Note: With all the Easter prep, I never got around to posting this on Sunday. Look for a meatless Monday post a bit later.
This past Saturday was a day of near constant rain and chilly temps. Despite this, I dropped in at our local farmer’s market around 11 AM to see what I could pick up as an ingredient for Easter dinner. With the rain near constant, crowds were slim and vendors were limited. One of our local produce vendors was stocked up on some spring favorites: lettuces, young kale, basil, asparagus and strawberries but also radishes, young crookneck squash, and spring onions. I picked up far more asparagus than I can use for dinner, so some of it will end up in the freezer to use in egg dishes and casseroles long after the season is over.
I stopped in at Sol Tacos food truck and grabbed what I thought would be a second breakfast (I’d been up since 5AM), but what turned out to be lunch before battling the crowds at 4 different stores that were made all the more busy by everyone shopping for their last minute Easter hams. Sol Tacos is fantastic. They make their own tortillas, grow their own herbs and use lots of local produce and meats. My Mexican fried rice had been lightly grilled to give it the sort of crispy bits you find in dishes like Korean bibimbap and then topped with crema, corn chip bits, and those homegrown fresh herbs like cilantro and chives. My plate of rice and a Fanta was $5. And they have that cool green truck. Friend them on Facebook or visit the website to see what they are cooking and where you can grab a bite in the NC Triangle.
This week’s strawberries and last week’s rhubarb from the farmer’s market were turned into a fruit compote served over ice cream as one of our Easter desserts. Fruit compotes are a great option for dessert. They are simple to put together and can be paired with a variety of options such as Greek yogurt, ice cream, or cooked custards (or non-dairy versions of those items) as well as homemade or purchased biscotti, cookie or pound cake. They can be sweetened with nearly any sweetener option so fitting them into your preferences is easy.
This compote is based on a cobbler recipe from Dina Cheney’s Year-Round Slow Cooker which can be found here. My recipe has similar ingredients to the fruit base of the cobbler, but cooks on the stovetop, is dairy- free and does not include making a baked biscuit topping. Don’t skip the black pepper – it lends an interesting spice note and works well with the berries’ sweetness and the floral notes of the rhubarb.
Strawberry-Rhubarb Fruit Compote
1 quart of fresh strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped
1.5 cups of chopped rhubarb stalks, about 2-3 medium stalks
1 cup of sweetener (a cup equivalent of whatever sweetening agent you choose)
Grated rind of one lemon
Juice of one lemon
Juice of one orange (I used a blood orange this time)
Juice of one tangerine
2 Tablespoons of coconut butter/ creamed coconut or coconut oil
About 6 “grinds” of black pepper freshly ground from a pepper grinder – about 1/8 teaspoon
1 large pinch of salt – abut 1/8 teaspoon
2 teaspoons of tapioca starch plus 1 T cold water to dissolve the starch into a slurry, or use the thickener of your choice.
ice cream, Greek yogurt, or custard of your choice
biscotti, ladyfingers, or cookie of choice (optional)
Combine everything except the thickener slurry in a saucepan and simmer for about 15-20 minutes until the rhubarb is soft, but some of the strawberries are still intact. The final compote should have a nice sauce where the berries have broken down, but still have chunks of fruit in it. Whisk half the starch water slurry into the hot compote until mixed. Allow to simmer on minute and check on how thick it gets, add the other half of the starch slurry if needed to get to a desired thickness. Cool and serve with ice cream/yogurt/custard of choice and/or a cookie for garnish.
Notes on the dish:
- Coconut oil or coconut butter/creamed coconut substitutes for the dairy butter you might find in other recipes. It will give a lightly creamy taste and good “mouth feel” to the dish, plus a little nuttiness.
- Schar makes the gluten-free ladyfinger biscotti that is pictured in the photo. They are great for tiramisu or banana puddings where you need a plain gluten-free cookie.
- If you opt to serve it with plain Greek yogurt, you may want to add a drizzle of honey, depending on your tolerance for the tart compote with the tart yogurt.
- So Delicious makes non-dairy coconut milk based ice creams in both regular and sugar free versions.
- Be careful in grating the lemon peel from the lemon rind – you only want the yellow peel not the bitter white pith underneath. A microplane grater works best, but you can also use a vegetable peeler to take the peel off in strips and then finely chop it.
- Leftover compote can be frozen. It is great as a topping for waffles, pancakes or added to breakfast chia!