Rhubarb baby!

I feel lucky to have beautiful lush rhubarb growing in my backyard. One was here when we moved but one has travelled with us, it was originally from Kirkland Lake where my in-laws are from. The original cutting went to London, Ontario first and then made it's way to Guelph and is tucked away in our second home here. I love sharing it with friends and neighbours but mostly tucking away some in the freezer for the cold winter months when I dream of this warm weather and the taste of tart rhubarb.

I had cut some rhubarb to use in the kitchen but wasn't sure what I was going to make. I then looked through the fridge and noticed some ricotta that wasn't quite enough to make my favourite Ricotta Ball Soup (for another time, check Italian Express for the recipe).
So my experimental mind started working, Rhubarb Ricotta Muffins! I was craving something to have with coffee and needed a break from all my savoury recipes I was working on. So here is the result and I have made it a couple times already to share with family and friends.

The batter is quite thick but not to worry, they back up nicely and the tart rhubarb comes through.  A hint of almond is also present but if you're not a fan of almond be sure to omit it and use vanilla instead.

Pour yourself some coffee, tea or milk and enjoy these with a friend or the kids. I like them warm with some good conversation.

Rhubarb Ricotta Muffins

1 3/4 cups (425 mL) all purpose flour
3/4 tsp (4 mL) baking powder
1/2 tsp (2 mL) each baking soda and ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
2 eggs
3/4 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (125 mL) ricotta cheese
1/2 cup (125 L) canola oil
1/2 tsp (2 mL) almond extract
1 cup (250 mL) chopped fresh rhubarb

1 1/2 tsp (7 mL) granulated sugar
Sliced almonds (optional)

In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, ricotta cheese, oil and almond extract until well combined and smooth. Stir in flour mixture and rhubarb. (Batter will be thick)

Divide batter among 12 greased muffin tins (I like to use an ice cream scoop). Sprinkle tops with sugar and almonds, if desired. Bake in 375 F oven for about 20 minutes or until light golden and tester inserted in centre comes out clean.

Makes 12 muffins.

Oh and in case you have some extra rhubarb and are picking up some strawberries this weekend, check out this yummy recipe below:

Mixed Berry Yogurt Parfaits

Berries are a sure sign of summer but no need to wait to enjoy them. This combination with rhubarb and strawberries is classic but sparked up with blueberries for colour and flavour. This will add a smile to your morning routine with a tangy punch of lemon and rhubarb.
Strawberry Rhubarb Compote:
3 cups (750 mL) fresh strawberries, quartered
2 cups (500 mL) fresh chopped rhubarb
2 tbsp (30 mL) granulated sugar
1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice
1 cup (250 mL) fresh blueberries

Lemon Yogurt:
1 cup (250 mL) 0% plain Greek yogurt
2 tsp (10 mL) grated lemon rind

Strawberry Rhubarb Compote: Place 2 cups of the strawberries and rhubarb in a saucepan. Add sugar and lemon juice. Cook over high heat until sugar dissolves, stirring often. Boil for 1 minute, stirring. Reduce heat to medium and simmer just until rhubarb begins to fall apart. Remove from heat. Stir in remaining strawberries and blueberries. Let cool and refrigerate.

Lemon Yogurt: In bowl, stir together yogurt and lemon rind. 

Divide compote among 6 parfait or wine glasses and top with lemon yogurt. Enjoy or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Makes 6 servings.


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