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Dessert

20 Ideas for Cooking with Apples

October 16, 2016

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Happy fall weekend everyone!

Can you even believe how gorgeous it is outside? I am pretty sure God decided to balance out our everlasting winters with just magical fall weather in New England. I feel like I am inside of a magazine (probably Martha Stewart’s? Maybe Real Simple?) every time I go outside.

Yesterday our good friends Matt & Heather and their sweet girls met us to go apple picking. We met at a farm just over the border of Massachusetts called Cider Hill Farm and I am so smitten I am getting their winter CSA.

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They have lots of free range chickens and they have this little tunnel they run through from their coop to an open pasture that we dubbed the chicken superhighway. I will forever have the image of them running through the fields as my image of happy, free range chickens.

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We picked so many apples and I am so excited to find ways to use them. Since it appears that everyone on the planet went apple picking this weekend too, it seems a little round up of apple recipes are in order.

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1. If you follow me on IG you might have seen my story this morning where I made this for pancakes this morning. Pretty much my all time favorite go-to apple recipe. Just sauté 3 peeled & sliced apples over medium-high heat with 3 T. butter and 3 T. brown sugar, plus a pinch of salt and cinnamon.

2. My friend Kirsten wowed me with the very easy app/dessert at book club where she had a brick of cream cheese with two inches of Carmel on top served with sliced apples that you dip into both and I *might* just eat half the apples we pick tomorrow that way. I found this example of it if you need a visual. So good!

3. This Apple Rose Tart is just beautiful. I saw a new French version of The Chef’s Table on Netflix and in my very rough college French I would say I understood about 25% of it, but I understood that making roses out of apples is awesome. Can’t wait to try it. And it is gluten free!

4. This recipe for Chicken Breasts stuffed with Apples and Goat Cheese seems like a very easy weeknight dinner.

5. Fennel and Apple are such a great combo, and I am a sucker for an apple slaw of any kind. This one looks like it would be great paired with pulled pork or chicken.

6. I follow Wednesday Chef on Instagram and her German Sunken Apple Cake recipe looks heavenly.

7. Something about Jaques Pepin just inspires me over and over again. So naturally, his country apple galette with store pizza dough caught my attention.

8. When Smitten Kitchen declares that her mom makes the best apple cake, I’m going to take her word for it. This recipe is my #1 recipe I hope to try with our weekend haul.

9. I have seen a few versions of this apple fritter recipe around the web, some slice the apples into rings, others wedges. All I know is these look heavenly.

10. I vow that this is the year I will make my own chutney. Ina Garten’s apple chutney looks like a great one, but Food & Wine’s Apple, Bacon and Fennel Chutney is singing some kind of siren song to me as well.

11. These baked apples look amazing, and my kids would love them with big scoops of vanilla ice cream.

12. If you want to see how a real Mainer makes apple pie, check out this recipe.

13. When I was growing up we had a now-defunct chain restaurant that served these amazing German Pancakes with apples, and my parents actually let me order them for dinner. I promise to make these beauties for my kids and surprise them with a breakfast for dinner that they will remember.

14. Any version of grilled cheese with apple is drool-worthy, but this one looks amazing.

15. This Chicken Apple Burger is totally making it onto our dinner rotation.

16. Fall = Soup. So this Sweet Potato and Apple soup with a side of blue cheese & crackers or this Curried Sweet Potato Apple Soup needs to happen.

17. This Asian-inspired pulled pork sandwich with apple slaw has me drooling. It looks so different, with soy and mushrooms.

18. These Apple and Sage pork chops from William-Sonoma look like a dream dinner.

19. This Apple Cider cocktail looks like happiness in a glass. But if you are still curious there are 15 more apple cocktailhttp://www.seriouseats.com/2015/09/apple-cocktails-fall-entertaining.html ideas where that came from.

20. I think we should end with this little video from Julia Child with apple desserts who reminds us that apples are the temptation of Eve but we can still use them to make a love tart tatin.

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Happy Fall! xoxo Katie

Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins

May 27, 2016

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We are so excited to have a long weekend with slow mornings, and time to linger over coffee, cartoons and these muffins. There is something about rhubarb, with its bright, slightly sour flavor that perfumes everything it touches. And the strawberries right now are so incredibly delicious and sweet that I had to add these to this recipe (the original one from Saveur had just rhubarb and almond flavors, but I’ve adapted it here without nuts and with strawberries).

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Whenever I use rhubarb, I always think of Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I love everything about this book, where the author writes about a year of living with her husband and two children on a farm where they only eat what they can grow or get within a 50 mile radius (in Southern Appalachia, this excludes grocery stores or box stores of any kind).

When the author’s 50 birthday takes place in the summer of their year of eating seasonally, they served their birthday guests huge vats of strawberry rhubarb crisp instead of birthday cake, and of course its completely delicious.image

When I made these muffins, I thought about that scene, because this recipe is really so versatile that it could be easily made into a delicious breakfast coffee cake (or birthday cake as the case may be) just by adding 15-20 minutes of cooking time. It is also very reminiscent of strawberry rhubarb crisp – which I posted here awhile ago – since it has a streusel topping. I love having another way to use strawberry and rhubarb together other than dessert. (Not that I haven’t eaten Strawberry Rhubarb crisp for breakfast.)

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And since I subscribe to the more is more philosophy, I made a quick and easy compote with strawberries, rhubarb, 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water + 1 tsp. lemon zest (totally optional). This is fantastic on anything your memorial day weekend could bring your way – ice cream, angel food cake, toast. And it turns out to be delicious on these muffins too.

Warning: just licking the spoon of this stuff will cause extreme distraction due to the explosion of flavor in your mouth. So, so good.

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The sour cream gives the batter such a moist, tender cake, and the juicy fruits bursting out of it with the sugary, buttery streusel crust with hints of lemon is amazing.

So if you’ve been dreaming of some from-scratch flavors, give your baking tools a spin over this long weekend.

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Strawberry Rhubarb Streusel Muffins (printer version here):

MAKES ABOUT 18 MUFFINS

For the Streusel

½ cup flour

½ cup sugar

2 tbsp. packed light brown sugar

½ tsp. lemon zest

¼ tsp. kosher salt

4 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed

 

For the Muffins

2 3/4 cups flour + ¼ cup to mix with fruit

2 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda

¼ tsp. kosher salt

1 cup sour cream

1 cup sugar

½ cup packed light brown sugar

½ cup canola oil

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 tsp. Vanilla extract

2 stalks rhubarb, cut into ¼” pieces

1 cup strawberries, cut into ¼” pieces

 

Instructions

Make the streusel: Whisk together flour, both sugars, zest, and salt in a small bowl. Add butter, and using your fingers, rub into mixture until smooth and large clumps form. Transfer to refrigerator; chill until ready to use.

Make the muffins: Heat oven to 350°. Grease and flour muffin pans; set aside. Whisk together 2 34 cups flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl; set aside. In another bowl, whisk together sour cream, both sugars, oil, eggs, and vanilla; pour mixture over dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. In a small bowl, toss remaining flour with rhubarb and strawberries until evenly coated, and then stir into batter. Working in batches, place cup batter in muffin cups, break streusel up into medium-sized clumps, and sprinkle evenly over muffins. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle of each muffin comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

To make a cake instead, preheat oven to same 350 temp. Pour batter into greased and floured 8″ round cake pan or 9×9 inch pan, top with streusel, and start checking at 35-40 with a toothpick for doneness.

Muffin Recipe adapted from www.saveur.com

Easy Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce

In a saucepan, combine: 2 stalks of rhubarb, cut into ½ pieces, 1 cup strawberries, quartered and hulled, ¼ cup water, ½ cup sugar, 1 tsp. lemon zest (optional). Bring to a simmer over high heat, then reduce to medium high, for 6-8 minutes or until fruit has broken down.

Easy Mini Pavlovas with Meyer Lemon Curd

May 20, 2016

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My dad’s very favorite dessert was Lemon Meringue Pie. When I was little, he would regularly come home from the grocery store with one, and we always served it on his birthday.

So I think it may be a little nod to him that made me want to try to combine these flavors in the gorgeous Pavlova dessert. This is so beautiful I would make it on those grounds alone, but it also happens to be weak-in-the-knees good, with the intense, sharp but sweet Meyer Lemon flavor in the curd mixing with the sweet, light as air, soft but crunchy meringue.

But the best part? In scouring the web to find out how I wanted to make these I found ridiculously easy ways to make BOTH the curd and the pavlova. Like the universe just wanted me to find and share the quickest route to this deliciousness.

I wanted to find something to celebrate the seasonal Meyer Lemons, which are sweeter then normal lemons since they are a cross between a lemon and a clementine, resulting in a strong, sour & sweet citrus symphony.

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You can follow this recipe with regular lemons too, and any type of lemon curd is so good on its own – in cookies, cream puffs, slathered on toast.

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Many recipes have you carefully tempering the eggs so they don’t curdle. But this version lets you melt a stick of butter in a pot, and then let it cool to lukewarm temperature before you add in the egg yolks.

The rest of the ingredients you just whisk together in a bowl, then pass it through a strainer into the butter/egg yolk mixture. (I should mention that I left to go take kids to sports RIGHT AT THIS STEP. That is how easy this recipe is.)

Then (after you have come back from sports ) you just stir this mixture over low heat, continuously, for 5-8 minutes until it coats your spatula. And then you stick it in an ice bath, and it thickens into glorious, heavenly curd.

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The chef who came up with this easy Meyer Lemon Curd recipe wants me to link to his website rather than share the recipe. So I will do just that because he totally deserves a Peace Prize or James Beard something, people. Check it out and give him some love.

For the Pavlovas, I also found another website that offered a super easy, one-step way of making them. The Irish American Mom shares her childhood in Ireland and love of food on her blog, and happily this includes her speedy Pavlovas.

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This desert was named after the Russian Ballet Dancer, Anna Pavlova, who was world famous and traveled all around the globe. Some accounts have that it was developed in New Zealand, and it is certainly very popular in New Zeleand and Australia. It is light and fluffy, just like her dancing.

You start by putting egg whites and sugar in a bowl, then add the rest of the ingredients, followed by 1/4 cup of boiling hot water (she attributes this to being the secret ingredient that allows you to make 1-step Pavlovas.) You beat these for 7-10 minutes (so much easier with a stand mixer FYI) until it forms into thick, shiny white peaks.

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While this is mixing, prepare two cookie sheets with parchment paper, and using a cup, draw 6 2-3 inch circles.

IMG_8827Then turn the sheet over so the circles still show through but the meringue mixture won’t touch the pen or pencil. Drop the meringue onto each circle, and using the back of a spoon, form it into nests by pushing from the center out until a well has formed. Be careful not to make the bottom of the well too thin on the bottom.

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Then bake for 1 hour, making sure you don’t open the door during cooking. After they are done, turn off the oven and crack open the door, letting them cool inside the oven.

At this point, Pavlovas are traditionally filled with whipped cream and fruit, but these were fated to be paired with the delicious Meyer Lemon Curd. You can decorate with any fruit you like, but strawberries and berries go particularly well, as do mint leaves. IMG_8893

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These desserts are great for a crowd since they are dairy-free, gluten-free, and nut-free. (Sorry friends with egg allergies, eggs are pretty essential to this dessert).

Happy Eating!

xoxo Katie

Easy Meyer Lemon Curd recipe here

Easy Mini Pavlovas (Printer Version Here):

 

4 large egg whites

1 ¼ cups sugar

1 t. pure vanilla extract

1 T. cornstarch

2 t. cream of tartar

1 t. White vinegar

4 T. boiling water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 250.

Separate the egg whites and put them in a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar, then the vanilla, white vinegar, cream of tartar and cornstarch. Then Add 4 T. boiling water. (Irish American mom believes it is the secret to these one-step pavlovas.)

Set the mixer beating and while you are waiting prepare the baking sheets. (If using a hand mixer, prepare trays before beating the meringue.)

Line 2 cooking sheets with parchment paper, and using a cup that is 2 or 3 inches in diameter, make 6 circles on each tray for a total of 12. Turn the paper upside down so the pen or pencil doesn’t touch the meringue mixture – you’ll still see them.

Beat the mixture until it becomes very thick, and the egg white forms stiff, glossy peaks.

Spoon mixture onto premade circles. Then using the back of a large spoon, form them into little nests, working from the center out to the edges, taking care not leave the bottom too thin or it will burn.

Bake for 60 minutes at 250, then reduce heat to 225 for an additional 30 minutes. Then turn off the oven, and open the door slightly and allow them to cool in the oven. This helps them to create a crispy outer crust (I didn’t do this and mine were a little chewy but I didn’t mind, I still thought they were delicious.) Don’t cool them in the fridge.

After they are cooled, decorate with whipped cream, fruit, or Lemon Curd.
For One Large Pavlova: Instead of making 12 mini circles, just use a dinner plate to make one large circle, and spread into one big nest.

Pavlova Recipe from www.irishamericanmom.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Mousse

August 4, 2015

Have you ever had real Chocolate Mousse? If so, you know there is nothing else like it. So light and airy, but still with an intensely rich chocolate flavor and the absolute creamiest texture ever. It is so good it hurts.

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When I was thinking, what inspired me the most in France? I came up with the answer that they keep things very classical, and once you learn those things, you can endlessly improvise. I know I am not the first person to come up with this, (**cough, Julia Child**)but I am here to say how true I am finding it. So when I thought about what classical thing I loved the most, it was very simple.

Chocolate Mousse.

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When my husband handed me a little glass jar of this stuff with my sandwich on the train on our way to Dinan, I was completely transported. It was like chocolate frosting, but better. It was like chocolate pudding but better. It was like itself, completely.

And basically I had to have it again.

So when my extended family planned to get together for dinner, I volunteered to bring dessert. Chocolate mousse, si vous plait. I researched recipes (I ended up with a combination of Ina Garten’s and David Lebovit’s) and put a movie on for the kids (even though the prep time said 30 minutes and it didn’t really take that long for something so good).

I cut up some good chocolate:

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And whipped all the eggs:

image^^ When Ina says whip the egg yolks until they fall back on themselves like ribbons, this is what she means.

image^^ And when she says whip the eggs whites until they formed stiff peaks, this is what she means.

And then, you stir them into the melted chocolate. That has some booze added to it.

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Well, I guess the technical term is fold them into the chocolate (if we are going to talk about classics we may as well learn some basic skills, right?).

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And then you pour them into ramekins and chill. Don’t they look amazing? I think my egg whites were a little too stiff, so check out that video to avoid this! But it didn’t impact the flavor at ALL. They were amazing.

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So if you are scarred just give it try! Mine were not perfect but were SO yummy.

Once you get this recipe down, the options are endless. A chile spiced chocolate mousse? Or an orange chocolate mousse? Or some whipped cream with Grand Marnier in it? All yum.

imageHope you are having a great week!

xoxo Katie

Chocolate Mousse (adapted from Ina Garten and David Lebovitz’s recipes, printer version here):

INGREDIENTS

SERVINGS: 8

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, melt the two chocolates, coffee, coffee powder, rum, and vanilla extract. Cool to room temperature. Beat in the softened butter.
  2. Meanwhile, place the egg yolks and the 1/2 cup of sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed for about 5 minutes, until pale yellow; when you lift the beater, the mixture will fall back on itself in a ribbon. With the mixer on low speed, blend in the chocolate mixture. Transfer to a larger mixing bowl.
  3. Measure 1 cup of egg whites and freeze or discard the rest. Combine the cup of egg whites with a pinch of salt and 1 tablespoon of the remaining sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on high speed until stiff but not dry. Mix half of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture; then fold the rest in carefully with a rubber spatula.
  4. In the same bowl of the electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the heavy cream and the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar until firm. Carefully fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture. Pour the mousse into a 2-quart serving dish. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for a few hours or overnight and up to a week.
  5. Decorate with fruit and/or sweetened whipped cream just before serving.

 

Sweet Potato Brownies

January 14, 2015

 

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Well, it looks like I’ll be able to wean myself off the jar of chocolate sauce in the fridge after all.

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Because these Sweet Potato Brownies are amazing. Just life changing, really.

Every single bit is like eating fruits and veggies and I want to go for a run after I eat them, they make you feel so so good and yet are so satisfying for a sweet tooth. Basically, it is a yummy dessert anytime you want with no guilt. What is not life changing about that?

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I found these from a new English raw/gluten free/whole foods chef that I follow on Instagram, and her site Deliciously Ella will make you feel really good about yourself because she is model gorgeous, sweet as pie, and just graduated from St. Andrews with an Art Degree. For sure the Kitchen Network will come calling, that is if she doesn’t just start her own cable channel because she seems like she could. And really, we all know how to make smoothies and porridge but she has a way of showing you on her videos that makes you so inspired to eat healthy.

Anyway, back to her amazing gluten/vegan/good for you brownies. You do need to break out the big guns in the kitchen, i.e. your food processor. And I can’t praise my rice maker enough for steaming the sweet potatoes. It is in the running for my favorite kitchen gadget.

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 presetYou puree soft sweet potatoes with dates, then add a few more ingredients, bake at 350 for 30 minutes, et voila:

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 presetMy husband has such a sweet tooth, and he is so excited that I found these. And I can probably finally maybe make it all 30 days of a whole foods cleanse and not be like…so, no sugar?  Really, I think I might prefer these over real brownies they are that good. My kids semi-liked them. Andrew loved them and my chocoholic daughter Sophie did too, but they were meh for the others. All I know is, I felt a deep sense of gratitude that there were still a few more left this morning. You will thank me when you make these! Or I guess technically you will thank Ella.

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Sweet Potato Brownies (i.e. Heaven in a Bar – printer version here)

Makes 10 brownies

– 2 medium to large sweet potatoes

– 2/3 of a cup of ground almonds

– 1/2 a cup of buckwheat or brown rice flour

– 14 medjool dates

– 4 tablespoons of raw cacao (I used a good quality cocoa as that was all I had)

– 3 tablespoons of pure maple syrup

– a pinch of salt

Start by pre-heating the oven to 350 degrees, then peel the sweet potatoes. Cut them into chunks and place into a steamer for about  twenty minutes, until they become really soft.

Once they are perfectly soft and beginning to fall apart remove them and add them to a food processor with the pitted dates – this will form one of the sweetest, creamiest, most delicious mixes ever!

Put the remaining ingredients into a bowl, before mixing in the sweet potato date combination. Stir well.

Place into a lined baking dish and cook for about 30 minutes, until you can pierce the brownie cake with a fork bringing it out dry. Remove the tray and allow it to cool for about ten minutes – this is really important as it needs this time to stick together! Remove the brownies from the tray, leaving it another few minutes before cutting them into squares – then dig in and enjoy!


-From deliciouslyella.com

 

 

 

 

 

S’mores Pizza

August 25, 2014

 

You know how I went to that blogging conference a few weekends ago and that is all I have posted about since? This is the last one I promise. I just kept thinking so much about the s’mores dessert pizza they served us at the Saturday lunch. Good thing I blog about food, which gave me an excuse to re-create it and share it.

I have to say, that old adage, ‘Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good’ really came into play here. I had daydreams of making pizza dough out of graham flour and scouring some dark chocolate spreads to make this. Plus the restaurant had a wood burning pizza oven which I do not (Gwyneth Paltrow scoffs at my foodiness).

In the end, I just pulled out the obvious essentials and went to town:

I could add that I also made this for my kids breakfast. What can I say. Mom of the year for serving Hershey Bars and Marshmellows to my kids. Really, I was busy packing to go up north and again my thoughts drifted to the s’mores pizza when I saw a bag of dough in the fridge that I was tempted to pack (see this post). Not only would I get to taste that amazing combo of textures and oozy chocolately goodness, but I could check breakfast off my list. S’mores pizza for the double win.

But I am so glad I did because it is amazing.

 

I just put marshmallow fluff on one side, Hershey Bars on the other, and a few marshmallows in for good measure. When I folded it over, I cut three slits on top to allow the air to vent, and sprinkled a few graham crackers on top. I cooked it at 425 for 10-15 min (until marshmallow oozed out the end and the pizza dough was hard).

When it was done, I pulled it out and my daughter came into the kitchen and said, mmmm…what’s that yummy smell?

Don’t let the simplicity keep you from making this – you will thank me!  It is so good! It is a new family staple around here. Just probably not on a school morning 🙂

Katie