Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Marionberry Rhubarb with CashewNut Cream

Last Friday I mentioned a friend had arrived for a visit. And with her, she brought a bag of goodies including a jar of Oregon marionberry spread.

As it turned out, I didn't open the spread while she was here. Instead, this morning I plucked some stems of green rhubarb from the garden, stewed them, adding the marionberry spread to create a beautiful, ruby-red compote for breakfast.

The green variety of rhubarb stays green upon cooking, in fact, a rather unappetizing green so the addition of the dark burgundy berry spread added desirable color.

While at Whole Foods a few days ago, I noticed locally grown, organic red rhubarb in the produce section. At $6.99 lb it was priced high -- a luxury item for most.

I haven't compared that price to our local farmer's market, but if you're looking for rhubarb, that might be a more budget-friendly option.

The marionberry spread had no added sugar and like the rhubarb it's tart (though the green variety of rhubarb is actually a bit sweeter than the red varietal).

Rather than add sugar to my compote, I tossed in chunks of apple for sweetness and topped the lot with cashew nut cream and swirls of honey.

Marionberry Rhubarb with CashewNut Cream
1) Wash and peel 4 stalks of rhubarb. When I peel the stalks, I just remove the most fibrous sinews. If you remove all the outer fiber from the stalks, there's not much left, so go easy with the peeling.
2) Chop rhubarb into chunks, toss into a pot, and add just enough water to cover the rhubarb.
3) Simmer over low heat for about 10 mins.
4) Add either a cup of your favorite fresh or frozen summer berries, i.e. blueberries, raspberries, strawberries or a heaped tablespoon of a dark fruit, sugarless spread. Stir the fruit or spread through the rhubarb until it's well blended.
5) Remove pot from the stove and add chopped chunks of apple.

CashewNut Cream
1) Toss a large handful of raw cashew nuts into a blender. Add hot filtered water, just enough to cover the nuts.
2) Blend the nuts and water until creamy. Add more water if you'd prefer a smoother cream.
3) Taste test. If you like the flavor as is, great, and if you'd prefer an enhanced flavor consider adding a dash of vanilla or some cinnamon or a slug of maple syrup.
Note: Simply by adding water and blending, cashew nuts turn incredibly creamy. Other nuts don't blend to the same smooth consistency, but don't let that stop you swapping out cashew nuts for say, pecans or almonds.

To Serve: Ladle a portion of the fruit compote into a bowl. Top with a heaped spoonful of the cashew nut cream and swirls of honey or maple syrup.

If you're eating this for breakfast, as I did, and you'd prefer a heartier start to your day, spoon the fruit compote, nut cream and honey over a bowl of hot oatmeal and finish it with some whole, raw cashews.

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