April 23, 2010

Rhubarb Yogurt Muffins



Ingredients:
3 cups diced rhubarb, divided use (if frozen, defrost)
2 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup 0% Greek yogurt, at room temperature*
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon ground roasted ginger**
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, at room temperature


Directions:
Preheat oven to 350. Grease or line 16 wells in a muffin tin. In a blender or food processor (I used my Vita-Mix) pulse the yogurt and 1 1/2 cups rhubarb together until smooth. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Set aside. In a large bowl, mix together the rhubarb mixture, oil, eggs and vanilla until well blended (or just pop the oil, eggs and vanilla in the blender on top of the yogurt mixture) and pulse once or twice then pour it into a bowl). Add the dry ingredients. Mix the batter thoroughly then fold in remaining rhubarb. Fill each well about 3/4 of the way. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the center muffin comes out with just a few dry crumbs. Cool on wire rack.

*A higher fat yogurt would probably work too; 0% Fage is what Costco carries so I used that.
**Made by McCormick. Find it in the spice aisle. Sub regular if need be.

Note: If your rhubarb is very red, your batter will be pink. If not, you can add a drop of food dye just for fun. The color does fade a bit during the baking process.

My thoughts:
Ever since the great rhubarb scare of '08* I hoard and freeze rhubarb in slightly insane quantities. It freezes really well and then I have the option of developing recipes in the off season and scheduling them when it is. This time, rhubarb is actually just coming into season but last night I used up the last of my frozen rhubarb to make these muffins. And what wonderful muffins they are; very light and airy (dare i say souffle-like?) but moist at the same time. The combination of the homemade rhubarb yogurt and diced rhubarb make them taste really rhubarby in every bite, not just when you bite into a chunk. The perfect rhubarb muffin.


*I was writing the first edition of Simply Seasonal, my bimonthly column about eating seasonal foods in the Chesapeake Bay area. It was for the March issue so it had to be about rhubarb as pretty much nothing else would evenly remotely be in season. I had just gotten the gig so I only had about a week create a new recipe, photograph the food and write the article. It was February so rhubarb was out of season but I had seen it sold frozen at many supermarkets in the past and checking back on my own recipe archive, I had made a tart with fresh rhubarb for Valentine's Day one year so I thought I might even be able to find fresh. However, when I went to buy it, it was no where to be found. My family, and friends and I went on a massive rhubarb hunt. My husband even called Dole's frozen diversion and they told him there had been a rhubarb blight(!) in Hawaii so they didn't have rhubarb to ship to stores. It was an exhausting, fruitless (vegetableless) week. Of course, one week after I turned my article in (with a slightly improvised picture) I found fresh rhubarb at H Mart.