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


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


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

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Wonder Lentil – June 14, 2013

I never had a lentil until I reached adulthood and became intrigued by Indian cuisine.  It all started with a book and ingredients that came as a kit produced by film star and chef Madhur Jaffrey.  This book introduced me to all the basics and is where I learned that Indians have lentils with every meal to help with digestion.  I include the lovely salmon colored lentils with all my Indian meals as well, but I admit I prefer a thicker recipe I found in a Martha Stewart cookbook. 

Later, I started to buy French lentils, both brown and green.  I just happened to have a half open bag in my cabinet last weekend and decided to try a new recipe from Bon Appetite.  I served it at a party with pita and veggies, but later I had it on a baguette with the first summer tomato and it was wonderful.

Green Lentil Spread

1 head garlic (perfect time, they are just ripening!)
1 T plus ½ c. good olive oil
½ c. chopped shallot
2 T. finely chopped carrot
1 T. Penzy’s Sunny Paris seasoning or thyme and tarragon to make 1 T.
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
1 c. green French lentils
½ c. dry white wine
2 c. + more veggie or chicken broth
2 T. lemon juice

Roast garlic head in oven at 375 degrees until soft.  When cool, squeeze out soft garlic into blender.  In heavy pan, sauté shallot, carrot and seasonings in 1 T. oil.  Add lentils and stir 2 minutes.  Add wine and cook until absorbed.  Add 2 c. broth and bring to boil.  Then lower heat and cook about 30 minutes until soft.  Add broth as needed.  Blend lentils with garlic, lemon juice and ½ c. oil.  Adjust to taste.  This is great served as a hummus or as a spread on sandwiches.

My other favorite recipe for the French lentil is Lentil Salad.  It is great made ahead for a hot summer evening.

Lentil and Feta Salad

3 c. water
1 c. rinsed lentils
1 halved onion
¼ tsp. salt
¼ c. chopped parsley
3 T. chopped mint
1 chopped garlic clove
2 T. olive oil
1 T. lemon juice
½ tsp. ground cumin
½ c. crumbled feta

Combine water, lentils, onion and salt.  Cover and heat over medium until boiling.  Reduce to low and cook 30 minutes.  Drain and discard onion.  Add remaining ingredients except cheese and mix.  Top with feta and chill.

One year ago – Anchovy and Garlic Dip and garlic Scape Frittata

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Cauliflower Cover Up – June 8, 2013

I know there be one or two people in the world that love cauliflower, but it isn’t one of the foods you hear people ooh and aah about after some great meal.  I usually avoid it because I never have learned to cook it in a way that I love and there are so many vegetables I am crazy about like okra, greens, Brussels’ sprouts, and asparagus.  But last week, we got TWO heads of cauliflower in our farmer box, so I was compelled to figure out a few ways to serve it.

Well, we are planning a welcome to town party for my wonderful mother-in-law, so one head I decided to roast along with carrots and asparagus and serve with a lemon vinaigrette at the party.  I simply washed and peeled the carrots, broke up the cauliflower and washed along with the asparagus and tossed it all in olive oil and salt.  I then placed in a single layer on a cookie sheet in the top of the oven.  I watched it all closely and slowly removed the veggies as they cooked because some started to look toasty sooner than others.  Then, I tossed them in a plastic bag filled with lemon vinaigrette and left in the fridge and simply took out and placed on a platter before the party.

Lemon Vinaigrette

1 chopped shallot
2 T. Dijon
4 T. white wine vinegar
3 T. lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
¾ c. + 2 T. olive oil
1 T. chopped tarragon

Mix everything except last two ingredients.  Then slowly add these in.

So my next thought was to mash steamed cauliflower as or with potatoes for creamy cauliflower.  I have done this before and it’s good but can be a bit watery if you’re not careful about draining and drying before mashing and adding butter, salt and pepper.  Instead, I gave this new recipe a try from Penzey’s.  The whole thing is cooked in the microwave!

Frosted Cauliflower

1 head cauliflower
½ c. Mayonnaise
1 ½ tsp. Dijon mustard
¼ tsp. salt
¾ c. shredded cheddar or other sharp cheese
½ tsp. paprika

Wash cauliflower and place in plastic bowl in microwave with just the water from washing.  Cover and cook 6 minutes or until soft.  Let stand 5 minutes while you mix the remaining ingredients except paprika and microwave for 30-60 seconds.  Stir and spread evenly over cauliflower head.  Top with cheese and microwave 1 minute.  Sprinkle paprika on top. 

It was yummy with our other fresh veggies!