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Beet & Apple Salad

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It’s time for something a bit lighter on the blog, right? After duck curry, deep dish, pizza, (oh, and some unblogged goat chorizo in there too), it’s time to write about something a bit more colorful and vegetable friendly. The January issue of Food & Wine comes to the rescue with this fun Beet and Apple Salad. I was all about this salad from the time I saw it. I love beets. Apples are always cool. And horseradish, when used appropriately, is awesome.

I made this ahead of time (which worked wonderfully by the way), and had it throughout the week. I felt like a light dinner on Monday night and ended up throwing a bit of light feta on the salad and just eating that for dinner.

This dish made me remember how crazy good pistachios are. I remember when I was younger my mom would buy huge bags of the bright green ones and we would sit on the couch cracking the shells and eating a ton of them. Roasty, salty and delicious. A perfect compliment to this dish. Oh, and how gorgeous is that beet-stained pink color? I’m in love with it. This salad is a real winner. It’s hearty, healthy, pretty and delicious with just a slight bite from the horseradish. And without my feta addition, it’s vegan too. 🙂

I realized today that the Cook’s Illustrated issue I checked out from the library yesterday features a recipe for DIY deep dish pizza!! [insert shriek of happiness here] I sense a fun weekend project coming up!

Eatin’ Solo

Brent was gone all weekend doing dude things like drinking a lot of beer and going on a multi-city, 4 baseball games in 4 days roadtrip with his college friends. What this means for me, is that my effort in the kitchen has been pretty minimal. I enjoy cooking, but it’s hard to make it seem worth the effort when it’s only for one person.

That doesn’t mean I eat TV dinners and drive-thru fare when I’m hanging out by myself, but I definitely don’t like to dirty a ton of pots & pans. Friday night all I really wanted was wine and cheese. I thought about making something “more complete” but I just didn’t feel like it. I just made what I was craving: a whole wheat baguette made from the whole grain master recipe from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

I cut the baguette into slices and toasted them in the oven for about 5 minutes and topped with some Brie and sliced Honeycrisp apples.

Along with a glass or two of Chardonnay, this was such a satisfying dinner.

Saturday night, I wanted to clean out the fridge, so I threw the remains of some zucchini, mushrooms, and red bell peppers onto a baking sheet with some olive oil and salt and roasted for about 10-15 minutes. I rolled out some whole wheat dough from the recipe above and covered it with the roasted veggies and a few leftover artichoke hearts. I covered all of that with some mozzarella and goat cheese and baked at 450 for 12 minutes.

Perfect pizza for one. Making individual pizzas is definitely one of the reasons I like making my own. This was so good! (and there was more wine). I wouldn’t have probably made it for Brent because he doesn’t appreciate a lot of stuff on his pizza usually. He’s more of a cheese and anchovy person.

Tonight I got a dinner and Dexter date with my friend. So psyched! 🙂

My new favorite thing

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Last week I bought an abundance of apples that were just OK. Nothing spectacular. As a result, we still had quite a few of them left over this week. Not wanting to sit at home all day with a pie or something equally dangerous, I was trying to come up with a non-pastry way to use the leftovers. After some browsing, I found a lot of recipes for apple butter, which I’ve never had. I’ve never had any sort of fruit butter, so I was slightly apprehensive, but after assurances from my best friend who claims to have loved every fruit butter she’s ever come across, including blueberry, I confidently strode into the kitchen preparing to make the best apple butter ever.

After peeling, coring and chopping all the apples (possibly the most tedious task ever, but in a repetitive calming sort of way), I loaded up the crock-pot, which I thought would be the easiest method. In went apples, sugar, and spices.


I started this project at about 11pm last night, so I let it go on low all night long. I was expecting my house to smell of apple pie. It did not. Kind of a bummer. When I woke up this morning, the butter had started to take shape. All the apples had broken down and begun melding together.


I decided to help the process along by using my immersion blender, producing a thickened, dark, shiny sauce, which kind of reminds me of barbecue sauce in the looks department.


After letting it cool in the fridge to further thicken up to an appropriate spreading consistency, I slathered some on a piece of toast and finally enjoy the fruits of my labor. Pun intended. I love this stuff. A spread for toast, spicing up some oatmeal, pouring a little on top of ice cream. The possibilities are endless.



  • 1.5 lbs. peeled and chopped apples (this is the weight after peeling and coring)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  1. In a bowl, mix together all ingredients and put into crock-pot.
  2. Cook on high 1 hour, and then switch to low for about 12 hours.
  3. Blend with an immersion blender, or use a whisk if you want it slightly more textured.
  4. Take the lid off and cook on low for another 1-2 hours to thicken up.
  5. Cool and keep in refrigerator up to 2 weeks, or put in the freezer for up to 2 months.
  6. Makes about 2.5 cups. Enjoy!

I’m a fruit butter convert. I want to turn everything into a butter. Love it. I’m positive my husband will think I’m nuts. Speaking of which, last night we ran to the store to pick up ice cream that I wanted: Ben & Jerry’s Pumpkin Cheesecake, which came highly recommended. My friend called me so I walked near the exit of the store to talk while Brent went through the checkout. While bagging our items: The cashier said “Huh. Pumpkin and Cheesecake. That’s a weird combination.” Brent’s reply, “It’s for my wife.” The cashier joked. “Oh. Well at least it doesn’t have pickles in it. Your wife must be pregnant.” After telling me this story Brent thought it was a very strange sequence of events and said to me, “So apparently you have the tastes of a deranged pregnant woman.” I find that kind of ridiculous. Pumpkin and cheesecake are a natural combination. The ice cream is amazing. I can’t recommend it enough. The cashier was obviously clueless. Alas.

And We’re Back!

Sorry about the long, sad absence. I didn’t mean for it to be like this, but life has a way of slipping away from you once in a while. Here’s some highlights you’ve missed in the past week or so.

First – We made successful Eggplant Parm!

The eggplant was successfully fried, then covered with homemade, previously frozen tomato sauce, perked up with some sauteed cremini mushrooms, and fresh mozzarella and parmesan cheeses, and then baked to gooey perfection. Delicious!

Also, last weekend we headed over to Schmucker’s Amish Market, which is always great because everything is super fresh and cheap. Because a giant bag of apples is only like $3, I purchased said giant bag and then came home to concoct some sort of fall-ish apple treat.

Apple Crostata!

I had thought originally about making apple pie, but I didn’t have a pie plate, or pan, or whatever apparatus is needed to make a pie, so crostata it was. Plus I like the rustic look of it. I used the Barefoot Contessa recipe, but replaced the butter with Earth Balance Buttery Sticks, which worked well for my first time with real pastry/pie dough. Here it is fresh out of the oven!

After Brent and I all too quickly consumed about half of the crostata, I made the executive decision to take the rest to my co-workers. I loved it, and it was so easy to make!

I’m definitely making this again, maybe with pears, which are my favorite fall fruit.

Man cannot survive on crostata alone, so I did also make a batch of Turkish Lentil Soup from the Sundays at Moosewood book. I really like lentil soup, so I’m always a fan of trying new versions of it. I really like the chewy bulgur in this one.

So that was most of my last week. I also went out of town for work, so nothing interesting was created wednesday through saturday, which means you are all caught up!