Fall Has Arrived: Apple Crisp Season

This is my Perfect Apple Crisp (recipe here), using the stovetop method.  Creates a tasty filling topped with great, crispy top.

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English Muffin Toast

This bread is so easy to make and even at this altitude, it’s moist and fluffy.  No kneading and a quick mix and it’s ready to rise. I’m making it again tomorrow.

English Muffin Bread

  • 12-3/4 ounces bread flour
  • 1/2 ounce sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 8 ounces milk
  • 2 ounces water
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil or olive oil
  • cornmeal, to sprinkle in pan

bowl, loaf pan

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Tahini Walnut Rolls

I have included a little Turkish Cafe in my newest novel Underway (available in June) and I wanted to try out a few pastry recipes to use in the book. This was one of the simpler (and not deep fried) that I decided to give a try.

This is not the definitive recipe – if you Google Tahini Rolls you’ll find dozens of variations. Everyone’s grandma must make her own version. This one seemed the easiest to replicate.

These are much different than I expected. Light, crisp, flaky and not too sweet, they go great with coffee.  I really liked them.  This recipe makes about 2 dozen: Continue reading

Coconut Lemon Cake Revisited

I visited family for Easter and it seemed like a good time to make my Coconut Lemon Cake. It was a hit – though my niece would have preferred a less tangy lemon curd. I will admit, I made it super lemony because my brother and I both love lemon.

Here’s the original recipe.

I made a few changes.

For the cake, I substituted coconut oil for both the oil and butter. When I originally made the cake, I didn’t keep coconut oil in the house, now it’s a staple. This upped the coconut flavor in the cake itself.

For the lemon curd, I flipped the water/lemon juice amounts. Using 1 cup of lemon juice and only 1/2 cup water. This upped the tartness substantially, so be prepared!

For the layers – this time I cut down from 4 to 3, using pie pans for the cake pans. This made for a much sturdier cake without losing any of the flavor – especially with the super tart curd.

Nom-nom. I really could have eaten the entire cake myself.

I’m off to do more prep on the vegetable garden. I have a hoop and 6 wall of water, so I’m hoping to get a head start later this month.

Depending on how the harvest goes, I’m definitely going to get a vacuum sealer to make freezing veggies easier. I. Do. Not. Can.

Are you planning your garden, yet?



Sautéed Spinach with Bacon

I owe you guys not only a puppy update, but also a real recipe thread. We got hit by a cold snap this week and for whatever reason, it just zapped me of all my energy to do anything extra. I worried a lot about the ducks, since I had to keep them cooped while it was sub-twenties. And of course the dogs (along with me) had cabin fever. We did get a good walk in today. I still have to walk them separately, Scout is not ready for that just yet.

This next week promises to be much warmer. Good thing, because I am ready to start cleaning my bed and get ready for gardening.

I was sitting on the couch just now, with the dogs snuggled up, watching the sunset. I am still amazed at the beautiful view I have…thanks to some awesome tree trimmers. That helps tide me over until spring finally arrives.

Cute duck story – I have a box of corn flakes, mostly for them, and I toss a few out for treats. The other day I decided to have a bowl for lunch. When I sat down at the table, there were the ducks, sitting on the steps, looking in the window. I have no idea how they heard me…they were happily playing across the yard before that. Silly ducks.

Pictured above is my quick dinner of BBQ chicken, cast iron cornbread (I cheat and use Krusteaz after a friend recommended it) and spinach with bacon. I’m not big on cooked spinach, but a friend loves it and never had it with bacon, so I had to make it.

Spinach with Bacon

  • 4 strips of thick sliced bacon, sliced into small pieces
  • 10 oz of fresh spinach, washed and dried
  • water
  • salt, pepper and vinegar

skillet

Add bacon to cold skillet and cook on medium heat. Fry until bacon is crisp (your desired texture, I like it still a bit chewy). Add the spinach, toss with bacon grease, add about 1/4 cup of water to create steam and cover. Cook until spinach is slightly limp. Remove lid and toss with salt, pepper and dash of vinegar (I like malt vinegar, but balsamic, white or red wine vinegar works well, too).

Serve immediately.



 

Pasta with Spinach Cheese Marinara

Pasta photo by JeffreyW

Pasta w/Spinach Cheese Marinara Sauce:

  • 2 tsp to 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 4 mushrooms, washed & sliced
  • ½ green pepper, chopped
  • 2-14 oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste*
  • 3 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • 2 tsp basil, crushed
  • 2 tsp oregano, crushed
  • 1 tsp thyme, crushed
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • ½ cup grated Romano cheese
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 12 oz bow-tie pasta (farfalle)

2 saucepans

Bring water for pasta to a boil in large saucepan, add pasta and cook according to directions to al dente.

Meanwhile, heat oil in the other saucepan; sauté onions, mushrooms & peppers until onions are golden.  Add remaining ingredients (except pasta) bring to a low boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat to med-low, cover and let simmer until pasta is done cooking. As the pasta finishes up, add a ladle or two of pasta water to the sauce.

Drain pasta well and toss together with sauce.  Serve with additional Parmesan & Romano cheeses if desired.

*you can freeze the remainder in an ice-cube tray and store in a freezer bag.



 

Bake Flowering Onion ;-)

Don’t want any copyright issues. This was delicious and easy to do. Again, I went to my go-to crispy coating – potato starch. The result was a sweet, creamy onion with a crispy spicy coating.

Baked Flowering Onion

  • 1 very large sweet onion (good time for Vidalias are in season right now)
  • 1/2 cup potato starch
  •  2 tsp paprika (the good kind)
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • pinch of oregano & thyme
  • dash of cayenne
  • 2 eggs

baking dish(greased on the bottom), two deep bowls

Remove about 1/2 inch slice from the top of the onion and peel. Slice about 8 to 10 slices from top to bottom on the onion, making sure not to cut through the bottom end (root end).

Mix together all dry ingredients in bowl and set aside.

Beat eggs with a dash of water in another deep bowl.

Dip the onion in the eggs, making sure it is thoroughly coated. Then place in the dry ingredients and gently roll and use a spoon to help coat inside and out completely with potato starch. Remove to baking dish.

Bake at 375 degrees F for about 45 – 60 minutes until the onion is soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. If it begins to get too brown, reduce heat to 350 and gently tent foil over it until it’s completely cooked through. Remove foil and give it a minute or two uncovered to do a final crisp. Serve immediately with favorite dipping sauces (mayo, horseradish, southwestern buttermilk dressing, etc).