Apple Week: Apple Cider Donut Holes

It’s the time of year when folks go out to orchards; spend the day filling bags with apples, going on hay rides, running through corn and bale mazes, before finishing up with cider and cider donuts. In honor of that, I decided to try and make my own. Baked, not fried.

I haven’t purchased cider in a while and was a little shocked at the cost – but I bought from a local orchard, so it was worth it. Excellent flavor.

These turned out pretty good – unless you’ve got donut tins, these are going to be a little lopsided, not perfectly round as the dough is more like muffin dough. They are much lighter than muffins, more like a good cake donut, and once you coat them in cinnamon and sugar, no one will notice their little flat bottoms.

This recipe made about 3 ½ dozen holes or 2 ½ dozen mini muffins.

Apple Cider Donut Holes

Dry ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar, packed

Wet ingredients:

  • 2 cups of apple cider (reduced to ½ cup)
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • ½ cup buttermilk (or 2 tbsp buttermilk powder and ½ cup water)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 small apple, shredded or 2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce

Topping:

  • 3 tbsp melted butter
  • ½ granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon

Saucepan, large mixing bowl, Mini-muffin pan or donut pan (these usually make mini-donuts), two small bowls Continue reading

Apple Week: Cast-Iron Skillet Apple Crisp

I bought some mediocre apples the other day, and beyond feeding them to the dogs as treats, I needed something to do with the other two pounds. Apple crisp came to mind – add enough butter, brown sugar and cinnamon, and even mediocre apples can shine.  I wish I had a bit of apple cider because the wasn’t a lot of juice in these, so the crisp was a little dry, despite a stick of butter.

I toyed with going to the local open space apple orchard to grab some (free) apples, but I think I might be too late this year, and they’ve been cleaned out.  It’s become a very popular place for apple picking.

Since I discovered using a cast-iron skillet for making apple crisp, that’s been my go-to. Sometimes I bake it in the skillet, but most of the time, I move it to a glass baking dish because mine has a great cover for the leftovers. Continue reading

Soup Time! Instant Pot* Chicken Tortilla Soup

This soup is one of my favorites.  Quick, easy and full of goodness.  And using the electric pressure cooker makes an easy recipe even easier.

I was being overrun with tomatoes, and then our heatwave broke with a nice cold, rainy weekend. Perfect time to start some soup.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, cubed**
  • 8 cups of water
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp orange  juice
  • 1 tbsp limejuice
  • ½ tsp ea. – Mexican oregano, basil, rosemary
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 large chopped green, yellow, or red pepper
  • 1 to 4 jalapenos chopped (depending on the heat you like)
  • 1/4 tsp red chili pepper flakes
  • 12 oz frozen sliced carrots
  • 8 oz frozen green beans
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 16 oz frozen sweet corn
  • 14 oz canned or fresh tomatoes
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, washed and chopped
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4 flour small flour tortillas
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instant pot, Multi-Pot or *any electric pressure cooker

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Summer Harvest Continues

How do I manage, every year, to grow jalapenos that break the Scoville scale? 🌶️🔥

Once again, I roasted the first batch to try and bring down the heat before I canned them. It wasn’t all that successful, but they do taste good.  Simple recipe of pureed jalapenos, apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar), dash of salt. Great on burgers, in soups, or anywhere you’d use fresh or pickled jalapenos.

Again, I don’t do traditional canning. I do freezer canning.  I sterilize the freezer-safe canning jars, fill with the jalapeno relish, cover, but don’t tighten until cooled. Leave room in the jar for expansion and freeze for up to a year.

I was hoping the hail hadn’t damaged my tomatoes, but as they ripen, I’m seeing they all have bruising. Shouldn’t affect the ones I puree, but makes the sliced ones a little mushy.

I was on a kick to use up excess seeds I had lying around the pantry and decided I’d plant the corn I had stored in a plastic bag. Only about half germinated, and they grew little mini-stalks, which in turn produced mini-ears. They look edible, and I’ll cook one up and see. Otherwise, I’ll see if the ducks will eat them.

They are cute, I’ll say that.

Grilled Bourbon Chicken Skewers

I seem to have an abundance of Kentucky bourbon in the house these days. Unusual. I always have Canadian whiskey (I prefer cooking with whiskey over wine). So I went looking through the archives for some recipes with bourbon. I had forgotten about this one, with is always a hit at cookouts.

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.

From 2014:

Drunken Chicken 1

Grilled Bourbon Chicken Appetizers

12  servings

  • 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 (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) Continue reading

Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad

I’ve been grabbing a  rotisserie chicken whenever they’re on sale. Love them for quick meals, especially in the summer when I don’t want to heat up the kitchen.  At about 4-5 lbs, I can use them for several meals.  And the final leftovers make a great broth.

I used to make a Sonoma Chicken Salad (recipe here), and while it’s very good, I’ve gravitated toward a simpler mayonnaise-based chicken salad.  This quick and simple salad is a great use for some of that rotisserie chicken.

Pecan-Cranberry Chicken Salad

  • 2 cups diced chicken
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup whole cranberry sauce
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans (or walnuts)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine thoroughly. You can add celery or onion if desired.

Serve on sliced rolls or croissants, or my favorite, lettuce leaves.

BTW, I never have photos of this because the cranberries turn it all pink, and it does not photograph well. But trust me, it tastes great.

 

 

Four Minute Potato Salad

This recipe is a family favorite!

From 2018:

At the last minute yesterday, I decided we needed potato salad at our cookout. Luckily, electric pressure cooker to the rescue!  Four minutes cooking time, about 10 minutes prep. I left potatoes and eggs in the fridge to cool while we ran around. Added mayo, mustard, some dill pickle juice just before dinner and served with grilled hamburgers and corn. Yum.

Perfect Picnic Potato Salad

  • 6 large potatoes, peeled, cubed
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, finely diced
  • mayo and yellow mustard to taste – I used less than a cup of mayo and about 1/4 cup mustard – but I know some people like a lot more. I added a 1/4 cup of dill pickle juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Add the steaming basket to the pressure cooker and add enough water to come to bottom of the basket. Add cubed potatoes (and you don’t need to be too fancy with cutting the pieces – just relatively same size for uniform cooking). Place washed eggs on top of the potatoes. Close the unit, set to steam for 4 minutes. When finished, use the rapid release method to ensure eggs don’t over cook and potatoes stay firm.

Add eggs to a cold water ice bath. Remove potatoes and drain excess water. Add to large serving bowl.  Peel eggs, wash and cube. Add to potatoes. Let cool completely before mixing so as not to turn the potatoes into mush.

Once cooled, add remaining ingredients and fold until well mixed.  Let sit for about 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 6 easily


Dinner Menu: Grilled Steak with Coffee Rub and Blueberry Coffeecake

Blueberry Coffee Cake

Let’s start grilling season off with one of my most requested recipes. A steak coffee rub.

From August 2013

A friend of mine spent a few months one summer experimenting with coffee rubs. This was one of my favorites. If you need something fun to do with your next grilled steak, this is a recipe to try. And with my love of blueberries, can’t go wrong with a blueberry coffeecake.  Yum.

On the board tonight:

  1. Steak with Coffee Rub
  2. Green Beans w/Bacon & Onion
  3. Baked Potatoes
  4. Blueberry CoffeeCake

Steak with Coffee Rub

  • 3 tbsp chili powder (pure ancho or a blend)
  • 3 tbsp finely ground coffee (espresso works best)
  • 1 ½ tbsp paprika (use a good one)
  • 1 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 to 1-1/2 lb of steak (rib-eye, sirloin, NY strip, etc) in 4 thick pieces

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