Strawberry Rhubarb Takedown
A guest post from my pal, Julia.
Strawberry Rhubarb Won Tons and Feta Logs
My challenge from Rachel? Quite simply a new twist on Rhubarb and Strawberry Pie. It was delivered over a Mexican decaf mocha, accidentally spiked with tequila by a handsome waiter. There is no better place to issue a culinary challenge than in a restaurant, I say. Fine, it’s on, I retorted.
The Farm Fresh to You produce box delivered to both of us in our separate abodes that week…included three sad stalks of Rhubarb and a box of strawberries that we both knew wouldn't last more than a few days. The oddly tasting tequila mishap created the perfect environment for the culinary challenge.
I’ll state openly that I have no formal cooking education. I've not once attended those single cooking classes for the plebeian masses offered by Groupon. When I do cook, I rarely use recipes and often I get inspired by whatever the hell is in the cupboard.
Here is the first of two contenders for the Rhubarb and Strawberry Pie challenge. Both recipes include the same basic filling, but they are showcased in different ways. I do recommend some sort of lemon-sugar sauce to be served with both.
2.5 cups of fresh strawberries, cut in half if they are small and forth if they are large
3/8 cup of baking sugar
3 sad stalks of Rhubarb (I removed the stringy bits and any part that looked like the stalk had been deprived of water) this netted around 1.5 cups sliced rhubarb.
1 cardamom seed
¼ cup chopped home-grown pecans (thanks Dad!)
In a small pan on low heat, dissolve the sugar into ¼ cup of water. (Since, part of the challenge was to create a new recipe, I might recommend a little less water. I found myself draining water off during the process). Add in one cardamom seed. Remove the seed when it browns and before adding in the rhubarb or strawberries. Once the sugar is dissolved and the cardamom seed is removed, add in the sliced rhubarb. Let the rhubarb boil in the sugar water for about 5-7 minutes depending on the texture. Once the rhubarb is soft, add in the strawberries. I’m not a fan of soggy strawberries so I left them in the pan for about 4 minutes. Drain of excess water and throw in chopped pecans. Mix everything together, turn off the heat and leave on the stove to cool.
Showcase #1 (top photo) The Rhubarb-Strawberry Won Ton (yes, frying really does make everything better.)
1 package wonton papers
2 cups walnut oil
Purchase wonton papers at grocery. Put 1Tbsp of rhubarb-strawberry mixture inside wonton paper. Seal with egg and fry in hot walnut oil. WATCH OUT, I’ve never fried anything in my life and it is brutal. The rhubarb-strawberry mixture leaks water in to the oil and makes a sizzling, popping, hissing show like no other. Remove the wontons when the paper becomes golden brown and bubble. Cool the wontons on a paper towel and sprinkle with sugar.
Showcase #2 (second photo) The Rhubarb-Strawberry, Feta Log
(I had intended on purchasing phyllo dough, but ended up with some kind of thick puff pastry sheet. I’m not going back to the grocery store so rhubarb strawberry filled phyllo flowers became a Feta Log)
4 oz low-fat feta cheese
½ Rhubarb-strawberry mixture
1 Pepperidge puff pastry sheet
Thaw puff pastry sheet per the instructions on the package. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and lay the puff pastry sheet out. Spread out remaining rhubarb-strawberry mixture on the puff-pastry. I didn't do this, but I highly recommend leaving an inch of un-topped puff pastry along one of the long edges of the puff pastry- this will make for a better seal to close the log. Sprinkle the cheese evenly on top of the rhubarb-strawberry mixture. Starting on the long-edge where the rhubarb-strawberry mixture goes to the edge, roll that baby up like a big-ass burrito, and use the free puff pastry to seal the beast. Sprinkle the top with rock sugar. Put the cookie sheet in the oven and cook it for 30-40 minutes or until the puff pastry is golden brown at 350 degrees. Slice and serve.