarb pie of the season - topped off with a gorgeous dollop of Mapleton's organic ginger icecream (our best 100-mile source for icecream if you like dairy).  Happy spring eating!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups gluten free flour (I used 1 cup brown rice flour + 1/2 cup sweet sorghum flour)
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups pumpkin, pureed
1/3 cup oil
2 eggs
3 tsp spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom)
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of sea salt
1 tsp xanthum gum (optional)

Mix all ingredients until just combined.  It will be a thick mixtures.  Scoop into lined muffin pans (makes 18).  Bake at 350F for aprox. 30 min.  I served them with cream cheese icing (cream cheese sweetened with maple syrup and a hint of lemon juice).

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