Strawberry & Rhubarb Lemonade

by Daniel Valko


      Let me start out by saying that I put this post together, a couple of months ago. When rhubarb and strawberries were in season, but I procrastinated on posting it. I also had plans of baking with fresh Oregon strawberries. But I'm sad to say that the season went by way too fast. The Oregon cherry and blueberry season also came super early this year. So I have very little time to make the most of these amazing Oregon fruits.

      Strawberry lemonade has always been my drink of choice. There's just something about the sweet and tangy. It's just a perfect combination. Ever since I can remember, My mom has always used rhubarb in a summer fruit punch. Also know as a European fruit drink called compote. She would usually make it with random amounts of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and even black current or grapes. Giving it a refreshing and true summer taste. Rhubarb and strawberries are the perfect combination and when made into a lemonade, it simply tastes amazing.

Enjoy the remainder of your summer :)  - Daniel



Makes: 1 pitcher of lemonade 


• 5 stalks of rhubarb 

• 8 cups water

• 1 1/2 to 2 cups fresh strawberries ( 2 cups purée ) 

• Lemon juice from 1 1/2 lemons 

• 1/2 to 3/4 cup granulated sugar 

• 1 cup of ice 



 Directions : 

1 Cut the rhubarb stalks into 1/2 inch pieces. Then bring the pot of water to a boil and set the rhubarb on medium for about 12 - 15 minutes. Turn off the pot and set aside to cool. 

2  When it's almost cooled, Strain the cooked rhubarb threw a mesh strainer. Then place the rhubarb juice in the fridge and throw away the cooked rhubarb mush. 

3  Puree the fresh strawberries with the sugar. And stir in the pureed strawberries along the juice from the freshly squeezed lemons. Into the rhubarb juice, and add the ice. Depending on how sweet you like your lemonade. You might want to add more sugar. 


Truly Chocolate Crumb Cake

by Daniel Valko

          It seems as if all of my chocolate recipes get the most attention on the site. So for this blog post I developed an unorthodox and unconventional chocolate cake. It starts out with a soft sponge layer that is filled with chocolate chunks. Then layered with a chocolate crumb topping and later drizzled over with even more chocolate. The different textures are what make this cake so perfect.  As well as the never ending amount of chocolate that goes into making this recipe. At first it may seem as if the cake contains too large quantities of chocolate. After all too much of one ingredient can ruin even the best recipe. But after testing this recipe multiple times I can tell you it has the perfect amount, especially for the true chocolate lovers.





Cake : 

• 1/4 cup unsalted butter 

• 1 cup granulated sugar 

• 1 egg

• 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract 

• 1 cup all purpose flour

• 1/4 cup unsweetened coco powder

• 1 tsp baking powder 

• 1/4 tsp baking soda 

• 3/4 cup milk   

• 1/4 cup semisweet ( or darker ) chocolate chips 



Chocolate Crumbs :

• 3/4 cup all purpose flour 

• 1/2 cup brown sugar 

• 1/4 cup unsweetened coco powder 

• 1/4 cup unsalted butter


Chocolate drizzle topping : 

• 1/2 cup dark or semisweet chocolate for melting 



Preheat : 350 F 

Bake : 30-35 mins 


1   In a mixer bowl cream the butter and sugar until it becomes the size of peas. Then mix in the egg and vanilla extract. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and unsweetened coco powder. In a separate dry ingredients bowl and mix together well. 


2   Add the dry ingredients in 1/2 cup increments to the mixer bowl, along with the 3/4 cup of milk. When combined, add in the 1/4 cup chocolate chips or chunks. Pour out the cake batter into a parchment lined and oiled 8 inch cake pan. Place aside and make the chocolate crumbs. 


3   To make the crumbs soften the butter until almost completely melted. And mix with the brown sugar and flour Using a spoon. Keep mixing until it becomes little crumbs. If it's too wet, add a little more flour. Top the cake batter with the crumbs and bake for 30-35 minutes. Let it cool for about 5 minutes. then flip over the pan, onto a large plate. Take off the parchment paper and flip the cake over again. Most of Crumbs should stay put. 


4   For the chocolate drizzle, melt the 1/2 cup of chocolate by boiling water in a small pot with a larger glass bowl over the top, containing the chocolate. Stir the chocolate with a wooden spoon until completely melted. Then Splatter the melted chocolate in a vertical motion until completely covered or to your liking. Cool the cake completely before cutting, to make sure it stays fully intact. ( This may take a few hours, so could use the fridge for cooling.) 



Lilac Sugar

by Daniel Valko

      Every year around this time something new and different comes along in my life. For example last year it was starting this blog. And now this year it's graduating high school and starting the next chapter of my life. I have only till June, and what I've been doing every day for the past 13 years will come to an end. To be honest I don't really know my true feeling about ending high school. Part of me wishes I had one more year to figure out what I truly want to do with my life. Don't get me wrong, I know I want to work with food but there are so many questions left unanswered. Like what culinary school to attend, or where to start this journey? How to  achieve the goals I set?

      New seasons come and go, but the smells and feelings of spring have always stayed the same. One of them is the amazing smell of lilacs. These little purple flowers grow almost everywhere. And are truly the essential smell of spring. 



How to make it : 

      Making lilac sugar is very easy and simple, just layer the lilac petals in a mason jar. Along with granulated sugar, how much you need will depend on how big your mason jar is. Place the closed jar in a dark dry place. Every day gently shake the jar to mix the sugar. After the sugar is dry (this may take about a week or more) sift the sugar using a mesh strainer, to separate the dried lilac petals from the flavored sugar. This may take some time, so use a spoon. Lilac sugar can be used in tea or baking. Or any other creative use you can come up with. I personally love it in a cup of camomile tea. 

( This post was inspired by the amazing Linda Lomelino and her blog Call Me Cupcake )