Wednesday, April 30, 2008


I still have apples left! So I decided to make cinnamon applesauce. Cinnamon Applesauce
  • 6 large apples
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Cut apples into 8 slices. Place all ingredients in a heavy bottomed pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium. Cook for an additional 45 minutes.

Remove cinnamon sticks and puree in a blender, a food processor, use an immersion blender. Allow to cool and refrigerate.

NOTE: For more fiber and color (rosey applesauce) leave the skin on. If you have fussy eaters (husbands or children) then peel the apples before cooking. If you don't like cinnamon, leave it out. I used Red Delicious apples because they're sweeter than the green variety, but use what you like. If you choose to use Granny Smith, then you'll need to add more sugar. Makes approximately 4 1/2 cups.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Going Green

I first made this tart for a small dinner party last summer to accompany mashed potatoes and pork tenderloin. It was very yummy and easy to make. The recipe name may sound fancy and complicated but it's really not. It's great for a simple supper for two, or cut into small squares and served on a buffet. I served this for Easter and everyone there loved it! Asparagus Gruyere Tart from Everyday Food
  • Flour, for work surface
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 5 1/2 oz. or 2 c. grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1 1/2 lbs. Asparagus spears
  • 1 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry (thawed according to package instructions) into a 16x10- inch rectangle. Trim uneven edges. Place the pastry on a baking sheet. With a sharp knife, lightly score the dough 1 inch from the edges to mark a rectangle. Using a fork, pierce the dough inside the markings at half-inch intervals. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes.

Remove the pastry shell from the oven, and sprinkle with cheese. Trim the bottoms of the asparagus spears to fit crosswise inside the tart shell. Arrange in a single layer over the cheese, alternating ends and tips. Brush with the oil, and season with salt and pepper. Bake until the spears are tender, 20-25 minutes.

NOTE: Pricking the dough prior to baking keeps it from puffing up too high as it bakes. Also, I've made this with goat cheese adding a nice tartness (no pun intended :-)). I've also used Boursin garlic and herb cheese under the Gruyere. It adds a nice garlicky taste, but it can be tricky to spread. If you choose to add this, just microwave half the block of cheese for 15 seconds or until softened, then spread it on baked pastry. Proceed with the rest of the recipe as directed. Make sure to eat this all up though, because leftovers aren't so good- the pastry gets soggy.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

An Apple A Day

I had several apples that needed to be eaten and I needed to make a dessert to take to my Mom's for dinner. I looked for a simple recipe to make, but couldn't find one in any of my cookbooks. So I made one up :-)

Apple Spice Upside-Down Cake

For the upside-down part:

  • 1-2 medium apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1/2 stick butter, unsalted and melted
  • 1/4 c. light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

One-Bowl Spice Cake:

  • 1 1-2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 c. milk
  • 1/4. vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9-inch pan with non-stick spray. Melt butter, pour into pan. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over melted butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Arrange apple slices over gooey mixture in pan. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon. Whisk together. Add milk, vanilla, vegetable oil, and egg. Mix until all the ingredients are combined, but do not over mix.

Pour batter over apples carefully so you don't disturb the apples in the pan. Bake in center of oven for 35-40 minutes. Allow cake to cool for 10-15 in the pan. Invert cake onto platter to cool slightly before serving. Serve warm or at room temp.

NOTE: I only used the uniform apple slices for the bottom of the cake, and ate all the chunky parts :-) I used Red Delicious apples, but use what you have. Pears would be great too.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Fluffy and Dense

This recipe for pound cake comes from my neighbor. She doesn't really cook or bake much. In fact she doesn't really eat much either. She eats ice cream by the boat load and can drink anyone under the table (she provided the Irish Cream recipe), and she complains because she's fat. Whatever. She's about as wide as my arm. But she did make this cake for a neighbor several months ago, then realized that she was diabetic. So she brought a large portion of it over to me and I loved it. It's creamy, and dense, but it's fluffy too, unlike most pound cakes- almost like an angel food cake. Almost.

Pound Cake from A.S.
  • 3 c. flour
  • 3 c. sugar
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. lemon extract
  • zest of one lemon (optional)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract (optional)
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1/2 c. Crisco shortening
  • 1 c. evaporated milk

Cream butter, shortening (both at room temp), and sugar in a large bowl. Add eggs one at a time til fully incorporated. Blend in flour, baking powder, milk, zest and extract. Beat on medium speed til well blended. Pour into greased tube/bundt pan and bake for 80-90 minutes in a preheated 325 degree oven.

NOTE: I mixed this by hand instead of using a hand mixer. It worked out fine, by wrist grew increasingly tired as the batter got thicker. I recommend a stand mixer if you have one, or a hand held to make things easier (and quicker).

The original recipe did not call for vanilla extract, but I like to add it to most things I bake. If you do not want/like lemon, double the amount of vanilla or use a different flavor extract and omit the vanilla. But do not double the amount of lemon extract. Grated zest would be a nice addition. Orange would be nice too. Then you could drizzle it with chocolate sauce for a whole new take on pound cake. My mother would love that for Mother's Day.

Also, I don't know if it was the size of my tube pan, but I had a little leftover batter, so I made mini muffins. My neighbor makes this in loaf pans instead of a tube pan.

I wanted to dress this recipe up for our Easter buffet, so I made a quick glaze for it and filled the center with fresh berries. Again this is optional.


  • 1 c. powdered sugar, sifted
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • up to 1 tbsp. milk

I mixed the lemon juice with the sugar and blended with a whisk. I added enough milk to thin it out to "drizzle" consistency. The amount of milk needed will depend on how much juice your lemon provides. If it's too thin, then add a bit more sugar.

NOTE: Make glaze only after cake is cooled completely and drizzle over cake immediately. The glaze sets up quickly.
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