An Apple a Week- Week 2

We’re pulling out all the stops for cuteness this week with Lady Apples. I hadn’t seen any for what seemed like years (seasonal eating will do that to you) , and their season is very short, so I had to pick one up. Ladies and gentlemen, these are showstoppers!

Image from The Produce Hunter

Image from The Produce Hunter

Theoretically, these make a good holiday apple– they should be available between Thanksgiving and Christmas– but they’re in season a little early this year in New York, it seems. They’re tiny, rosy, and semi-sweet– and just a little bit winey. I think they’d probably be great either made into caramel apples or cooked with pork, but this one didn’t last long enough; it’s a two-bite apple, and Ihad to eat it to find out what it tasted like. If you’re more patient than I am, these apples dry well and can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 weeks.e

Rumor (or Produce Pete) has it that “Lady Apples are the oldest variety known, first cultivated by the Romans. The French loved them and thought they were a royal apple; early American colonists thought of them as a symbol of wealth.”

Last week, Hannah of I Heart Kale chimed in to remind me of her recipe for  applesauce with ginger and plums that I’ve been meaning to try all month. Sounds delicious, doesn’t it? I’m going to be out of town next weekend, but I may have to make some with my haul the week after next if I can find the plums (they were still going strong at the market this week.)

About An Apple a Week: I was inspired to try one new type of apple each week until apple season was over or I couldn’t find any new recipes. I’m going to try to post a new type each Sunday– if you have an apple recipe post you want linked, or want to challenge yourself along with me, please let me know!

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Filed under An Apple a Week, dessert, fruit, Other Interests, vegetarian, veggies

An Apple a Week- Week 1

Until I went to high school in New England, I hated apples– they tasted like mildly sweetened sawdust: red delicious sawdust, yellow delicious sawdust– and for a treat, occasionally mcintosh wax and granny smith was, which had slightly more flavor but were still predominately waxy and sawdusty. The apples we picked in New Hampshire were different: some sweet, some sour, some flowery; all *actually* delicious… so, when Brooklyn Bachelor asked me what type of apples I had put in my apple pie (Jonagold), I was inspired to try one new type of apple each week until apple season was over or I couldn’t find any new recipes. I’m going to try to post a new type each Sunday– if you have an apple recipe post you want linked, or want to challenge yourself along with me, please let me know!

Image Courtesy of FreshDirect

Image Courtesy of FreshDirect

This week, rather prosaically, I am going to start with McIntosh apples. McIntoshes are early season apples and don’t store well, so if you’re a fan, now’s the time to get them. The ones I sampled this week came via the local section at FreshDirect from Red Jacket Orchards in Geneva, NY. They tasted as if they had just barely been waxed, but I’m not sure if they actually were. They were beautiful, deep red skins streaked with bright yellow green in their characteristic fashion which contrasts nicely with their pure pale insides– they’re certainly one of the more beautiful apples. The skin was crispy (in a good way), and the inside was sweet and tangy and floral, all at the same time. They’re great for eating out of hand, but I also like them in applesauce. I’ve had less then great success cooking them in oatmeal– they’re definitely “bright” flavored rather than “rich/ autumnal” flavored in my book, and when they cook, they don’t mellow as much as some other types.

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Welcome Home! Apple Pie!

September 1st, I moved to New York City. 45 days later, I finally picked up my laptop to blog again. Phew! When I talked about making big life changes, I wasn’t kidding around. In the last 45 days, I’ve moved and started working freelance; great timing, right? Luckily, all’s going well right now, and I’m sloooooooooooowly starting to feel human and like it might concievably be possible to have conversations with people who don’t know me well enough to interpret grunts and mumbles as “I love you, but have no spare energy right now.”

I have been cooking, though. So much cooking, so much baking, and a little exploring random little nearby restaurants thrown in the mix. I also made my first ever beautiful looking apple pie. First. Ever.

Behold:

My friend Jess gave me crucial tips on how to make the latticework pretty. She divides the dough in half, rolls it out, wraps one half around the rolling pin and then lays the rolling pin on the pie plate, unrolling it until it fits perfectly (look, Ma! No breaking!). Leaving the edges uncut, she rolls the other half into a circle as well, cutting it into ribbons. Because the pieces are then circle shaped, it’s reasonably easy to pick pieces the right length for that section of pie. Weave them in a rough lattice. Then, take a knife and trim all of the extra, leaving about 1.5″ extra around the rim. Roll the extra up, taking care to leave the lattice pieces inside the roll, until the roll is sitting on the rim of the pie plate. Using a fork or fingers, seal the roll together and crimp the edges. Beautiful, that!

I used Martha Stewart’s recipe, souped up with extra spices, and it was delicious. Works for me!

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How to Make Farmers Swoon

1. Bake cinnamon jam donut muffins.

2. Walk to farmer’s market midway through.

3. Play muffin fairy.

I found this recipe and these pictures about a year ago from Tara’s blog, “Should you eat that?“, but I didn’t get around to making them for a while. The first time I did, I loved them, but I used super-thick raspberry preserves. Not a good plan, folks. It was good, but the the filling sank to the bottom and made the whole thing soggy. Try two, I used homemade (not by me) strawberry rhubarb preserves that were on the thin side– and it worked perfectly! So, word to the wise, if your condiment filling of choice is thick or even standard, do yourself a favor and thin it extra before filling.

I bake a lot for the farmers at the market… and have had a lot of success. But when two months later, people still come up to you and say “those are the best muffins I’ve ever had”… well, you know you have to share the recipe.

Enjoy, folks!

Cinnamon Jam Donut Muffins

  • 2 Cups self raising flour
  • 1/2 Cup brown sugar
  • 60g unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 Cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 Cup raspberry jam (or your favourite flavor)
  • 2 Tbsp caster sugar
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted, extra
  • 1/3 Cups caster sugar, extra
  • 3 tsp ground cinnamon


Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spray a muffin tray with oil.
  2. Sift together self raising flour & brown sugar. In another bowl mix together butter, eggs & buttermilk. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients, mix until just combined (don’t overmix).
  3. Microwave jam along with caster sugar for about 45 seconds, or until jam has melted and sugar is dissolved, mix thoroughly.
  4. Half fill muffin holes with muffin mixture and add a little bit of jam before filling up with more muffin mixture. Cook for 8 minutes in oven, until a skewer comes out clean.
  5. Melt extra butter and mix together extra caster sugar & cinnamon in another bowl. One by one, brush each muffin all over with butter and roll in cinnamon sugar mixture.

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Success!

Daring baking– in fact, baking at all– has drawn the short straw in my life recently. Which is a shame, really, as I realized when I devoted *all day* yesterday to baking (and note now? made it by the deadline for posting. by two minutes. Heck yeah!) It was worth it. Every second of angsting over temperature, waiting for dough to chill, and laughing at a danish braid that exploded like a rib cage opening (looks kind of like a worm, doesn’t it?)… was worth it for the lovely smell as the braid baked and the look of awe on the boy’s face as it came out of the oven.

Kelly of Sass & Veracity and Ben of What’s Cookin’? chose this month’s Daring Bakers’ challenge, and a lovely challenge it was. (Recipe here). I filled it with cream cheese (beaten with egg, sugar, and vanilla) and strawberry slices– just a few, as I was afraid that it would be too soggy. Luckily, a side effect of the long post-filling rise is that the strawberry flavor seeped through everything, and I didn’t need anymore.

One problem, though– the braid got too dark on the bottom before it was dark enough on the top. Anyone out there know what caused that?

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Eep!

Shhh! Be Very Very Quiet! Daring Baking in progress… stay tuned!

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TVP vs. Tofu Allergies

Someone found my little home on the internet yesterday by searching for whether or not someone who can’t have tofu can eat TVP (textured vegetable protein.) While it’s too late for them to read this, I thought it was it was a question worth answering.

Soy Plant

Some observant readers may remember that I cannot have tofu or soy milk; something about the way the soybean is processed (or the quantities it’s normally eaten in) makes me ill; I suspect an allergy, but I’m not sure. TVP contains soy protein, and can thus cause problems for people who are allergic to the proteins (rather than the processing) of soy. However, it is not only soy protein, and since any people with soy allergy can tolerate small to moderate amounts of soy protein, you may be able to eat TVP without problems. I recommend that you start in very small doses and then increase serving sizes as desired until you know how much you can tolerate.

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Filed under Other Interests, Uncategorized, vegetarian