Tag Archives: Apple

Sweet Potato, Apple, & Poblano Hash

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One of my very favorite things about this time of year is that the great variety of seasonal chiles appear in the farmers markets and grocery stores. As a native Texan, you might think that my favorite of these is the jalapeño. It’s not. Those things are perfect paired with cream cheese for Armadillo eggs or for stuffing tamales, but they’re not my favorite. No, mine’s the poblano. It barely makes the chart on the scoville scale, carrying just a tinge of heat, but provides a lot of flavor. I never make chile con carne the same way twice, but my best versions always contained roasted poblanos. But that’s another post.

Lately I’ve been eating a lot of hash. The tiny baby-bite-sized cubes are perfect for Isaac to pick at, and I find that a dish of hash with two eggs baked on top makes for the most satisfying breakfast. This morning I found myself (sadly) without bacon, but when I realized I had a green apple and a farmers market poblano on hand, I realized I could make a hash perfect for a September breakfast.

 

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Sweet Potato, Apple, & Poblano Hash
{gluten free, paleo}
Serves 2

1 large sweet potato
1 green apple
1 poblano chile
2 tbsp pastured lard, ghee, or coconut oil
1 tsp coarse salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 green onions

Dice the sweet potato and apple into a fine dice. These need to be finely diced rather than chopped into large cubes, so that they will cook sufficiently in the pan.

Cut the poblano in half length-wise, remove the seed, membrane, and stem, and finely dice.

Set a cast iron pan over medium-high heat and add the fat to the pan. All the fat to heat up, but don’t let it get so hot that it smokes.

Add the sweet potato, apple, and poblano to the pan and toss to combine. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Allow to cook on medium or medium-high, stirring ONLY OCCASIONALLY. You want the sweet potato to develop some caramelization, and that won’t happen if it all keeps getting tossed around. After about 10-15 minutes, test a piece of sweet potato to make sure that it’s cooked through.

Sliced up some green onions and serve on top.

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*DON’T FORGET! I’ve got a giveaway going on HERE through 9/16/14 at 11:59 PM. Don’t miss out! *

 

 

Apple Inspirations

Do you ever feel too inspired?

For the past several weeks I’ve found myself exponentially more inspired every day. To read. To paint. To cook. To write. To dance. To decorate. To travel. To love… To sleep.

I find my synapses firing so rapidly that I can’t really sit and formulate any particular thought. My thoughts are a runaway stream of consciousness.

So forgive me if my writing seems disjointed or rudimentary.

But I do manage to find some success in the madness.

One of my inspirations has been this tart.

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It was meant to harken the images of New England in the fall. Apple, pecans, maple, and oats… Colonial style inns, headless horsemen, and ghost stories…

Perfect for October, right?

I also wanted something that I could eat for breakfast and feel good about. Nothing too sweet.  But perfectly satisfying. I want to wake up, eat a piece with a cup of tea and feel like it’s a special morning. Every day.

Or at least until the tart is gone.

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I first tried this recipe simply. Just the apples and brie with the sweetness and warmth from the maple syrup and spices. But I felt like it was missing another dimension.

So I tossed in some rosemary…

and it became perfect.

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Apple-Brie Tart with Oatmeal-Pecan Crust
Feeds 4-6

For the filling
2 medium-large apples
2 oz brie (I used goat brie)
2 tbsp real maple syrup (grade B if you can find it!)
1/8 tsp each ground clove and fresh grated nutmeg
2 tsp finely chopped rosemary

For the crust
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup butter, diced small, and chilled very cold
1/2 cup oat flour (I pre-measured a 1/2 cup of oats and ground them in my old coffee grinder)
1/4 cup pecans
1 tbsp sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a tart pan.

In a food processor, combine the oats, butter, oat flour, pecans, and sugar. Process until you have a fine meal that will hold together if you squeeze a bit in your hand.

Press the “dough” into the tart pan. Try to cover as much of the bottom and sides of the pan as possible.

Prick the dough with a fork and bake the crust for 12-15 minutes. This is called blind-baking, since there is no filling in it right now.

Meanwhile, slice the apples using a mandolin slicer, a food processor with a slicing blade, or fantastic hand-eye coordination with a knife. You want each piece as thin and evenly-cut as possible.

In a separate small bowl or saucer, combine maple syrup, clove, and nutmeg. Dip each apple slice into the syrup and drain off any excess. Place each apple slice in the crust in an even layer covering the bottom of the crust. Repeat with 1-2 more rows, or however many apple slices you have left.

Cut the brie into small chunks, preferably also evenly cut widths. Lay over top of the apple. Sprinkle with rosemary.

Bake until crust is golden, apples are crinkled, and cheese is melted.

Serve alongside coffee, raspberry tea, or apple cider. Winking smile

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What are your plans for this fall? Any fun recipes or activities?

On an unrelated note, who’s going to FoodBuzz?! I may or may not be. If I can figure out lodging arrangements, I have a pretty good chance of being there!

Twelve Weeks of Christmas Cookies

Welcome to the 12 weeks of Christmas Cookies! I know, it’s not even October yet. But it’s just about 12 weeks until Christmas, can you believe it?

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The 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies is an annual blog hop series hosted by (this year) by Brenda at Meal Planning Magic, and at last count about 25 other bloggers are participating this this year’s series!

Every Thursday for the next twelve weeks, all we bloggers who have thrown our hats into the ring will share a new cookie/bar/brownie recipe for the quickly approaching holiday season! I understand today’s Friday and not Thursday, but better late than never, right? Winking smile

 

For this week’s installment, I’ve built upon the apple theme for this week and made Oatmeal-Apple Cookies!

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These cookies are granola bar meets apple pie meets cookie! And they’re vegan and gluten-free to boot! A tasty treat you can feel good about! And this recipe is perfect for the entire fall+Christmas season, so don’t feel like you have to wait!

 

Oatmeal-Apple Cookies (Vegan + Gluten Free!)

Adapted from Food.com

3/4 cup coconut oil (at room temperature)
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1 “flax egg” (1 tbsp flaxseeds, ground, mixed with 3 tbsp hot water, and set aside)
1/4 cup rice milk (or whatever milk-type drink you prefer)
1.5 tsp vanilla (I used vanilla bean paste!)
100 g (roughly 1 cup) oat flour (I use an old coffee grinder to grind organic oats because I tolerate them better than gluten-free oats, but non-GF oats are heavily contaminated with gluten, so if you’re on a strict GF diet, use the certified gluten-free oats)
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp fresh grated nutmeg (the pre-ground nutmeg tastes and smells NOTHING like actual nutmeg! If you don’t want to use a whole nutmeg and grate it yourself, use pre-ground mace. It smells and tastes exactly like fresh nutmeg)
3 cups oats (I used organic rolled oats, but if you are on a strict GF diet, go for certified gluten-free)
1 cup finely diced apple

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, beat the coconut oil (which is more like a soft butter at room temperature) for about 10 seconds. Then add the sugar and mix that for about 10 seconds. Then add the “flax egg,” rice milk, and vanilla. Mix for an additional 20-30 seconds.

In a separate, medium-sized bowl, combine the oat flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and nutmeg. Add the flour mixture to the mixing bowl and mix until well incorporated. You will probably need to scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl on occasion.

Using a spoon or spatula, fold in the oats and finely diced apple into the batter.

Spoon roughly two-tablespoon-sized mounds onto a cookie sheet, leaving about two inches between mounds. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown and the cookies are moderately firm.

Enjoy!

Makes about 3 dozen cookies

Homemade Breakfast Sausage

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Have you ever made your own sausage?

I consider sausage to be one of those real comfort foods—perfect for fall. But I also prefer to get my purchase my meat from quality sources (grass-fed, preferably local). This creates a problem in our area if we have a hankerin’ for some sausage, since once cannot and will not find pastured pork, turkey, chicken, or any other variety of sausage within a one-hour radius of my house. Sure, I could go to Sprouts in Lubbock and spend $8 on a package of six bison sausages, but why would I when I can make my own sausage in very little time at all, using quality ingredients of my own compilation and leaving out the stuff I just don’t need (nitrates/nitrites, excess salt, excess fat, etc.), and save so much money while I’m at it? Plus, when you have fresh flavors such as apple, sage, and fennel, who needs the store-bought stuff??

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Am I alone in that I tend to feel sick if I eat sausages in the morning? I used to love eating breakfast sausage until I realized that I felt sick every morning after I ate it. I realize now it was the excess grease. But since my pork was rather lean, I didn’t get that sickly feeling with this sausage! Another win!

 

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Apple-Sage Breakfast Sausage
Adapted from FineCooking.com

1 apple, diced finely (I used a jazz apple)
1/2 small onion (or one very tiny onion), diced fine
1 lb ground pork
1 small bunch (about 1/4 cup) fresh sage, minced fine
3/4 tsp fennel seeds, crushed (I used an old coffee grinder)
1/2 tsp whole allspice, crushed
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients together in a medium bowl until well distributed. Cover the bowl well with plastic wrap and park the bowl in the fridge for at least an hour, but preferably overnight.

In the morning (or afternoon or evening…), set a cast iron skillet to medium-high. Once heated, take about a 2-ounce portion of the pork mixture and form it into a patty. Cook on the cast iron skillet, flipping occasionally, so that the outside gets a slight crust and the inside is cooked thoroughly. No, you do not need to use additional oil. There is plenty of fat in the pork itself.

Serve with roasted sweet potatoes and poached eggs. Winking smile

 

 

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Mmmm. Tastes a little like Christmas.

Here Comes Johnny Appleseed

 

September makes me think of Johnny Appleseed. Every year.

image (source)

It’s the kid in me.

While I typically don’t much care for apples, the grade school legend of ye olde John Chapman and his bohemian, apple-sharing, philanthropic ways always brings enough nostalgia to make me crave them.

Nostalgia, not hunger, is the best seasoning.

When my sisters and I were younger we would make apple butter+peanut butter sandwiches. Who needs jam when you have this smooth, silky, spicy spread?

But have you seen the ingredients list on a container of store-bought apple butter recently??

Evaporated Apples, Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Fruit Pectin, Citric Acid, Spice And Natural Flavoring

WHY two different kinds of corn syrup?! Why have any corn syrup at all?! Apples are sweet enough on their own! And when you have a crockpot, you can toss together the ingredients in less time than it takes to drive to the store. And I live in a small town. The store is eight minutes away. I mean what I say.

 

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Start with about five apples. I used three fuji apples and two jazz apples. I don’t understand the obsession with using only granny smith apples in cooking. I eat granny smiths straight. I cook with whatever I have on hand (which will never, ever be red or golden ‘delicious.’ Them things are nasty!)

 

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Chop ‘em into wedges. I have an apple core-er and slicer, but I totally forgot about it until after I’d already dirtied up my knife. Ah well. Goes to show how often I eat apples!

 

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Put the apples in a crockpot with one cup of 100% apple juice (I used Simply Apple kind), two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, 1 1/2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice (or your preferred combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and/or allspice), 1/2 tsp vanilla, and a pinch of salt. Set on low heat for about 18 hours, or until thick and saucy.

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Blend using an immersion blender or in batches in a blender or food processor.

 

Spread on bread. Peanut butter and pots-for-hats optional.

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(makes about two cups of finished apple butter)

 

Recipe lightly adapted from Eating Bird Food

My Favorite Season

 

It’s the very first day of fall! AHH! My favorite time of year!

The fall season brings back so many fond thoughts–

Pumpkins
Apples
Fireplaces
Cozy sweaters
Hay rides
Chili
“Haunted” houses
Ghost stories
Pecan pie
Pretty cool-weather clothes
Going outside and not sweating!!
(Okay, fine. It’s Texas, and there’s a good chance we’re still sweating up until Christmas, but still.)
Halloween + Thanksgiving
Crunchy leaves
Cheesy Halloween family movies
History class at school
(Uh. Okay, so I’m not in elementary school anymore, but I always learned the most in the first two months of the school year. Winking smile )
Lots of baking!
Pomegranates
Washington Irving
(The Legend of Sleepy Hollow + Rip Van Winkle)
Knitting

(half my kitchen, about this time last year. Complete with my original 2nd grade artwork!
I’ve since changed out all the old cabinet hardware!)

I’m SO excited for what this means for the blog, too. Smile I have SO many recipes to share with you all! In fact, next week I’ll be devoting the blog exclusively to apple recipes! You excited yet?! Smile Here’s a hint…

 

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What’s your favorite season?

What do you love about the fall season??

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