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.
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 Baked 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:
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
- 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 the caramels and cream over medium heat, 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.
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
After friends let me test drive their Cuisinart Ice Cream maker, I bought my own, so I thought it would be a good time to revisit a whole week of frozen treats, which will conclude with the Friday Recipe Exchange. I thought it would be good to start with the basics. The first recipe is for a cream only ice cream and I’ll link to a JeffreyW post that has an egg custard ice cream. Then I’ll add strawberries to it. These recipes all make 1 to 1-1/2 quarts.
Vanilla Ice Cream
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped (or 3 tsp high quality vanilla extract)
Combine all ingredients (including the bean and its pulp – if you’re using extract, DO NOT add yet) in a large saucepan and place over medium heat. Stirring occasionally, bring the mixture to barely simmering, about 170 degrees F. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly – remove the hull of the vanilla bean or add extract at this point, stirring in completely. Pour mixture into lidded container and refrigerate mixture overnight to mellow flavors and texture. Freeze mixture in ice cream freezer according to unit’s instructions. The mixture will not freeze hard in the machine. It will reach a soft serve consistency. Then spoon the mixture back into a lidded container and harden in the freezer at least 1 hour before serving.
Strawberry Ice Cream (or really Any Berry Ice Cream)
- Make the vanilla base (above), cooled overnight
- 2 cups of chopped frozen strawberries (or any quality frozen berry of your choice)
- 1 tbsp vodka
ice cream maker Toss strawberries with vodka, stir into the cold vanilla cream mixture. Add to your ice cream maker and freeze according to unit’s instructions. Again it will be a soft serve consistency when done, remove to an airtight container and freeze for 1 hour before serving.
As promised: For an egg custard ice cream, go to JeffreyW’s post here.
JeffreyW makes strawberry ice cream, too
Originally posted May 2013
Since the 4th of July is barreling toward us, I thought I should get some ideas together. This is absolutely my favorite holiday. Food, fireworks and friends, what could be better? So let’s jump right into the food portion of our festivities.
These are quick and easy ribs if you don’t want to do the smoke for the whole day style, the citrus glaze is the star of this recipe: Baby Back Ribs with Citrus Glaze (recipe here).
Buttermilk Pie (click here) will get all the ooo’s and aaahhh’s, until the fireworks anyway. As pretty as it is tasty.
JeffreyW makes a Classic Orange/Lemon Shakeup (pictured above and recipe here)
And for a different take on cucumber salad, how about Minted Cucumbers, (recipe here).
Hopefully that will give you some ideas for your own July 4th celebration. What’s on your menu for this weekend and for the holiday? What are your favorite recipes for the celebration? We always have to leave room for the funnel cake at the fireworks. Hit the comments to share your recipes and what you like to do on the 4th.
Tonight’s featured recipe is one I made a few years ago on a whim, inspired by a recipe I didn’t follow for various reasons, and I get requests for it every July 4th now. Because it’s a kabob style, it’s a bit labor intensive, but you can prepare all of it the day before. If you want your chicken even drunker, you can soak it in the extra bourbon overnight.
Grilled Bourbon Chicken Appetizers
- 1- 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup chopped Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- Bourbon whisky (how much you use and what you do with the leftover is between you and your bottle)
- 8 oz pineapple chunks
- 12 strips of sliced bacon (should be a pound)
- 12 short wooden skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes before assembling and grilling*
Cut chicken breasts into 1-inch x 2-inch cubes, you should have 36 pieces (you can soak in bourbon if you like)
Mix together Chipotle peppers, brown sugar, cayenne pepper and add enough whisky and pineapple juice to make a thick sauce. Cover chicken cubes on all side with sauce and let marinate for at least 1 hour.
To assemble: Start with a pineapple chunk, add one end of full bacon strip, add chicken cube, then wrap bacon around the top of the cube and skewer, add another cube of chicken, wrap bacon around the bottom of that piece of chicken, then skewer, add a third and repeat with the bacon strip, you’re creating a ribbon with the bacon. Finish with a pineapple chunk.
(And I wish I had a photo of that step for you, but we got so busy doing them, I forgot to get the camera out. When I make them this year, I’ll remember, promise. I barely got a finished picture, had to grab someone’s plate before they started munching).
Grill over medium high heat (if using coals, start over hot coals, then move away from direct heat for the remainder of cooking time), turning frequently. Cook until chicken is 160-165 degrees. Shouldn’t take more than 10-15 minutes, don’t overcook or you’ll have dry, rubbery appetizers. Serve hot.
*please don’t forget this step or all you’ll have for appetizers is flaming skewers.
That’s it for this week. There won’t be a recipe exchange next week. And if you missed it, this week’s complete dinner menu and shop list is Pork Stir-fry and Tangy Lemon Pie (click here). Have a safe and happy 4th! – TaMara