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Posts Tagged ‘apple’

Easter Fiesta

Tried some wine, the Moscato was quite sweet and peachy (as expected), the Unoaked chardonnay was crisp and not too dry, and the red was shy on tannin (which I like actually). Who doesn’t love a rooster on your bottle of wine, ha! I bought all of these at Sprouts on sale.

Each paired nicely with dishes I prepared. The Chardonnay with the herb roasted turkey breast. The red with the spiral honey ham. The Moscato with the apple cinnamon crisp (a la mode  ). 

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My friends were welcome to bring something as a side, they brought mac’n’cheese (David’s recipe, which rocks because he puts Cheezits on top… I still have to try to replicate it!), green bean casserole, and apple pie tarts.  We could have fed an army!

It’s not the same as my family gatherings back home in Alberta, with a dish of every sort and cousins to match.  But Mom was here at least and my best friends, Stephanie and David, were enough to have a great time.  I love sharing my kitchen.

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Texas was nearly burned to a crisp last summer.  I’m trying to find the total count of the days when Mother Nature found it suitable to crank the temperature over 100 degrees.  As of August 24th, we were at 70 days, the time at which the 86 year-old record was broken.  I think it was 86 days all told.

Today all that hot mess is a memory.  It’s been raining. A lot.

Strange how such a scorching cycle is followed by a wet one.  I’ll take every drop of rain that is willing to fall from the heavens, my garden needs it.  Heck, we all need it!

To gleefully accept the rain, and the accompanying thunder and lightning, I made a broccoli cheese soup and apple pie.  The soup was inspired by Ree Drummond (Pioneer Woman), I added ham, potato, and Asiago cheese to the basic recipe.

The pie was made with granny smith apples, peeled and sliced with my old-fashioned apple peeler.  Brown sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, flour and tapioca flour joined the apples between two layers of dough.  Don’t forget the cover the edges with foil!

I wish you could smell my house this blustery evening!  Big Brother wanted apple pie and today was a perfect day for his request.  We shared a slice and scurried off to sleep.

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Delicious things do come in small packages.  Take these dainty bread pudding cups for instance.

Apple Pear Pudding Cups

Makes 1 dozen

  • 1/2 loaf sliced bread, cubed
  • 1/2 can (about 1/2 cup) sweet condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 large pear
  • 2 braeburn apples
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • pinch sea salt

Peel and dice the pear and apples.  Toss with cinnamon and sugar in a large bowl.  Mix in the bread cubes.

Combine the eggs, milk, condensed milk, salt, and vanilla in another bowl.  Pour over the apples and pear and bread.  Toss until well distributed, don’t worry if the bread disappears.  It’s more of a structural component anyways.

Fill muffin cups, preferably silicone for easy removal, and bake at 350ºF for 45 minutes.  Let the cups cool slightly and firm up before popping them out of the muffin cups.

Serving size portions of warm, soft apple/pear bread pudding should be accompanied by ice cream and dulce de leche (see plating above).  And yes, that is a chip in my ceramic knife!  I wish everyone was a little more careful in the kitchen.

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Bring on the cooler weather, this farm-girl-turned-city-mama is up for it and she has the warm silky soup to prove it.

Begin with a plump organic red kuri squash.  I’ve never seen such an intense orange colour on a vegetable.  I hope the pictures do it justice, this squash was amazing.  Surely there’s a load of vitamins and beta-carotene in there.  I saved the seeds since this was a beautiful specimen, drought tolerant squash which will perhaps like our mild Texas winters.

This soup would be perfect as a soup course for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.

Red Kuri Soup

Serves 4-6

  • 1 red kuri squash
  • 1 red onion
  • 3 qt chicken stock + 1 qt water
  • 1 cup milk
  • cayenne pepper
  • thyme
  • garlic powder
  • bacon bits
  • shredded apple (I used half a Gala apple)

You will require a blender or immersion blender stick for this recipe and a large soup pot.

Open the squash and clean out the seeds and strings.  Salt the flesh and place cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet.  Trim the red onion and quarter it, place the onion on the baking sheet.  Roast at 350ºF for 40-50 minutes.  Let the veggies cool on the pan so you can handle them.

Roughly chop the onion and add it to a pot containing the stock and water.  Begin to boil the liquids then add the spices, hold off on salt until everything has been added.  Reduce the heat to medium-low.

Scoop the soft orange flesh into the pot.  Don’t worry if there are large chunks at this point.  Once all the squash is in, blend the soup until it is very smooth.  Careful, it will be hot.  Add the milk and stir.  Taste for salt and adjust.  Keep the soup warm until ready to serve.

Garnish the soup with bacon that is cooked and chopped, as well as freshly grated or finely diced apple.  Share with someone you love 🙂

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Since we are a few hours away from Turkey Day, I decided to test out a new combination of flavours for roasted birds.  This was prepared with a whole chicken, but you could easily bump up the quantities for a larger turkey.

Mise en place: Roasting pan, cookie sheet, paper towel, foil, room temperature butter, apple, onion, celery, carrot, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, sage leaves and/or dried, salt, pepper, all-purpose flour, measuring cup (Pyrex glass 2 cup measure), whisk and wooden spoon.  Crank up the oven to 430ºF.

First, prepare the bird, same goes for a turkey.  Wash the bird under cool running water, remove any reminence of feathers.  I like to do a lipo job to remove those clusters of solid fat, do this carefully with a small sharp knife while the bird is on a flat surface (cookie sheet).  If you’re not up to this part, leave it alone, I want you to keep your fingers intact.  Discard the excess fat, and flaps of skin next to the thighs.  Pat dry with paper towel, inside and out.  One more step before you go wash your hands: loosen the skin away from the breast meat and legs.  Now wash up!

To the roasting pan, add the spices.  Use about a tablespoon of coriander and cumin seeds along with the cinnamon stick and a couple of sage leaves.  Using whole spices is important here because we want to strain them out to make a gravy later.  If you have a strainer that can separate tiny grains of ground spices, let me know where I can buy one.  Roughly chop the onion, celery (include the leafy tops!), apple, and carrots.  The bigger the pieces are, the longer it will take for them to cook, and they will act as the rack for the bird.  Add them in one layer and a cup or two of water (or white wine if you have it, take it up a notch!).  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, season each layer my friends!

Using half of an apple, I used green, dice it into about 1 inch pieces then sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.  Stuff the apple and a couple more sage leaves into the cavity of the bird.

Next is the compound butter.  Simply mix about 2 tablespoons of room temperature butter with a palmful of dried sage, salt and pepper.  If your butter becomes too warm just pop it into the freezer for a few minutes so that you can work with it.  Remember those pockets of fat you removed from the bird?  We are replacing those with this flavoured butter.  Shove 1/4 of the butter into the space between the skin and the meat, repeat on the other side with another 1/4 of the butter.  The remaining half of the compound butter goes on the skin, all over the entire bird.

Move the bird to the roasting pan using the neck hole and breast plate as handles, otherwise you might lose the butter encased bird to the floor.  Tuck the wing tips under.  I did not truss this bird and sometimes you don’t really need to.  The bonus is all that skin between the legs and breast gets crispy because it’s not squished together and shielded from the heat of the oven.

Place the pan in the oven, legs pointing to the back of the oven.  Don’t open the door, this is important: keep the heat and steam inside the oven.  The more you open the door to check on the bird, the more vapour escapes, therefore causing dry-bird-syndrome.  Leave it alone for a while, set a timer for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, check for browning of the skin, look through the glass of the oven door.  Try not to open it.  If you see some nice golden brown, turn down the oven to 350ºF.  Let it roast another 20 minutes. 

Carefully open the door with your body away from the oven.  The steam will give you an unwanted facial if you’re not careful.  Take birdy’s temperature in a thick part of the breast without touching any bones, I use the area near the wings, equivalent to pectorals I guess.  Don’t puncture the top of the bird in the middle of the breast, all the juices will run out (DBS!).  The pectoral should read 160ºF, thighs 180ºF.  Shy by ten degrees? Roast for about 20 more minutes. 

If you have reached the correct temperature, remove the pan from the oven.  Place birdy on a cutting board and tent loosely with foil.  Let birdy rest before carving, let the juices redistribute! 

I have a wee one in the house and if you are a thrifty mama like me, you’ll want to save those carrots and apples from the pan to blend up for your sweet baby.  I even left some celery in the mix, although the strings did a number on my blender!  Fair warning for you.

Gravy!  Life would not be complete without gravy.  Strain the cooking liquid from the pan and separate the grease.  Take note of how many tablespoons of grease you have collected, measure an equal amount of flour.  Add the grease and flour to the pan (you can use another pot) and stir quickly to cook the flour.   Add the rest of the liquid and whisk.  Bring the gravy to a slow boil, cook until the flour is no longer tasted and the gravy coats the back of a spoon.  Now is the time to season with salt and pepper to taste.

Carve and enjoy with your favorite sides.  I made Unstuffing, acorn squash, crescent rolls, and peas to accompany birdy.  Now I’m ready for the big bird!

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