Posts tagged ‘apples’

February 26, 2011

Spinach Salad with Fennel, Beets, and Balsamic-Lemon-Pomegranate Dressing

by cillefish

Spinach Fennel Beet Salad. Image credit: islandgardening.com
My roommate Jono makes this; it’s sweet and tangy and has a ton going on. the body of the spinach, cheese, and nuts, and the richness of the beets and pomegranate flavors lend complexity to the sweeter notes.

  • 2 red beets, roasted (or 1/3 to 1/2 of a can)
  • 1 package baby spinach
  • 1 /2 package mache or spring greens
  • 4 inches fennel bulb, halved and sliced as thin as possible
  • 1/2 – 1 c walnuts, chopped a bit (not too much) and toasted in a small saucepan (no oil) until they start to smell like toast and just barely change color
  • 1 – 1 1/2 c slices of tangerines (about 3 tangerines)
  • 1 1/2 small fuji apple, cored, sliced into 1/8 slices, and then sliced thinly
  • 1/3 cup (about 3 inches) good-quality, firm, crumbly bleu cheese (should have a musty odor when broken)

Ahead of time, roast beets (cut off greens 1 in away from tops, place in a Pyrex or stoneware dish that has a lid, drizzle with olive oil, and roast, covered, on 350° for 1 hr – 1:20)

Chop all other salad ingredients; toss; top with dressing (below) and several turns of freshly ground black pepper; toss again.

For dressing, whisk together “to taste” these ingredients in a jar and then “shake the shit out of it” (or place in food processor):

  • 3/4 c olive oil
  • 1/4 c balsamic vinegar
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • barely a pinch of sea salt
  • 2 tsp pomegranate molasses
  • lemon juice to taste (1-2 Tbsp)
  • 1-2 Tbsp stone-ground mustard (something spicier – stone-ground with horseradish is fine)
  • 2 tsp honey (or agave nectar)
Advertisements
November 28, 2010

Zesty Pecan Apple Cranberry Stuffing

by cillefish

apple cranberry stuffing
This is a very easy and tasty alternative to the usual “unecessarily salty onion blah blah” box stuffings (even though it sort of involves a box stuffing). We played it by ear, so you can adjust the ingredients as you see fit:
In a medium or large saute pan, combine:

  • 2 Tbsp butter (optional)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 cup apple juice (optional)

Bring to a boil. Add:

  • 2 sweet apples, diced super small (I like honeycrisp or ginger gold)
  • 1/2 cup whole-cranberries sauce
  • 1/4 cup pecans, toasted (for 5-10 min on 200° F, if you can’t find the pre-toasted type) and chopped to peanut size or smaller,
  • 1/2 package Stuffing Mix (the kind with a bit of seasoning, but not the “Super Garlic Awesome Sodiumfest 12 Ingredients Explosion” sort – Trader Joe’s is fine)
  • Zest of 1/2 orange (optional – omit if you’re also making Polly’s Cranberry-Rosemary Glaze)

Toss around for a minute, then cover and remove from heat. Let sit 5 minutes, then use to fill your turkey or tofurkey (the Tofurkey’s own stuffing is very tasty, so you can leave that in and just make the extra stuffing for the side, if you prefer not to cut the tofurkey in half). Wrap any extra stuffing in foil to warm during the final 20 minutes of your protein item’s cooking.

September 6, 2010

Cranberry-Walnut Apple Bagels (and tips for better bagel dough)

by cillefish

*
I made some more homemade bagels (recipe here), this time adding:

  • 1 smallish (fuji-sized) Gala apple, cored, peeled** and minced
  • 1/3 cup dried sweetened cranberries, chopped up a bit
  • 1/3-1/2 cup walnuts, chopped up so the largest bits are about 1/2- to whole-peppercorn size, max.
  • most of a 1/4 tsp measure of each: cardamom and ground powdered/dried ginger.
  • 5 or so good strokes on the nutmeg-grater of fresh nutmeg, or a SMALL pinch of the pre-ground stuff (but you should get a nutmeg grater and do it yourself because the flavor is WAY better)

These are SO GOOD with butter and honey on them. Great on their own, too; the spices are barely-there, which is good; you could add more if you want, but I think they’ll be a bit obtrusive if you push it.

I came across a few recipes that added a little bit of sugar to the boiling water, so I tried that. The sugar perhaps helps give the bagels a bit more of that slightly-shiny, crusty outside, but the effect wasn’t extremely noticeable.

Notes and Tips on the Dough

I was thinking the extra ingredients would require me to add more water than the 1 1/4 cup I used last time, but I think because the apple and cranberry both carry some moisture (the nuts do, too), it actually requires LESS. I threw in the whole 1 1/2 cup of warm water, and it was way too much. I had to add in almost a half cup of flour, plus maybe 1/2 tsp of vegetable oil to get things back to a relatively-ok consistency.

My issues with the dough this time around reminded me that if you don’t know what good bagel dough is SUPPOSED to look like, getting it right can be a little tricky if you’re used to making other breadlike things that tend to be spongier. My instinct is always to make the bagel dough too wet. RESIST.

It is too wet if it’s sticking to your hands, and way too wet if it’s wanting to STAY stuck to your hands or develop a buildup on them, and makes noisy sucking sounds when you pull your knuckles out of it as you knead. It should barely be a little stick-ish, but should have a polite attitude about it: “you know I’d like to stick to your hands, but I’m too well-bred to do that, and because I’m such a good dough, you can knead me quickly and assertively, and I won’t even stick to your Pyrex bowl.”

Good bagel dough should be dense and stretchy:

…and definitely more dry than sticky, and barely a little shiny once it’s been kneaded fully:

* The photo at the top is of someone else’s cranberry-only homemade bagels, but they look pretty close to mine (mine were a little pinker because of the bit of spices and because the walnuts darkened the flour a bit). Mine got eaten up too fast for me to photograph.

** I peel it with a knife and eat the peel because it’s good for me, and because my landlord stopped letting us put greenwaste in his garden.

September 3, 2010

Apple Pie: Crust Variations and the Best Filling

by horseradishsauce

This is my favorite apple pie recipe. I haven’t tried the cheddar crust yet, but hopefully next time I will make it. By the way, if you want to make the crust vegan, use crisco. I tried it with the only vegan margarine I could find (most of them use whey), and it came out…I don’t know how to describe it, but suffice to say the rest of us tried to convince the vegan to eat the “face pies” instead (the ones made with ingredients that came from things with faces, of course).

So here’s the crust recipe I like, a variation that’s supposedly awesome, the cheddar crust, and a delicious filling recipe I found somewhere online:

Isabelle’s Crust (stolen from Mamma, stolen from Grandmaman, stolen from Crisco)

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cold butter/shortening
  • 3 to 8 tablespoons ice cold water
  • 1 egg

Doubled version:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cups cold butter/shortening
  • 5 to 12 tablespoons ice cold water
  • 1 egg

Combine flour and salt. Cut in butter until it’s crumbly. Toss with cold water until it’s doughy enough to roll.
Clean your counter, you nasty person. Now flour the surface and put the dough (formed into a ball) on the flour, and dust the top with flour. If you’ve got a rolling pin, flour that and roll out the crust. I used a bowl with a smooth bottom all through college and that worked fine. The palm of your hand will also work. Done? Excellent. Put it in the tin. Add the filling, then pull the extra bits of dough over the top of the filling. Prick some holes in the top of the crust. Beat the egg and brush it over the crust. If you didn’t beat the egg thoroughly, there will be the clumps of the albumen that will like to sink into the recesses of the pie. If you leave them there, they will bake into oddly chewy sections of dough, which I don’t like.

Supposedly the Best Pie Crust

  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups shortening or butter, in chunks
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tablespoon white vinegar

Combine flour, salt, and sugar. In a small bowl whisk together the water, egg, and vinegar.
Cut butter into dough until large crumbs form.
Add egg mixture, stirring as little as possible until the dough starts to form a ball. Form dough into a ball while working it as little as possible. Dough may be somewhat sticky. Place on a piece of plastic wrap and wrap tightly. Chill for at least an hour. Roll or use as normal. 1/4 of ball will make one crust – bottom or top.
(This dough is very soft. Roll on a well-floured surface and dust with flour as needed while rolling.)
If baking by itself for a no-bake pie, prick the crust all over – even on the sides – with a fork. This will allow the steam to release instead of it puffing up. Bake in a 350 oven for about 15 minutes, or until the crimped edges are turning golden. Cool compeltely if using a cold filling.

Cheddar Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • dash of salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 1/2 cup (6 oz.) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 4-6 tablespoons water

Heat oven to 425F. Combine flour & salt; cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in cheese. Sprinkle with water while mixing lightly with a fork; form into ball. Divide dough in half. Roll one part to 11″ circle on lightly floured surface. Place in 9″ pie plate. Add filling. Roll out remainder of dough to 11″ circle; place over apples. Seal edges of crust & flute. Cut slits in top of pastry. Bake at 425F, 35 minutes.

Apple Pie Filling

  • 6 large apples
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • probably about 4 tablespoons teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon butter — cut into bits
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • dash cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Peel, core, and thinly slice apples. Toss with lemon juice and zest. Mix sugar, flour, and spices. Toss with apples to coat.
Roll half of dough into a round and fit into a 9″ pie pan.Fill shell with apple mixture. Dot top with butter. Roll remaining dough into a round large enough to cover top of apples. Place carefully over apple filling and crimp edges of crusts together. Make slits in top crust to vent. Mix teaspoon of sugar with dash of cinnamon. Brush top of crust with milk and sprinkle lightly with cinnamon sugar.
Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake an additional 20-30 minutes.
Note: even though you think the crust will burn by leaving it in that long, it shouldn’t. The apples will continue to cook and the crust will be the same as if you’d taken it out when it first turned golden. People always ask me whether I cooked the apples first before putting it in the crust :).