creamy apple & green salad

September 30, 2013 § Leave a comment

CreamyAppleSalad_5

I have some wonderful friends. And with these wonderful friends come some very fun outings. The most recent was apple picking in Warren, Massachusetts. Even with states in between us, even with one of us eight months pregnant, we still managed to plan a day together, even if it was scheduled months in advance. Breezelands Orchards was a beautiful farm with apple trees just covered with macs and cortlands. Us girls were just happy to be together but the backdrop of trees just starting to turn and the sun warming our faces didn’t hurt either.

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After picking 1/2 bushel each, we treated ourselves to cider donuts that were still warm, oozing butter down our finger tips and cold apple cider that tasted like it was pressed just that morning. We could have sat at that picnic table and talked until night fell but as soon as the sun started to fade and the cool air moved in we reluctantly retreated to our cars with more hugs and goodbyes then necessary.

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Now with at least 75 apples in our house I am constantly thinking about what I can do with all of them. It seemed fitting to begin with an apple salad, something fresh and chilled while it’s still a bit warm outside. With the nights turning cold there will be many apple crisps in our future. Day to day though, one deliciously sweet but tart mac always does the trick.

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CreamyAppleSalad

Serves 2 as main meal, 4-6 as sides
Inspired by 101 Cookbooks

Dressing
1 garlic clove
1/2 tablespoon of dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup crème fraîche
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
a touch of black pepper and salt

2 carrots, grated
1 pink lady apple, sliced into matchsticks
3 cups spinach leaves
handful of alfalfa sprouts
1/4 cup walnuts, toasted

Whisk together all the dressing ingredients.

In a large bowl toss together the carrots, apple, spinach and sprouts. Pour the dressing over the greens and toss to coat.

Sprinkle the toasted walnuts on top and serve immediately.

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fruit galette

September 21, 2013 § 1 Comment

FruitGallete

When my sister first passed along this recipe to me, I didn’t ask where it came from, I was just happy to be making my first galette. I won’t lie, this happened just at the beginning of this summer. In the past, I had always made fruit pies or fruit crumbles. My first reaction to her email was, why is this recipe so long? I had read through three paragraphs and I hadn’t even got through the dough portion yet. My sister’s response was, you can always be like mom and use a frozen pie dough. Being that this was a last minute recipe for a birthday dessert that was happening the next day, I opted for the frozen dough option.

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My first galette came out just perfect and I was so pleased I have made two more since. You know what’s great about galettes, with very little effort you get a beautiful dessert that people rarely see, so they are not only impressed but also intrigued.

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More recently, I thought to ask my sister where her original recipe came from, her response, Tartine. If you haven’t heard of Tartine, it’s a lovely cafe and bakery in San Francisco with not one but two cookbooks out. I am still disappointed that we never made it there on our visit to San Francisco earlier in the year. But maybe that is reason enough to go back.

My sister also had some great advice, when I finally decide to make the dough by hand I can do it in advance. She makes her dough and freezes it. Then, when she wants a quick dessert, she pulls out the dough and she swears it still tastes delicious!

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Serves 6
Inspired by Tartine

1 prepared pie dough, defrosted
4 cups of fruit, thinly sliced (if necessary)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 to 4 tablespoons brown sugar
juice of half a lemon
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
granulated sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix the fruit, vanilla and salt. (The combination of fruit is endless. You can really use whatever you would like, just think about color contrast. I really enjoyed the last three combinations I made, strawberries and plums, plums and peaches and, most recently, blueberries and raspberries.)

Ball up your prepared pie dough. On a floured surface, with a rolling pin, re-roll the dough into a large circle. (I found that with prepared doughs, this is the best way to eliminate cracking.)

Lightly flour a baking stone. Fold your dough in half and place it on the prepared stone. Unfold the dough and pour all the fruit in the center, being carefully not to get close to any of the edges. Fold up the edges of your dough, sealing in all the fruit. Be sure you don’t have any holes or gaps where juice could leak out. Depending on how sweet your fruit is sprinkle anywhere from 2 to 4 tablespoons of sugar on top. Then top with a squeeze of lemon juice.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and milk. Using a pastry brush, brush the outside edges of the dough. (You will have a lot of leftover egg and milk.) Sprinkle a bit of sugar along all the edges of the dough.

Bake the galette until the crust has visibly puffed, is dark brown in color and the juice from the fruit is bubbling, about 45-60 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool slightly on the baking stone. The galette can be served hot or at room temperature. (Make sure you run a spatula underneath the galette while still hot to prevent any sticking, expecially if you plan to let it sit for a bit.)

I typically make my galettes one day ahead. Once they have cooled I cover and place in the refrigerator overnight. Then when we are ready to eat it the next day, I pop it back in the oven at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes to warm everything through.

zucchini & artichoke sandwich

September 15, 2013 § Leave a comment

Tree

I noticed it just this past week on my walk to the train during my morning commute, one of the trees in the park was losing its leaves. All the other trees around it were still green and bright. But this big one all on its own had leaves that were turning slightly orange and brown. I took a picture, a bit puzzled. I picked up on another tree on my run the next morning that was bright orange, again standing alone amongst all the other green ones. And then it hit me; fall is creeping in. It’s hard to notice sometimes, especially with the 90-degree day we just had, but it’s coming. With all its glory the cool air is taking over and the leaves are starting to turn.

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I know this is nothing out of the ordinary, the transition into Fall happens every year, and yet I usually miss it. I’m one of those people who all of sudden walks out of their house in a tshirt and jeans and am baffled that I need to run back inside to grab a coat. I forget that I own scarfs and booties. I forget to bring an extra layer of clothing to work, so that when I can’t get rid of that 3pm chill after sitting all day I have something to warm up with. I’m not in denial, but Fall always seems to take me by surprise.

So since I seem to have picked up on this soon enough this year I am trying to take advantage while I can. Apple picking season comes and goes much quicker than you think, mid-September being the optimum time. Leaves will change and be beautiful and then fall and die so quickly that I’m hoping to get in a hike or two while they are at their peak. I want to clear out my summer clothes and make room for the light jackets and colorful scarfs that are only good for a month or two before I resort to my parka and black winter boots. And to that end I hope you enjoy your Fall too.

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Serves 2
Inspired by Goop

4 slices of whole wheat oat bread
1/3 cup shredded mozzarella
1 zucchini, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons olive oil
salt and pepper
1 1/2 tablespoon balsamic
2 tablespoons prepared pesto
3 artichoke hearts, sliced
handful of alfalfa sprouts

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place slices of bread on a baking sheet and sprinkle the mozzarella on two slices. Place in the oven and bake for 5 minutes until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted.

In the meantime heat a flat pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, spread olive oil over the surface and place the slices of zucchini directly on the pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and pour the balsamic on top. Saute for a couple minutes then flip over and saute for a few more. The zucchini should shrink in size a bit. Remove from the pan and let cool.

Once your bread is toasted, spread pesto on the two slices without the melted cheese. Pile the artichoke slices on top of the bread with cheese then add the warm zucchini and a handful of sprouts. Top each sandwich with the pesto bread and enjoy.

sweet & spicy herbal latte

September 8, 2013 § Leave a comment

HerbalTea

It’s definitely getting cooler out. Friday morning, Ross and I had this long discuss on our walk into work about seasons. I made the claim that it was officially Fall, being that I was in a long dress and sweater. I pointed out men on the street with collared shirts and sweaters over top of them. My argument was there is no way I could wear shorts and a t-shirt on a day like today; therefore, it’s no longer Summer. Ross being the stickler that he is, informed me that there were 14 more days of Summer. He boasted about how he planned to get his iced coffee, per usual, and that he’d continue to get cold drinks until December. We didn’t really come to any seasonal conclusion. The only thing we could agree upon was that I was cold.

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Which brings me to one of the great things about Fall, the desire for warm drinks. I read somewhere that drinking something warm doesn’t actually make you warmer, well technically it makes you 5% warmer, aka nothing you would be able to really feel. But psychologically speaking, a warm drink can take the chill off of almost anyone. And they always seem to work for me. I don’t get into anything crazy drink-wise this early in the season. Pumpkin can’t be consumed before October and I save my hot cocoas for December. So for my light transition into Fall, I drink tea.

I never use to like tea. However, I have transitioned over time to really enjoy it and this recipe was one of the first drinks I made that helped me along. It has just enough kick from the spices to give it some real depth of flavor. And it always does the trick of making me snuggle up and enjoy each sip.

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Serves 1
Inspired by Sprouted Kitchen

1/2 cup water
1 herbal tea bag
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cloves

Warm water in a tea kettle. Once hot, pour water over tea bag, filling half of your tea cup. Allow the tea to steep while you prepare the milk.

In a small sauce pan heat milk over medium heat. When milk begins a slight boil add the honey, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Allow the milk to continue to simmer lightly for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally (the milk should get a little frothy).

Remove the tea bag from your tea cup and pour in the hot milk mixture, removing the 2 cloves.

Enjoy hot with your morning breakfast or in the afternoon with a tea cookie.

apple & creamy chocolate dip

September 2, 2013 § Leave a comment

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The last month was a whirl wind. We have been away every weekend in August. My little brother bought a house. We spent the weekend half helping him move and half stuck in traffic trying to get to his new home to help him move. We continued our wedding planning with more visits to Vermont which entailed appointments, tastings and a bit of landscaping too. Plus add in there a quick trip down to Bristol, Rhode Island for a little sisterly bonding and one up to York, Maine for another friend’s wedding and you’ve summed up our month of August.

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I love August for this reason: it’s the last real month of Summer where the hustle and bustle almost increases. Everyone is trying to enjoy that last bit of Summer sunshine and each day is packed with more things to do than the last. It can however be a wee bit exhausting. And when the first of the month hit yesterday, I was so happy to be home. The alarm was set for 9 a.m. and we were still snuggled up in bed with coffee at 10 a.m. I have a love/hate relationship when the season’s change. I adore Fall but am always sad to leave the heat and sunshine behind.

I don’t know if I am sorry or not to say that I made this recipe half a dozen times this past month as both lunch and dinner. It is a delicious treat and one that doesn’t take any thinking at all. This recipe was taught to me by my mother, probably ten or so years back she put this snack out for the Superbowl. There amongst the chicken wings and nachos were freshly cut apples with chocolately yogurt on the side. It was not only our dessert for the night but it was the only thing on our coffee table that didn’t scream grease. I think I tried it then and liked it but still stuffed myself silly with chips and cheese. But I am so thankful for this simple treat she brought to the table, it has been made at mine so many times since.

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This recipe can be a wonderful snack for multiple people or a fast lunch for one.

Serves 1 as a meal, 2 to 3 as a snack
Inspired by my mother

1 apple, sliced thinly (Use green if you like less sweet things and use pink ladies if you want more sweetness)
2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons of hot fudge

In a small bowl, warm hot fudge just until melted but not too warm. Let cool for a minute and stir in the greek yogurt.

Place the apple slices on a small plate and serve immediately. Enjoy by dipping each apple into the chocolate yogurt.

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