Tag Archives: apples

Applelicious Sheet Cake

I started blogging thinking it would be pretty cool to share food and some recipes that we all enjoyed eating. I wasn’t sure anyone would ever read my words, make the food I was writing about or even enjoy my weekly blog. I am ever so surprised when someone I know mentions they like my blog, or made what I shared. It totally surprises me when not only friends and family but total strangers “like” a blog I’ve written. I truly appreciate all the support and encouragement.

IMG_4362

 

My daughter is the one who got me started and not only keeps me honest; I forget things and she reminds me; she also helps me when I don’t understand how social media works. She encourages me to read other blogs, if someone likes or follows my blog she wants me to go and look at theirs etc. I will admit I just recently started doing this and am so glad I finally took some time to do so. There are so many interesting people out there with great recipes and pretty neat stories to share. I hope to be able to spend more time supporting and encouraging others. I wish there more time in the day, I also would love to peruse Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and all the other interesting social media sites; maybe someday I will figure them all out.

IMG_4377

 

So today’s recipe was one of many recipes I ripped out of a magazine or catalog, I have GOT to find a better way to store all of these. So many recipes so little time.

Applelicious Sheet Cake

2 apples – I used honeycrisps but Gala would also work well
⅓ cup butter, melted
1 ⅔ cups packed brown sugar
1 cup apple butter
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 cup finely chopped dried apples
1 recipe Maple icing

Maple Icing

In a small bowl stir together ½ cup powdered sugar, 1 Tbsp. melted butter, 1 Tbsp. maple syrup, 1 Tbsp. milk and ½ tsp vanilla till smooth.  

Preheat oven to 350’ F – Grease a 13x9x2 pan; set aside.

Peel, core and coarsely shred one of the apples using a box grater. The other apple thinly slice.  cover and set aside.

IMG_4367

In a large bowl whisk together butter, brown sugar, apple butter, eggs, and vanilla until smooth. Add flour, baking powder & soda and the salt; whisk to combine. Fold in the dried apples and the fresh shredded apples reserving the slices for the top of the batter.

Spread batter in prepared dish and arrange the remaining apple slices on the top of the batter.

IMG_4368

Bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Remove to a wire rack. Pour maple icing over the hot cake; spread evenly. Cool completely. Dust with cinnamon.

Recipe found on Better Home and Gardens

Thanksgiving Dinner – no power – Sausage Ciabatta Stuffing

Firstly I hope you all had a wonderful day with delicious food and great conversations with your family and friends

10733732_10203282044236579_8098520816926038140_o

Talk about having a pretty traditional Thanksgiving here in NH we got hit with a heavy snow storm on Wednesday; I think the final total was 15 +/- inches.  While that much snow is generally not a big deal for us, this one kind of kicked our butt.  We lost power for 10 hours on Wednesday; which is always my prep day. I peel and cut up all the veggies, set the table, get out all the serving dishes and prep the dressing aka stuffing.

A few years ago I opted for cooking 2 smaller sized turkeys together versus the 16+lb bird I used to get. I find that they have a better chance of being super moist which pretty much is the main cooking goal for any cook. This year in particular it was an amazing choice. My gas Viking stove top works but my gas oven does not. My girlfriend who lives up the road did offer me hers and I was going to use it; however I was concerned about not being on site while it cooks, I like to keep an eye on it and I couldn’t be 2 places at once.

THANKSGIVING 2014 025

Not as pretty as when cooked in my oven; but they tasted wonderful!

Thursday we lost power again at 8:30 am; it came back right after we finished dessert around 4:30 pm.  While my guys were out plowing and shoveling; I cleared a path to the gas grill and cleaned it off at least a foot of fresh powder. I actually grabbed my roasting pan and put the birds; packaging an all into the pan to see if they would all fit on the grill. It was perfect. I make beer can chicken on the grill all the time; so I felt pretty confident it would work.  I filled the bottom of the pan with water; stuffed both with apples, onions, and garlic and seasoned them well; covered them with foil and hoped for the best. The grill was a solid 450′ and they took approximately 2 hours.

They came out excellent and outside smelled awesome!!!

There were only 2 things that I couldn’t make as I wanted.  I could not make the dinner rolls this year; which was fine and the dressing I made couldn’t be baked to get all the crust that everyone loves. But I was able to brown them with a little crust on the stove top.  If you are in search of a great tasting dressing/stuffing I wholly suggest this one!  Flavor galore and everyone loves it.  My son had 4 helpings yup I said 4.

THANKSGIVING 2014 017

Fennel

Fennel

THANKSGIVING 2014 012 THANKSGIVING 2014 011 THANKSGIVING 2014 015 THANKSGIVING 2014 016

It is based off of a Mario Batali sausage stuffing

Sausage Ciabatta Dressing

Your favorite Olive Oil for the pan

1 lb of your favorite Italian sausage – casing removed crumbled and browned

1 medium onion – diced

1 bulb fennel also called anise – sliced thin, fronds reserved

1 cup of chestnuts – I found them already cooked and peeled – brilliant

2 apples – I used granny smiths – peeled and diced

5 cups ciabatta bread cubed and toasted – I toasted them in a pan on the stove top

¼ cup fresh parsley – chopped

2 ½ cups chicken stock

½ melted butter

Add oil to the pan, crumble the sausage and cook till the sausage starts to brown, add the onion, fennel, chestnuts, apples and cook. Stirring occasionally, until the sausage is cooked through

In a large bowl, place the cubed bread and pour the cooked sausage mixture over the top. Sprinkle with parsley, and pour the stock and melted butter; toss to combine.

In a 9×13 baking dish place all ingredients in and cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes, uncover and bake until the top is golden browned and crisp. Serve garnished with some of the fennel fronds.

Weeknight Marinara Sauce

I have had a cold all week and it stinks so I decided it was a good idea to make some soup. I pulled a half dozen or so butternut squash’s from my garden so why not make a butternut squash soup. I will admit I have never really had one that I liked so I was pretty skeptical about making one. I found one online that roasted squash, onions and apples together; I liked the sound of it the smell was awesome. Unfortunately I didn’t like this one either so I am not going to share it with you all. I am very lucky that when we do not like things I can send them home with my in-laws and they end up loving it; or at least that is what they tell me.

Spaghetti & salad from garden 006

I did make a delicious spaghetti sauce from most of the remaining tomatoes that I got from my garden and a tossed salad with the last of my cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes. So it was nice I made something we all liked that I could share with you.

Spaghetti & salad from garden 001 Spaghetti & salad from garden 003 Spaghetti & salad from garden 004 Spaghetti & salad from garden 005

Most people I know have a go to sauce that they make, one of my girlfriends takes all day to make and it is amazing so I get it. When I have the time that is fine to have it simmering on the stove all day; most times I decide last minute that I want spaghetti for dinner. Those times I have a quick marinara sauce that has lots of flavor and it perfect for a weeknight meal.

Sauce

2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

2 small onions; chopped

3 cloves of garlic; minced

1 ½ tsp red pepper flakes or substitute with 2-3 jalapenos cleaned and chopped fine

1 ½ tsp sugar

2-28 ounce cans whole San Marzano plum tomatoes – or substitute with 8-9 tomatoes from your garden

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat; add the onions cook for 2-3 minutes; add garlic cook another minute; season with salt and the red pepper flakes cook till onions soften 7-8 minutes. Add the sugar and tomatoes; either squeeze them or break them up with a wooden spoon. Reduce heat to medium low and cook stirring from time to time until the tomatoes are broken down, 10-15 minutes. Taste for seasoning.

If you do use your tomatoes you are going to want to remove the seeds and skin – I cooked my tomatoes first then put them through my new food mill.

Cook your pasta of choice and enjoy!

Pork the Other White Meat

This past year or so we have definitely explored pork more often and in a varied of ways; and thoroughly enjoyed the journey.  I am not sure when or who said pork apples and mustard sounds delicious let’s put them together; but damn were they right.  Some of the recipes I have tried and loved are in my monthly and sometimes weekly meal plans.  BBQ Pulled Pork with Homemade Coleslaw on a bun is outstanding and simple – I had no idea.

Growing up I knew that we had applesauce with our pork chops but I was pretty sure that was to add some liquid to the chewy dry overcooked piece of meat we were served.  Thankfully we are now able to have a juicy cooked to perfection chop, loin, bone-in, boneless vehicle to add so many different combinations of flavors – I am hooked!

foodie 082 foodie 084 foodie 085 foodie 089

Pork Chops with Cider-Dijon sauce

4 center-cut-bone-in chop
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 apple – Fuji, Gala or Granny Smith halved, cored, and cut into small diced pieces
1 medium shallot, chopped
½ teaspoon fresh thyme
½ cup apple cider
½ cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (coarse-grain if you have it)

Position rack in the center of the oven – pre heat at 425’F Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Season the chop with 1tsp kosher salt and ½ tsp pepper. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  If needed working in batches, sear the chops on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to the baking sheet and roast until no longer pink near the bone. About 8-10 min.

Lower heat to medium and add the apples, shallots and thyme to the skillet and cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown and soften, about 2 minutes.  Add the cider, scraping any bits off the bottom of the pan, cook until reduced by half, about 2-3 minutes. Add the broth and mustard and continue cooking until slightly reduced, about 2-4 minutes. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve the sauce over the chops.

pork 006 pork 007 pork 010 pork 011 pork 013

Roast Pork Loin with Apples

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 (2-pound) boneless center cut pork loin
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 medium onion, thickly sliced
2 carrots, thickly sliced
2 stalks celery, thickly, sliced
3 cloves garlic, smashed
3 sprigs fresh thyme and/or
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
2 apples, Fuji, Gala, or Granny Smith, cored and cut into slices
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 cup apple cider
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large ovenproof skillet heat the vegetable oil over high heat. Season the pork loin all over generously with salt and pepper. Sear the meat until golden brown on all sides, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the meat to a plate and set it aside. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, herb, and 2 tablespoons of the butter to the skillet. Stir until the vegetables are browned, about 8 minutes. Stir in the sliced apples, then push the mixture to the sides and set the pork loin in the middle of the skillet along with any collected juices on the plate. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast the loin until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat registers 140 to 150 degrees F, about 30 to 35 minutes.  Pork cooked this way will be slightly pink. If desired, cook the pork to 160 degrees F, but note that this lean cut will not be as moist at the higher temperature.

Transfer the pork a cutting board and cover it loosely with foil while you make the sauce. Arrange the apples and vegetables on a serving platter and set aside. Remove and discard the herb sprigs. Return the skillet to a high heat and add the vinegar scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon to loosen up any browned bits. Reduce by half then add the cider and reduce by about half again. Pull the skillet from the heat and whisk in the mustard, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of cold butter. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste.
Slice into 1/2-inch thick pieces and arrange over the apple mixture. Drizzle some sauce over meat and serve the rest on the side.

Fall Fare

Like most people; I can only assume; when the weather starts to cool off the urge to start up the oven definitely takes over.  It not only helps take the chill out of the house and makes the house smell yummy!  It saves you from starting the furnace sooner than you want to.  

Image

Photo above taken by: Steve Fernandes – I LOVE this photo!!!

Before we built the home we live in today, we lived in a much smaller home where the only form of heat we used was a wood stove.  That makes for VERY chilly mornings and even chillier evenings when we got home from work; at least until you got the stove going.  I think that is where my love of cooking started especially when the air changes. I would cook anything that would keep the oven going for a few hours; just to get the house as warm as I wanted.  Sometimes it would get so hot we always ended up opening a window.  Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner was definitely worth 2 or 3 windows AND the front door. I am not complaining I really liked my little home. 

Since living in New England my entire life we have always had a wood stove; fireplaces are pretty but very inefficient.  When we started the new house I was MOST concerned we wouldn’t be having a wood stove or fireplace.  What no wood to cut, split, stack and clean up after. I did have many sleepless nights and brought up the subject quite often.  Well I am converted now, the whole house is radiant floor heat by propane and I would NEVER go back willingly to wood.  There are no cold spots in the house, no cold floors, no cold anything; the whole house is the same temperature.  We do keep the bedrooms colder than anywhere else and the ceramic tile in the bathrooms are AWESOME!!!  But my love for cooking was born out of wanting to be warm!   

Today being the first full day of Fall and boy can I tell; Not only are the leaves turning and dropping; I swear the color of the trees in the swamp just up the road from my house are almost at peak. I have already cooked a Roaster Chicken, a Ribeye Roast, made chicken stock for the freezer, took all the tomatoes that I haven’t done anything with from the garden and braised some Chicken thighs with them plus even more just this week.  I haven’t done anymore baking since all the zucchini & banana bread that I made a couple of weeks ago. BUT I did just make a Sam’s Club run today and bought some flour and sugar.  I must also take a trip to the local orchard up on Norway Hill to pick some yummy macintosh apples.  I can almost smell the apple pie and crisp cooking.

Tonight we are having Boneless Center Cut Pork Chops with apples for dinner and I might just have to make some chocolate chip cookies for dessert.  A couple of years ago my husband and I had a “who can make the Best Chocolate Chip Cookie challenge”.  Not a great thing to do if you are watching your weight.  It probably took us a month of both of us making cookies every week; it might have been even longer, I honestly can’t remember.  While his cookies LOOKED better than mine, I won the taste portion – Though I can’t remember how long it took us I do remember who won; funny thing is he seems to think he won.

Bad picture but awesome cookie!

Image

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies – How I make them!!!

2 Cups flour plus 2 Tbs All Purpose flour

½ Tsp Baking Soda

½ Tsp Salt

5 Tbs unsalted butter – room temperature

5 Tbs Margarine – room temperature

1 Cup brown sugar

½ C Sugar

1 large egg Plus 1 egg yolk

2 Tsp Vanilla

1 Cup more or less semisweet chocolate chips

 These make about 18 large cookies – Bake at 325’ for about 15 to 18 minutes

Large cookies – take about ¼ cup of the dough into a ball, split the ball in half and take the jagged edges of the dough and place them side by side sticking them together with the jagged edges facing up; place on either a parchment covered cookie sheet or spray the cookie sheet with cooking spray.  Do not overcook but cool them on the sheet, once cooked remove using a metal spatula.  

Rich watching his cookies so they come out perfect!

Image