A fall snack – I think this one will be sticking around

One of the very nice things about our particular CSA is the apple cider included every week. This farm really has an orchard (you may have seen the entire bushel of extra apples we bought?) and the cider changes a bit every week as the apples change with the season before getting picked. So between the apples and apple cider in the box and the old-fashioned rolled oats rattling around the pantry, we pretty much had everything to hand. I think next time I should let it go a bit longer for more crunch but I do like this snack as is.

If you’re looking for a thick granola where things stick together, this is not the one for you. This is more crumbly and individual.

Apple Cider Granola

Original found LastIngredient
Makes 3 cups
Recipes left to try (& copy…): 15; Snacks: 1 recipe left

  • 1 largish apple, preferably tart
  • 3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, or other nut you like
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 225°F and line a couple of sheet pans with parchment.
  2. Slice the apple as thin as you can, preferably to 1/8 inch with a mandolin. Lay them out as a single layer on the sheet pans and bake until dried and brown, about 1.5 hours. Set aside to cool before roughly chopping.
  3. Increase the oven to 300°F. In a large bowl, combine the oats, cinnamon, salt, walnuts, honey, cider, and vanilla. If the apples are not completely dry, chopped them up and mix into the granola. Spread onto the mixture onto the sheet pants.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes, then toss and return to the oven. Continue baking until golden brown – check every 5 minutes to make sure the granola does not burn. Allow to cool, then add the apples if not already mixed in.
  5. Eat and store the excess in an air tight container.
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Good but not quite good enough

This was my second weekend hauling stuff up to my friends’ place, so that Adam and I can get dinner going while they deal with their baby and we’ll be able to play a board game (this week was Formula D; I did not do so well this time – frustrating, this is usually one of my better games). Lessons learned this week:

  1. They do not own a roasting pan with a lid
  2. pyrex covered with aluminum foil works just as well
  3. When folks have babies, things like pepper, garlic, and other pantry staples may run out without anyone noticing
  4. the legs of the chicken to be roasted goes up. However much sense it may make that the flat side of the chicken should go down
    1. If the pan is full of sauce, it’s okay if the breast side went down instead of up
  5. One day, one day!, I will succeed in making an entire meal that my new vegetarian, gluten-free friend can eat!
    1. first I need to remember all of her restrictions (forgot the vegetarianism this time, arrrrrgh)
    2. challenges are good – they make me grow as a cook

On to what I actually did make: Roasted Chicken in a milk sauce. In the end, the vote was ‘yeah, this was pretty good, but you’ve got other things that take less work and come out even better’. I am wondering if it would have been better with sauce poured on individual pieces – we pulled the whole chicken out of the pan, carved and served. I’m thinking one of those sauce/gravy boats that only see use at Thanksgiving (I’m pretty sure Adam and I don’t have one of those, much less our friends up in Columbia) of the sauce on the table may have been a good thing. ::shrugs:: Oh well, I guess roasted chicken is still safely in Adam’s repertoire 🙂

Roasted Chicken in Milk

Original found JamieOliver.com
Makes 1 whole chicken – maybe 8 – 14 servings?
Recipes left to try (& copy…): 16; Dinners: 2 recipes left

  • 6 lb whole chicken
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • handful of sage
  • 2.5 tbsp orange zest (b/c I didn’t want to zest a couple of lemons, and our orange zest was/is old, so we upped how much we used)
  • 6 cloves garlic, left in their skins
  • 2 1/3 cups milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper – sprinkle a generous amount onto the skin and then rub in with your hands. Heat the olive oil in a pan or pot on the stove, then fry the chicken until the skin turns golden. Remove the chicken and discard the oil. If using a pan, transfer the chicken to an oven safe pot (with lid) or pyrex dish. If using a pot, return the chicken to the pot.
  2. Add the cinnamon, sage, zest, garlic, and milk to the baking dish with the chicken. Roast in the oven for 1 1/2 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. If you remember, baste the chicken with the sauce. If not, don’t worry, it’ll come out fine.
  3. Serve

All the eggs -> best French toast I’ve ever had

So let me start this off by saying that this recipe is absolutely not healthy. Especially not with the modifications we made as we went along. But so very tasty.

See a couple friends of ours had a baby. We may have mentioned this before 🙂 But we all still want to play boardgames, Shadowrun, and the other various geeky things we do together. We just… need to work around the baby’s feeding and sleeping schedule. Which will work better if Adam or I cook dinner in their kitchen whilst the baby’s sleep routine goes on. This was the first week we tried this out so, 1) breakfast for dinner, hurray! and 2) most of the prep-work the night before. Basically, just needed to slide the baking dish in the oven when we got there and off we were going. Plus, Adam and I have this bag of bread cubes in the freezer, made up of the left over heels and things of bread loaves. This is totally the type of thing we’re supposed to use them for.

This recipe completely fit all the things we wanted of it – no prep work at gaming, stuck it in the oven and didn’t need to do anything more than pull it out later, served a small crowd and was tasty.

10/10, would cook again. 🙂

I mean, it turned into dessert for dinner, but I cannot fault the protein content for that – not with an even dozen eggs in the recipe. I blame sweet things, specifically the leftover cream cheese frosting from the earlier cinnamon rolls. Seriously, the frosting portion of that recipe made about twice as much as I could pour over the rolls.

Baked Chai French Toast

Original from TheKitchn.com
Makes 12 big servings
Recipes left to try (& copy…): 21; Breakfasts: 2 recipes left

Chai Spice Mixture

  • 1 1/2 tbsp (4 1/2 tsp) ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tbsp ground allspice
  • 1 1/2 ground ginger
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together all the spice mixture ingredients; set aside.

French Toast

  • 12 large eggs
  • 4 1/2 cups whole or 2% milk
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tbsp Chai Spice Mixture
  • 1-2 tbsp butter (for greasing a 13×9 inch pan)
  • 9-10 cups (or just a really big bowl…) of cubed day-old (or more…) bread (challah if you’ve got it)

Topping

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon-sugar mixture
    • OR 1/2 cup brown sugar + 1 1/2 tsp Chai Spice Mixture
  • pinch salt
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter cold and chopped into small pieces

Frosting

  • 4 oz cream cheese, soft
  • 1/2 cup milk or cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  1. Whisk together the eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, and 4 tbsp of Chai Spice mix.
  2. Grease a 13×9″ casserole dish with the butter; layer the cubed bread in the dish and gently press down. Briefly re-whisk the liquid ingredients then pour over the bread in the pan (try to cover all the exposed bread). Cover (preferably with the pan’s lid, but plastic wrap otherwise) and refrigerated for a minimum of 30 minutes, up to overnight.
  3. Heat the oven to 350°F. Make the topping by combining the flour, sugar-spice mixture, salt, and butter; combine until crumbly.
  4. Uncover the pan and gently press the bread down, such that some liquid begins seeping up. Spread the topping mixture evenly over the bread. Bake until the top is golden and crumbly, about 45 minutes.
  5. While the French Toast is baking, make the frosting – beat the cream cheese, milk, vanilla and sugar together. Add more powdered sugar as necessary to get the consistency you like.
  6. Once baked, allow the French Toast to cool for a few minutes. Then slice, pour as much frosting as you like over the top, and serve.

Diet Wrecker

If you’re on a diet or otherwise trying to avoid sweet-stuff, seriously, abandon ship/post now. This one contains ALL the butter. Also sugar. Lots of sugar

Still here? Awesome, let me begin gushing about these cinnamon rolls.

These are not the typical cinnamon rolls with a cinnamon-sugar mixture laced through. These have a spiced cinnamon-brown sugar mix laced in, with cardamom and coriander. I would have used the star anise called for in the original, but a) we didn’t have any left when I thought we did and b) the grocery store didn’t have any on the shelves (what the heck Wegmans, weird place to fail on me).

Very, very addictive. We had a couple friends over for a little dessert party hang out – pretty sure all four of us had at least two rolls each. Which still left an entire pan of more. This, dear readers, is why I irregularly take baked goods into work – my desk is not in the same area as where we usually leave food for everyone. Therefore, no mindless snacking. Not saying I never eat what I bring in. Just, no where near as much as I would if we kept the excess in our apartment.

Fair warning, this is a long recipe, in terms of time. There’s two different dough rises and ingredients should come to room temperature before even starting. Look elsewhere for a quick dessert, but these can be made ahead, frozen, and then finished the day you need them.

Man, I really want another cinnamon roll right now…

Spiced Sticky Rolls
(with Cream Cheese Frosting)

Original from TheKitchn.com
Makes 2 nine inch pans, ~ 24 rolls
Recipes left to try (& copy…): 24; Desserts: 2 recipes left

Dough

  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups milk, lightly warmed
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 tsp butter, unsalted, at room temperature (if at all possible)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp (ish) of vanilla extract (pretty sure I accidentally poured in more than a tbsp…)
  • 4 1/2 – 5 cups flour

Filling

  • 3 tbsp ground cinnamon OR 4 small cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom OR cardamom seeds
  • 1 cup brown sugar, dark
  • 1 cup/2 sticks of unsalted butter, at room temperature

Icing

  • 4 oz cream cheese, very soft
  • 1/2 cup milk (or less if you like thicker icing)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, more if desired (for thicker icing)
  1. Dough:
    1. Sprinkle the yeast over the warmed milk and set aside until a bit bubbly, about 5 minutes. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the milk mixture, sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla, and salt. Add 1 cup of flour at a time until the dough becomes very thick.
    2. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and warm, about 7 minutes OR switch the stand mixer to a dough hook and knead until taut and smooth, about 5 minutes.
    3. Wipe out your bowl and lightly oil it. Shape the dough into a ball, place in the bowl, and then turn to get it coated with the oil. Cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and set aside, in a warm place, to rise until doubled, about 2 hours.
  2. Filling:
    1. Grind together any whole spices you are using until fine, then mix in the pre-ground spices. Mix the spices with the brown sugar, then cream the sugar mixture into the butter.
  3. Lightly grease two 9″ cake pans or one 9×13 inch pan. On a floured surface, roll the dough out into a large rectangle, about 14 by 24 inches. You’ll want a big work surface for this. Once rolled out, slather the butter mixture thickly across the dough, making sure to spread it nearly to the edges. Roll up along the long side of the dough, into a taut and tight roll – this works better with two people rolling the dough in sync.
  4. Cut the dough roll into 24 individual rolls – we found our sharp chef’s knife worked better than a bench scrapper. Divide the rolls among the prepared pans, then cover and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
  5. Heat the oven to 350°F
    1. Making tonight: Bake until just beginning to brown, about 20 minutes (ours were slightly gooily underdone [still delicious!] at 18 minutes). Drizzle (or douse…) with the icing (described below) and serve warm.
    2. Making ahead: Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from oven and allow to cool. Freeze in their pans or a freezer bag. To finish, allow to thaw in the refrigerator over night and bake in the morning at 350°F for 10-15 minutes. Frost with icing (described below) and serve warm
  6. Icing:
    1. Beat the cream cheese, milk, vanilla, and powdered sugar together. Add more sugar as necessary to achieve your desired thickness/consistency.

All the weekend work for food ready for travel

These pockets too had all the moving parts. The difference here is that the end results are worth it (it may have something to do with doing this over the weekend, rather than a weeknight). I rather like making dough and this dough was just a pleasure to work with – neither too sticky nor too dry, easy to roll out into (almost) the shape I wanted, easy to handle, and cooked great. Both Adam and I liked the combination of mashed sweet potatoes, kale, and lentils. Which is good, for the purposes of expanding our food repertoire, lentils being new to us 🙂

And who doesn’t like caramelized onions? I seriously need to try out the caramelizing onions in a slow cooker thing though. Wha. Tasty tasty onions – take forever though. Well, it feels like forever while standing up.

Adam and I have been using these as dinners on the evenings we have classes (Adam grad school, me I’m taking an intro class in ASL [American Sign Language] after work). The pockets work great being frozen and then slowly defrosting over the day in our bags. Hurrah for reusable sandwich bags for catching the defrosting ice/water.

Whole Wheat Lentil Pockets

Original from TheKitchn.com
Makes 6 pockets
Recipes left to try (& copy…): 25; Lunches: 2 recipes left

Dough

  • 1 cup warm (neither hot nor boiling) water
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1.5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Filling

  • 3 small to medium sized sweet potatoes (not yams. As Adam would say “They’re entirely different SPECIES!”)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 cup green lentils, rinsed & picked over (also known as French green lentils and Puy lentils)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 bunch of kale, ribs and tough stems removed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  1. Combine the water and yeast (I use the measuring cup for the water); let sit until yeast dissolves.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the whole wheat and all-purpose flour, plus the salt in the bowl of a stand mixer; mix on low speed with a dough hook. Add the olive oil and dissolved yeast; mix on low until a shaggy dough forms. Pull the dough out and knead on a clean board until the dough is smooth and elastic. Lightly grease the bowl with a little olive oil, butter, or spray; return the dough to the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Let rise until doubled in volume, about 1-2 hours.
  3. When the dough is set aside to rise, start preheating the oven to 400°F. Prick the sweet potatoes several times with a fork or other pointy object. Place on a baking sheet or wrap in aluminum foil and place directly on the oven rack. Bake until very soft to the touch, about 45 minutes to an hour. Set aside to cool.
  4. Once the sweet potatoes are in the oven, cut the onion in half. Thinly slice one half and set aside; dice the other half. Warm about 1 tbsp of olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat; sauté the diced onion and garlic until the onion is translucent. Add the cumin, cinnamon, and allspice; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  5. Add the lentils and water to the saucepan; bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. While the lentils are simmering, cut the kale into bite-sized pieces. Add the kale and salt to the lentils then cover and simmer for 5-10 minutes more – the lentils should be soft but not mushy. Taste and adjust seasonings here. Transfer the kale and lentils mixture to a bowl with a slotted spoon, leaving most of the cooking liquid in the pot.
  6. Meanwhile, heat some olive oil in a skillet over low heat. Add the sliced onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelized. The thinner the slice, the sooner this will happen – thin enough and you might even hit the original recipe’s 20-25 minute estimate.
  7. Once the sweet potatoes are out of the oven, increase the heat to 450°F. Divide the dough into 6 balls and let rest, loosely covered (with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel), for 20 minutes. While the dough is resting, peel the sweet potatoes and mash in a bowl until smooth. Add a sprinkle of salt if necessary. If the potatoes are a bit underdone, cutting them into 1 inch chunks will make the mashing go faster.
  8. On a floured board, roll a ball of dough into an 8 or 9 inch circle. Spread 1/6 of the sweet potato mash (~1/4 cup) over one half of the dough, leaving a boarder around the edges – this is where the dough will seal together. Add 1/6 of the lentil mixture (~1/3 cup) over the sweet potatoes, and top with some of the caramelized onions. Fold the unused half of the dough over the filling, then pinch and fold the edges to seal the pocket shut. Transfer to a greased or parchment papered baking sheet, brush the top with olive oil, and cut 2-3 small slits in the top for steam to escape. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
  9. Bake for 25-30 minutes (or until browned). If serving now, let cool for at least 5 minutes before hand. Otherwise, let cool on the baking sheet and then transfer the entire baking sheet to the freezer. Once completely frozen, wrap each pocket individually and store in a freezer safe container. To eat, thaw and reheat in a microwave (or oven), or eat at room temperature.

Whole Wheat Lentil Pockets

Fastest post ever

So this is going to be the fastest post I’ve ever written because a) we have a guest staying with us and I’d like to hang out and b) Adam and I are moving on Monday. No, the apartment is not completely packed yet. The books are though – 17 boxes, 3 cubic feet each. We’ve got lots of books.

Any rate. Pumpkin pie oatmeal. In a slow cooker! I can definitely see using this one more in the fall, but it was good now too: used up a can of pumpkin pureé so we did not have to move it 🙂

The original recipe had a few issues, from my point of view:
1) the original oats to water ratio would have resulted in an insanely thin oatmeal. I mean I know Adam and I like rather thick oatmeal but still! Insanity
2) Needs more texture. We started tossing in diced apples and various nuts in the morning. Make it much better.

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Original from AroundMyFamilyTable
Makes Lots
Recipes left to try (& copy…): 31; Breakfast: 3 recipes left

  • 3 cups steel cut oats
  • 7 cups water (this is what we made – needs cutting though – we’ll try 5.5-6 next time)
  • 1 can (~15oz) pumpkin puree
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2-3/4 cup brown sugar
  • Toppings of choice: diced apples, chopped nuts suggested
  1. Combine all ingredients other than toppings in a large slow cooker (6 cups-ish). Cook on low overnight.
  2. Season to taste and mix-in toppings of choice.

Attempting a piece of nostalgia

So charoset is one of those things I remember from my childhood Passovers events – I remember rather liking it.

Now I thinking that was for the contrast, any contrast, to matzah. If you’ve never had matzah, think of the driest, worst cracker you’ve ever eaten. Matzah is worse. Unless you soak it in egg wash with cinnamon and fry it up into matzah brie.

Either way, I am not a fan of matzah, thus had none in the house to smear charoset onto. And apparently charoset, at least when ground smooth, is cake frosting – according to Adam anyway. So now we have almost 4 cups of the stuff left and I have no desire to eat more. I’d say next time I’ll leave some nuts and apples in chunk size. But I’ve got no real desire to try this one again.

Ah well, maybe one of y’all will enjoy it more

Medjool Date and Apple Charoset

Original from TheKitchn.com
Makes 4 cups
Recipes left to try (& copy…): 32; Snacks: 2 recipes left

  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chunked
  • 1/3 cup apple-cranberry juice
  • 1 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  1. Pulse the pecans and walnuts in a food processor until coarsely ground
  2. Add the apples and pulse a few more times. Add the juice, honey, and cinnamon; blend until as smooth as you like.