Not stuffed enough apples

Apparently farro is not a standard thing to find. I mean, I knew I probably wouldn’t be able to find some in a regular grocery store. But surely, SURELY, our local hippy food co-op would have some in their bulk section. I mean the bulk section is like the main attraction (to me anyway). Who else sells 12 different types of rice in bins. Between the rice, and the lentils, and the flours, and the dried chickpeas, and the quinoa, I was SURE that there’d be farro around somewhere.

Nope.

Well… not exactly gonna completely ditch my plans and come up with something new on the spot… Just not how my brain works. Also, didn’t have internet access and the list of recipes I’m working on trying out with me. Nor my binders of power (recipes). So, I did what I’ve finally learned to do in those situations. Ask a grocery store person for their recommendation on what to substitute in. Which is how I ended up cooking wheat berries for the first time.

Also learned that 2 inches to be hollowed out from the middle of an apple is bigger than I think it is. And if you don’t make a big enough cavity in apples to stuff filling in, you end up cooking a lot filling in the bottom of your pan. Tasty that way, but definitely not the driving idea behind the recipe.

As you may have noticed from the ‘bounty!’ photos that have popped up on Saturdays, Adam and I have joined a CSA for the fall season. And boy do they have a lot of apple trees on the farm (I assume) – 5 to 6 Honey Crisp apples every week. In a half-share! I’m totally not complaining, given a) how many apples we eat around here and b) since I rather like the Honey Crisp variety. It was also nice for this recipe since the original called for honey crisps. Also for the contrast between apple, wheat berry, and chicken sausage. I’m not much of a pork sausage fan – happens when you grow up without any type of pig product in the house (yes that included bacon, yes I’m actually not a fan of bacon, yes I do speak that particular food heresy). Which makes chicken sausage my go-to substitute for ‘sausage’ in recipes. Substitute back as you choose 😀

End result for these particular stuffed apples? Too much work for the end result. Did you know you need to cook wheat berries for 50-55 minutes before mixing them in with the rest of the filling ingredients and then cook everything? Too long.

Good contrast in textures though.

Wheat berry, nuts, and sausage-stuffed baked apples

Original from OhMyVeggies
Makes 4 apples
Recipes left to try (& copy…): 22; Dinners: 4 recipes left

  • 4 Honey crisp apples, at least medium sized
  • Olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 oz sausage of your choice, crumbled or sliced
  • 1/3 cup wheat berries, soft or hard, cooked
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts and almonds (what can I say, it’s what we had lying around)
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • salt, to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray or grease it with oil or butter.
  2. Core each apple and then widen the hole in the center to 1.5″ to 2″. If you think it’s big enough, make it bigger.
  3. Heat some olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened and turning translucent, about 5 minutes. Add in the sausage and cook until browned, about 5 minutes.
  4. Transfer the onion and sausage to a medium bowl. Stir in the wheat berries, chopped nuts, and nutmeg. Salt to taste.
  5. Stuff this mixture into the apple cavities with a spoon, packing as full as you can. Spray a piece of foil with cooking spray and cover the baking dish (with the apples in it!), spray side down. Cook covered for 20 minutes, then remove foil and continue cooking for 15-20 minutes, until apples are tender.

Muffins!

In planning for this week’s food, I checked in my ‘pantry staples’ section and thought maybe I’d try caramelizing a batch of onions in  a slow cooker – store some in the fridge for use this week, the rest in the freezer for slow use over several months. But when Adam’s reaction is ‘… no. nope. no, absolutely not’, well, since he’s the one more likely to use caramelized onions, I’m willing to ditch the recipe. So that’s why the recipe count below is one less than the eagle eyed among you would be expecting.

Back to the drawing board and/or thinking cap I went – wait a minute, it’s berry season around here. There’s strawberries. As you may guess, I like strawberries (and blackberries and raspberries…). And we have this big bag of sliced almonds from our local food co-op / bulk food store. Which makes it the perfect time to try out Muffins

strawberry-almond muffins!

Hurray a switch-up in my mornings!

Strawberry-Almond Muffins

Original from HeatherHomeMode
Makes 14 muffins

Recipe Count – 12 left
Section Count – Black Binder: 6 more left, Subsection – Breakfast: 1 more

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (did I mention the food co-op/bulk food store we go to? Substitute whole wheat or bread flour here at your discretion – the taste/texture will differ a bit, but it’ll work)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder (yep, 1 tbsp – these make fairly fluffy muffins)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened (let the butter sit out on the counter for about 10 minutes)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 cups roughly chopped and loosely pack strawberries
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and line or spray with cooking spray a muffin tin.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together both flours, the baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer (or by hand – but it’s much easier in a stand mixer). Add the eggs one at a time; beat after each addition until fluffy. Mix in the milk and almond extract.
  4. Add the flour mixture and stir until just blended – the dough will look wet and almost cake-batter like. Fold in the strawberries and almonds.
  5. Fill the muffin cups to the top. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Finish2 Finish1

Bet you can’t eat just one – I certainly can’t (Spiced Almonds)

Ba-ba-da-dum! An actual recipe I haven’t tried before! It’s been a bit, hasn’t it?

Recipe Count – 35 left
Section Count – Desserts: 9 left, miscellaneous – 2 left

Dessert recipes tend to sit around longer for me – personally, I need an excuse to break out the dessert recipes. Well, I don’t need an excuse but I try to limit myself to having an excuse, otherwise there would be way too many cookies around the house. Which might explain why these almonds have been sitting since December 1 of 2012. So what did it this time?

My third time hosting a Feastly. I decided to try and up my game a bit this time – host 4 people instead of 2. I thought that maybe, this time, there’d be fewer leftovers (NOPE!). Personally, I’m fairly happy eating slow-cooked barbecued shredded beef all week, but somehow it seems that I should not have that much after a dinner party of SEVEN people. See originally it was supposed to be six, but then Adam’s new contract decided they own ALL of his nights – so I called in a couple of ringers, two friends from college still in the area. Me, I’m a good co-host but really, if this was a sitcom, I’d be the straight man. Person. Whatever. So, they did their things, helped me keep the conversation going and did an amazing job. All in all, a delightful evening with lovely guests. And ALL the leftovers.

Anyway.

The menu:
Barbecued Beef Sandwiches (tomato and molasses based) on freshly baked Cloverleaf Rolls
Curry-Spiced Sweet Potatoes
Moroccan Raw Carrot Salad (I swear the cook loves them almost as much as the Potatoes and Kale)
Three-Pea Toss
Very Vanilla Cinnamon Ice Cream

Spiced Almonds

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These were quite easy to make, so much so that I made a second batch – I’d over bought almonds and wanted to try out a chai spice mix in addition to the cinnamon-nutmeg mix the original recipe called for:

  • 1 1/2 cups whole raw almonds
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tsp water
  1. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and preheat the oven to 300°F.
  2. Mix the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a bowl. Whisk in the egg white and water. Immediately stir in the almonds, coating the nuts thoroughly. The spice mix starts to set a little bit if it sits – it’ll still work if it does, it’s just easier to get an even coating if it doesn’t. Spread the almonds evenly on the cookie sheet.
  3. Bake for about 30 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes to prevent sticking; they  are ready when golden brown.

Chai Spice Mix Variation:

  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom

These work great as a sweet-savory snack (on their own) and as a delicious ice-cream topping.