Monday, September 27, 2010

Applesauce cake: a recipe

I attended a board meeting at my alma mater this past weekend. While these meeting weekends are always full and tiring, they are also a lot fun because of the dynamic group of women with which I serve. So I figured, what better way to show them some ninja love than with CAKE? I mean, who doesn't love CAKE?

This is a double-whammy Kitchen Ninja recipe because it incorporates the crockpot applesauce I made earlier. And I baked it in a Bundt pan because I believe that, just like its other 70s counterparts, bellbottom jeans and crocheted ponchos, it's a classic that deserves reconsideration.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Crockpot applesauce: a recipe

It's apple season here in the Northeast and I am one happy girl. I moved away from New England about 20 years ago and haven't had a decent, crispy apple since. But all that has changed, in a big way -- a  half-bushel way, in fact.

I think the pick-your-own fruit people probably laugh their asses off over dinner at eager locavores like me who, so excited by the prospect of fresh, not-from-the-truck fruit, don't understand just exactly how many apples are in a half-bushel (or how many blueberries are in a ten-pound box, but that's fodder for another post). I think the actual number is 8 bajillion.

How to whittle away a mountain of apples? Yup -- applesauce.

Easiest way to make applesauce? Yup -- crock pot.

Monday, September 20, 2010

What we ate last week

Here's a few more for you to check out while I'm busy cleaning up after an exploded boiler and a leaky ceiling:
I'd love to hear what you think of them, if you give any a try.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Preserving tomatoes

Ripe tomatoes that don't taste like a cardboard box are one of the joys of summer. So, as the leaves start to turn and the weather grows chillier, I start to get a little spazzy about how to preserve tomatoes so we can have a taste of summer during the long winter.

In addition to putting up some canned whole tomatoes for sauces last month, I did some slow-roasting and drying yesterday.

I use Molly Wizenberg's recipe for oven-roasted tomatoes, using small yellow pear or yellow cherry tomatoes rather than romas, and roast them for about 3 hours at 200 degrees. Words cannot express the flavor. They are fantastic as an appetizer, with goat's cheese on toast. Last night I put them on a flatbread, spread with ricotta and topped with arugula and parmesan cheese for an easy, heavenly pizza.

New for me this year are the marinated dried tomatoes shown in the photo. I decided to try them as I already own the Ferrari of food dehydrators.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Never-fail popovers: a vintage recipe

I love books. Maybe too much -- just ask my movers.

(And yes, this is in fact a post about popovers, complete with a recipe -- but there's backstory first.)

I also love poking around in antique stores for books or any other little treasures I can find. Maybe it's the musty smell, or the fun of finding a reasonably organized store or booth, or trying to imagine the people that once treasured these treasures, but I'm a sucker for that ubiquitous red, white and blue "Antiques" flag. (I recently tried to share my interest with my 17-year-old stepson. His reaction to his first visit to an antique store? "Sometimes old junk is just old junk.")

So my visits are usually solitary, which gives me a lot of unrushed time to thumb through the books. Since beginning my ninja adventures, I've been drawn to the old cookbooks. It's a hoot (and wicked gross, frankly) to see calls for ingredients such as oleo, lard, saccharin, crisco and other yummy gems. However, I recently came across a whole collection of Vermont Grange cookbooks -- you know, those fundraiser recipe books, often produced by churches or schools, to which members contribute their favorite family recipes. Well, given that the Grangers were (are?) originally all local farmers, I figured that I might find some good eatin' in there. I was honestly prepared to see lots of versions of ambrosia salad but was pleasantly surprised to find instead some really interesting, tried-and-true, no-weirdo-ingredients recipes.

(Here come the popovers, I swear.)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Soup's on

Alpine mushroom soup
All of a sudden, it's fall. We went from warm Indian summer (is that still politically correct?) to chilly -- well, chilly if you just moved north from the south -- in about 24 hours. I welcome the change, I really do, as fall means beautiful foliage, hot cider, snuggly sweaters, cowboy boots and the like, but the rapid change in temperature has messed with my menu planning this week.

On tap for last night was a modified caprese salad, pumped up with pesto, white beans, salami and a few other tidbits, leftovers of which were meant to find their way onto a homemade Friday-night pizza. But then I woke to 55 degrees, chilly and overcast -- clearly, this called for soup.

Friday, September 3, 2010

What we ate this week

Give some of these a try -- all very easy and very tasty:
blueberry scones

Let me know how you like these, or if you make any of your own substitutions/improvements.

Happy long weekend!