Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Baked Squash Stuffed with Homemade Applesauce, Blogger CLUE

We have had the most wonderful veggie boxes this autumn.  I think our location has a great deal to do with the variety of lovely, organic fruits and vegetables that we receive.  Our box ran over with kale, chard, potatoes, squash, tomatoes, pickling cucumbers, apples, carrots, cantaloupe...you get the idea....it was amazing.

With these wonderful fruits and vegetables on hand, I happily approached my October blog assignment for the Blogger CLUE Society.....and of course, the theme is autumn!  The Blogger CLUE Society is a group of food bloggers. Each month members are paired with another food blogger, given a theme, and each blogger sets off to explore the assigned blog. The objective is to track down a recipe that matches the month's theme and that we are excited about making.

Now one would think that it would be an easy task to find an autumn recipe but guess what, it wasn't. It wasn't easy because Wendy, at A Day in the Life on the Farm has a recipe index that doesn't end and she has only been blogging for a couple of years!  Wendy and her husband are retired law enforcement.  When they retired, they moved far away from the city to the country where they have embraced farm life by raising chickens, pigs and turkeys for meat as well as canning and freezing the many fruits and vegetables that they grow on their twelve acres.  What a change of life style!

As I scrolled through recipe after recipe I spied Wendy's Baked Squash Stuffed with Applesauce! How could I pass that up, when I was looking at a box with squash and apples?  Besides, I couldn't make the Gyro Kabobs I saw, as there wasn't a lamb in the box this week!  "grin"

This was a super delicious side dish!  It popped with flavor and will appear frequently at our house....loved it!!

The applesauce recipe that I used is here:  Homemade Applesauce #2 in the Slow Cooker.

Baked Squash 
Stuffed with Homemade Applesauce

Yield:  4 servings

2 small sweet dumpling squash or acorn squash, scrubbed, halved and seeded
Salt and pepper
4 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup homemade applesauce (My recipe for homemade applesauce is here.)

Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Line a baking sheet with foil.

Lay the squash halves on the foil, skin side down.  Sprinkle the squash liberally with salt and pepper. Put 1 Tablespoon of butter into each cavity.  Flip the squash over so that the skin side is up and roast for 45 minutes.  Test the squash for doneness with a fork.  Remove from the oven.

Flip the squash over and fill each cavity with 1/3 cup homemade applesauce.  Return the squash to the oven for 15 more minutes.

Sprinkle with cinnamon and serve.

Note:  My squash were done after 45 minutes so I did not put the squash back in the oven after filling them with applesauce.  I did not add the sprinkle of cinnamon because I forgot!  They turned out super without the extra time in the oven and the sprinkle of cinnamon.

Store bought applesauce could be used but I am really partial to homemade!


This was truly delicious, so delicious that I almost forgot to eat the Linguine with Shrimp Scampi!

Are you looking for more autumn recipes?  Take a look below at the group's choices.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Aunt Orlean's Pie Dough

As you know, I rarely make pies.  I have a bear of a time with the dough so I pretty much have given up.  As I contemplated making the galette in the previous post, I started thinking about my "dough of choice" as was listed as number one one the ingredient list.  I realized that I did not have a dough of choice.

I did however start thinking about pies, my grandma, my mom and my Aunt Orlean....they all made pies.  They all had a dough of choice.  I remember my aunt giving me her recipe and saying it has vinegar in it, don't wrinkle your nose...just make with it.  It will turn out every time.

Could I find the recipe?  NO!  My cousin came through and sent it to me lickity split.

Of course, I do not have a picture of a piece of dough.  I was too busy trying to roll it out to take a picture and too nervous about moving it to even think about a picture....  As I worked my way through the process, I realized that it was easy.  It rolled out great.  It transferred in one piece.  It didn't fall apart.  It was easy to work with.  Hurray!

Maybe I had my "dough of choice".

Aunt Orlean's Pie Dough

Yield:  One pie/2 crusts

3 cups flour
1 1/4 cups shortening
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1 tsp vinegar
1/3 cup ice water

In a large bowl, with a pastry cutter, gradually work the Crisco into the flour until it resembles a coarse meal. In a small bowl, beat an egg with a fork and then pour it into the flour/shortening mixture. Add the vinegar and salt. Add the water a little at a time stirring together gently until all of the ingredients are incorporated and the dough comes together.  (I started with 3 Tablespoons of water and mixed, adding an addition tablespoon until it came together.)

If you are not using both pieces of dough, separate the dough in half.  Set one aside.  On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one half of the dough to the desired size (about 1/2-inch larger that the pan you are using) and about 1/8-inch thick.  (If the dough is sticky, additional flour may be sprinkled on the surface of the dough or rubbed on the rolling pin.) Lift the dough carefully from the counter and transfer the dough to the pie pan. Go around the pan pinching, tucking and smoothing to make a clean edge. Refrigerate until ready to use, up to an hour.

Note:  Place the other half of the dough in a Ziplock bag. With a rolling pin flatten the ball of dough into a disk.  Seal the bag and freeze for another time. When you are ready to use it, allow the dough to thaw for about 15 minutes before rolling.


While I do not have a picture of the pie dough....I do have a picture of the finished product:  Apple Galette with Salted Caramel Bourbon Sauce.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Apple Galette with Salted Caramel Bourbon Sauce - SRC

Don't you love fall?  I am still thrilled to have temperatures below 100 degrees...and yes, it was 100 yesterday but I can forgive one day of heat!   It is October!  My very favorite month.  I think that L. M. Montgomery said it best in Anne of Green Gables:  "I am so glad that I live in a world where there are Octobers."  I must agree.  I have always loved October.  The breezes become more frequent and they are cool.  The leaves start turning beautiful colors.  The days become shorter. The pumpkins and squash start to appear. The apples ripen. And, last but not least, I can turn on the oven!

Let's go back to apples.  When I got my assignment for The Secret Recipe Club I knew I was going to look for something with apples.  Why not?  It was fall and the apples are ripe!

Sarah, at Well Dined, tempted me with her Salted Caramel Apple Hand Pies and the Apple Oat Muffins but the Apple Galette with Salted Caramel Bourbon Sauce won!  Sarah loves to dine out as well as cook.  Her blog features dining reviews as well as recipes.  She focuses on seasonal foods and meals that "reasonably healthy".  She featured a quotation by Virginia Wolfe that I know and love:  "One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, unless one has dined well."  That is so true....So let's get on with the dining!!

First, the question: What is a galette?  How is it like a crostata?  The word galette is French.  It is basically a flat, round pastry...a rustic freeform tart made with a flaky pastry dough.  It can be sweet or savory.  A galette is the same as the Italian crostata.  They are both rustic in appearance and often filled with a delightful fruit mixture, such as in today's recipe.

This galette was tasty and combined with the ice cream and the salted caramel bourbon sauce, we had a very nice dessert!  What I learned is that apples do not create as much moisture, as other fruits, without a little help. I think I will add more sugar and a pat or two of butter when I make it again.

At this moment....the mister has pretty much finished off the galette along with the sauce!

Apple Galette 
with Salted Caramel Bourbon Sauce
adapted from Well Dined

Preheat oven:  400° F.

For the galette
1 pie dough of choice (The dough I used is here.)
3 medium apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp all spice
1 tsp corn starch
1 1/2 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbsp King Arthur's Boiled Cider (optional)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp turbinado sugar

For the caramel
1 cup sugar
3 Tbsp water
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp bourbon
1/4 tsp flaky sea salt

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to a 14-inch round, about 1/8 inch thick. Transfer the dough to a large parchment-lined baking sheet.  Refrigerate until ready to use, up to an hour.

Place the apple slices in a medium bowl.  Sprinkle the lemon juice and Boiled Cider (if using) on the apples and toss.  Combine the sugar, cinnamon, all spice, and cornstarch starch.  Sprinkle the mixture over the apples and toss to evenly distribute.

Remove the baking sheet from the refrigerator.  Arrange the apples in the center of the dough, leaving a 2-inch border all the way around.  Gently fold the border over the apples, overlapping where necessary and pressing gently to adhere the folds.

In a small bowl lightly beat the egg and 1 Tablespoon of water together.  Brush the edges of the dough with the mixture and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.

Bake the galette 25-35 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the apples are tender.  Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack to cool.  Use two spatulas to transfer the galette to a serving platter when cooled.

Prepare the caramel.  In a large heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar and water.  Heat the mixture over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar is just dissolved.  Stop stirring.  Once the edges start to brown, occasionally swirl the mixture but do not stir.  Continue to cook the mixture until it is a deep amber color, about five to ten minutes.

Remove the mixture from the heat and add the heavy cream while steadily whisking.  The mixture will bubble vigorously, be careful it doesn't overflow.  Place the mixture back on the warm burner and whisk in the salt and bourbon.

Transfer the caramel sauce to a heat-safe jar with a lid.  Allow the caramel to cool uncovered.   Cover the jar and store in the refrigerator.  It may be stored for about two weeks.

Serve slices of galette with a scoop of ice cream and drizzled with the Salted Caramel Bourbon Sauce.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Homemade Applesauce #2 in the Slow Cooker: Recipe Revised

Each year we mark the beginning of fall with a trip to the apple orchards.  It is fun to drive through the trees as we make our way to the fruit stand displaying bins of apples.  There are so many varieties from which to choose that it renders me unable to choose. So, we usually bring home a box of mixed varieties such as Braeburn, Jonagold, Fuji, Red Delicious, McIntosh, etc.  Sadly, we were not able to make the trip this year but I still found a variety of apples at the Farmer's Market.

I usually start the season by making homemade applesauce in the slow cooker.  I didn't want to break the tradition but I did want to try a new recipe.  It was time to set Mom's recipe to the side.  I was inspired by Ina's recipe that I found on Food Network.  I didn't follow her method, as she baked the apples.  It is still warm here so I used the slow cooker.

Homemade Applesauce #2 in the Slow Cooker

1 large navel orange, juiced
1/2 lemon, juiced 
14 apples, (about 6 pounds) mixed variety, such as McIntosh, Braeburn, Fuji, Gala, Jonagold, etc., peeled, cored, diced
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed 
4 tablespoons unsalted butter 
1 Tbsp Boiled Cider from King Arthur Flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

Place the orange juice and the lemon juice in a large bowl.  Add the apple dice and toss them in the juice.  Pour the mixture into the slow cooker.  

Sprinkle the brown sugar over the top along with the cinnamon and allspice.  Add the tablespoon of Boiled Cider and stir the mixture.

Set the slow cooker on low and cook for 8 hours.  When finished, use a potato masher to get the sauce to the desired consistency.

Serve warm or cold.  Store in a air-tight container in the refrigerator.

Note: The recipe is easily adjusted.  As it cooks down, it produces more liquid.  But after a few hours if you notice that sauce needs more liquid, add just a little additional orange juice or water.  


We loved the addition of the citrus and the fact that this was not overly sweet.  The Boiled Cider enhanced the sauce's flavor. It was perfect.  Now, if I could just put my spoon away!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Lentil and Spinach Dal Over Brown Rice in the Instant Pot and Chef Sabine

Earlier this summer I visited my daughter in Seattle.  The visit just happened to coincide with Sabine's third birthday.  It wasn't planned that way, it just happened....how nice for me!

Isn't she adorable?  What a character!  She sure does keep us on our toes.  She loves to cook and spends a great deal of time on her stool at the counter or the stove....helping.  It is so much fun.  It just so happened that she got her chef's hat and apron along with some more cooking utensils for her birthday.  She was in heaven!

Sabine wasn't the only one with new play things.  My daughter had gotten an Instant Pot and wanted to show me how quick and easy it was to prepare a meal.  I had no idea about the Instant Pot.  She told me it was a combination appliance a pressure cooker, a slow cooker, a rice cooker....the list goes on....and that dinner could be made quickly.  Sounds like a must have for the working mom!

I must admit that I was impressed.  I have always been intimidated by my pressure cooker.  I think had I not been told over and over again about explosions and being careful, I might have felt differently.  Needless to say, I rarely use my pressure cooker.  Sorry, Debby Foodie Wife...I just cannot do it!  But, your recipes look so delicious that you have me thinking...Maybe a working mom isn't the only one who should have an Instant Pot!

On this day, my daughter served a tasty Lentil and Spinach Dal.  Each bite was wonderful!  She served it over brown rice with a garnish of fresh yogurt and chopped cilantro along with some warm naan.  Not only was dinner made in a snap....it was delicious!  The recipe directions below are for using the Instant Pot but one could easily adapt the cooking time to use the slow cooker.

Lentil and Spinach Dal over Brown Rice
adapted from Flavorrd

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 1/2 cup red lentils
3 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
1 large tomato, cut into 6-8 wedges
4 cups fresh spinach leaves, about several big handfuls
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tsp unsalted butter

To serve
Brown rice, prepared separately
Plain yogurt
Fresh chopped cilantro leaves

Add the olive oil to the Instant Pot to cook over medium heat (press the "Saute" button to begin cooking at medium saute heat.)  When the oil is hot, add the chopped onions and cook until they are soft and translucent.  Stir in the minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute.  Turn off the heat. (Push the "cancel" button.)  Add the turmeric, cumin, coriander and cayenne.  Mix well to combine.

Add the lentils, tomato wedges, salt and water to the onion and garlic mixture.  Cover the Instant Pot with the lid.  Be certain that the valve is in the sealed position.  Press the "Manual" button and set the cooking time to 10 minutes.  After the program has finished, press "Cancel" to turn off the warming mode, and wait 10 minutes before opening the valve to release the pressure.

Remove and discard the tomato skins.  Whisk together the lentils to emulsify.  Smash the tomatoes against the side of the pot if necessary.  Add the spinach, cilantro and butter to the mixture.  Stir to combine.  The residual heat will wilt the spinach.

Serve over brown rice with a dollop of plain yogurt, a sprinkle of chopped cilantro, and naan on the side.


Saturday, October 3, 2015

Savory Scones

Ever since Mom fell and fractured a hip, things have been a bit bumpy at my house.  I have found myself exploring our healthcare system, skilled nursing and assisted living situations in depth.  All I can say is that nothing is ever simple but there is always an answer to address the need.  Of course, it may not be quite as expected, but there are options.  That said, I believe that I have mom placed in a retirement complex that offers her the independence that she desires as well as the assistance that she must have to be safe.  I so appreciate my friends who have traveled this road and shared their many experiences and made recommendations.  Bless you, friends.

There hasn't been too much cooking going on but it just so happens that I did make some savory breakfast scones and that is what I want to share with you today.  These were just the right combination of herbs, cheese, and ham...perfect for breakfast on the run!  Sitting down would have been nice too!  Anyway, the recipe is one that comes together quickly, just be sure to have the prepping done ahead. The recipe came from my daughter who go it from a friend who got it from a friend...I have no idea who should be credited!  But, I do believe it is a keeper!

Savory Scones

2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
6 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup ham, diced
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 to 2 Tbsp chives, chopped
2 tsp fresh sage, chopped
1 egg
1/2 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven:  425° F.

Position the oven rack in the center.  Line a baking sheet with parchment, if desired.

In a large bowl, thoroughly whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

Cut in the butter with 2 knives or a pastry cutter, tossing the pieces with the flour mixture to coat and separate them as you work, until the largest pieces are the size of peas and the rest resemble breadcrumbs.  Do not allow the butter to melt or form a paste with the flour.

Stir in the ham, cheddar, chives and sage.  Set the mixture aside while you whisk together the egg and the heavy cream, in a separate bowl.  Once whisked, add it to the dry mixture.  Mix together until the dry ingredients are moistened.  Gather the dough into a ball and knead it gently against the sides and bottom of the bowl 5 to 10 times, turning and pressing any loose pieces into the dough each time until they adhere and the bowl is fairly clean.  Do not overwork the dough or let the dough get warm.

Drop dough in even sized lumps onto the baking sheet.  Bake until the tops are golden brown and spring back when pressed, 12 to 15 minutes.  (The time will need to be adjusted based on the size of the scone.)


A quick breakfast for an on-the-go family!