Saturday, December 14, 2013

Bourbon Country - December 14, 2013

Kentucky is bourbon country and these days it feels like everyone is in to bourbon.  I love the taste, especially in sweets, but prefer not to drink it straight.  My husband has become a fan and has been given many bottles by family and friends which gives me an opportunity to try adding it to special recipes.  And, what's more special than Christmas treats!

I have been making cookies, cakes and candy for Christmas baskets.  I added a new cookie this year that I found in Southern Living magazine.  It's a bourbon pecan gingerbread cookie with molasses.  It seemed to have just the right Southern and holiday feel, but after making the first batch, I decided it needed some adaptation (I added more sugar and made it half walnut and half pecan to take advantage of a native Kentucky nut I already have put away in the freezer).


Bourbon-Pecan (and Walnut) Gingerbread Cookies
4 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
4 c. toasted and ground nuts (I used half pecan and half walnut)
3 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. bourbon
1/2 c. buttermilk
2 T. molasses
6 eggs, beaten
1 T. lemon zest
1 T. orange zest
2-3 c. toasted pecan halves
12 T. bourbon
5 c. powdered sugar

Stir together first 8 ingredients.  In separate bowl, stir together next 8 ingredients.  Combine the two and chill covered in fridge 12 hours.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Drop teaspoons of dough on parchment lined cookie sheets and press 2-3 pecans on top of each cookie.  Bake 14-16 minutes until browned.  Cool five minutes.  Mix bourbon and powdered sugar.  Add water as needed to make glaze.  Drizzle over cookies and cool.

I decided these cookies needed ice cream, but that would be even better with a bourbon sauce.  I just created a simple sauce that could be used for bread pudding, but it's great on ice cream too.


Bourbon Sauce
1/2 c. butter
1/4 c. water
1 c. sugar
1 egg
1/4 c. bourbon (or more if you like)

Melt butter in heavy pan.  Add water and sugar and cook about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat. Beat egg and slowly add sugar mixture while beating to avoid cooking the egg.  Add bourbon and beating one last time to mix well.  Serve warm on ice cream.

If you think this is good, you should taste my mother-in-law's award winning chocolate bourbon sauce.  She's giving it away for Christmas gifts this year and maybe she'll share the recipe here if we're all really nice!

One Year Ago - Chocolate Toffee and Jam Cake

Friday, December 6, 2013

Spice Up Your Nose With Horseradish - December 6, 2013

It took me many years to adjust to the heat of spicy peppers and I'm still not a fan of Scotch bonnets or other crazy hot peppers.  But, I have always loved the heat of horseradish.  If you go too crazy it really does rise up to your nose and make you sneeze, but just right and it creates a spice or heat with a bit of sour that I love.  Even so, I never thought of horseradish as something I could actually grow until I met a local farmer who grows horseradish as their major cash crop right here in Louisville.

I investigated and found that in addition to the great taste, horseradish has some other benefits. The biggest is the fact that I haven't found a predator in our area.  Rabbits, squirrels and chipmunks are consistently stealing our tomatoes, greens, rhubarb, beets and other plants, but none have taken a liking to horseradish.  It doubled in size the first year after planting but did not create any off shoots.  You have to wait until you have two frosts in the Fall to harvest and that just happened here about a week ago.  I carefully dug up the tap (or major root) and found one nice offshoot which I broke off and brought inside.


You can keep horseradish in the fridge at least a week without bothering and it will be fine.  In fact, it isn't even spicy until you start slicing or peeling and exposing it to air.  When you are ready, you can peel and then just place in a food processor to break up, but you will get a kind of lumpy result. The best solution is a microplaner (also the best tool for ginger).  Just be prepared that once you start grating, the flavor begins to get stronger and keeps doing so until you submerge in vinegar. Eventually, it will make you cry and your nose will drip, so have your vinegar mixture recipe ready first and then begin grating.


Homegrown Horseradish
2 T. white vinegar
2 T. water
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 root horseradish

Mix all ingredients except horseradish root in a small jar.  Peel and grate the root and as it gets the appropriate heat, drop into mixture.  Keep in refrigerator until ready to use.

If you search previous blogs, you'll see that my favorite use of horseradish is either a great bloody Mary or my friend Mary's horseradish dip, but just to add something new, I tried these great green beans with a bit of kick:


Ballgame Green Beans with Horseradish Sauce
2 cloves chopped garlic
2 T. olive oil
2 T. mayonnaise
2 T. horseradish
1/2 tsp. sugar
pinch of ground mustard
1 lb. green beans

In small bowl, stir together garlic, olive oil, mayonnaise, horseradish, sugar, salt and nutmeg.  Steam green beans until cooked, but still crunchy.  Transfer to medium bowl and pour sauce over them.  Let cool and transfer to sealable container.  Refrigerate until ready to serve or pack to take to the ballgame.  Serve green beans chilled or at room temperature.

One year ago - Jam Cake and Cider Caramels

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Breakfast Becomes Dinner and Dinner Becomes Lunch - November 24, 2013

Last weekend we went to our property in Pendleton County to turn off the water for the winter to find that the pipes had already frozen.  We decided to stay the weekend, but our provisions were limited which led to a fun circle of using the leftovers from each meal to make the next.  On the drive, John had stopped and picked up a cheap loaf of wheat bread, a dozen eggs and a tube of breakfast sausage to make breakfast our first morning.  So, when we started planning for dinner, he remembered making his fancy sourdough sausage dressing a year ago for Thanksgiving and decided to riff.  He made dressing with nothing but sandwich bread, an egg, a sauteed onion and apple, some salt, pepper and Herbs de Province and a half tube of crumbled sausage.  This was stuffed into a whole chicken which moistened it more and cooked according to his roasted Italian chicken recipe below.  It was a winner.

Roasted Italian Chicken


3 lbs potatoes, peeled & cut into chunks (or get those tiny ones and leave whole)

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup minced parsley (optional)
4-5 lbs chicken, in parts (or whole chicken)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Toss potatoes with half the oil and parsley plus salt and pepper.  Coat the chicken with the other half and sit on top of the potatoes in a baking pan with sides.  Cook a half hour and stir up potatoes before returning for another half hour until the outside of the chicken is crisp and the meat is cooked through.

After dinner, we still a great deal of chicken, so it was time for chicken salad sandwiches.  I asked my mother-in-law Mary Ellen how she makes hers and it's simple and delicious.




Mary Ellen's Chicken Salad 


1 c. Chopped Chicken pieces

2 T. mayonnaise
1 tsp. curry powder
halved grapes
chopped walnuts

Mix all together and eat.


You can of course riff on this.  I usually use Durkee's instead of mayonnaise.  You can also use different nuts or add celery and onion.


One Year Ago - Post Thanksgiving Stew and Turkey Jook

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Cucumber Pickles - Canned and Refrigerated - November 14, 2014

I am not sure why it took me so long to get to this blog.  Most years, I grow cucumbers and get one before the vine is infested and dies.  This year was the exception and yet I neglected to talk at all to this point about our successful crop and what we had to do to use it all (in addition to sharing with neighbors).  Perhaps I was simply afraid to jinx our success.


We grew a small heirloom cucumber this year that was great for pickling (except for the few occasions where I missed one and it became too big for pickling).  The larger ones we made into refrigerator pickles.  My neighbor, Sue has this down to a science using mostly English cucumbers from the farmer's market.  she has learned that adding tea and other ingredients keeps the pickle crisp even when very salty.  My methods are more simple which is probably fine since I usually eat them the following day.


Refrigerator Pickles
1 large cucumber
Rice wine vinegar
salt and pepper
pinch of sugar

Slice cucumber in rounds and place in plastic container.  Cover with vinegar and add salt and pepper to taste along with sugar.  Let sit several hours to overnight and enjoy.

But, I especially like to make canned dill pickles with just a little pepper to give them more flavor without overpowering my sandwich or bloody mary.  Here is the basic canned recipe.  I make the full amount of brine and keep the extra in the fridge.  Then, I can pick the small cucumbers and can a jar each night until it is all used up.  If the brine is already prepared, i can just do this on the side while preparing dinner.

The Perfect Dill Pickle
2 c. white vinegar
2 c. water
2 T. salt
3 lb. small cucumbers
4 garlic cloves
4 tsp. peppercorns
4 heads dill or 4 tsp. dill seed
4 cayenne peppers

In medium saucepan, bring vinegar, water and salt to boil until salt is dissolved.  Fill 4 quart jars will cucumbers, garlic, peppers and spices.  Pour brine over each jar, seal and boil in water bath 10 minutes.


Everything is gone in our garden now, but I still have beautiful canned jars on the shelf ready to enjoy all winter.

One Year Ago -

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Last of the Fall Harvest - November 9, 2013

We have been very fortunate with a very mild Fall this year.  I think we have had two overnight freezes, but they were both very late.  This means that we still have some greens and fennel in the garden, but we have pulled up everything else.  And, just before the freeze, we had that amazing opportunity to get bushels of ripe red peppers for next to nothing when you usually have to pay $1.50 a piece.  During the same time, I had co-workers, friends and my garden box sharing a bumper crop of eggplant.  I love both red peppers and eggplant, but I must admit, I started to feel a bit overwhelmed trying to make use of them all.

You can simply cut up the peppers and freeze in freezer bags.  They get mushy, so you can't just eat them plain once thawed but they are great in sauces and baked or sauteed recipes.  But, I decided to see what I could do with the combination of these two great ingredients.  The first attempt was sauteed peppers and eggplant I found in Bon Appetit.  I admit that I actually made this recipe twice because I thought the eggplant retained too much water the first time, so I tried it again first salting the eggplant to remove that moisture.  Here is the recipe:


Spiced Peppers and Eggplant
1/4 c. olive oil
4 cloves garlic
3/4 tsp. coriander seeds, crushed
3/4 cumin seeds, crushed
pinch of saffron
4 red or yellow bell peppers cut into 2" strips
2 baby eggplants, quartered and cut in 1x2" pieces
pepper
2 T. red wine vinegar
1 c. torn basil leaves

Salt eggplant pieces and let sit until water seeps from them.  Squeeze out the water with a paper towel and remove as much salt as possible.  Heat the oil in a skillet on med-high and add spices and garlic.  Saute 4 minutes.  Add peppers and eggplant.  Season with pepper.  (You also need to add salt if you didn't salt the eggplant before.)  Cook until tender, about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and add vinegar.  Add basil just before serving.

My favorite combination, however, was this old canning recipe I found in a canning cookbook. First, these cans look absolutely beautiful on your shelf or as a gift.  Second, they are a ready made meal.  You just open the jar, and serve on warm bread with goat cheese!!!


Pepper, Basil and Eggplant in Oil
5 small eggplant, sliced 1/2 inch thick
4 large red peppers
4 large yellow peppers
1 c. olive oil
3/4 c. cider vinegar
3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
10+ large basil leaves

Broil the eggplant slices on a sprayed cookie sheet about 4 inches from broiler, turning to cook both sides about 15-20 minutes total.  At the same time, broil peppers 4 inches from broiler, turning until the skins are bubbly and dark all around, about 30 minutes.  Place peepers in brown bag until cooled when skins should peel off.  Quarter and remove seeds.

Heat the oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper.  Simmer 4-5 minutes.  Alternate eggplant, peppers and basil in wide mouthed pint jars.  Pour oil mixture over each, cap and seal in boiling water 10-14 minutes.

One Year Ago - Brussels Sprouts

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Ooey Gooey and Delicious - October 31, 2013


It is that time of year when I get excited about a hearty bowl of soup, stew or warm pasta.  Melted cheese is especially high on my list right now.  One great way to have it is in a warm cheese dip, but invite some friends because it makes more than you can eat alone and it's always more fun to share.  This an especially great recipe for cleaning out your cheese drawer because it calls for several types of cheese.  It also is great for using up green veggies and herbs.  I have riffed on this by replacing the artichoke hearts with cooked spinach, the leeks for shallots or the asparagus with broccoli.  Try it once as described below and then adapt to your liking (or your refrigerator).


Vegetable and Goat Cheese Dip
1 c. chopped asparagus
2 T. unsalted butter
1 c. chopped leeks (white and light green part only)
2 T. all-purpose flour
1 1/4 c. whole milk
1 c. grated white cheddar
salt and pepper
14 oz. drained and chopped artichoke hearts
1/4 c. peas (thawed if frozen before)
2 T. each chives, mint and parsley
1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest
4 oz. crumbled goat cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Cook asparagus in salted water for 2 minutes to blanch.  Drain and cool.  Melt butter in saucepan and add leeks, cooking until soft, about 10 minutes.  Whisk in flour and then slowly add milk.  Keep whisking and cook until thickened.  Remove from heat and add cheddar.  Mix until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper.  Fold in most of asparagus (leave the pretty tips for the top), artichoke, peas, herbs, zest and 2 oz. goat cheese.  Pour into ramekin and arrange remaining cheese and asparagus on top.  Bake 15-20 minutes until brown and bubbly or ooey-gooey.  Let rest 5 minutes and serve with sliced bread.

One year ago - Toasted Pumpkin Seeds and Pumpkin Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Friday, October 25, 2013

Honey Pear Muffins: YUM! - October 25, 2013


We bought a bunch of Asian pears at the farmer's market.  They looked beautiful and they did taste sweet, but the texture was too grainy to be enjoyable for eating.  I thought about reproducing a beautiful Pear Honey Pie I made last year, but was leaving town and knew most of it would go to waste.  I thought more and finally decided I could still use the pear honey combination but instead try a muffin.  They turned out to be the best muffins I've ever made.  I ate one the next day and froze the rest to save for my next board meeting.


Honey Pear Muffins
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 c. buttermilk, room temp.
1/4 c. butter, melted and cooled
1/4 c. honey
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. diced pears
sugar to sprinkle muffins, Turbino best

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease or line muffin tins.  Whisk flours, sugar, powder and spices. In another bowl whisk milk, butter, honey, egg and vanilla.  Mix the two together and gently add pears.  Fill 15 muffin tins and sprinkle each with sugar.  bake 18-20 minutes until toothpick comes out clean after inserting.  Cool and serve warm.



Saturday, October 19, 2013

Beets Can’t Be Beat – October 19, 2013


For most of my life, I thought I hated beets.  This all resulted from a bad elementary school lunch experience where I tasted my first beet thinking it was an apple ring.  It was over 30 years before I decided to give them another try and what a pity because I love beets.  They are healthy, sweet and easy to cook.  And, if you avoid the bright red ones, (which actually are the healthiest) they don’t bleed into the rest of your meal.  Usually, I simply wrap beets in Reynold’s Wrap and bake in the oven for about an hour.  When you unwrap them, the skins peel right off and you can slice and salt the beets and serve just like that or add some blue cheese.  But recently, I have been adding beets to Asian food.  They are great chopped with steamed carrots, unsalted peanuts and boiled pasta as a cold noodle salad.  You can make your own noodle salad dressing or buy a great one at Trader Joes called Asian Style Spicy Peanut Vinaigrette.  Or try John’s stir fry:


John’s Stir Fry
3 beets, peeled and chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 c. snow peas
1 red pepper, chopped
1 bunch Swiss chard stems, chopped (great way to use chard stems after steaming leaves)
1 T. oil
1 T. soy sauce
2 T. Schezwan sauce
½ c. unsalted peanuts
½ lb. spagetti, cooked

Heat oil and soy sauce in wok or large pot.  Add veggies and begin cooking while stirring.  (If you wanted to add beef or pork, cook those a bit in the oil before you add the veggies.  If you want to add seafood, toss in after the veggies get soft.)  While veggies are cooking, prepare spaghetti and drain.  Add Schezwan and fully coat veggies before tossing in spaghetti and peanuts and stirring to coat well.  Adjust sauce, peanuts and pasta to taste.


While thinking about uses for beets, I had my drier out so that I could dry and put up cherry tomatoes.  I tried making beet chips.  I simply covered very thin beet slices with olive oil and salt and added to the dryer.  They were good, especially dipped in yogurt dip, but it was a lot of work and dryer space and time for the amount you can produce.  I think an oven would be a much better way to make beet chips.

One year ago – Winter Squash withChicken and Winter Squash Cheesecake Squares

Monday, October 14, 2013

Harvesting and Marinating Mushrooms – October 12, 2013


Last year I blogged about planting Shiitake mushroom spores at our community garden.  So far, a few have poked out but immediately been consumed by squirrels, but there are still old mushroom spores in the garden planted 4-5 years ago and they all sprouted at once into beautiful soft mushrooms.  I have found that you need to pick mushrooms right away because they get tough and they start to be eaten if left very long.  So, another gardener and I split the harvest and I still had over a pound of mushrooms.

The stem of the Shiitake (unlike many other mushrooms) is too tough to eat, so I removed those, brushed all the dirt off the mushrooms and began considering how to put them up until needed.  My original idea was to dry the mushrooms, but after some Google searching, marinated mushrooms sounded much more delicious, so I decided to give them a try.  I can also report they were so good, I marinated another batch several weeks later.

Marinated Mushrooms

1-2  pounds small, meaty mushrooms
1 pint white vinegar or cider vinegar
Kosher salt or pure sea salt
Zest of a lemon, sliced into wide strips
2 dried hot chiles, split lengthwise
1/2 T. oregano
1/2 c. olive oil

Cut the Shiitake mushrooms into 1/2 inch strips. With small mushrooms, like a button mushroom, you need only cut them in half, and you can leave the smaller ones whole.
Lay down a layer of salt on a tray and place the mushrooms on it. Then salt them on top to cover. Let them stand at room temperature for 1-2 hours.
Put the mushrooms between paper towels and gently squeeze them a bit to remove any remaining water.  Then, boil them in the vinegar for five minutes.  Fish out the mushrooms and put them between paper towels again and gently squeeze them to remove some of the vinegar.  Lay the mushrooms on a clean cloth to dry.  Let them air dry until they are no longer damp, but still pliable (not until they are leather.) Turn the mushrooms once or twice during this time, 12-24 hours.
Put the oil, lemon zest, oregano and chile in a bowl and toss the mushrooms in them. Pack this into glass jars. Use a chopstick or some other kind of clean stick to poke around the jar — you want to find and remove as many air bubbles as possible. Make sure the mushrooms are submerged in the oil.  Refrigerate and wait at least a week before eating. These mushrooms will keep in the fridge for 6 months.
One Year Ago - Green Tomato Relish


Friday, October 4, 2013

Snacking with Edward Lee – October 4, 2013

I admit to having a bit of a crush on Edward Lee.  I have had the opportunity to eat at 610 Magnolia and attend events at the wine bar across the street.  I haven’t tried Milkwood yet, but I am looking forward to the chance.  But, lately, I have been more obsessed with his new cookbook, Pickles and Smoke.   It gives you great insight into the way he combines Asian and Southern cuisine.  It also gave me the opportunity to impress my husband and mother-in-law with a whole chicken stuffed with potatoes under the skin.  But, this week, I have been trying the appetizer in the book and having a blast.  The first I have renamed Edward Lee Bacon Crack because you will quickly become addicted.  The second is pickled jalapenos which he doesn’t even bother to can because they go so quickly at his house.  The key is that they are pickled with bourbon.  I tried this recipe twice and for my palette, they were nicer the second time when I got a milder pepper.  He recommends using them in drinks.  I like them with nachos.


Bacon Candy and Curried Cashews

3 slices thick bacon, diced
2 T. sugar
1 c. cashews
2 tsp. sweet Curry powder
¼ tsp. cayenne
Pinch of salt and pepper
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cook bacon pieces on medium 5-6 minutes until they start to crisp.  Drain off all but 1 T. fat.  Add sugar and cook while stirring 2-3 minutes until bacon is all coated and starts to look shiny.  Quickly add remaining ingredients and toss to coat. 

Remove from heat and spread on cookie sheet.  Bake 10 minutes or until lightly toasted (keep an eye on it throughout especially if your bacon isn’t too thick).  Cool and store in air-tight container.


Bourbon-Pickled Jalapenos

1 lb. peppers, seeded and chopped in rings
¼ c. white vinegar
1 c. bourbon
½ c. honey
2 tsp. coriander seeds
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. mustard seeds
2 bay leaves
2 pint jars

Pack pepper rings into two pint jars.  Combine remaining ingredients and bring to boil before simmering 5 minutes.  Pour over peppers.  You can now keep in fridge for up to two weeks or seal in boiling water for 10 minutes to make shelf stable.

One year ago today – minestrone stew

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Verjus (Green Juice) – September 21, 2013

I love to discover old food ways that preserve food that would be wasted.  It is even better to learn that young farmers are bringing them back.  This happened about a month ago when I first learned about Verjus.  This is the French word, but the same product is used even more extensively in other countries like Syria.  It is basically the product of squeezing the unripe grapes when harvesting grapes for wine.  This practice used to be very common but, now, most of these grapes would simply be left to rot.


The benefit of Verjus is that it can be used in recipes in place of wine vinegars, but it has a more subtle less sour taste that allows the other ingredients to really show through.  I ordered a bottle on Amazon.com and tried it in lots of vinaigrettes and other recipes, but I really hit the target when I bought beautiful Japanese eggplants at the farmer’s market and make Chez Panisse Eggplant Caviar.  Trust me, this is a simple way to really impress your family or guests.  The key is to use really great fresh ingredients and let them shine!


Eggplant Caviar on Toasted Bread

2 Japanese eggplant which was easier to chop (or one large globe eggplant)
1 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
Salt and pepper to taste
Really good olive oil (I use Oliva Bella)
2 finely chopped shallots
White Balsamic Vinegar
Verjus Blanc
1 minced clove garlic
¼ c. chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Peel eggplant and cut in slices or chunks.  Place on baking dish with tomatoes and toss with oil, salt and pepper.  Sprinkle a couple T. water over it all, cover with foil and bake 30-40 minutes until vegetables are soft. 

While the vegetables are baking, soak the shallots and garlic in half white Balsamic vinegar and half Verjus.  Mash the vegetables, drain the shallots and garlic and add.  Cool and add more oil if needed.

When ready to serve, add parsley and serve at room temperature on bagette toasted with a little olive oil.


One Year Ago - Caprese and Orange Basil Salad

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Saving Up Squash – September 15, 2013

All Southerners know you must lock your car up in the summer or a neighbor or co-worker might fill up your trunk with their squash bounty.  We don’t grow squash but this year we had a volunteer butternut squash plant that must have resulted from the seeds being left in our mulch.  I do buy squash at the Farmer’s Market.  We really enjoy the baby ones that are great for pan frying with cherry tomatoes or pickling whole with the same sour pickle recipe I shared in this blog last year for okra, beans and carrots as well as baby squash. 

This week, I decided to get a little more adventurous thanks to Paul Virant’s beautiful book, The Preservation Kitchen.  I started with Pickled and Spiced Summer Squash.  I had beautiful Zephyr Squash, the half yellow half light green Summer squash popular at the market.  Here is all you do:


Pickled and Spiced Summer Squash

8 c. squash cut in ¼ inch slices
2 T. salt
2 ½ c. Champagne vinegar
1 ¼ c. water
½ c. white wine
¼ c. sugar
1 T. sweet curry powder
2 tsp. smoked paprika

Mix squash and salt and sit in colander to drain for an hour.  Meanwhile, boil remaining ingredients.  Divide squash into 5 pint jars and pour brine over before sealing 10 minutes.  Now the interesting part...when ready to eat, you can open and serve as a pickle with a cheese board, but you can also make a great room temperature salad which is easy for parties.  Simply grill 1 pound squash and cut in similar size to those in your pickles.  Add to a drained jar of pickled squash with 1/3 c. feta cheese.  Add salt, pepper, fresh parsley and olive oil and pickle juice to taste (just a little of each).
If you don’t like the idea of canning but you tired of ratatouille, you can also try curried Summer squash.  It is perfect as the temperatures drop.

Curried Squash Soup

3 T. vegetable oil
2 chopped Summer squash
1 chopped onion
1 tsp. curry powder
Salt and pepper to taste
4 c. chicken broth

Saute squash, onion and curry in oil 8-10 minutes until soft.  Add broth and bring to boil.  Reduce and simmer 25-30 minutes.  Puree in blender and serve topped with sour cream, cilantro and/or pepper.

So, you may not be tired of butternut squash yet and it saves for several weeks in the vegetable drawer, but my plant produced more than we were interested in eating during the summer.  Butternut squash always make me think of autumn and Thanksgiving, so I liked the idea of making something I could just pull out and enjoy during the holiday.


Butternut Squash Aigre-Doux

2 ¼ lb. butternut squash (quartered, seeded and sliced in ¼ inch slices)
½ sliced Vidalia onion
2 ½ c. sherry
1 ¾ c. maple syrup
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
¾ c. sherry vinegar

Add all ingredients except vinegar to a pot and bring to boil.  Lower heat and simmer 15 minutes.  Drain squash and onions and pack in jars.  Add the vinegar to the brine and simmer.  Pour this over squash in jars and seal in boiling water 10 minutes. 


When you are ready to eat, just pour the entire contents of a pint jar into a pan with 2 T. butter and heat.  Just before serving, add a bit of nutmeg.

One Year Ago - Moroccan Winter Squash and Moroccan Eggplant and Chickpeas

Friday, September 6, 2013

Sunday Supper – September 6, 2013


My mother died when I was 15 and my brother and I were raised in part from that point on my our neighbors, the Zitos.  This amazing family had four kids of their own and we were always welcome for any meal.  This was never as exciting as Sunday.  Mama Zito made a pot of sugo – a tomato based sauce that cooked all day and that might include sausage, meatballs, boiled eggs and other wonders.  But, she always made boxed pasta.

I have made pasta on my own and it is a great way to make fabulous use of nothing more than flour and a little oil, egg, water and salt.  However, after moving to Louisville, I discovered Lotsa Pasta and did not feel the need to make my own pasta again.


And, then came the August Bon Appetit magazine where I saw photos of these beautiful handmade pastas and I realized they were made with a wooden tool I had at home but had never known how to use.  I decided to experiment.  I had a great time and a couple great pasta meals.  I highly recommend getting back to the basics.  I used simple homegrown tomatoes roasted in the oven with homegrown garlic, fabulous olive oil, salt pepper and some fresh herbs.  And, don’t forget the Parmesan!


Basic Pasta
1 egg, beaten
½ tsp salt
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 T. olive oil
I T. water

In a medium sized bowl, combine flour and  salt.  Make a well in the center and add egg, mix.  Stir in water and oil and let sit about one hour.  Knead dough on a floured surface about 3-4 minutes.  Roll to desired thinness (really thin) and cut in strips.  I actually cut into circles with a small lid and then pressed into the wooden tool I have that created the wavy pattern on each circle.  I then wet both ends and pressed together to create half circles with centers to catch the sauce.

One Year Ago – Sauteed Beet Greens and Baked Beets


Saturday, August 31, 2013

Getting the Most from Your Corn – August 30, 2013

I believe we purchased the last of the good summer sweet corn last week.  It has been a great year for corn, so I can’t really complain, but it is sad to see it go.  We mostly eat our corn right on the cob after boiling for three minutes.  I just add a little salt to sweet corn and enjoy.  For other less flavorful corn, I will eat Mexican style by slathering with a mayo/sour cream mixture, Parmesan and red pepper (plus a squeeze of lime juice).  The best thing about corn is that it can be put up for later with little effort.  You just shuck, cut off the corn and freeze in bags. 

This Summer I have really been enjoying corn and small potatoes in salads (see the blog two weeks ago for Golden Corn Salad).  And, I am always looking for a new way to make use of the corn husks.  I haven’t started making dolls yet, but last year I made tamales and this year I found a really interesting recipe for Corn Husk Oil Dressing.  It is great on a salad with corn and the flavors mix well with the sweet sour taste of sundried tomatoes and sharp cheeses.  I tried the original Weinbar recipe with tofu and made my own riff replacing it with Greek yogurt.  Both were tasty, but I think I preferred the yogurt for a bit of tartness and a thinner dressing.


Charred Corn Husk Oil Dressing

Husk from 1 ear corn
1 c. veg. oil
5 oz. tofu, drained and cut up (or Greek yogurt)
3 T. lemon juice
2 T. apple cider vinegar
1 T. honey
Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat boiler and lay husks out on cookie sheet in single layer.  Broil until charred in spots (about 4 minutes).  Tear husk and blend in blender with oil.  Strain and you are left with 1 c. infused oil.  This will keep in your fridge for at least a week.  When ready, blend remaining ingredients with ¼ c. of the oil and serve.



One Year Ago - Healthy Raisin Bran Muffins

Friday, August 23, 2013

Did You Know Onions Could Walk? – August 23, 2013


John and I have several garden beds in our yard, but we also have a garden bed at Billy Goat Hill Community Garden.  This year our community bed is full of cherry tomatoes and okra, but half the fun is seeing what others are growing around us and I have learned about all kinds of new plants that grow locally including Borage, Ground Cherries and Walking Onions.

I never knew an onion could walk, but these really do.  The walking onion grows a long stalk much like a leek.  At the top of the stalk, baby bulbs form resembling the scapes of garlic.  Once these get heavy enough, they cause the whole plant to fall over allowing the bulbs to root into the ground and form new stalks.  Through this method, the onions eventually move throughout the garden creating new plants.  I learned from an Internet search that these onions originate from Greece.

A fellow gardener gave me several onions that had started to take over her bed.  Greek Onion recipes aren’t that easy to find, so I tasted the onions first.  They actually taste more like a shallot than an onion with a mild garlic/onion flavor.  I started by using the onion bulbs.  I peeled them like a garlic bulb, crushed and minced.  They were delicious in an omelet with cheese and red peppers.  Then, I decided to make use of the stalks.  I chopped them in I inch sections like a leek and boiled in water for about 50 minutes.  It made a great onion broth that I froze for later.  Weeks later I found the perfect use in a Vietnamese chicken noodle soup adapted from a recipe by Emeril Lagasse.  Here is the recipe in case you want to give it a try.  You can make this using water instead of the onion stock, but it definitely added to the complexity of the meal.


Pho Ga

1 chicken cut in parts
4 quarts onion broth (or water)
1 inch crushed ginger
2 tsp. salt
½ lb. rice noodles
Fresh cilantro, mint and basil sprigs
1 c. bean sprouts
Lime, cut in wedges
Chopped jalapeno
Sriracha and fish sauce

Bring broth to boil with garlic and chicken pieces.  Reduce to low and simmer 3 hours.  Strain the broth and season with salt.  Prepare noodles and divide between four bowls.  Break up chicken meat (discarding skin and bones) and divide evenly adding to bowls.  Ladle broth on top of each bowl.  Serve with remaining ingredients and allow everyone to add to their taste. 

One year ago – Fennel Apple Slaw, Pear Aigre Doux and Applesauce

Sunday, August 18, 2013

What Is Fennel? – August 18, 2013


Until a few years ago, I had no idea what fennel even looked like.  It was a remote vegetable that I knew was used in French fish recipes.  I was mostly familiar with the seed found in some unusual recipes for its mild licorice flavor.  This all changed when I found a recipe for Apple Fennel Salad (see last August). 

Every year about this time, John and I visit the apple orchards in central Kentucky.  You can buy from the store or pick your own, but we like to purchase the boxes of seconds for pennies on the dollar.  We get giant bags of apples and pears, so I’m always looking for a new way to make them in addition to the usual pies and applesauce. 

Then, this year we grew our own fennel and it was a great idea.  It grew so well in our area.  I tried it in two beds and it grew best in firm soil.  This is great because fennel being unusual is often expensive.  The main stalk looks a lot like a bulbous celery and is the part you use for the salad.  You can also use the fronds in recipes.  They are beautiful on a platter with whole cooked fish on top.  I freeze some in freezer bags, but usually throw much away because it is less useful than the bulbs.


Pickled Fennel
3 c. Champagne vinegar
1 1/2 c. water
3/4 c. plus 1 T. sugar
4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. coriander seeds
2 tsp. fennel seeds
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
4 bulbs fennel, sliced

Bring first four ingredients to boil until dissolved.  Toast spices and divide between 4 pint jars.  Pack in fennel.  You can add a fennel frond on top.  Pour brine over, seal and boil 15 minutes.

We had so many fennel, I now had to get adventurous with it.  This was easy and delicious:


Fennel Fish Stew
3 T. olive oil
1 c. chopped onion
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lemon thinly sliced
2 minced cloves garlic
2 T. tomato paste
4 Roma tomatoes or an equal amount of cherry tomatoes, sliced
2 c. dry white wine
2 c. fish, veggie or chicken stock
1 ½ lb. cod or Pollock fillets, cut in 8 chunks
Fresh parsley

Add oil, onions, fennel, bay leaf, salt and pepper to pot on medium and cook until tender, but not brown, 6-8 minutes.  Add lemon, garlic and paste and stir until reddish brown.  Add tomatoes and another pinch salt.  Cook until tomatoes break up, stirring, about 10 minutes.

Add the wine and scrape up any bits on the bottom of the pan and bring to a simmer. Simmer uncovered until most of the wine has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Add the stock, raise to a simmer then add the fish into the pot, and simmer until fish is cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes. Serve warm with a sprinkle of chopped parsley.

One Year Ago - Watermelon Rind Pickles and Watermelon Salad

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Small But Mighty Cherry Tomato – August 10, 2013


We are eat up with cherry tomatoes.  We have six plants which have all been prolific, so I have had to be more thoughtful about using them than usual.  Most years, we have lots of cherry tomatoes in green salads or in adapted Caprese salads with basil and mozzarella.  When we can’t keep up, I then cut them in half and dry them in the oven or a dehydrator.  I keep these in a plastic bag in the fridge and toss in salads for much longer.  I suppose you could also use these to make tomato pesto or more exciting things.

But, now I have found a great way to use cherry tomatoes to make pasta sauce in no time and we have been enjoying it throughout the Summer.  It does involve heating up the oven in the Summer, but it is worth it.  If you don’t want to heat up your house, you can just cook the tomatoes in a heavy pot on the stove top, but it requires you to pay more attention and after trying both ways, I just thought the roasting brought out more of the sweetness of the tomatoes.  You can really play around with this recipe.  I use homemade carrot pesto, but you can use any pesto you like.  I like it best with the tablespoon of pesto so you really taste the tomatoes, but we tried it with the full cup of pesto and it was wonderful with scallops right off the grill.  You could add red pepper or other spices.  The most important factor in this recipe is really good olive oil.


Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes
1 pint cherry tomatoes
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. fettuccine or linguine
1 T. to 1 cup pesto
Parmesan cheese to taste

Preheat oven to 425°F. Toss the cherry tomatoes with olive oil, garlic, salt and black pepper.  Place in a baking dish and roast for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and add pesto before setting aside.  Cook the pasta as directed.  Add the roasted tomatoes and toss.  Top with Parmesan cheese.

I also found another great recipe in a magazine that is fabulous for using up things in the fridge or garden and that really highlights the beauty of the yellow pear-shaped cherry tomatoes.


Golden Corn Salad
8 oz. small yellow or red tomatoes, boiled 11 minutes and quartered
3-4 ears corn, boiled three minutes and kernels removed
2 c. pear-shaped yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
1 chopped red bell pepper
¼ c. minced shallot
3 T. white Balsamic vinegar
1 T. Dijon mustard
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
3 T. olive oil
3-6 c. arugula or other salad greens
½ c. torn basil leaves
2 oz. goat cheese, sliced

Combine potatoes, corn, tomatoes and bell pepper.  Combine shallots and next 5 ingredients through the oil, whisking.  Drizzle over salad and Carefully toss in basil and greens.  Top with cheese and serve.

One Year Ago - Watermelon Salad and Watermelon Rind Pickles

Saturday, August 3, 2013

You Say Tomato, I Say Tomato – August 3, 2013

You know it’s full on summer when you bike to the Farmer’s Market and can see tomatoes, no matter where you look.  Tomatoes are so fun because there is such a variety and everyone has their favorite.  This year we are growing Vincen Watts (an heirloom variety actually brought to the area and kept going by my mother-in-law’s family), Green Stripies, Black Stripies, Yellow Pear Cherries and a Red Cherry.  We also bought a 25 lb. box of Better Boys from the Farmer’s Market for canning.  The first thing I made was tomato jam.  I love it on bruschetta with goat cheese and olive oil and I take tomato jam and sharp cheddar sandwiches to work for lunch.  It’s best on Cake Flour’s hearty wheat bread.  It doesn’t take much tomato jam when serving, but it’s a bit disappointing to see how little it makes after you cook it down, so be prepared and use small canning jars to enjoy it longer.  This recipe was adapted from one shared by Mark Williams, the chef at Brown Foreman.


Tomato Jam

5 c. Tomatoes, boiled and skins removed (also try to remove as much water and seeds as possible)
2 T. olive oil
¾ c. diced onion or shallot
½ tsp. salt (or to taste)
1 tsp. pepper
¾ c. sugar
½ c. red wine

Dice or break up tomatoes.  Warm olive oil in heavy pan and sauté onions with salt and pepper.  Once browned, add sugar and wine.  Cook down until wine evaporates.  Add tomatoes and cook again until it thickens.  Can in jars and refrigerate or boil 10 minutes to seal and make shelf stable.

Then, I made salsa which I posted last year and tried homemade ketchup for the first time.  I had bought some ketchup at a great farm to table restaurant in Bloomington.  It was delicious but a bit too spicy for most uses.  This recipe has a lot of spice unlike Heinz, but it isn’t hot.  It is also fun to make because you just toss everything in a crock pot and wake up to ketchup the next morning.

Homemade Ketchup

10 large tomatoes, quartered
1 tsp. ground fennel seeds
4 cloves garlic
¼ c. sugar
½ c. molasses
¼ c. brown sugar
1/3 c. red wine vinegar
1 onion thinly sliced and caramelized on the stove top
¾ T. cloves
2 star anise pods
1 1/2 T. salt

Add everything to crock pot and keep cooking until soft and thickened.  Add more vinegar or salt to taste.  Can in jars or bottles.

We tried one other new thing with our tomato bounty this week.  My husband, John, is a big fan – tomato pie.


 Tomato Pie

4 minced shallots
3 minced garlic cloves
2 1/2 T. olive oil
1 T. Dijon mustard
9 inch pie shell
1 lb. assorted heirloom tomatoes
3 oz. crumbled Gorganzola (or goat cheese)
½ oz. chopped fresh basil
1/2 T. wine vinegar
¼ c. bread crumbs
1 oz. grated Parmesan
Salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a small pan sauté shallots and garlic in 1 T. oil for 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in mustard.  Make holes in bottom of pie crust with fork and cook 5 minutes.  Make a layer of tomatoes on the bottom of the crust and then add salt and pepper before layering on the shallot mixture, goat cheese and half the basil.  Top with another layer of tomatoes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Drizzle with 1/2 T. oil and ½ T. vinegar and remaining basil.  Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan and remaining oil.  Sprinkle on top.  Bake 20 minutes or until golden.

One Year Ago - Romanesco Sauce and Eggplant Caviar

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Make Hash Not Trash – July 20, 2013

I LOVE OKRA.  Anyone who knows me knows that okra is my very favorite vegetable.  It has almost no calories, grows and freezes well here in Kentucky and tastes like butter.  I unfortunately haven’t, however, gotten others to embrace its slimy texture.  So, if I’m making it for myself, I simply clean and boil in a pot of salted water before draining and eating the whole thing with a bit more salt.  But, if I’m trying to show its best qualities to others, I look for ways to lessen the slimy joy.  I just recently found a great okra recipe which also happens to be a hash.  Hash is also probably the best way to use up food that would go to waste.  When I was reading the food book from the tenement museum in New York City, they referenced a cookbook from the 1800s which had 18 hash recipes which would have been greatly valued by housewives trying to make the best use of everything they had.  This was probably not one of those but it has a great Indian influence that I really enjoyed.


 Okra Hash

1 T. mustard seeds
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1 minced onion
2 minced cloves garlic
2 tsp. minced ginger
½ lb. diced potatoes
¼ tsp. red pepper
¼ tsp. salt
1 ½ lb. okra in ¼ inch slices
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. turmeric

Heat oil in heavy pan.  Add mustard seeds and cook until they pop.  Add onion, garlic and ginger and sauté 2 minutes.  Stir in potatoes, red pepper and salt.  (Pauls’s Fruit Market had local homegrown potatoes.)  Cover and cook on low 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Uncover and stir in okra, cumin, coriander, turmeric and more salt or pepper if needed.  Cook, uncovered, 10 minutes on low stirring occasionally. 

Because the okra is harvested at the peak of corn and tomato season (and just as the first peppers are becoming ripe), another great option is stewed corn with okra and tomatoes.  This recipe is great with cherry tomatoes too.  I used red and yellow cherry tomatoes.  


Stewed Corn with Okra and Tomatoes

½ chopped sweet onion or shallot
1 chopped jalapeno
1 chopped bell pepper
1 ½ T. butter (or more to taste)
1 lb. chopped tomatoes
3 c. corn (about 3 ears)
½ lb. small okra or okra chopped in ½ inch pieces


Saute onions, jalapeno, bell pepper and 1.2 tsp. salt in butter for 7-9 minutes.  Stir in tomatoes breaking apart as cooking for 15 minutes.  Add okra and corn and cook another 15 minutes until okra slime has cooked out.

One Year Ago - Corn Salad and Sweet Corn Gelato

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Canadian Cherries – July 13, 2013


John and I spent half of our vacation in Montreal, Canada at the International Jazz Festival.  It is the largest jazz festival in the world and we had the opportunity to see many shows including Trombone Shorty, Wayne Shorter (on the occasion of his 80th birthday) and Christine and Ingrid Jensen.  We also rode bicycles around town and ate at several local restaurants.  In addition to Poutine (French fries with cheese curds and gravy), this area of Canada is known for its preserved meats including sausages and pates.  While there, we bought picnic food for the festival which included chicken pate on fig bread.  And, while I didn’t have a chance to try it, there was a wonderful recipe in the newspaper there about how well pickled cherries go with both pate and cheese. 

Cherries are still in our grocery although not as local now as they are in Canada.  But, I just couldn’t resist putting up a half batch for a lovely cheese plate later this summer.  I might add that not only are they lovely on the shelf, but they taste even better than you might expect with a bit of crunch and both a sweet and sour taste.


 Pickled Sweet Cherries

2 c. water
2 ½ c. white vinegar (the Canadian recipe used half white and ½ Balsamic vinegar)
2 c. sugar
5 bay leaves
7-8 whole peppercorns per jar
)The Canadian recipe also added a pinch of cayenne)
3 pounds sweet cherries with the stems removed

Combine water, vinegar(s) and sugar (cayenne as well if using) and bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves.  Clean 5 pint jars and add bay leaf and peppercorns to each.  Pack cherries into jars.  Pour brine over and add lids.  Seal in boiling water for 10 minutes.

One Year Ago – pita bread and cheese


Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Best Ice Cream Ever – July 4, 2014


O.K., it’s not red, white and blue, but I was in the market for the best ice cream ever and I think I might have found it.  Well, I must admit, it’s actually gelato.  The difference between ice cream and gelato is just milk fat.  Ice cream is just what it sounds like, frozen cream, where gelato is frozen milk.  You would think that would make the ice cream more flavorful, but it s just the opposite in that the lower milk fat coats the tongue less and allows you to taste more of the ice cream flavor.  The only problem is that milk freezes at a lower temperature, so not all ice cream makers can make gelato.

Fortunately, my sweet husband bought me a gelato maker for Christmas a couple years ago.  I keep several bars of good chocolate in the cabinet just for when I have extra milk to use up.  I almost always make dark chocolate ice cream and I can tell you my secret – extra chocolate.  This time though I wanted something extra and I was lamenting the fact that Comfy Cow just stopped making their Lemon Pistachio Toffee Ice Cream.  The only thing better would be Dark Chocolate Pistachio Toffee Ice Cream.  And, it turns out I was right!  Here is how you make it!


 Dark Chocolate Pistachio Toffee Ice Cream

2 sticks butter
1 c. + ¼ to ½ c. sugar
1 c. chopped pistachios
1 T. corn syrup
1 T. water
3 c. milk
3 T. cornstarch
¼ tsp. salt
7-8 oz. bittersweet chocolate

Break or chop chocolate into small pieces in bowl.  Combine butter, 1 c. sugar, pistachios, corn syrup and water in heavy pan over medium high heat.  Cook 8-10 minutes until one shade darker than brown sugar and you begin to smell a faint burning smell.  Pour on cookie sheet and spread evenly.  Let sit in fridge one hour to cool. 

Meanwhile, bring 2 ¼ c. milk just to boil over medium heat.  Whisk remaining sugar, cornstarch, salt and ¼ c. milk until smooth and whisk into boiling milk.  Bring to boil again and whisk 3 minutes until it thickens.  Remove from heat.  Bring ½ c. milk to boil.  Pour over chocolate pieces and stir until smooth.  Stir chocolate mixture into cornstarch mixture until completely mixed.  Cover in fridge over night with plastic over to keep from forming skin.


The next day, freeze mixture in gelato maker adding about half of the broken toffee at the end of the freezing.  Chill in freezer 1 ½ hours or longer.  Soften as needed before serving with more toffee bits.

One Year Ago - Peach Jam and Sauerkraut

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Apple Slices from Fall - June 21, 2013


Our garden beds are flourishing this year.  The big focus is tomatoes with a total of 15 plants.  We are already harvesting peas, lettuce, raspberries and kale.  Other plants include okra, squash, cucumbers, beets, horseradish, fennel, blackberries, watermelon and garlic.  I can hardly wait to start eating it all, and putting things up for this coming winter.  In anticipation, I decided to clean out the freezer to start making room.  I found the last two bags of frozen apple slices.  No one was on the mood for an apple pie, so I simply googled frozen apple slices and discovered there are actually two very different recipes call baked apple slices. The first is a simple apple dessert that is microwaved, not baked and perfect for those with lots of apples to have on a warm Summer or Fall evening.  I made it and served with vanilla ice cream, but it would be equally good with whipped cream.  It was especially good because our friends Adam, Mary and Eva brought us back real maple syrup from them summer vacation!


Baked Apple Slices

Two to four peeled and sliced apples
2 T. Sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1-2 T. Maple syrup

Mix all ingredients except apples and syrup and sprinkle on apples.  Microwave for 3-5 minutes until warm and cooked through.  Drizzle syrup on top and serve with ice cream or whipped cream.


The second is a German recipe made for family gatherings that is very popular in Particular neighborhoods and bakeries in Chicago.  It is basically an apple sheet pie.

Apple Slices

Pastry:

2 cups sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon each: baking powder, salt
3/4 cup lard
1/2 cup water
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Filling:

1 1/4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups water
3 pounds cooking apples, pared, cut in sixteenths

Sift flour with baking powder and salt. Cut in lard until mixture is in coarse crumbs. Mix water, egg yolks and lemon juice; add to flour mixture. Blend gently with fork. (Mixture is very moist.) Wrap in waxed paper; chill at least 6 hours or overnight.

Mix sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and salt in a saucepan; add water. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Add apples; simmer for 10 minutes.

Divide pastry in half; roll one piece on well-floured pastry cloth or board into a rectangle about 15 by 11 inches, using a stocking-covered rolling pin; turn out into a 13- by 9- by 2-inch baking pan. Bring dough up against sides of pan about 1 inch. Turn apple mixture into pan. Roll remaining dough to fit top of pan. Cut steam vents; lay over apples. Press edges of dough firmly together; seal.
  
There is, of course, another easy way to use apple slices very common in Eastern Kentucky.  It is fried apple slices.  You simply brown a couple tablespoons of butter in a frying pan and sauté the apple slices with as much or as little brown sugar as you like.  they are great with fried or baked pork and summer vegetables of all types.  We had ours with baked chicken and potatoes, sliced tomatoes and avocado, sautéed kale and fried okra.

One Year Ago - Spring Vegetable and Grain Salad