Saturday, October 24, 2015

Baked Apples

Last night a few friends and I had a nice evening hanging out at home, for which I attempted to make butterbeer (be honest, sometimes you wish butterbeer was real more than magic when reading Harry Potter).  The butterbeer, unfortunately, was a giant fail.  Perhaps some things in life are better as fiction.  My friends were so sweet and pretended to like it, but I felt an urgent need to redeem myself with a dessert to more accurately portray my skills in the kitchen.

Immediately when thinking of fall treats, a memory popped to mind of our mum pulling a tray of baked apples out of the oven when I was a kid.  She used to sometimes throw them together as a spontaneous sweet treat - easy to make, and not terribly bad for you, as desserts go.  I texted her for the recipe, and in less than an hour we had perfect bowls of warm, sweetly spiced apples, the puddles of their juices melting into scoops of vanilla ice cream.  For me, it was a lovely serving of nostalgia and also kitchen redemption ( ;) ).  I immediately felt like I was sitting at our kitchen table with a cozy snack before bed.  I hope that they can bring you the same sentimentality, or help you to create new autumn memories.

4 apples
1//4 cup of brown sugar
1/4 cup nuts (pecans or walnuts, most likely)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons butter
Drizzle of maple syrup
Vanilla Ice Cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Carve out center of apples with a paring knife and spoon, removing all seeds and leaving bottom somewhat thick (about a 1/2 inch).  In a small bowl, mis brown sugar, nuts and spices.  Feel free to play with different spices (allspice, pumpkin pie spice), or to add some dates or currants to the mix.  Pack the mixture into the apple cores.  Put a small pat of butter on top of each, roughly 1/2 tablespoon.  Drizzle a little maple syrup on top if you like.  Bake for 30-45 minutes, until soft.  Pour the juices from apples from pan on top before serving, warm from the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Kaycee's Organic Raspberry Princess Muffins

Meet our youngest sister!  Kaycee, age 7, loves singing, dancing, science, and animals (and being an Alaska girl, that means not only cats and dogs, but also eagles, whales, porcupines and arctic foxes).  This is her first recipe on the sororial cooking blog, but it surely won't be the last. 

Adapted from The Disney Princess Cookbook

Kaycee's Adaptations:

Substitute raspberries for blueberries
Substitute organic gluten free flour
Substitute organic brown sugar and butter

Eat with your Dad on a chilly Sunday!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Sweet Potato, Apple and Onion Galette

Grad school homework procrastination means I am back to both cooking and blogging in a big way.  Please no judgement, writing about wrapping fall's best foods in pie crust and calling it dinner is infinitely more enjoyable than working on my first midterm paper.  I made this (a slight variation on this) on a lovely fall evening in Boston, served with a bowl of tomato soup (and a pumpkin beer) it was exactly the sort of indulgence that helps you appropriately enjoy a season.

Serves 4 as an appetizer, 2 as part of a main course

1 single refrigerated pie crust (If I had had premade pie crust on hand, I would have been tempted to speed the dinner process along by using it.  However, that's why I don't keep storebought pie crust on hand- it really is so much better when you make it yourself, even when you mess it up slightly and it's hard to roll out or too sticky) (Requested edit: I like smitten kitchen's and Joy the Baker's pie crusts, if you are in need of a trusty recipe)
1 small sweet potato, or half a large one (peeled, cut in half lengthwise and sliced)
1 apple, cored and sliced
1 quarter of an onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup sharp white cheddar, cubed
1 tsp sage
1 tsp rosemary
2 T butter, cubed

Preheat oven to 375.

Roll out pie crust on a flat surface, transfer to a baking pan (do this before filling the crust, don't make the same mistake I did).  Dab crust with a few cubes of butter and cubes of cheddar, gently shake some of the spices over.  Artfully layer the sweet potato, apple and onion slices, starting with a circle in the middle and tucking butter and cheddar cubes throughout.  Be sure to leave 3/4 - 1 inch around the edge for the crust.  When finished, top with any leftover butter and cheddar, and the rest of the spices.  Use your discretion on the amounts of apple, sweet potato and onion - you want the same amount of apple and sweet potato, less onion, and for your crust not to be overloaded.  Fold the edge of the crust over the edges.  Because this is a galette, it's supposed to be a little imperfect compared to its fussy cousin, pie.  Bake for 40 minutes, rotating halfway through.

Serve with a bowl of soup or a hearty salad, or as the sort of appetizer that makes the main course feel embarrassed to follow.  I would imagine that if you caramelized the onions, this would be even better, but didn't get to that point last night - let me know if you do.