Monday, October 31, 2011

No More Apples!

We used up the last of our apples to make a fantastic apple crisp.

I've never made a crisp before and for some reason I expected the recipe to be way more difficult then it turned out to be. As in many of the other dishes, we started by peeling, coring, and slicing the apples.  We then threw them in a non-stick pan and coated them with sugar, flour, cinnamon, and water. The water seemed/still seems strange to me. It left a puddle all around the final dish - yes, the puddle was deliciously sugary and sweet; but it made the dish too sweet for me. Next time I may cut the water (and sugar) in half.

Then comes the crisp! The topping consists of brown sugar, quick-cooking oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and butter. It really was more of a "streusel" then a "crisp"...but maybe those things are one in the same and I just don't know it?

And that's it! Simple! Baked at 350 for about 45 minutes and nom away. This dish disappeared REALLY quickly.

What I've learned from cooking with apples:

1) the apartment smells wonderful when there are apples in the oven
2) apples keep for a really long time, making them a great ingredient for busy work weeks
3) prepping an apple is easier than I thought - coring takes 2 seconds and peeling requires very little effort
4) most of the apple dishes I found were sweet - I need to find some that are more savory
5) mushy apples are great for sensitive teeth

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Baked Apples



I just used up all of the apples we picked a few weekends ago. The below recipe is #3 out of the four we ended up making.

And I'm telling you...this one will become a Simon and Laura family tradition.

The recipe is for Baked Apples from I want to make it clear that I did not seek out, nor did I seek out "skinny" recipes. I found the recipe on Pinterest and it just happened to be from this site.

The recipe is simple: mix together a crumble of brown sugar, walnuts, margarine and cinnamon; core some apples and stuff them with the crumble. *Next time, I will make much more crumble than suggested by the recipe - as the apples bake, the crumble shrinks down, leaving the apple only half full of deliciousness.

Place the apples in a crockpot and pour in half a cup of apple cider or apple juice. This keeps the apples from burning and also provides a delectable juice to pour back over the apples when serving them. Cook for 3 hours on high heat and voila! Juicy, tasty, soft apples that fall apart when touched by your fork and are filled with sugary sweetness. 

Simon's friend was shocked that we weren't eating them with vanilla ice cream, and he's right, these definitely call for some. 

These apples made a wonderful warm and filling treat on a cold fall night. They are completely satisfying. Luckily enough, they kept pretty well, too. We stored the leftover juice apart from the apples, but even so, the apples continued to get mushier and mushier as the days went past, but not so much that it became a problem.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Apple Latkes!

I have to start this by admitting that these apple latkes were okay. They were certainly good, tasted fine, but the textured was really mushy and it completely lacked that "oh man I HAVE to eat more" factor. A few years ago I made sweet potato latkes that were phenomenal - I guess the memory of them left me with high expectations. I went off of this recipe from Smitten Kitchen.

Begin with apples:

Core and peel:

Grate the apples, coat in lemon juice, strain, and mix with flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and eggs:

Melt a lot of butter and pan fry until brown on both sides (about 2 minutes each). Smitten Kitchen gave good advice by suggesting putting a new pat of butter between each set of latkes:

Cooking went well. They fried up nicely and smelled delicious. We ate them with plain yogurt which cut the sweetness of the latkes nicely. I think they would have been better if I strained more juice from the shredded apple, but the flavors still wouldn't have drawn me in to eating more.

I think they're worth a shot, and it was definitely interesting to experiment with. If nothing else, they really convinced me to make the sweet potato latkes again!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Apple Mania!

Simon and I went apple picking last Sunday and had wonderful success despite going somewhat late in the season.

 Here is our stash:

We bought a peck worth of apples; the farm gave us a choice of that or a bushel...which ignited my unrelenting signing of the classic Guys and Dolls song

 We also bought an apple corer, aka the most amazing fall kitchen gadget that ever existed. It's easy, fun, and virtually injury-proof.

It also works extremely well:

The first of many brand new recipes I attempted was apple chips. I'm used to buying these at the supermarket in a big plastic bucket or bag and they are always too chewy, too moist, and feel as though they've been soaking in sugar. I used this recipe (at the very bottom of the page). All you have to do is wash and core the apples, slice thinly (she recommends a mandoline slicer - but these are NOT injury proof tools and I've yet to invest in one - so I just used a knife), and arrange on a tray.  

Before baking at 200 degrees for 2 hours, I sprinkled the slices with cinnamon sugar as the recipe suggests. That's it. Literally. Core, slice, sprinkle, bake.  Sooooo easy!

This is what a successful apple chip looks like. They were delicious and made the apartment smell wonderful while baking. I made one mistake in that I didn't spray the pan with nonstick spray thinking the nonstick pan would be enough; unfortunately, the sugars in the apple sealed many of them directly to the tray and no matter how hard I tried I couldn't get them off. I'm going to return to this recipe with however many apples I have left over because the chips we did eat were wonderful. The apples were crisp since we baked them at a low temperature for a long period of time; and they weren't overly sweet.

I definitely recommend trying this out.

Friday, October 14, 2011


Simon may have given me a ring for our 5 year anniversary, but I gave him a churro maker.

That's right, I brought his favorite part of Spain in to our home to make delicious delicious fried goodness (it's really just a giant play-doh pump).

So a few weeks ago, Lauren came over and we tried our hands at churros by using the translated directions which came with the gadget. Unfortunately, we didn't have enough of the main ingredient - flour. Instead, we bought the only flour available in the area: gluten-free wheat flour from City Feed. I'm all about people eating healthy, natural food...but this did not make for good churros. We faced the challenge head on and went ahead with the churros.


Simon is doing it wrong. 

This is more like it. mix the flour with water and salt, put in the pump, and squeeze out into hot oil. 

 So far, so good.

Some glitches to fix for next time:
1) use white flour: the dough would be softer, lighter, less dense
2) don't wait for them to get brown in the oil. The churros will continue to darken after taken out of the pot; ours became a little too dark

Some wine always helps

We ended with some melted Spanish chocolate for dipping and put out a plate of sugar for rolling. Our conclusions were that the kitchen gadget works well and that we should definitely try again with white flour.

Offbeat Derivations

While scavenging the wedding blogosphere, I came across a wonderful post on Offbeat Bride. A contributor had gathered love quotes - which didn't induce eye-rolling - for her wedding and she chose her favorite 52 to put on the site. Her juxtaposition of time-honored literary sources, cult classic films, and popular media struck a cord with me.

Here are a few of my favorites:

"True love is the greatest thing, in the world-except for a nice MLT — mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich, where the mutton is nice and lean and the tomato is ripe." -The Princess Bride

"As You Wish." -The Princess Bride

 "'cause I know there is strength
in the differences between us
and I know there is comfort
where we overlap"
-Ani Difranco's Overlap

"Who, being loved, is poor?" -Oscar Wilde

"I love you. You annoy me more than I ever thought possible, but… I want to spend every irritating minute with you." -Scrubs

"We need a witness to our lives. There's a billion people on the planet… I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you're promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things… all of it, all of the time, every day. You're saying 'Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness.'" -Shall We Dance?

"When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible." -When Harry Met Sally

"I would rather share one lifetime with you than face all the ages of this world alone." -Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens, and Fran Walsh in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring

"All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love." -Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace

"We loved with a love that was more than love." -Edgar Allan Poe's Annabell Lee

"He felt now that he was not simply close to her, but that he did not know where he ended and she began." -Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina

"You know you're in love when you don't want to fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams." -Dr. Seuss

"Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same." -Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights

"Nobody has ever measured, even poets, how much a heart can hold." -Zelda Fitzgerald

"Gravitation can not be held responsible for people falling in love." -Albert Einstein maybe some of them make you want to roll your eyes... : )