Posts Tagged ‘apples’

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Apples

February 25, 2014

Granny smith coupée en rondelles

Apples are the perfect on the go snack. They are healthy, low in calories, high in fiber and vitamins.
I prefer to eat them sliced. Somehow, crunching into a big ole apple, juices running down my chin, just doesn’t seem very polite, or professional. Cutting them “onsite” isn’t always possible, and cutting them in advance often leads to gross, brown slices.
Once I saw this trick, I had to share it!
Wash and slice the apple into large pieces, and then reassemble it, putting a rubber band around it to keep it intact. The flesh is not exposed to the air, therefore it doesn’t oxidize.

This concept should also work on avocados. Just leave the seed in and band it back together. Genius!

photo: Glasshouse Images

Thanksgiving Menu

November 25, 2013

We are on the home stretch of Thanksgiving planning, and after a whirlwind month of working, I finally got around to taking my own advice and made my Thanksgiving game plan. Using mostly tried and true recipes, which are contemporary twists on traditional fare, here is my menu:Many of these recipes have been posted before, so just click on the link to take you there!

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Thanksgiving Dinner 2013:

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Creme Fraiche

Cheddar Corn Muffins with Jalapeno Butter

Arugula, Radicchio and Fennel Salad with Toasted Pecans and Cranberry Vinaigrette

Garlic and Herb Roasted Turkey with Mushroom Gravy

Bread and Vegetable Stuffing, Cooked 2 Ways

Hot Cranberry and Apple Compote ( we call it Cranberry Jones!)

Roasted Sweet Potato and Banana Puree with Pecan Crumble

Green Beans with Lemon and Garlic

Pumpkin Pie with Whipped Cream

Chocolate Marscapone Cheesecake

Salted Caramel Chocolate Pecan Pie

For a tutorial on making the perfect pie crust, click here.

Stay tuned this week, as we countdown the days until Thanksgiving, with cooking tips and recipes for the big day.

Photo: Glasshouse Images ( that’s actually our turkey made last Thanksgiving!)

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Unrecipe of the Week: Baked Apples with Lattice Tops

September 30, 2013

It is apple season, and the markets are filled with every type imaginable. Apples are low in calories, high in dietary fiber, and have a naturally sweet yet slightly tart flavor. Seeing all those apples at the greenmarket made me long for warm baked apples, filled with cinnamon and spice. My idea was instantly met with dissent. Apparently, some feel the best part of an apple pie is the crust.
This week’s Unrecipe shows an exercise in compromise.  I got my baked apple, they got their piecrust, and all is right in the world; for the time being. 

Stuffed Baked Apples with a Lattice Top:

Core the apples, gently scooping out the centers to create a well. This can be done with an apple corer, or by cutting a hole in the top of the apple with a paring knife, and using a grapefruit spoon to scoop out the seeds and core.

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In a separate bowl, mix together about ½ cup each of oatmeal and brown sugar, depending on how many apples you wish to stuff.  Add a liberal amount of cinnamon, and a little nutmeg, ground cloves, ginger and allspice.  You can also add nuts or raisins at this stage if you like. Spoon the mixture into the well of the apple, pressing down with your finger to pack it in tightly. Dot each apple with a pat of butter.

Place the apples in an ovenproof dish and fill it with about 1” of water. Cover with foil and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes. At this point, the kitchen will smell heavenly!

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While the apples are baking, prepare the crusts using a simple pate brisee:

Mix together 1 stick of butter, 1-½ cups of flour, a pinch of salt and a little sugar.

Once the ingredients are mixed, begin adding ice water (it should take about 4 tablespoons) until the dough comes together into a ball.  For more complete instructions and piecrust tips, click HERE.

Roll out the dough on a floured cloth or parchment paper.

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Using a sharp knife or a pizza cutter, cut the dough into long strips. Weave the strips into a lattice pattern and cut the lattice into circles just large enough to fit over the top of the apples. Lay the lattice disks out on parchment paper, and refrigerate.

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Remove the foil from the apples. Brush the lattice disks with an egg wash, and sprinkle them with sugar. Gently set them on top of the apples, and press down lightly to make sure they adhere.  Place the open pan back into the oven, and bake for another 25 minutes or so, until the tops are golden brown, and the apples are soft, but still intact.

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If you wish to skip the crust, and just make the baked stuffed apples, just omit the crust and return them to the oven uncovered. If the apples seem dry, add some more butter, or pour a bit of maple syrup over them before returning them to the oven.

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Serve alone, or with a scoop of ice cream and enjoy!

photos: indigojonesnyc instagram (check it out for in-process photos all the time!)

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Apples

September 10, 2013

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The arrival of fall also signals the arrival of apple season.  We love apple sauce, and apple pies, and apples chopped into salads. The unappetizing way they turn brown once they are cut, not so much.

There are natural ways to prevent the brown stuff.

A squeeze of lemon juice is the most widely used method for keeping apples from turning colors. The vitamin C and citric acid in lemon juice helps prevent oxidization. It does add an additional tartness, which is sometimes not desirable.

For a sweeter alternative, try a mixture of 2 parts water to 1 part honey. The peptides in honey also prevent the fruit from oxidizing.

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Home Scents

August 27, 2013

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No matter how clean you may be, sometimes the house smells a bit “off.”  Last night’s dinner may still be lingering, or perhaps it’s just a bit stuffy. We have a simple, natural trick that we use to scent the air.

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Take a small pot of water and add cinnamon, cloves, orange or lemon peels, and bring it to a simmer on the stove. The aroma will permeate the area, leaving the house smelling like fresh baked pie. Just be careful to watch it to make sure that the water doesn’t completely evaporate.

Warning: Could cause extreme baked goods cravings!

photos: Glasshouse Images

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Easter-over

March 30, 2013

Tonight we are celebrating “Easter-over” a hybrid of Easter, Passover and a celebration of spring. It’s an opportunity to indulge in the flavors and traditions of the holidays, and the diversity of the guests. The rules are simple: it’s my made up holiday,and  it’s appropriate to serve anything I feel like making, within the confines of the season and the holidays. That could mean matzoh balls and pork chops, or gefilte fish and fried chicken, but it’s not either one of those.
This year, I have mixed it up, and for those of you who follow us on Facebook, or Instagram, you have been getting hints of things to come.

Here are a few “works in progress”, as our Easter-over feast comes together:

A beautiful mess of food scraps. What were they from?

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Personally, I loathe raw, red onions, and will surgically remove them from my food if they are there. Sometimes, a recipe really needs a little jolt, and these do the job well. They look pretty, don’t they?

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Nothing says spring like daffodils and asparagus!

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Apples, walnuts, honey, cinnamon….what could this be?

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Yum,chocolate! That’s a little almond flour you see. This one just happens to be gluten free and passover approved!

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Maybe a little white chocolate bourbon cream to put on top would be nice…

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Spring lamb is synonymous with the season. This one has a rosemary,garlic coating to keep it moist and flavorful. The meat is sitting on a bed of baby fingerling potatoes, which should get crisp and tender as the lamb cooks.

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Did we get you hungry yet? If you’re in the neighborhood, dinner is at 7!

photos by indigo-jones.

The Clean 15

June 5, 2012

We have written here about the “Dirty Dozen,” a list of produce that has the highest levels of pesticides and contamination. It is recommended that these foods be organic wherever possible.

There is another list called the “Clean 15”, which have the lowest pesticide load, and can be enjoyed in the conventional varieties.

These are:

Onions

Sweet corn

Pineapples

Avocado

Sweet peas

Mangoes

Eggplant

Cantaloupe

Kiwi

Watermelon

Sweet potatoes

Grapefruit

Mushrooms

Asparagus

Other foods, such as broccoli, cabbage and tomatoes have more recently tested cleaner as well, due to less pest threats, and therefore less spraying.

Many of these fruits and vegetables have a protective outer layer that gets peeled or removed before eating. This helps eliminate the toxins, which are largely on the outside of the food.

The current list of the most harmful foods tested positive for at least 47 different chemicals, and as many as 67. Buying organic insures that the fruit and vegetables are not treated with harmful pesticides.

Foods that should be organic:

Celery

Strawberries

Peaches

Apples

Blueberries

Nectarines

Sweet bell peppers

Spinach, kale and collard greens

Cherries

Potatoes

Grapes

Lettuce

This lists were compiled by the Environmental Working Group, which is an organization made up of scientists, researchers and policymakers. The data used was supplied by the United States Department of Agriculture’s tests for pesticide residue on fresh produce.

photos: Glasshouse Images

 

Today Was a Fairy Tale

April 10, 2012

Today was a fairy tale.

Unfortunately, there was no handsome prince to take me far, far away. There was no pot of gold, or even a guarantee of a happily ever after.

This morning I went to the gym and discovered that there were new pedals on the spinning bikes making it impossible to clip in my cycling shoes. The teacher had to come by and shove my foot into the clip, making me feel like one of Cinderella’s ugly stepsisters trying in vain to get that glass slipper on.

After class, I showered and walked to work. The winds was blowing so hard, it felt like the Big Bad Wolf was going to blow, and blow, and blow my house down!

Once I got to work, I started to feel like one of the Three Bears. Someone had clearly been sitting at my desk. I had wiped it down before I left on Friday, and there were telltale traces of coffee rings on it. Hmmm.
I turned on my computer and started to work. My document, a 150-page fashion tome, had been replaced with another “cleaned up” version, without my backup material on the sides. I plodded through the day and looked forward to coming home for dinner.

In my quest to avoid food waste, I planned to use up the remains of last night’s feast for dinner tonight. Given that I am not a meat eater, and usually follow a low carb, gluten free diet, I had my sights set on the array of leftover roasted vegetables and some chicken broth. I looked into the stuffed refrigerator and pulled out the pot of soup. Next I found a big bowl of roasted potatoes and some herbed lamb. I kept pulling things out but someone had eaten my roasted vegetables and they ate them all up! Damn you Goldilocks, wherever you are!!

I am now sitting here sipping some tea and contemplating sleep. I am so tired I feel like I could sleep for 100 years!  Just to play it safe, if anyone tries to offer me an apple, I am just going to say no!

photo: Glasshouse Images 

Happy Meals “Healthy” Upgrade

July 28, 2011

McDonalds is rolling out supposedly healthy changes to its kid’s Happy Meals. In addition to reducing the portion size of the fries and soda, they are adding fruit, sans the caramel (high fructose corn syrup) dipping sauce along with the requisite plastic toy. A step in the right direction perhaps, but a very small one at that. I think comedian Seth Meyers (@sethmeyers21)  summed it up best on Twitter, when he said: “..the nutritional term for the new fruit in Happy Meals is “virgin in a whorehouse“. Do we really believe that adding a couple of apple slices to a meal that is high in fat and calories and low in nutritional value makes it healthy?

photo + analysis via The New York Times

Alternative Energy

April 27, 2011

Looking for healthy ways to boost your energy without consuming loads of caffeine?

Here are a few alternatives that will give you the pick me up, without the jitters.

 

An apple a day keeps the sluggishness away

The natural sugars in the fruit will give you a quick burst of energy, without the crash later.

Hydrate

Dehydration can sap your energy.  A glass of cold water, or a cup of low caffeine green tea can perk you up fast.

 

Get down and give me five:

A few pushups will get your blood circulating, making you more alert.

Holding a downward dog pose can also have the same effect.

Get some air

A short brisk stroll will clear your head and give you a dose of vitamin D, courtesy of the sun. The walk gets the blood flowing again, and stepping away from the task at hand for a few minutes can be reinvigorating.

Before you drop $5 bucks for a sugary snack or a 300-calorie Frappacino, try one of these natural and healthy alternatives!

photo: Glasshouse Images


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