Old-fashioned Apple Crisp

September 25, 2010

As I have mentioned in one of my earlier posts, there would be several apple recipes for dessert since we had gotten a ton of them in our shares. The very first delivery was “Dutch Apples”–I didn’t even know that type of apple existed, I always associated “Dutch” meaning Streussel topping on apple pies. But here we got a big bag of Dutch apples, so Red decided to go ahead and do an apple crisp.  We did not peel the skin of these apples, and I really couldn’t tell the different–and I absolutely loved the combination of both sweet and savory flavor with the crunchy texture in the topping. We enjoyed them with a big dollop of vanilla ice cream… yum!

Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Parties

5 pounds McIntosh or Macoun apples (I used Dutch variety)
Grated zest of 1 orange (I omitted this)
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1- 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 pound cold unsalted butter, diced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 14 by 2-inch oval baking dish.

Peel, core, and cut the apples into large wedges. Combine the apples with the zests, juices, sugar, and spices. Pour into the dish.

To make the topping, combine the flour, sugars, salt, oatmeal, and cold butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the mixture is crumbly and the butter is the size of peas. Scatter evenly over the apples.

Place the crisp on a sheet pan and bake for 1 hour until the top is brown and the apples are bubbly. Serve warm.

Yield: 8-10 servings

Baked Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Style

September 17, 2010

I have been wanting to try making my own spaghetti squash for a while now. But then every fall, I seemed to not get around to it. Finally, I had the opportunity to try it when we got one in our CSA box. Inside the box, they also had a couple of suggested recipes on how to cook them, and this was one of them. I was able to fill two shells and have an extra that I cooked in a small round 4″ casserole dish. It was so delicious that I think we’re definitely going to make these again before the squash season ends. This is fantastic as a vegetarian dish. Happy eating.

Adapted from Allrecipes

1 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 (14 ounce) cans stewed tomatoes
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 cube vegetable bouillon
Black pepper to taste
1 (15 ounce) can black olives, chopped (I had tons of leftover, half of this would have been sufficient)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (I used cheddar cheese)
1 cup shredded Parmesan

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Spray a baking sheet with a thin layer of cooking spray. Place squash halves cut side down on the baking sheet.

Bake squash 35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a knife can be easily inserted (mine took almost an hour to roast). Remove from oven, and cool.

Meanwhile, spray a non-stick saucepan with cooking spray. Over medium heat, saute the onion and garlic until golden brown. Stir in tomatoes, basil, bouillon cube, and black pepper. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until you have a medium thick sauce.

Remove squash strands with a fork, reserving the shells. Layer each half with a spoonful of the sauce, a layer of spaghetti squash strands, olives, and mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers until shells are full, or until all of the ingredients are used. Top with Parmesan cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until Parmesan cheese melts.

Yield: 3-4 servings

Double Apple Bundt Cake

September 14, 2010

With the abundance of apples at our household, I had to make another apple recipe. I made this when a friend of mine came over to visit, and I wanted to use up my apples. Of course, I had to go to Dorie’s Baking: From My Home To Yours since I am absolutely in love with this book! I have made several recipes now and I am pretty impressed. This cake definitely screams fall, and the aroma while I had it baking in the oven made my entire house smelled so heavenly. A big thick cut of this cake, choke-full of nuts & craisins, was delicious on its own, I don’t think that I needed the icing. Of course, if you wanted something extra special, a gorgeous icing drizzled on top wouldn’t be a bad thing. Happy eating!

Adapted from  Baking: From My Home To Yours

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup store-bought apple butter, spiced or plain
2 medium apples, peeled, cored, and grated
1 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup of raisins (I used craisins because I had tons!)

For the icing: (which I skipped, I just dusted mine with powder sugar!)
1/2 stick butter (4 tablespoons)
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degree F and position a rack in the center of the oven.
Butter and flour a 9 to 10 inch Bundt cake pan.
Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices together and set aside.
With a stand mixer and paddle attachment, or a hand held mixer, cream together the butter and sugar for about five minutes on medium speed.
Add the eggs, one at a time, incorporating each before adding another beating one minute for each addition.
Add the apple butter on low speed. The mixture may appear curdled when you add the apple butter, but that’s okay!
Mix in the grated apple on low speed until completely blended in.
Continuing on low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix only until the flour just disappears. Gently fold in the raisins and nuts.
Scrape the batter into the Bundt pan and smooth it out evenly.
Bake for about 50 to 55 minutes or until a little knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool the cake for five minutes on a rack and then turn the cake out of the pan.
Let the cake cool to room temperature and then either wrap it up, or dust with confectioner’s sugar or ice and serve.

To make icing:  Mix together until you get a nice smooth consistency and drizzle over the finished cake

Penne with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

September 10, 2010

Okay, so we love pasta at our house. We have them at least once a week, and we wanted to try something different and quick that can go in the regular weekly meal rotation. I was looking for a pasta recipe that did not use any sort of alfred0 or marinara type sauce, and I stumbled upon this one from Giada’s on Food Network, and I was floored at how easy this dish was to put together. It has basically ingredients that we normally have at our pantry and it turned out to be delicious as well. I modified the recipe a bit to make it heartier by adding chopped vegetables and organic sausages. This is now a one-stop dish and it’s fabulous… happy eating!

Inspired by Giada de Laurentiis

2 cups cooked sausages (or, if you prefer, you can skip this and make it into a vegetarian dish or replace with cooked chicken)
2 cups of eggplants (I have also substituted them with other vegetables like green/red peppers, squashes, and anything that would hold up well when sauteed)
12 ounces penne pasta
1 (8.5-ounce) jar sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil, chopped them into fine pieces, keep the oil
2 garlic cloves
1 cup of thinly sliced onions
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, optional
2 tbsp of olive oil


Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, saute the garlic in olive oil in a big pan until it becomes soft, then add the onion, followed by the vegetables. When all of the ingredients are tender, about 3-5 minutes, add the sun-dried tomatoes. Turn off the stove.

Transfer the pasta into the big pan, combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in the Parmesan.

Yield: 4-5 servings