Update: The arugula files was awarded runner up in battle #2 of foodie fights. Congratulations to the winner, Brake for Bread. Make sure to check out BFB's entry: a pulled pork sandwich with rhubarb coriander sauce. Hey you standing on the sidelines, sign up for the next foodiefight.
Food fight! This week, I'm a blogtestant at foodiefights, the brainchild of Macheesmo and TFIMB. The battle is between six bloggers who have to prepare one course using two secret ingredients. Basically, it's Iron Chef for food bloggers. You won't get to taste the food, but you can look at it, read the blog posts, and, if you want, lick your computer screen. Oh, and after you check out all of the dishes, you should vote for your fave dish (pick me, me, me!). Scroll to the end for the "voting booth." You can also visit the foodie fights website.
The secret ingredients for this battle? Rhubarb and coriander.
When I found out I was selected to participate in this week's foodie fight, and that the ingredients were rhubarb and coriander, my work productivity level dropped to zero. I couldn't think about anything except what to make: chutney, rhubarb gumbo, rhubarb sorbet, cheesecake with rhubarb and coriander compote... The obvious choices were chutney or pie. Both are delicious, but I wanted to make something I've never made. I sent an email to my foodie friends for feedback, and was surprised by the response. It went something like this, "Rhubarb? Bleh! " or "What the heck does coriander taste like?"
Really? I looooove rhubarb. Admittedly, it's tart, but let me introduce you to rhubarb's little helper: sugar. And, coriander? Well, coriander taste like pepper with a citrus snap.
I really wanted to make a savory item, but I kept coming back to something sweet. And I'm not sure if you noticed, but the internets has a GIANT sweet tooth. And what the internets want, the internets get.
I present to you: orange-coriander ice cream and rhubarb pop-tarts.
Let's start with shopping. Rhubarb was easy to find. Isn't it beautiful?
Finding coriander seed? Not so easy. I almost had heart failure in Whole Foods when all I could find was ground coriander seed. Would ground coriander disqualify me? Do they need to be seeds? I made a quick trip to Safeway - nope. Finally, thanks to Harris Teeter, my heart rate stabilized, and I purchased one jar of whole coriander seeds.
I started by making the filling. Watch out, rhubarb stains everything, including wooden spoons.
Next I made a pop-tart crust, which is really just pie crust. I used Elise Bauer's recipe from simply recipes. Elise's blog is incredibly helpful. The dough has to sit in the fridge for about an hour, so plan accordingly.
Meanwhile, I mixed the ingredients for the ice cream (cream, milk, orange zest, sugar, and coriander seed (both ground and crushed seeds)). I wanted to let the coriander and orange zest seep into the cream, so I put it in the fridge for about three hours. As a side note, it makes sense to make the ice cream and the dough a day ahead of time. Making the filling and the rolling out of the dough, doesn't take much time.
When the dough was ready, I added filling, folded the dough in half, and then cut "pop-tart marks" into the dough. I should mention that this pop-tart idea is inspired by Chez Pim, another blogging wonder. Chez Pim taught me how to make Pad Thai.
P.S. Those are my friend Jeff's man-hands. He was one of my helpers. Prior to helping the arugula files with a bunch of Cinderella tasks, he ran 19 miles in training for a marathon. In the photo above, he is cutting half diamond marks into the pop-tart (see below for how they look after they are cooked).
Ta-da! A pop-tart with rhubarb and coriander filling.
The ice cream didn't go so perfectly. My friend Anne and I forgot to put the ice cream maker thingie in the freezer. You are supposed to leave it over night so that it's frozen solid. We tried it anyway to see if it would work.
It didn't freeze, but it sure did mix. I placed the cream mixture in a plastic container, put it in the freezer, and it turned into ice cream over night! This shows you that you really don't need an ice cream maker to make ice cream. David Lebovitz has a helpful post on making ice cream without an ice cream maker.
Here's the magazine photo shoot. I built the backdrop out of construction paper. The ice cream kept melting while I was trying to get a good photo. Doh! Vegan Yum Yum has a terrific food photography tutorial. She relies mostly on natural light, which is preferable. I use a flash, since I cook in a tiny kitchen and I do most of my cooking at night. Here's the setup.
1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
1 tablespoon whole coriander seed (crushed with a rolling pin)
zest of one orange
Mix the milk, cream, and sugar with a whisk. Crush the coriander seed with a rolling pin. Add both crushed and ground coriander. Add the zest of one orange, and let the ingredients seep for three hours. Follow ice cream maker directions (don't forget to freeze the thingie overnight). If you don't have an ice cream maker, check out this post from David Lebovitz.
Prep time: ten minutes, plus three hours for seeping and 20 minutes for the ice cream maker. Plus time for freezing that damn ice cream thingie.
2 1/2 pounds rhubarb, chopped into 1 inch pieces
juice of one orange; zest of half an orange
(or a few orange peels, but don't forget to take them out before you fill the tart)
1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup water
A few tablespoons turbinado sugar (for sprinkling on top)
1 egg for egg wash (whisk the egg)
Adapted from Chez Pim
1. In a 3-quart pan, add the ingredients for the rhubarb filling, bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to low. Cook until the mixture reduces and resembles jam filling. You should play around with sweetness. I prefer my filling a little more tart than sweet.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the dough into 8x6 pieces (about 6-8 tarts), and on a floured surface roll dough into a thin rectangle (if you are using store-bought pie crust, use both discs). The idea is to roll the dough into the shape of a pop-tart. Next, cut the edges so that you have clean lines. Chez Pim suggests placing them on parchment paper before you add the filling. This is a good suggestion.
3. Add about two tablespoons of filling on one side of the dough rectangle and then fold in half. Use a fork to crimp the edges. Do not overfill with rhubarb or it will seep out the edges.
4. Brush the pop-tarts with egg wash, sprinkle the tops with turbinado sugar, and then place in the oven.
5. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Makes 6-8 pop-tarts
Prep time, not including pie crust, about 30 minutes.
How did it taste? Yummy. The rhubarb and coriander pop-tarts were delicious. The crust was flaky, buttery, and light, and the tartness of the rhubarb filling was perfectly complemented by the turbinado sugar topping. I could also taste an occasional burst of peppery citrus from the coriander seeds, and it was because I added whole coriander seeds to the filling. The ice cream, after it froze in my freezer over night, had a flavor reminiscent of creamsicles. The coriander didn't really take center stage; it was more of a supporting flavor to the orange zest. I think if I make the ice cream again I would add whole coriander seeds in addition to the crushed seeds. Once the coriander "pops" I think it loses it's flavor quickly.
This was totally fun. I'm exhausted (and full). Good night.
Check out my blogtestants; it's an excellent line up.