Posts Tagged ‘apples’

1
Apr

Cobbler-esque

   Posted by: Livia    in course, dessert, experiments, Food, friendly, gluten free, Recipe, vegetarian

I’ve always refused to look in a cookbook for a recipe for cobbler or crisp or anything that is pretty much baked fruit. It’s so easy, it should just be intuitive.

And I’m sure no one is surprised that my results have usually be disappointing. Well, no one other than me. It’s always a surprise.

So there I was with a package of blueberries from a month ago that wasn’t moldy or rotten, just a bit wrinkled, and nothing to do with it other than some kind of baked fruit joy.

So I got out two ramekins. And a tart green apple.

I diced the apple, and I added half to one ramekin and half to the other. Then I picked through the blueberries and split them evenly between the ramekins, too.

Also, for added complication, I wanted a lot of flavor out of as few calories as possible, so I did not put a pat of butter into each of these. Nor did I add a lot of sugar.

I added to each about half a teaspoon of vanilla sugar from Marx Food*, a healthy dash of Korintje cinnamon, and a pinch of salt.

And then that was it for the first one, and it was ready to pop into the oven.

For the second one, I tried a crust.

I mixed together 2 heaping teaspoons of old fashioned rolled oatmeal, roughly the same quantity of leftover cooked brown rice, 1 heaping teaspoon of Trader Joe’s whole wheat baking mix (think Bisquik), and half a teaspoon of Demerara sugar. Mix together first, then spread over the top of the fruit.

And then I baked it for a while in a 350F oven. I didn’t time it, just kept peeping at it while I was cooking something else. I’ll guess they stayed in for about half an hour.

results – crustless
It was tart!

But I’d spent the cooking time also looking through my Weight Watchers cookbook for light dessert recipes, and I’d come across a beverage with added lime juice and I hadn’t noticed that it was a drink at first. And that just seemed right.

So I tried adding lime juice to the already tart baked fruit. And it was amazing! It was a gooey, bubbly dessert that also felt refreshing. Would make again. Don’t know if my friends would like it – but a lump of ice cream on top would probably mellow it out nicely.

When I took the first one out, the crust still wasn’t looking like a cohesive crust. So, I sliced a thin teaspoon of butter off the stick and lay that on top to melt in. And that worked well.

About 10 minutes later, when I’d finished the first dessert (only took so long because it had needed time to cool down from molten), I pulled out the 2nd cobbler.

results – with crust
I loved this. The rice dried out a little and got crunchy, but I thought that was delicious. The topping was a good mix of crispy and chewy, and it had a lot of the richness I like even it is wasn’t packed full of butter. The exact same fruit ended up tasting not nearly as tart with the starchy topping.

So – FINALLY – I’ve had a random experiment with cobbler turn out as joyous as I’d hoped.

*After I reviewed the Black Garlic the sent me for free, they sent me a mix box (related to a mix tape, I’m sure) of more things to try. Also for free. There was not any expectation of more fun from the first experiment, but there is a bit of a relationship now. And now a review of their vanilla sugar:

I have a friend who regularly orders vanilla beans from Penzey’s and makes her own vanilla sugar from scratch. In most cases, when given a choice between regular sugar and the vanilla, I prefer the plain. In fact, I’d pretty much only use it as a substitute for vanilla extract, which I don’t keep on hand either. No, I don’t do much baking. But this seemed a perfect time for a bit of extra.

They use a fine sugar, which is almost a confectioners sugar. I don’t know if it’s thicker because it’s a different grade or because of the additional vanilla, but it seemed a slightly different texture. Oh, hey – there’s a picture/explanation on their website. I think I like their sugar better for just popping on my tongue… not that I did that a lot. :) But I don’t know that there’s much functional difference in a setting where you can’t enjoy the texture. It would make a lovely dusting for a chocolate bundt cake.

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This was only my second time making Thanksgiving, so the food is still shiny, new, and exciting to me.

So I went with a very simple recipe for the turkey because my parents went wild and paid for a turkey, instead of earning a free one through buying groceries. And they splurged for a free range, sexy turkey. So I just chucked some onion, garlic, and herbs inside and rubbed the outside with an herbed garlic butter. After the first half of cooking, I basted with a mixture of the turkey’s juices, orange juice, and soy sauce. Easy, simple, and it turned out juicy and reliable. There was a surprising amount of white meat for a free range bird, but apparently it was an especially breasty breed of bird – but the white meat wasn’t anymore flavourful for the wandering around. But I do think you could tell a difference with the dark meat – with a richer and more complex taste. And a cruelty free holiday!

And my mother scandalized me by not letting me come up with a recipe for dressing – but, instead, she bought Stove Top’s cornbread dressing. And to doctor it, she stirred in sliced scallions right at the end. Yeah. But I have to admit, even if it was sleazy, it was still very tasty and we finished all of it.

She was also going to have our only vegetable be microwaved frozen sugar snap peas (because my father can’t have Vitamin K), but I insisted on a second vegetable (mostly because I still had an abundant amount of Swiss Chard in the garden to use up before first frost). So I melted two teaspoons of bacon fat. Once that warmed up, I tossed in three cloves of garlic, thinly sliced. Once that started to brown, I tossed in the Swiss chard (washed, leaves cut off the spines, and then sliced across into 3/4″ ribbons, still damp). I had meant to add red pepper flakes after, but I ended up getting distracted getting the meal on the table, so there weren’t any – and the dish was delicious without them. Not healthy, mind you, but delicious. My friend, who is a chef, was absolutely right – swiss chard must always go with bacon.

And then there is the dish of which I am the most proud. The sweet potato casserole. Everyone makes this dish, and there are hundreds of recipes for this on the internet – but the first five pages on google didn’t come up with the recipe I was looking for. All of the called for butter. Many of the called for heavy cream. I really liked the recipe that called for orange juice and zest, and then I was amused to notice that the orange juice was never used in any of the versions claiming to be lower fat. Also, while I remember from my youth great debates over whether one would add diced apples or crushed pineapple to the casserole, not a single recipe called for any fruit. So I ended up kind of making my own way to a healthy version of this side dish for my diabetic father.

Sweet Potato Casserole – topped with marshmallows

First off, I made made it in individual ramekins, instead of a large dish, so there would be portion control. I don’t know if it’s necessary, but just for the ease, I did lightly butter the dishes.

Roast and peel 2 medium sweet potatoes.

Core, peel, and dice finely half of a smaller apple.

Stir them together in a bowl with the juice of one orange and the zest of half of the orange.

Since my parents have on hand the sugar/splenda blend, I used that. It runs twice as sweet as a comparable measure of sugar. Start with an eighth of a cup and taste, adding up to a quarter of a cup.

For spices, I added cinnamon, sweet paprika, black pepper, and a few drops of vanilla extract.

Then I stirred in 1/2 a teaspoon of baking powder and 2 egg whites. Beat that thoroughly through the mixture.

Fill the ramekins, making sure to leave about 3/4″ from the top because not only do you need room for the marshmallows, but also you the casserole will rise as it bakes.

Then I popped the ramekins into the 325F oven with the turkey for 45 minutes. I pulled them out and let them cool (they did puff up like souffles, but the settled down and still had a light, fluffy texture).

Once the casserole is no longer piping hot, cover with the big marshmallows (size totally matters). And, yes, I used normal, storebought marshmallows instead of trying to find a healthy way around that part.

After the turkey comes out of the oven, throw the ramekins back in and switch it to broil. By the time everything else is on the table, the marshmallows should be perfectly browned and puffy.

Also there was gravy. Mmmm…

After the fourth basting, I sucked up about a cup of the drippings and set them aside long enough for the fat to separate out.

Toast some flour until is it as dark as you want it. My mother went with a nice almond color.

Then spoon the fat from the drippings and add it to the flour. If that is not enough to make a smooth pasty, add some butter.

Once that was smooth and ready to have liquid added, my mother poured in the drippings slowly enough that they’d boil and incorporate smoothly.

After the whole cup had been added, I warmed up another cup of vegetable broth, and she added that until she reached the consistency she wanted.

Then she added a little kitchen bouquet (I don’t know – it’s tradition. But you could also toast the flour more in the beginning). Even though there was soy sauce in the basting liquid, after tasting the gravy still needed a little more salt, too. She has a mixture of white pepper, thyme, and rosemary that she grinds herself – a pinch of that. And a teaspoon and a half of Manischewitz wine for richness.

And then after dinner, we had an apple pie I bought at my farmers’ market and the fior di latte and almond gelato I bought from Capogiro.

And now I am back home and making turkey stock from the carcass. Good times.

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25
May

Salad time again!

   Posted by: Livia    in Recipe, salad, vegan, vegetarian

I made a nifty salad this weekend.

I started with Dole’s Sassy Baby Blend (not from brand loyalty, but because that was the clamshell salad mix on sale that week. Aside from some (not too many) awkwardly non-baby radicchio bits clearly there to same money, it was a good blend).

Then I tossed in some curly parsley left over from making lasagne.

And I sliced in two round radishes.

Then I wen to work on the dressing –

I tossed in the lemon zest left over from making Smitten Kitchen’s Raspberry Buttermilk Cake (note: both the lasagne & the cake were creations of my friend, so I’m not taking credit for them – but they were both very tasty).

Then I added 2 teaspoons of ginger spread (which I loved so much that I will not have to seek it out and buy my own jar) and some apple cider vinegar. Popped that in the microwave for 30 seconds to liquefy it.

I tasted it, and it needed some sweetness and acidity – So I squeezed in a lemon, and it was just about perfect.

Only then, I thought that the dressing and the salad would go well with apples, so I quartered and cored and apple and then sliced it into some remaining lemon juice.

conclusion: I really liked it, but I probably could have added another apple or two (they were small). It had many sharp tastes of early green Spring, but it tied together well and was mellowed a bit by the ginger and sweet lemon juice.

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14
Mar

Apple Salsa

   Posted by: Livia    in Recipe, sauces, vegetarian

They said it could couldn’t be done! (Okay, so it was just my friend Meghan who said it couldn’t be done – these other people seemed fairly confident. But I rely on her advice on food matters. Constantly. I trust this woman… but I don’t always take her advice… because I am a bad friend. Yes, Meghan, I did go out and buy more tortillas anyway, too.)

But, anyway. I have made what I am calling apple salsa! Actually, add some nuts, and it would make a kick ass charoset.

Apple Salsa

Squeeze 1 lime into a bowl. Also, add zest from about half of the lime, but not more.

Pour 1/6 cup white balsamic vinegar into the bowl, too.

Quarter, Core, Peel, and dice finely – 2 apples. Ad you dice each quarter, immediately transfer it into the bowl and stir to coat. Every 2 or 3 quarters, remove the pieces into a separate container, leaving as much of the acidic liquid behind as possible.

Add 2 dashes of cinnamon and an equal quantity of crushed chipotle pepper to the apples. Mix in.

When all of the apples have been move to a separate container, pout the remaining liquid into a small saucepan. Add 1/4 cup water, 2 Tablespoons apricot jelly, 1 Tablespoon sweet red wine (Manischewitz) , 2 tsp brown sugar, and the crumbles head of 1 clove. Bring to a boil and stir until the jelly is completely dissolved and the liquid has reduced.

Turn off the heat, and wait until there are no more bubbles. Toss apples quickly in the saucepan, just until thoroughly coated and mixed, and then pour back into a container and refrigerate immediately to stop further cooking.

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My breakfast is sitting in my refrigerator. At home.

But let me tell you about my new-found joyous quick breakfast. Okay, so fine – I was introduced to it back in early summer by [redacted], but it took me a while to believe it was good in more than just a novelty way.

Meusli

(but not that crazy healthy-looking stuff they’d offer for breakfast in Switzerland if you were really lucky and they were offering more than brick-like rolls.)

put 1/4c oatmeal (the real stuff that takes half an hour to cook) into a container.

optional: Add some dried fruit – I like using cranberries, figs, and/or dates… probably I’d like a whole bunch of other stuff, too, but that’s what’s in my pantry.

Add 1/4c orange juice. And since I was doing this from memory, I add my dairy product now. But on later checking, [redacted] adds her dairy the next morning. Your choice. 1/4 c dairy product (I have been using 2% milk, but just about anything is good here: skim milk, whole milk, light cream, heavy cream, nonfat yogurt, full fat greek yogurt, cottage cheese, sour cream – or no dairy and just more fruit juice).

optional: Add a sprinkling of cinnamon or nutmeg or some such spice.

Close up the container and chuck it in the fridge overnight.

Next morning, toss in some nuts. Maybe toasted nuts. One kind of nut or several… or no nuts.

Also, shred half an apple into the container (or, you know, into another container and then dump it into your meusli) – just wash the apple, cut it in half, and shred it coarsely – skin on and using the core as the place to rest your fingers. I suppose you could also shred carrots or some other excitingly healthy thing. But you stir it all up and then you can carry it to work, and there’s enough juice and all that the apple doesn’t get brown.

Eat and enjoy – you’ll find that all the fruit makes it plenty sweet, and it has protein from the nuts and dairy. And it requires no special storage (assuming you have non-leaking containers).

But… it does require remembering to bring it with you.

Good thing one of my coworkers was kind enough to bring in food to share with the department this morning.

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So I went to the new (to me) farmers’ market, and now I have even more food.

This market had parsnips, which I recently noticed had been sadly lacking from my local sources. And there was a guy with a huge pile of purple cauliflower and romanesco. But I think I’ll be sticking to my regular market, since this one was clearly catering to a more affluent crowd – so I bought brandied duck sausage from Talula’s Table.

And I have just now for the first time discovered the amazingness of home popped popcorn. And my first recipe was brilliant (grate lime zest and cheddar cheese (finely) into the bowl. Sprinkle in chipotle. Pop popcorn. Immediately after, dump into bowl and mix thoroughly. Sprinkle with salt. Now I want to eat that all the time and ignore the vegetables.

Food I have
Produce
3 butternut squash (the largest one might be mature enough to crack open in a week)
1 delicata squash
2 apples 1 apple
red & green tomatoes
lots of hot peppers
6 carrots with their greens
12 radishes with their greens
salad greens
chinese broccoli
snow peas
2 leeks 1 leek
fennel greens
jar of coconut milk
1 lemon
3.5 limes
4 2 chinese eggplants
1 zucchini
2 parsnips
brussel sprouts
1 red bell pepper
no onions! plenty of onions
5 qts of vegetarian stock

starch
1/4c cooked brown rice
tortillas

meat
small jar condensed chicken stock
2 duck sausages
lots in freezer

Meal planning
Sunday, November 2
Microwave brussel sprouts and then roast them with bacon and an apple. Grill up sausage on the side.

ETA: So lots of people are RIGHT on the internet. Roasted brussel sprouts do turn out much better, if you microwave them first. That was a complete success.

Caramelized Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Apples

Cut the bases off the sprouts so that you can pull off the outermost leaves and get down to the tightly packed, clean leaves. Then cut each on in half, bisecting the base. Dump them all in a container and microwave (1 pt was quite happy with 3 minutes).

Cut two slices of bacon into 1cm strips. Put them in a skillet (not a roasting pan for the oven because I like being able to watch my food cook) on medium-high heat. When the bacon is thoroughly limp and just going opaque again, add the brussel sprouts.

Once the sprouts are brighter green, add half of a crisp, tart apple, medium-small dice. I left the peel on (and just ate the other half).

Mix together: 1 tsp dijon mustard, 2 tsp balsamic vinegar, and 2 tsp maple syrup.

Once the apples start to get some nice brown color, drizzle the sauce on top by spoon until it sizzles and softens and just looks right without having any liquid that isn’t absorbed by the food.

Monday, November 3
pilates 9am
buy onions
Make Spicy Parsnip Soup
breakfast – saffron coconut sticky rice *done*
Dinner: Spicy Parsnip Soup (ETA: The only changes I made were adding a little bit of buckwheat honey to bring out the sweetness of the parsnips and I used nonfat yogurt instead of sour cream because that was what I had – very delicious)

Tuesday, November 4
vote
breakfast: Pesto Carrot Egg breakfast (uses carrots, red bell pepper, spinach chinese broccoli, and eggs)
dinner – salad with radishes, carrots, and a steamed chinese eggplant in oyster sauce

Wednesday, November 5
breakfast: bagel (mix cream cheese with thai green curry paste and see if that’s any good)
9:30 gym
dinner: Boil stock and make a soup with fish sauce, soy sauce, soba noodles, frozen roast pork leftovers, the rest of the chinese broccoli, 2 radishes, and the carrot greens. Top with toasted garlic and hot pepper (and snow peas)

Thursday, November 6
working 9-5
grab free breakfast @ Faculty Club
5:45 pilates
dinner: tofu hoagie (ask for half tofu and more filling)
7:30 belly dancing class

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7
Sep

Apple picking?

   Posted by: Livia    in Food, invitation

I have a decent amount I need to get done this weekend, so I’m not up for any trips out of state, but – I’m thinking apple picking would make a nice afternoon this Saturday.

Where: Linvilla Orchard
What: fruit list

I have room in my car for three other people, if anyone else is interested. And unless you are a pie-giving freak, a boxful is more than plenty for 4 people.

Note: We will not be going near the pumpkin fair or the farmers market, and there will still probably be too many kids – but I think we can be in and out in two or three hours, not counting travel time, and still feel as though we have savored the outdoor autumn life. Or something like that.

So last time I went, I look the way where you just go on this road, turn onto another road, and then you are there. Only that took an hour and a half. I think that if I stay off of Baltimore Pike/Road, which I have decided is an evil road (scenic, but soul sucking, then I can probably get there in a third of the time. Really – mapquest says so. :) Don’t worry, I also have a real map.

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1
Nov

soup queries

   Posted by: Livia    in experiments, Food, Recipe, soup

Ever since I had a cold last week that had me with almost no appetite, I’ve been having trouble getting back to normal.

I drank about 6 liters of water yesterday, and I still feel dehydrated.

And I keep being ravenously hungry and then getting full on small portions – and then being ravenously hungry again.

This is relevant because I was going to make soup yesterday, but I only got as far as deciding that I’d try roasting again and putting the sweet potatoes, garlic, and apples in the oven before I gave up and made myself an omlet.

So here’s the thing. I shall be making sweet potato and apple soup tonight. To eat tonight and tomorrow, but with no other leftovers. And then next week, I shall be making pumpkin soup. I want this soup and the pumpkin soup to be very different soups.

So I have three roasted sweet potatoes, a roasted pod of garlic, 3 small roasted apples, and a whole bunch of not roasted apples.

First question is whether I put them in a stock base or a cream sauce base.

Cumin or not to cumin?

I think the pumpkin soup next week should have lentils in it. And maybe tamarind. That’ll make it different. I’ll have to buy lentils.

Comments suggested:

You could make next week’s soup a thai mulligatawny, with thai green curry paste, a cinnamon stick, lemongrass, minced ginger and garlic, red lentils, and then, added at the very end, some coconut milk and lemon or lime juice and fresh cilantro.

1 part lentils to 3 parts pumpkin

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5
Oct

Applesauce

   Posted by: Livia    in experiments, Food

I have a huge jar of applesauce.

Seriously, you could feed a nursery for two weeks on this jar of applesauce.

No, I wasn’t stupid enough to buy it – my mother did. See, my father will only eat pork two ways – roasted in a pita with lots of condiments and roasted with applesauce on the side. Therefore, applesauce.

Now I had a few jars of tiny applesauce running around, and when I saw that my mother had a HUGE jar and only call to use a small amount of applesauce three times a year, we swapped.

I figured that I am brilliant and creative and always willing to try new food things.

But I can not come up with a single thing to do with a giant jar of applesauce besides starting in with a big spoon.

So it has languished unopened in my refrigerator.

But this is getting ridiculous.

So either I need a LOT of applesauce recipes (and none of that baking stuff, because they always seem to use applesauce as the magic low fat ingredient, and I don’t trust that logic), or I need someone with an applesauce fetish to take it away and have a delightful weekend. Probably the former.

ETA: Suggestions in the comments to this post included: baking; muffins; boil a cup or two of the stuff til it’s syrupy and pour it, still hot, over ice cream; a good addition to newfangled baked bean type things; buy some potatoes and onions and make a lot of latkes; pumpkin bread; curried chicken and apple stew, with a jar of applesauce in that as part of the gravy; pork roasts in a crockpot and instead of adding juice/wine/water added a jar of applesauce and some sauerkraut.

I have a muffin recipe that uses applesauce, but not as the magic low-fat moisture enhancer, oh no! My recipe uses applesauce as a tart substitute for buttermilk, to make the baking soda go BOOM and create fluffiness

I have an awesome set of friends.

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I am feeling adventurous – I like cooking, but am kinda amateur at the baking.

So

Pumpkin Bread…

from real pumpkins or canned ones?

discuss.

ETA: I guess I’ll have to wait until I get home to research recipes. Neither allrecipes.com or epicurious.com have an old fashioned pumpkin bread recipe that includes both real butter and brown sugar. Everything is trying to be different – less fat, more fiber, less spice, less pumpkin flavour (!! Why you makin pumpkin bread, then?). Probably my red checked cookbook will have the right recipe.

Why, no, I don’t get to eat lunch for another 40 minutes 10 minutes

~*~

For actual food porn content – I made a lovely soup this week.

I thawed out my remaining cubes of chicken stock (so I can make more soon! because I’ve started to think that an autumn without making stock is wasted).

Added an acorn squash. By which I mean that I washed the outside, cut of the top and tip, split it in half, and stuck it open side down into the stock and let it cook until mushy… and then scooped out the inside with a spoon.

I threw in a frozen pork chop because I figured there should be some meat. After it cooked, I trimmed and diced it.

At this point I realised that 1 squash would not be enough, so I turned off the pot and let it sit overnight.

The next day, I bought a second squash and two sweet potatoes. Rinse. Repeat. First the squash, and then I decided the soup could still be thicker, so I cooked the potatoes in the microwave and then mushed them into the soup.

Meanwhile, I melted some butter and sauteed some onion, cumin, and a winesap apple…. when golden and mushy, I added that to the soup.

In went a bay leaf, a dash of worcestershire sauce, and tiny bit of nutmeg.

Cooking. cooking. cooking. (more like 20 minutes worth)

Then I drained a can of black beans… because apparently I live in a crazy land where I can’t find dried black beans (ghetto mart would have had some before they closed, but it hasn’t reopened yet – harrumph). Beans get dumped in. And the soup cooks for the length of an episode of Spooks.

Then eating… and the realisation that I forgot to add salt and pepper… and that it’d be good with a dollop of sour cream in the middle.

Second (third?) day. Soup! With salt and pepper. And sour cream seasoned with more cumin and a smidgeon of horseradish. Very tasty!

The soup was a bit gloppy and would have benefited from a run through a food processor or blender, but I don’t believe in doing that to the poor soups. And it was quite tasty.

Really. I’ve had two other people eat this soup, and both liked it. Or said they did. But there were second helpings involved. And I’m perfectly willing to eat soup again tonight for dinner. Yum!

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