Tag Archives: apple

Pork Loin Chops with Apples, Onions, and Shallots

Today was an absolutely terrible day. No single person should have to go to the DMV twice in one day. That should never happen. Plus the Santa Clara DMV is a particularly busy one. I had to wait an hour in line to get a number. Then I had to wait an hour sitting before my number was called. Then they called me and told me that they couldn’t help me and that my case was being processed by Sacramento and I would have to wait thirty business days before everything could be completed. Meanwhile, my broken down Dodge Caravan is sitting in an impound lot on the other side of Santa Clara accruing massive fees. Sigh.

Advertisements

Apple Salted Caramel Bread Pudding

Tonight Andrew and I are going over to his uncle’s house for dinner with his family in Willow Glen/Cambria area of San Jose. The only other time I’ve met them was when Andrew’s grandmother died, so this will hopefully be a much better time. They asked that we make a dessert to bring over. I was feeling something autumnal, maybe with apples or pumpkin. I decided on apples because well, pumpkins are a pain in the ass and I didn’t feel like a pie.

There was a delicious sounding apple caramel bread pudding in Martha Stewart’s cookbook The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook.

Salted Vanilla Caramel Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 cups organic, evaporated cane juice sugar (I know I went all fancy and shit)
  • 1 cup organic half and half
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tsps. vanilla extract (original recipe called for a vanilla bean, but I ain’t that fancy)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp. salted butter (you can use unsalted as well)

1. Pour water and sugar into a small/medium sized sauce pan. Do NOT mix together. Heat on medium and gently swirl the pan (occasionally) for twenty minutes until your sauce has reached a deep amber color. I thought mine had reached this stage but apparently it didn’t and was a little thin but still delicious.

This is what it looks like when you first put it on the stove.

Note: making anything that boils and has sugar scares the crap out of me. I’m always afraid it’s going to explode every where. It seriously looks like lava when its cooking.

This is what it looks like before you add the heavy cream, butter, vanilla and salt.

2. Turn the temperature down to low. Slowly add the cup of heavy cream and mix with a wooden spoon. Yes, it is imperative that you use a wooden spoon. This will make you feel superior to people who use metal or plastic spoons. Then add the two tablespoons of butter, vanilla, and salt. Mix and keep on low until you are ready to assemble the pudding.

This is what it looks like when you are done. Note the essential wooden spoon.

Now, while this was cooking I was also cutting apples into “matchsticks”. My cutting skills are similar to a pre-schooler’s drawing skills: they’ve got the concept but they still can’t put it together the right way.

Caramel Apple Bread Pudding

Ingredients

  • 1 8 oz. loaf of brioche (you can use white bread with the crusts removed, but remember you’re trying to be fancy)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsps. vanilla
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup almond milk (the recipe called for heavy cream, but I wasn’t about to use THAT much heavy cream in one dessert)
  • 2 granny smith apples cut into match sticks
  • the juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp. salted, room temperature butter (this is for rubbing on your ramekins).

1. Cut your two granny smith apples into matchsticks. Use the time that you’re sauce is cooking to do this. This is time consuming if you have shitty knife skills like me or don’t own a mandolin. Doesn’t really matter, none of us are trying out for Top Chef or anything.

My beautiful matchstick apples. I think I’m failing Martha with my knife skills.

2. Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees F. Place apples in a bowl; toss with lemon juice; set aside. Butter two large ramekins (you can also do six individual ramekins if you want to make it extra special). Cut brioche into 8 slices, quarter each slice, and set aside.

3. In a bowl, whisk together almond milk, eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla. Add brioche and toss to coat.

4. To assemble, coat the bottom of each of your ramekins with a thin layer of sauce. Then add a quarter of the apple mixture to each ramekin, then add a quarter of the bread mixture, then sauce, and repeat for a second layer.

This is what it looks like before you cook it.

5. Cook for forty minutes until puddings are set. Martha goes into all this crap about using a water bath, but it’s not necessary and its an extra step. I hate extra steps.

6. Serve warm with sauce. Yum!

It was a little sweet for me and I think next time I would reduce the sugar so that I don’t feel like I’m going into a diabetic coma. The salt added a nice touch to the caramel and it went deliciously with the apples.

Vegan Carob Chip Cookies

Last week I bought some carob chips because I was craving chocolate and I wanted a snack. They smelled awful. They smelled the way hoisin sauce smells. I can tolerate the smell of hoisin sauce when it’s hoisin sauce but I don’t want something that is supposed to be like chocolate to smell like it! I ended up not eating them, so they’ve been in my cupboard for the past week. I decided today to cook some carob chip cookies. I found a vegan chocolate chip cook recipe and adapted it to the ingredients that I have in my cupboard and fridge.

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsps. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 carob chips
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple butter
  • 1/2 cup water

1. Pre-heat oven to 350º F. Mix together flour, salt, baking powder, both sugars, and carob chips. Add apple butter and water until mixed together into a sticky dough.

2. Using two spoons (this keeps you from having to get your hands dirty) make whatever sized cookies you want. They do not spread out on the pan so don’t worry too much about spacing.

Verdict

Umm…I just can’t get into these. The carob has an odd taste. The texture is kind of spongy. They might have been different if I used oil or earth balance instead of apple butter. I really like the flavor the apple butter lends to the dough. Next time maybe I will use half apple butter and half oil/earth balance.

Store bought vegan baked goods have the delightful chewiness that I enjoy in cookies. This is my first attempt to make vegan cookies at home so I need to experiment more with it. I definitely would use dark chocolate chips next time instead of carob, or try a different brand of carob (sorry Whole Foods but your carob chips=nasty).

Vegan Poptarts with Homemade Apple Butter

Please excuse the incredibly shitty photo. For some reason I could not get my camera to focus today and my battery ran out before I could take more photos. I used the same recipe as before (see Homemade Vegan Poptart recipe) and this time I used apple butter that I made over the weekend as the filling. The apple butter turned out absolutely amazing, but I have so much of it. I have no idea what to do with all of it. Here is the recipe for the apple butter.

Apple Butter

Adapted from The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs. pink lady organic apples
  • 1 cup water (Martha calls for apple cider, but I didn’t have any)
  • 1-2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice mixture
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice

1. Combine all the ingredients in a large havey buttomed saucepan; place over mdeium high heat and cook, sittiring often with a large wooden spoon to prevent scorching, until apples are broken down and saucy, about one hour. Mash any large pieces of apple with the wooden spoon.

2. Reduce heat to medium. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until apples are completely broken down and butter is thick and dark, about 2 1/2 hours. Remove from heat and let stand to cool. Store, refrigerated, in an airtight container for up to 1 month or frozen up to six months.


French Apple Cake

Yesterday Andrew and I were invited over to his friend Peter’s house for dinner. As usual, dinner consisted of sausages, bread, salad, and tri-tip. I wanted to provide a dessert, but there were certain guidelines. My boyfriend does not eat dairy and doesn’t like most sweets. Peter is lactose intolerant so cannot eat dairy. I have been wanting to make an apple cake for a while even though apples are not in season right now. I picked up some organic granny smith apples from Shopper’s Corner, a local grocery store.

The recipe I used is from the Joy of Cooking.

French Apple or Peach Cake

Sweet and Rich

Preheat oven to 425°

Grease the pan or ovenproof dish and cover the bottom well with:

  • 2 cups or more sliced apples, peaches or other fruit

Sprinkle the fruit with:

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • cinnamon or nutmeg
  • grated rind and juice of 1 lemon

Dredge with:

  • 1 tbsp flour

Pour over surface:

  • 2 to 4 tablespoons melted butter

Prepare the following batter. Sift before measuring:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

Resift with:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Beat and add:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1/4 cup milk

Beat these ingredients with swift strokes until blended. Cover the fruit with the batter. Bake the cake for about thirty minutes. Reverse it on a platter. Cool slightly.

Notes: I ended up having to double the batter recipe. The original recipe did not end up covering my fruit. When I added my cake to the oven, a good amount of cake batter leaked out of the pan and started burning on the bottom of the oven. I had to take the cake out and put it into another spring form pan and put it in a different oven. It took much longer than thirty minutes to cook because of the extra batter. I also reduced the cooking temperature halfway through because the top became very brown before the middle was cooked.  I ended up using three apples for this recipe: one in the cake and two for the topping. I sliced two granny smith apples added them to a pan with one tablespoon of butter, nutmeg, cinnamon, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and some vanilla extract. Once the cake was cooled an on a plate, I added this as a topping.

Sausage Bagel Sandwich

I love sandwiches especially those made with bagels. I bought a discount package of basil garlic sausages at Safeway a couple weeks ago and decided to pull them from the freezer. After defrosting them, I cooked them in the oven at 375° F for about twenty minutes, flipping them over halfway through the cooking process. While those were cooking I sliced up a granny smith apple and a bagel. I placed the sliced apple on the bagel, then the sausage, and added some reduced-fat feta cheese crumbles on top. I put the extra apple in the baking dish with some more cheese on top. This went under the broiler for about five minutes. It was a delicious mix of carbohydrates, tart apple, salty cheese, and greasy garlicky sausage. I added some spicy mustard on top of everything which added a nice kick.