Friday Recipe Exchange: Apples, Bourbon and Caramel

Caramel Apple Crisp

We have a city apple orchard. I’ve cycled by it for years, didn’t give it much thought except to wonder what the city did with them every year. This year I found out. Seems the weather has created a bumper crop so the city put out a reminder that these apples were there for everyone, they were pesticide free and please, please, please come pick some because there were so many they were breaking branches.

Photo from City of Longmont

Photo from City of Longmont

We headed over and picked a few last weekend and I decided that apples would make the perfect topic for tonight’s recipe exchange. I’ve got some old favorites and some old favorites with a new twist, including tonight’s featured recipe, Caramel Apple Crisp, pictured at top.

Let’s start with one that is perfect around this time of year when mini chocolates abound, Baked Snicker Apples, recipe here.

mouth-watering is the only way to describe, Mrs. J’s Famous Apple Pie, click here.

I have bourbon, I have apples, seems I need to make some Bourbon Bake Apples, recipe here.

Totally not apple related, the weekly menu this week was Spaghetti and Meat Sauce, recipes and shopping list here.

What’s on your menu? Now that the weekend means autumn is official, what are some of your favorite fall recipes?

For tonight’s featured recipe, I wondered what would happen if I added caramels to my favorite apple crisp. It was amazing. Great flavor without being too sweet. I reduced the sugars to adjust for the caramels. I’ll do this one again:

apple-crisp-cast iron

Cast Iron Caramel Apple Crisp

  • 2 lbs apples – mix of sweet and tart (about 3 apples)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • dash of salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger to taste
  • 10 caramels, unwrapped
  • 2 tbsps of cream

Topping:

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1 cup flour

10 inch cast iron skillet and small mixing bowl

Core and cut apples into small pieces (about 1/2 inch). Peeling is optional, but with this method the peels cook nice and soft, so it isn’t necessary.

Melt butter in skillet, add apples and sugar, stir until apples are well coated. Cover and cook on medium heat until apple mixture is soft and caramelized, stirring occasionally. About 20-30 minutes.

While the apples are cooking, melt caramels and cream together, stirring until smooth. If you spray the pan with cooking oil before melting caramels, cleanup is easier. Pour over apples just before adding crumble mixture.

Caramel apples

In mixing bowl, stir together butter, sugar, flour and oats, mix until crumbly. Crumble over the apple mixture. Bake for 10-15 minutes in a 400 degree oven, just until top is crispy golden brown. Let cool 10 minutes and serve warm.

What makes this so good is that because the apples are cooked on the stovetop, you can use a much higher heat in the oven and get a good, crisp top without drying the whole mixture out or under cooking the apples. Really, this is one of the best apple crisps I’ve made.

Alternately, if you don’t have an oven-proof skillet, you can transfer the cooked apple mixture to a glass baking dish, add topping and bake that way.

No Bixby Diary this week, I’ll make up for it next week. Until then….TaMara

==================================

About these ads

Tidbits

DSC_9071 (1600x1060)We took another stab at fried pies using the cherry filling-in-a-tube.  They work a lot better using Mrs J’s recipe for the crust instead of the pre rolled pie crusts we tried a while back.  There will be more pie:DSC_9125 (1600x1060)These are the tubes of fillings I mentioned:  From L to R,  Banana, Lemon, and Chocolate.  They’ll make a ton of fried pies.DSC_9118 (1600x1060)We thought chicken chili with white beans looked good when we saw a picture the other day.  A search through recipes online led me to this one by the Neelys on the Food network.  I looked for poblano peppers at the store this morning but they didn’t have any, I subbed a couple of my own Anaheims and a small can of chopped green chilies.  Turned out pretty good.  We used a can of Great Northerns and two cans of cannellini beans.DSC_9123 (1600x1060)Speaking of peppers, Mrs J brought in several nice green peppers from the garden this morning.  These are Giant Marconi peppers, I think, not the green bells that they look like.  I used the last batch with celery and onions to make a big batch of the Cajun Trinity, sealing it in several vacuum bags for the freezer.  We’re big fans of gumbo.  I’m not sure what these will be used for, I think I may stuff and bake a few…DSC00379 (1600x1200)Here’s a puppy!  The bone is nearly as big as he is.  I know nothing about this one.DSC_9114 (1600x1060)I dug a beef brisket out a few weeks ago and brined it per Alton Brown’s corned beef recipe.  I took it out and smoked it for several hours and then finished in the oven.  I sliced and sealed it into plastic bags in one pound portions, all save this bit I used to make pastrami hash yesterday.DSC_9093 (1600x1060)Mmm… tacos!  These are pork with guacamole, sour cream, pickled jalapenos, shredded lettuce, cheese, and a mole made from dried peppers that were simmered and then pureed with garlic and oregano.DSC00555 (1600x1200)I’ll close this out with a kitty lounging in one of Mrs J’s cat beds.  She buys a lot of the materials needed for these but there are more and more donations of fabrics and fillers now that word is out that she can turn them into nice things for the shelter pets.  I think the pad under the puppy with the bone is one of her creations, too.

Bourbon Baked Apple Crisp

Final Baked Bourbon Apple

Wandering around the web today, someone posted a recipe for Bourbon Baked Apples. Hmmm, I have bourbon. I have apples. Guess I need to bake some Bourbon Apples, stuffed with oatmeal crumble.

Bourbon Baked Apple Crisp

  • 4 large favorite apple
  • 1/2  cup oats
  • 1/2  cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • dash of salt
  • 1/4 cup softened  butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup bourbon (depending on taste – you can substitute more cider if you prefer)
  • vanilla ice cream

In a bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, flour, salt and cinnamon. Add softened butter and vanilla, and mix thoroughly. You want it to be crumbly.

apples stuffed2

Cut the top off the apple, enough to use as a lid. Scoop out core and seeds, being careful not to pierce the bottom of the apple. Sprinkle with additional cinnamon if desired  and then stuff with the oats mixture, packing it in and covering out to the edges of the apple. Place the top of the apple back on and press down.

Place apples in a large baking dish. Pour apple cider and bourbon in the bottom of the pan. Place in a 400 degree oven and bake for 30 to 45 minutes, until skin is soft and wrinkled and flesh is soft. During the baking period, baste every 10 minutes with the cider/bourbon mix.

Serve immediately with ice cream.

 

==============================

Dinner Menu: Mambo Italiano Edition

Spaghetti and Meatballs2

Going old school tonight.  I thought you may still have some zucchini and tomatoes that needed to be used up and this menu does both.  Growing up, spaghetti was a weekly occurrence.  I’m not sure where my mom learned to make it, because it is my dad’s half of the family that is Italian, but it was always a hit at our house.  Over the years we’ve all played with different variations, but this is pretty close to the original. Whether it was at a weekly family meal or the Christmas dinner at my Gram’s, this basic sauce ruled.  And the good thing is, it is simple to modify depending on your tastes.  If you want to spice things up, add 1/4 to 1/2 lb of spicy Italian sausage and reduce the ground beef by as much.

Quick, easy and freezes well, I usually make double so I have some on hand for quick dinners.  Trust me, you will never find any jar sauce in my house.  Ever.  If you’d like to have meatballs instead, recipe is here.

On the board tonight:

  1. Spaghetti w/Meat Sauce
  2. Zucchini Italiano
  3. Crusty Italian Bread
  4. Sherbet or even better, Gelato

Spaghetti w/Meat Sauce

  • 9 – 12 oz pasta of choice (I like angel hair for this recipe)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 small onion
  • 3 tsp. crushed garlic
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 3 tomatoes, diced (or 14 oz can diced tomatoes)
  • 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 3 tsp dried basil, crushed*
  • 3 tsp dried oregano, crushed
  • 1 tsp rosemary, crushed
  • 1 carrot, finely grated or 1/2 tsp sugar (these reduce the acidity of the sauce and bring out the spices – trust me on this one)
  • Salt & pepper to taste

2 saucepans and large skillet

In skillet, heat oil, sauté pepper, onion, garlic.  Add hamburger and cook thoroughly.  Add tomato paste and 1 tsp ea of crushed basil, oregano and rosemary, mix well.   In saucepan, add remaining ingredients and bring to a low boil, reduce heat, add meat mixture and let simmer for 30 minutes.

Cook pasta according to directions, drain well and serve with sauce and Parmesan cheese.

Zucchini Italiano

  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • ½  tsp oregano, crushed
  • ½  tsp basil, crushed
  • 4 tbsp grated parmesan cheese

medium skillet

Clean and slice zucchini, heat oil in skillet, add zucchini, garlic and spices. Stir-fry over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon water and let steam until zucchini is tender.  Toss with parmesan and serve.

*CRUSHING Spices – when using dry spices, to get the best flavor, you should crush them, either by rubbing them in your hand or using a mortar and pestle before adding them to a recipe.

Shopping List:

  • 9 – 12 oz pasta
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 3 tomatoes, diced (or 14 oz can diced tomatoes)
  • 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 carrot
  • Parmesan cheese
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • Crusty Italian Bread
  • Sherbet or  Gelato

Also: olive oil, crushed garlic, dried basil, dried oregano, rosemary, salt & pepper

==============================

Originally published Oct 2010 copyright What’s 4 Dinner Solutions Cookbook Spring Edition

Dessert Pron – Cream Horns

DSC_9109 (1600x1060)Mrs J liked the pastry cream we made for a chocolate raspberry cake so much that she was happy to use it to fill the first cream horns she made with the stainless steel molds she she just got in.  She was nostalgic for the cream horns she made from scratch back in her high school home-ec class.  Not so nostalgic that she wasn’t willing to use frozen puff pastry sheets, but I can’t blame her for that.

Gumbo Pr0n – With Homemade Andouille

DSC_9104 (1600x1060)…and chicken!  I even added some cut okra to this one.

The Truth Is Out

Uh-oh 1

This is Emma trying to escape before I can snap the photo of her and Bixby snuggled down together. That’s what I woke up to this morning. She was curled up next to his nose and he was resting his head on her bed. The truth is out, no going back now.

Paw print

Homemade Andouille Sausage

DSC_9075 (1600x1060)I used some sausage for the last gumbo that said Andouille on the package but it was a pretty poor excuse for it.  I ordered some from a vendor I’ve dealt with before – Cajun Grocer – along with a few other items I can’t get locally.  It came the other day but it got me wondering if I could make a credible version of it myself.  My go to guy for all things Cajun is this fellow and he didn’t disappoint.  I’m new at the stuffing sausage game and made some mistakes, and my smoking set-up isn’t the best but I managed to turn out the smoked links in the photo above.  These have spent the night in the fridge.  I kept a few back and vacuum packed the rest:DSC_9078 (1600x1060)

Roasted Grape Tomatoes

We have a couple of grape tomato bushes out back and they have been churning out tomatoes by the score.  I went out this morning and picked a half bucketful and there were that many on the ground.  I went looking for a roasting recipe and Martha Stewart came through for me.DSC_9082 (1600x1060)I used more olive oil than required, probably, and had a lot of fresh thyme.  These took longer than a hour and I bumped the temp up to 400 or so before I got much in the way of  a color change.  I stirred them once and returned them to the oven.DSC_9088 (1600x1060)We ate some of them with angel hair pasta for lunch.  My basil has gone to seed but I did find a few bright green new leaves that looked tender.  The portion of the tomatoes I used for the dish had a tablespoon or two of butter stirred in.  Pretty good stuff, not sure what to do with the rest of the tomatoes, I picked enough to fill that pan three times, the last batch is in the oven as I write this.

Friday Dinner Music: Keane, Somewhere Only We Know

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 533 other followers