Friday, September 30, 2011

Apple Haven Orchard Pie




Oh sweet sweet fall, it's a little easier to forget about summer's passing when you can crank on your oven and begin to bake delicious treats such as zucchini breads and apple pie and pumpkin muffins... the smell of sweet cinnamon wafting through the air, the anticipation of the first warm bite- I'm not sure there's anything better about fall then that.  Well apple picking comes pretty close- it's really great to reach up and grab an apple and bite into- so fresh and perfect.  And it's a great way to learn about different types of apples- those best for cooking, those better for eating and those that keep really well for a while ( bonus!)  We had a great camping trip up in New Glarus Wisconsin, to enjoy Oktoberfest, New Glarus beers, great friends, camping fun and apple picking at the Apfel Haven Orchard.  The couple who met us as we eagerly awaited our picking, were so adorable.  They set up a couple chairs under a canopy tent, with their dog running around and greeting everyone, to enjoy the day outside sharing their apples.  What a great way to spend the afternoon!  They shared their story about how they have had the orchard and educated us on the apples and generally were the happiest looking, nicest people we've ever met.  Picking is from 12-5pm on the weekends only during the apple season.  They had about 6 different varieties, here are our 2 favorites:
Jonafree apple: Medium size, bright red, fully or nearly fully colored.
Flavor is Jonathan-like, but less acid. Keeps 10 weeks.
Priscilla apple: Medium in size. 65% red blush over yellow background.
Crisp, coarse, mildly subacid. White to slightly greenish flesh.
Good flavor and quality. Will store for three months. Fruit hangs well.

As September comes to a close, we are coming up on the best month of the whole year- my favorite month actually :)  October, gorgeous colors start to appear and crisp days with bright sunshine will be had.  We will be sharing more apple recipes ( maybe some apple sauce for muffins!), and I'm sure some fall squash will creep in here and there... always a healthy version to be had that is just as delicious as it's original. 

The following recipe is one we found with a struesel type topping ( mmm my favorite!) and the key to a great apple pie is mixing 2 types of baking apples.  This is not a quick recipe by any means, there are a lot of "make this, wait 30 minutes" etc. but I swear you will not be disappointed when it is done, the whole wheat crust is perfection, I love the crunchy topping and cinnamony apples- oh the apples are the best part! This recipe includes orange as well and you really taste it as a perfect complement to the apple filling, do not leave that out.  I would even use some zest of orange next time in the filling. 

 

Oatmeal Crunch Apple Pie

Adapted from Eating Well
Ingredients

Crust
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, (Neufch√Ętel)
2 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons ice water

Filling
3 medium Jonafree apples, peeled and thinly sliced
3 medium Priscilla apples, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Topping
1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed


Method:
1.To prepare crust: Whisk flours and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Cut in 4 tablespoons butter and cream cheese using a pastry blender or a fork until the mixture is pebbly. Add oil; stir until evenly moistened. Sprinkle water over the mixture; toss with a fork to combine. Knead the dough in the bowl a few times. Gather into a ball, press into a disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 days.

2.Roll the dough into a 14-inch circle between 2 large pieces of parchment or wax paper. Peel off the top sheet and invert the dough into a 9-inch pie pan. Peel off the remaining paper. Press the dough firmly into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Tuck the overhanging dough under, forming a double-thick edge. Crimp the edge with your fingers. Using a fork, prick the dough in several places. Refrigerate the crust for 15 minutes.

3.Position a rack in the lower third of the oven; preheat to 375°F. Bake the crust for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool, about 30 minutes.

4.To prepare filling: Combine apples, 1/2 cup brown sugar, lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a large bowl. Let stand for 10 minutes. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour over the apples and toss again; mound the filling into the cooled crust. Coat the crust edges with cooking spray, return the pie to the oven and bake for 30 minutes.

5.Meanwhile, prepare topping: Combine 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour, oats, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Cut in 2 tablespoons butter with a pastry blender or a fork until evenly distributed. Stir in orange juice concentrate and nuts.

6.After the pie has baked for 30 minutes, remove it from the oven and scatter the topping over the apples. Return it to the oven (covering the edges of the crust with foil if they’re browning too quickly) and bake until the topping is golden and the juices are bubbling around the edges, 20 minutes more. Cool for at least 1 hour before serving.


Make Ahead Tip: Prepare and refrigerate the dough (Step 1) for up to 2 days.

Equipment: 9-inch pie pan
NutritionPer serving: 340 calories; 13 g fat ( 6 g sat , 2 g mono ); 21 mg cholesterol; 53 g carbohydrates; 4 g protein; 4 g fiber; 110 mg sodium; 199 mg potassium.
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (18% daily value)
Carbohydrate Servings: 3.5
Exchanges: 1 1/2 starch, 1 fruit, 1 1/2 fat



Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Orange-Pistachio Wild Rice Salad

As hinted before in our last quinoa post we made a favorite recipe of ours with our large amount of excess oranges we had on hand... for some reason?   Anyhow, this combination of nutty delicious wild rice and crunchy pistachios, with fresh basil and oranges, is truly unique and so so satisfying it is hard to call it a salad, yet here it is.  This is so easy to make for a busy work week, just cook the rice while you are watching a movie on the weekend, or while you enjoy dinner tonight in anticipation of a 'salad' tomorrow.  If you do cook it after work, it will take 1 hour for the rice to cook and 1 hour ( minimum) for it to cool.  If you want to, you can serve it warm ( heck we have!), I found that the oil in the dressing doesn't work as well in that application however- so drizzle a bit on top before eating and then add some in the next day when it all as cooled off.  This keeps very well for 5-6 days, and is super portable for lunches ( no micro action needed!), and it is filling enough to be called dinner- you can't lose with this salad!!  What is your go-to salad dish?  Do you make your own salad dressings?  Let us know!

Orange-Pistachio Wild Rice Salad

adapted from Ellie Kreiger So Easy
 
6 servings
 
Ingredients


2/3 cup brown rice
2/3 cup wild rice
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 oranges, peel and pith removed, segmented and sliced (about 2/3 cup)
10 large basil leaves, sliced into ribbons (about 1/3 cup)
1/4 cup minced red onion
1/4 cup chopped pistachios, lightly toasted
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

For the dressing:
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon salt

Method:
Combine brown rice, wild rice and chicken broth in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer and cook until all water is evaporated and rice is fully cooked, about 45 to 55 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely, or overnight.

When rice is cool, add orange slices, basil, red onion, pistachios and orange zest; mix to incorporate.

For the dressing:

Combine the red wine vinegar, olive oil, orange juice, mustard, honey and salt in a metal bowl and whisk to incorporate.

Pour over rice mixture and toss to incorporate.






Monday, September 26, 2011

44 clove garlic soup

Fall has arrived, and with it some busy schedules and some terrible allergies!  So, apologies for not blogging more this month.  Hopefully this unique recipe perks you up, fights off any colds, and allows you to forgive us our slacking ways...?  I read about this recipe earlier over the summer and had it tucked away for a rainy, cold autumn day such as this, to pull it out and give it a try.  We LOVE garlic, and go through more then 4 full heads a month ( that's a slow one...) so after reading the reviews on this, I just had to find out for myself if it really was yummy- I mean, how can you go wrong with roasted garlic and Parmesan and cream?  There are 2 things I wish we'd known that the directions did not include- so that's where this helpful blog comes in to the rescue!  First, when you buy your garlic, use LARGE heads that have large cloves ( you'll need between 2-3 heads of garlic).  More importantly you need to use those larger cloves for the roasted garlic portion.  We used the whole head including those tiny cloves and they got too golden and gave our soup a slight ( but not terrible) sharp flavor.  Second, this soup really only serves four and it is a thin broth consistency after blending.  The Parmesan and lemon are integral components as they add a really bright and complementary flavor to the garlicy goodness in your bowl.  Now, as for the taste- it was really really garlicy fantastic!  You can certainly taste the roasted garlic flavors up front and then you get that sweeter garlic flavor and Parmesan to finish.  We mopped this up with fresh French bread hot out of the oven.  If we make this again, I'd roast the garlic for 35 minutes, then add some diced veggies like parsnips, carrots or corn and white beans or diced potatoes to really bulk up the soup and thicken the broth ( after it's blended) and top with fresh parsley. 

44-Clove Garlic Soup with Parmesan Cheese

Adapted from Bon Appetit, February 1999

Serves 4


26 garlic cloves (unpeeled, large cloves)

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 1/4 cups sliced onions ( about 1.5 regular size onions)

1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme ( we used dried)

18 garlic cloves, peeled

3 1/2 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken or vegetable broth

1/2 cup half and half

1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 ounces)

4 lemon wedges



Preheat oven to 350°F. Place 26 garlic cloves in small glass baking dish. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Cover baking dish tightly with foil and bake until garlic is golden brown and tender, about 35-45 minutes ( check them!). Cool. Squeeze garlic between fingertips to release cloves. Transfer cloves to small bowl.

Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and thyme and cook until onions are translucent, about 6 minutes. Add roasted garlic and 18 raw garlic cloves and cook 3 minutes. Add chicken stock; cover and simmer until garlic is very tender, about 20 minutes. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth. Return soup to saucepan; add cream and bring to simmer. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide grated cheese among 4 bowls and ladle soup over. Squeeze juice of 1 lemon wedge into each bowl and serve.

Do ahead: Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium heat, stirring occasionally.


*** A recent camping trip to New Glarus was an inspiration for an exciting new post, stay tuned for yummy fall HEALTHY apple recipes... 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Spur of the Moment Orange Chicken with Veggie Quinoa



This may be pretty dorky, but- don't you just LOVE when you can throw a bunch of random stuff together... that you've got hanging around the kitchen.... and make it in to a really really good meal?  Well, we are dorks because we certainly do, enjoy it- literally! 
Obviously you won't make this recipe having the exact same happenstance of ingredients on hand... unless you made fish tacos Sunday, Quinoa Cakes Saturday, and are planning to make Wild Rice with Pistachio and Oranges ( coming soon!).    The inspiration, other then what we had to use, came from a craving for Chinese Orange Chicken- but no desire for the unhappy belly afterwards.
We had a good 2.5 cups of cooked quinoa ready to go ( rather then rice- perfect!), lots of oranges to spare ( mmm juicy orange and zest), cilantro/ red cabbage/ corn/ red onion and some thawed chicken breasts just ready to either waste away sadly or be magically transformed into this super high protein, ingredient efficient, tasty AND healthy spin on a Chinese meal.  We even had leftovers to take for lunch today- yep, we are cool!  Without further adue- here's how we made this:

Ingredients::
4- 4 ounce chicken breasts, trimmed and sliced into 1" strips

Sauce+ Marinade Chicken
Juice and Zest from 2 oranges
scant* 1/4 cup Teryaki Sauce
1 small dash Toasted Sesame Oil
1 large dash Fish Sauce
1 teaspoon red pepper chili sauce
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder 
Quinoa
1 teaspoon Olive Oil
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1/2 cup corn
1/2 cup shredded purple cabbage
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped, plus more for garnish
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup reserved sauce/ marinade
1/2 orange, juiced
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2.5 cups cooked quinoa
salt and pepper to taste

Method::

In a medium bowl, whisk together all marinade ingredients, reserve about 1/4 cup, set aside. Season chicken lightly with salt and pepper and garlic powder, then place the chicken strips in to the bowl of marinade and let sit for 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile:


In a 10-12" pan, heat oil over medium heat till hot.  Add onion, cook for 3-4 minutes till translucent and fragrant.  Add in the corn, cabbage, cilantro, tomatoes and stir to combine, 2 minutes.  Add in 1/2 cup wine and reduce by half.  Add in the quinoa, toss well, adding in marinade, orange juices and water to coat the mixture.  If it's too dry, add more water.  Heat through, about 3 minutes longer.  Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.

To cook the chicken, heat another 8-10" pan over medium high heat with a small dash of oil.  When the pan is hot, add in all the marinade and chicken from your bowl.  Cook tossing often for about 7-8 minutes, till juices run clear and chicken is cooked through completely.  Serve on a bed of Quinoa and top with extra cilantro.







Saturday, September 10, 2011

Fancy Frozen Pizza






Almost every Friday, we pick up a frozen pizza.  Now this isn't glamorous, but it's our way of "eating in" instead of out, to save money, and also to just relax after a long week.  The last thing we ever want to do is make an extravagant dinner with a sink full of dishes to clean after a week of long days and work overload.  That being said, we go back and forth between $5 take and bake pizza from Dominick's or frozen ($7.50) Home Run Inn pizza.  To fancify, we'll chop up fresh garlic, basil, tomato, sometimes red peppers and mushrooms too... pop it in the oven and finish with fresh grated parmesan, a glass of wine ( or a cold beer depending on the day) and a new movie in your very own living room, snuggling with the people ( and kitties) you love :)  ooooo Fridays, gotta love em! 


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Slow Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes and Leeks





Jamie Oliver.  ( period) He is such a cool guy!  We have 2 of his cookbooks and often find ourselves overwhelmed with the simplicity of ingredients in recipes that bring this incredible complexity of flavor.  He cooks like we wish we could all the time, from his freshest garden at home, lots of herbs and lots of real food.  This recipe was so simple, but unique, and intriguing- the photos alone are just so pretty... we made served this as a warm tomato salad with french baguette slices for dinner and it is heavenly.  Something about roasted vegetables, of course they are warm, but the flavors all meld and become this rich fresh mixture that explodes flavors in your mouth.  The next day we sliced some of the leftover tomato into chicken paninis and also had some warmed and sliced with soft boiled eggs and toast for breakfast.  Give this one a try and you won't be disappointed!  Now, we couldn't find baby leeks, so we used the smallest we could find and used just 6, sliced and rinsed VERY well.  You'll want to slice them and put them in a big bowl, fill it with cold water and plunge the leeks a few times to loosen up the sand, then let sit for a few minutes before skimming the leeks out with a slotted spoon to a towel to dry.  The sand sinks to the bottom and you will be glad you took the time to rinse them after you see what's left over!  Also, we used dried bay leaves because we already had them, and they worked just as well.  We fit 8 plum tomatoes into a 8 x 8 glass dish, since we don't have a large enough dutch oven, if you go our route use less balsamic ( 1/2 cup)

Slow Roasted Tomatoes and Leeks
( adapted from Jamie Oliver's recipe)

Ingredients:

• 8 plum tomatoes

• 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced

• 1 handful of fresh basil, leaves picked and torn up

• 8 fresh bay leaves

• 6 leeks, trimmed, sliced in 1/2" rounds and washed

• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

• 4oz cheap balsamic vinegar

• 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
 
Method:
 
325°F
Score the tops of the tomatoes with a cross. Take an 8" x 8" dish that the tomatoes will fit snugly into, and sprinkle the garlic and basil all over the bottom of it. Stand the tomatoes next to each other in the pan, on top of the garlic and basil, then push the bay leaves well into the scores in the tomatoes and season well. Lay the leeks on a board and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Using a rolling pin, press down on top of the leeks to really squeeze the seasoning into them. This will also loosen their texture. Weave the leeks in and around the tomatoes. Pour over the balsamic vinegar, drizzle over the olive oil, and bake in the preheated oven for an hour. Before serving, remove the bay leaves.