Monday, September 28, 2015

Simple Apple Crisp!

Apple Crisp has been on my mind
this first week of Fall!!!

Our old farm orchard was loaded with apples this summer.
So much so that some of the branches broke down with
the extra weight.

In years past we used to pick them up (mostly they fall to the ground 
because the trees are so old and tall that picking them off the tree is almost
impossible) and then take them to a local cider mill to be pressed
into apple cider juice.

I gave in to my craving for Apple Crisp with this super simple
recipe that I learned in Home Economics at high school - that's a VERY long time ago!

This recipe is very forgiving ... increase the amount of apples,
throw in a wrinkled peach that's been in the crisper too long,
increase the crumb topping, etc. It always turns out delicious!

Apple Crisp

Preheat oven to 375F.
Arrange 2-3 Cups sliced Apples in a buttered casserole or cake pan.
Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice and ¼ tsp. cinnamon.
In a bowl combine 1/3 Cup Flour, pinch of salt, ¼ Cup Brown Sugar, 1/3 Cup rolled Oats.
Add 3 Tbsp. melted butter and mix until crumbly.  Spread over fruit.
Bake for 40 min.
Serve with ice-cream or thickened fruit juice sauce.

Till next time ...... does the season change make you crave Fall's deliciousness?

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Ground Cherry Pie

Have you ever eaten Ground Cherries?
This was our first experience growing them and what fun they've been to eat and experiment with!

The plants were started from seed in March and there were far too many that finally germinated (I used two packages of seed - silly me).
They are low growing plants and the "cherries" literally fall to the ground when ripe. They come in their own individual paper packages and taste sweet with a hint of caramel or pineapple. Super tasty!

Large tomatillos shown here on a dinner plate.

The ground cherries remind me of their much larger and green cousins called Tomatillo that were grown by my friend Jan this summer. These baseball size beauties also come in a paper thin lantern like husk and make a wonderful salsa!

Here is a recipe I used recently for making a Ground Cherry Pie:

Hull and wash the "cherries" and measure 2 1/2 - 3 Cups of them into an unbaked pie crust.
Thankfully I had some pie crusts stashed away in my freezer.

Sprinkle a mixture of 1/2 Cup brown sugar mixed with 1 heaping Tbsp. of flour over the cherries.
Sprinkle 2 Tbsp. of water (or lemon juice) over the brown sugar topping.

Next - mix 6 Tbsp. flour with 3 Tbsp. white sugar. Cut into this mixture 2-3 Tbsp. cold butter. Mix till crumbly.
I also added 2 tsp. of lemon zest to this crumble.
Top the pie with the crumble mixture and bake at 425F for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375F for an additional 25-30 minutes.

Ground Cherrie Pie ....... for sharing or eating all by yourself!

Till next time .... reminding myself not to plant quite so many next year and searching for some good ground cherry preserves recipes. Please share if you have any recipe suggestions ....

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Rainy Day Twisted Cheese and Herb Bread

It's been so hot and humid these last few days
and today the skies darkened and the rains came down.
A perfect day to bake some bread.

Well, actually I was boiling some potatoes to make a potato salad
and was left with a nice cup of potato water ....
why not bake some potato bread I say??

I found this recipe on line and adapted it a wee bit:

Twisted Cheese and Herb Bread

5 1/2 - 6 1/2 Cups of Unbleached Bread Flour
2 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. white sugar
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Cup potato water - luke warm
1 Cup buttermilk - luke warm
1 1/2 Tbsp. instant yeast
1/4 Cup melted butter

4 Cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 Cup minced herbs (I used parsley and chives that are growing in my herb bed in abundance)

In stand mixer or mixing bowl, combine the flour (keeping one cup aside) with the salt and sugar.
In another bowl or large measuring cup, combine the potato water and butter milk. Whisk in the yeast. Add this and the melted butter to the dry ingredients and mix with the dough hook or by hand till combined - let rest for 5 minutes (oops, I forgot this step).
After the 5 minute rest, add in the remaining flour a bit at a time, until you get a soft smooth and tacky but not sticky dough.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for several minutes.
Form the dough into a nice smooth ball and place into a lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise till double in bulk (1-2 hours).

Divide the dough in half and form into two balls. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin to a rectangle of approx. 10 inches by 16 inches.

Sprinkle half of the shredded cheese and half of the chopped herbs onto the rolled out dough. 
Begin rolling it like a jelly roll from the short side.

Pinch the seam together.

With a sharp floured knife cut the loaf in half length wise keeping cut side facing up.
Pinch together the top ends of the loaf and turn the right strip up and over the left strip. Straighten it up and do this again till you reach the bottom.
Now pinch the bottom ends together too.
Carefully move the twisted loaf into a greased loaf pan.

Repeat with the second ball of dough. Cover the pans with a tea towel or waxed paper and let them rise again till they are 1 inch higher than the pan (approx. 35-40 minutes).

Bake at 350F for 40-50 minutes, rotating the loaves and covering with foil if getting too browned at the half way point (after approx. 25 min.).
Let them stand in the pans for a few minutes before removing and run a thin knife around the edges if the cheese has caused it to stick to the pan.

Voila - twisted cheese and herb bread made on a dreary rainy afternoon ...

Taste notes - this bread turned out soft and delicious. I like the texture of bread when using potato water!

Till next time ....... tomorrow is tackle the overgrown and weedy garden day (unless it rains again).
                                       What are you up to this first week of September? 

But ...

But we weren't done with our lives yet ... We hadn't really settled in to this new house yet There were new neighbours yet to meet a...