Monday, September 24, 2018

Baked Chai-Spiced Apple Chips #AppleWeek #Sponsored

This post written by me on behalf of NordicWare and the Spice House, sponsors of #AppleWeek. 
Products for recipe development and review were provided; prizes were donated for the giveaway, 
and this page may contain affiliate links.

What a week! I hope you're enjoying the bushel of apple recipes that the #AppleWeek crew has going. And many, many thanks to Carlee of Cooking with Carlee for organizing this fantastic event. Please be sure to check out my introduction post and enter the giveaway.

Tuesday Recipes

Baked Chai-Spiced Apple Chips

It's been years since I've owned a dehydrator. So, when I received the Oven Crisp Baking Tray from NordicWare*, I decided that I wanted to try to make apple chips in my oven. I tried three different kinds of apples, different temperatures, different thicknesses of apples, and different baking times before I came up with this recipe.


I received a Chai spice blend from the Spice House, but if you don't have that, you can make your own with sugar, ground cardamom, ground cloves, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground black pepper, and some vanilla bean powder.


As I mentioned, I tested three different apples: Envy apples, Granny Smith apples, and an heirloom variety grown locally called the Strawberry Parfait apples. The latter were the ones I preferred in the end. They produced more moist chips with a slight chew. And, I'll be honest, I loved the pink flecks in their flesh.

Ingredients makes 2 trays

  • 3 to 4 small apples (again, I liked the Strawberry Parfait apples for this purpose)
  • 1 t Chai spice
  • 1 T organic granulated sugar

Procedure

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Slice the apples with a mandolin slicer. Because I liked them on the thicker side, I used setting two for these. 


Place the apples in a large mixing bowl. 


Add the remaining ingredients and toss to coat completely. Let stand for at least 10 minutes. They will begin to get a little bit syrupy as they sit.


Arrange apples slices on the the Oven Crisp Baking Tray. Bake in the preheated oven till apples are dried and edges are curling up, approximately 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer apple chips, using a metal spatula, to a wire rack until cooled and crispy.


Note that they will not feel crispy until they cool down. Enjoy immediately or place them in an airtight container and eat within a week. Honestly, ours never lasted the evening.


Find the Sponsors
On the web, on Facebook, on Twitter, on Pinterest, on Instagram

On the web, on Facebook, on Twitter, on Pinterest, on Instagram

*Disclosure: I received products for recipe development and generating social media traction. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the manufacturers of this product or the organizers of #AppleWeek.

Super Duper Almond-y Frangipane Thumbprint Cookies #KitchenMatrixCookingProject


Welcome to the final September post for our year-long #KitchenMatrixCookingProject; you can read more about it here. This month Karen of Karen's Kitchen Stories selected our recipes and she is ending the month with cookies!  

Bittman suggests a dozen cookies in his book, including bar cookies and thumbprints. The boys were looking over my shoulder when I was planning recipes and the Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf gushed excitedly, "Can I make thumbprint cookies with frangipane!?? I've never done that before." If you've been following me for even a brief amount of time, you probably know this about me: I never say no when the boys want to buy a new-to-them ingredient or when they want to create a new recipe. Never. But, before I get to our frangipane thumbprint adventure, here's the #KitchenMatrixCookingProject cookie tray...





Super Duper Almond-y 
Frangipane Thumbprint Cookies

As you can imagine 'super duper' isn't usually a phrase I utter. But, when the recipe developer is 14-years-old, that might be an appropriate descriptor. In any case, I was assured, "Yes, that's the name of the cookie. Please type it correctly." Yeah. Okay.

Thumbprint cookies are in our oven a lot. A lot. They're easy and only require a few ingredients. I also love how flexible they are. We're filled them with hazelnut spread, with quince jam, with marionberry jam, and with lemon curd though it appears I've never posted that recipe. I'll fix that soon.

But, for this version, D wanted to make frangipane which has the flavor or marzipan but the texture of a custard. It's D's favorite filling ever. And I have to say I am also a huge fan. But he makes it differently every time, so I have to pay attention to what's on the counter as he's mixing. Sometimes he puts in sliced almonds, sometimes only ground almonds. Sometimes he likes to add lemon extract, sometimes he goes for almond and/or vanilla.

Ingredients makes approximately 30 cookies
Dough
  • 3/4 C butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 C organic granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 C flour
  • 1/2 C ground almonds
  • 1 t pure almond extract
  • 1 t cold water (or vodka or gin)

Frangipane
  • 1 C ground almonds
  • 1/2 C organic granulated sugar
  • 1/4 C butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 t pure almond extract
  • 1/2 t pure vanilla extract
Procedure
Frangipane
Place all of the ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Use a hand-blender to process until a thick paste forms. Set aside.

Dough
Preheat oven to 325°F. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Blend in the eggs until incorporated. Stir in the flour and ground almonds until a flaky dough is formed. Add in the water and pure almond extract, gently working the dough until it forms a ball.  
  

Pinch off pieces of dough and form into small balls, about the size of a walnut in its shell. Place each ball onto the baking stone or parchment-lined baking sheet, pressing a "thumbprint" into the center of each and slightly flattening. The cookies will not spread, so make them the size that you want!


Spoon about 1/2 t frangipane into each thumbprint. Bake until golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let cookies cool for several minutes on the sheet before transferring to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

These didn't turn out to be as photogenic as he would have liked, but we decided that food shouldn't always to portrait-ready. There is something to be said for delicious, messy food. So, there you have it: D's super duper almond-y frangipane thumbprint cookies that look a little ugly but taste amazing!

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Grilled Cheddar Cheese with Apples and Hatch Chile Hot Sauce #AppleWeek #Sponsored

This post is written on behalf of #AppleWeek sponsor Swiss Diamond. 
I was provided with product for recipe creation and a giveaway for our readers. 
As always, all opinions are my own. This page may contain affiliate links.

Today the 2018 edition of #AppleWeek begins in earnest to celebrate the produce darling of the season! Carlee of Cooking with Carlee arranged this incredible event for you and wrangled a group of bloggers to celebrate all things apple. Apples, apples, and more apples.


Check out the prizes and enter the giveaway on my kick-off post from yesterday. As a participating blogger, I received a double burner griddle from event sponsor Swiss Diamond.* And I was immediately taken with the quality. First, it's heavy...all of my favorite cookware verges on being tough to carry with one hand. Seriously. I don't have time for wimpy pots and pans. Second, it's pretty! Really pretty. And, third, it's super easy to clean. All of those aspects made the griddle a winner in my book. Beyond this event, I have already used it about once a week for making steaks and burgers. It's cemented itself as a favorite. Hooray!


And, for today's recipe, I used the griddle twice. But, before I get to that, please look at the other recipes from the #AppleWeek bloggers...

Monday's Recipes


Grilled Cheddar Cheese with Apples 
and Hatch Chile Hot Sauce

So, this isn't a recipe you can whip up for a quick lunch because the hot sauce needs to ferment for at least ten days. But make the sauce as soon as you can...and by the beginning of October you can make this grilled cheese sandwich that will knock your socks off!

Ingredients

Hatch Chile Hot Sauce 
  • 2 pounds Hatch chiles
  • oil (I used canola)
  • 3 whole garlic cloves
  • 1 T salt
  • 1 1/2 C white vinegar

Grilled Cheese makes two sandwiches, double or triple as needed

  • 2 T butter
  • 4 slices bread (I used a local bakery's sourdough)
  • 2 C cheese, grated (I used a sharp cheddar)
  • Hatch chile hot sauce
  • 1 apple, thinly sliced 

Procedure

Hatch Chile Hot Sauce  
Wash and dry your peppers. I cut off the stems and any tips that were bruised. Place the peppers in a large mixing bowl and drizzle with oil. Toss to coat until they are all glossy and oily. 


Place your griddle on the stove and preheat the pan. Place the peppers on the pan.


Cook until the peppers are charred and shriveled. Mine took about 40 minutes.


 The skins will be splitting and the flesh completely softened.


Combine the peppers, garlic cloves, and salt in a blender. Blend for a few pulses. Once the ingredients are roughly combined, drizzle in the vinegar. Blend till smooth.

Transfer sauce to a jar and cover with a cheesecloth. Allow to sit in the pantry; the longer it sits, the deeper the flavor that develops. 


We left ours for about 11 days. Blend the sauce smooth again. Test the sauce and adjust the salt to taste. Transfer to bottles or jars and place in the refrigerator. This sauce will keep for 3-4 months.


Grilled Cheese
Spread thin layer of butter on 1 side of each slice of bread. Place bread slices butter-side-down on the griddle and cook until golden brown, approximately 3 minutes. Remove from pan and transfer to a cutting board.

Spread a thin layer of Hatch chile hot sauce on each untoasted side of the bread. Top each with grated cheese and apple slices and another layer of cheese.  Return bread to griddle, cheese-side up, and cook until cheese is melted, approximately 5 to 7 minutes.


Press the two pieces of bread together, melted cheese sides together. Cut the sandwiches in half - we like them cut diagonally - and serve with more Hatch chile sauce. Enjoy!

Find Swiss Diamond Cookware
on the web, on Twitter, on Facebook, on Pinterest, on Instagram
on Flickr, on YouTube, and on Google+
*Disclosure: I received products for recipe development and generating social media traction. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the manufacturers of this product or the organizers of #AppleWeek.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Seared Steak with Envy-able Apples to Kick Off #AppleWeek #Sponsored

This post is written on behalf of #AppleWeek. Sponsors, Swiss Diamond, Envy Apples, Imperial Sugar, Nordic Ware, Rodelle Vanilla, Flahavan's Irish Oatmeal, Nairn's and The Spice House have provided participating bloggers with products for recipe creation and a giveaway for our readers. As always, all opinions are my own. This page may contain affiliate links.

Today we are kicking off the 2018 edition of #AppleWeek today to celebrate the produce darling of the season! Carlee of Cooking with Carlee arranged this incredible event for you and wrangled a group of bloggers to celebrate all things apple. Apples, apples, and more apples.


And Carlee, hostess with the mostess, also lined up some amazing prize packages from our sponsors. Keep reading to see what you can win and enter the rafflecopter below.

The Prizes and the Giveaway


Prize Pack #1 from Swiss Diamond 


Available in select stores only, Swiss Diamond's XD 10 Piece Set Ultimate Kitchen Kit features Swiss Diamond's newest, most advanced diamond-reinforced nonstick coating. The new coating formulation contains 20% more real diamond crystals than the HD coating and was developed in Switzerland. The result is a significantly tougher cooking surface, 40% more durable with 40% better food release properties as compared to the Classic HD nonstick cookware. The are ideal for healthy cooking without oil and feature quick, easy clean-up with hot soapy water. They are PFOA-free and produced in an eco-friendly manner. The tempered glass lids have adjustable steam vents and the ergonomic handles and knobs are oven safe up to 500 F.

Swiss Diamond is a high-end cookware and kitchenware brand established in 2001, with a manufacturing facility in Sierre, Switzerland. The brand name originates from the company's Swiss origin and it's classic cookware line which uses a revolutionary nonstick coating made with diamond crystals for durability, superior heat conduction, and a long-lasting nonstick surface. Swiss Diamond is committed to meeting consumer needs by using safe, high-quality materials, by emphasizing innovative design with traditional European craftsmanship and by adhering to an eco-friendly production process.

Prize Pack #2 from Envy Apples 

A $60 Pre-Paid Visa Gift Card and a shipment of Envy Apples! When you’re this good they call you Envy™ it’s hard to put into words what makes Envy™ so remarkable. Each satisfyingly sweet crunch redefines what to expect from an apple. Since it was introduced, Envy™ has emerged as the apple with everything: beautiful skin, sweet flavor and a bright, tender flesh that remains white even after being cut. It’s a pure and pristine apple that’s a genuine work of orchard-growing genius.
Envy™ was born in New Zealand using natural plant-breeding methods, crossing a Braeburn with a Royal Gala apple. From there, a handpicked team of talented growers, planted trees in regions perfect for growing Envy, such as New Zealand, Washington state and Chile where they benefit from long,
sundrenched days and crisp, cool evenings. Enjoy Envy™ just about anywhere—it’s nature’s passport to a magical moment of indulgent time. For more information visit their website.

Prize Pack #3 from The Spice House

The Spice House has been sourcing premium spices since 1957, bringing you the finest selections from all over the globe.  They provide the freshest and most flavorful ingredients possible via small, weekly batch grinding and blending. They will be sending one lucky winner The Baker's Gift Box.


Prize Pack #4 from Rodelle Vanilla

A Baker's Dream Come True! Package will include pure vanilla extract, gourmet dutch-processed baking cocoa, gourmet vanilla extract, gourmet vanilla beans, organic vanilla extract, organic chocolate extract, almond extract, vanilla paste, and some fun baking supplies to whip of your next batch of goodies with!

Rodelle believes ingredients makes all the difference, that's why they are passionate about offering a complete line of superior baking ingredients, vanilla products and gourmet spice blends. Quality vanilla extract may cost a little bit more, but the flavors are worth it! Rodelle works with a farmer-owned co-op in Madagascar, Sahanala, to craft a farm-to-table vanilla that benefits the vanilla farmers and their families. Learn more about Rodelle's vertical integration here. Or, Find out where to buy great Rodelle ingredients near you here.

Prize Pack #5 from Imperial Sugar 

A Sweet Tooth's Dream Come True! The Winner will receive 1 case of 2-lb granulated sugar (20 bags) + 1 case of 2-lb light brown sugar (24 bags), 2 silicone baking mats and 1 custom apron.

For 175 years, Imperial Sugar has been a trusted name in family kitchens across the South.  Sweet things happen when people come together in the kitchen, and that's why Imperial sugar has been at the heart of family traditions and celebrations for generations.  We're the secret ingredient in family-favorite recipes handed down from one generation to the next. Home cooks know that when you bake with love and Imperial sugar, that's when memories are made. Visit their website for over 100 years of time-tested recipes, kid's crafts, how-to videos, coupons, giveaways and more.

Prize Pack # 6 from Flahavan's Irish Oatmeal and Nairn's Oatcakes 

Flahavan's and Nairn's have teamed up to bring out an oatstanding prize pack filled with naturally cream, sustainable Flahavan's Irish Oatmeal and our go-to gluten free grahams by Nairn's. We have a good gut feeling that you're going to love it!

Flahavan's Irish Oatmeal is sustainably grown and milled in Co. Waterford, Ireland by the Flahavan's family since 1785. They have sourced the finest oats from the same Irish farming families for generations. Flahavan's oats are milled in small batches and minimally processed according to 230 year old milling tradition and double kilned. They are non-GMO and naturally gluten-free. Nairn's Gluten Free Grahams are rather good in more ways than one.  For a start they're made with only the finest wholegrain oats- naturally energizing and proven to reduce cholesterol.  And at only 45 calories a piece, they're a healthy alternative the the usual graham (also 40% less sugar!). But the real feel good factor comes from knowing every delicious gluten-fee bite is batch tested to Elisa standards so they're truly safe to eat.

Prize Pack #7 from Nordic Ware

Perfect for baking all of these AppleWeek treats, Nordic Ware will give one lucky winner an apple cakelet pan and prism baker's bundle with a quarter and half sheet pan!

Nordic Ware is a family owned and operated kitchenware company since 1946 and has steadily built its reputation as an internationally distributed kitchenware brand. As a leading manufacturer and innovator, Nordic Ware produces the vast majority of its products in America, at its Minneapolis headquarters, including bakeware, cookware, grillware, microwave, and kitchen gadgets and accessories.



#AppleWeek Day One Posts

Seared Steak with Envy-able Apples

As a participating #AppleWeek blogger, I received a lot of different products from sponsors to feature and use in recipe development for this event. But this box of voluptuous apples from Washington were a family favorite.


Envy Apples were born in New Zealand using natural plant-breeding methods by cross-pollinating Braeburn apples with Royal Gala apples. They have since planted trees in Washington state and Chile. They are sweet and deliciously crisp. I knew they would make a great addition to a savory recipe.


Ingredients serves 4
  • 4 steaks (I used New York strip steaks), brought to room temperature
  • 2 T olive oil, divided
  • 2 T butter
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 red onion, peeled and sliced
  • 3 apples (I used Envy apples), peeled and sliced into wedges
  • 1 C wine or other liquid (stock, water, or even bourbon - or a mixture that you prefer)
  • 1 t pure vanilla extract
  • 2 T heavy cream

Procedure
Preheat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Liberally season both sides of the steak with salt and pepper. Melt butter in 1 T olive oil and sear steaks on all sides until a nice crust develops. Reduce heat to medium and cook steak for an additional 1-2 minutes on each side. Remove steak from pan, tent, and let rest.

In the meantime, add remaining olive oil to the pan and stir in the apples and onion. Cook until the onions are softened and the apples beginning to brown in some parts. 

Pour in the wine and vanilla. Simmer until the apples are tender and the wine has reduced to about 1/2 C, approximately 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream. Season to taste, as needed, with more salt and pepper.

To serve, place the steaks on a serving platter or individual serving plates. Top with apples and serve immediately.

Find Envy Apples
on the web, on Twitter, on Facebook, on Pinterest, on Instagram

Disclaimer: Thank you AppleWeek Sponsors: Swiss Diamond, Nordic Ware, Envy Apples, Imperial Sugar, The Spice House, Rodelle Vanilla, Flahavan’s Irish Oats and Nairn’s  for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for AppleWeek  recipes. All opinions are my own. The AppleWeek giveaway is open to U.S. residents, age 18 & up. All entries for the winner will be checked and verified. By entering you give the right to use your name and likeness. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. Seven (7) winners will be selected. The prize packages will be sent directly from the giveaway sponsors. The AppleWeek Bloggers are not responsible for the fulfillment or delivery of the prize packages. Bloggers hosting this giveaway and their immediate family members in their household cannot enter or win the giveaway. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or any other social channel mentioned in the AppleWeek posts or entry.

Pretty Simple Greek Salad #PrettySimpleCooking


Back in February, I hosted a Pretty Simple Dinner Party to celebrate the release of  the cookbook A Couple Cooks - Pretty Simple Cooking: 100 Delicious Vegetarian Recipes to Make You Fall in Love with Real Food by Sonja and Alex Overhiser.* Then I participated in Take Two in August. Now, as we head into Fall, Sonja and Alex have launched their monthly Pretty Simple Cooking Club.

Well, jumping into that was a no-brainer. I already have the book and I have enjoyed all of the recipes I've tried so far. There don't seem to be any rules for this club. They send out the recipe picks; we cook, post, and share. Done!


This month, they selected: Greek Salad (pg. 81); Chipotle Black Bean Soup (pg. 175); Creamy Vegan Potato Chowder (pg. 180); and Cherry Almond Breakfast Cereal (pg. 22).


They suggested that we use the last of the summer tomatoes and cucumbers. It's almost as if they knew that I had just purchased twenty pounds of heirloom tomatoes from Farmer Jamie at Serendipity Farms and gotten cucumbers from my CSA box from High Ground Organics. So, my first post for our September Pretty Simple Cooking Club was an easy one.


I've always said that it's easy to create tasty dishes with fresh ingredients. My Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf went out to his garden and offered me fresh oregano. I love that he has a green thumb and an inclination to grow some of what we get to eat.


This recipe is very slight adapted from the Overhiser's. I skipped the onions and used fresh oregano instead. If I had read closely, I would have crumbled the feta - just for aesthetics since everything else had cut edges. Oh, well. Otherwise, it's pretty close.

Ingredients

  • 2 organic heirloom tomatoes, cubed
  • 1 organic cucumber, roughly peeled and cubed
  • 4 to 6 ounces Greek feta, drained and cubed
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 C pitted Kalamata olives
  • 1 T fresh oregano
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice


Procedure
Place the tomatoes in a large serving bowl. Layer with cucumbers, olives, and feta. Top with fresh oregano. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with olive and lemon juice. Give it a toss at the table and serve immediately.

*This blog currently has a partnership with Amazon.com in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to Amazon.com and search for the item of your choice.


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