Sunday, October 31, 2010


Just made a batch. 10 apples filled a 28 oz jar plus a small bowl for 2 as dessert.
11/24/12 8 apples made 1 mason jar worth. gala, fuji, cortland
  • Apples, variety
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  1. This time, I used 10 apples (minus a slice or two) - 5 Gala, 5 McIntosh. Peel, slice, core, and roughly chop. This is the most time/effort consuming part.
  2. Heat with cover until simmering. Reduce to low and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until mushy (about 20 minutes). 
  3. Mash with a potato masher or fork, for chunky texture. Blend/mix for a fine/smooth texture.
  4. Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg.
Recommended apple types: Gala, McIntosh, Cortland, Fuji, Winesap, Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, Delicious, Jonathan, Mutsu/Crispin, Braeburn
NOT recommended: Granny Smith, Rome, Jersey Mac

Add other spices to taste: cardamom, allspice, cloves, ginger, ...
Put in a slow cooker and it will "mash" itself.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Vietnamese Style Salad

A couple weeks ago we made fresh rolls. This is one of my favorite dishes - a delectable combination of fresh and tasty ingredients. The wrapping process can be quite enjoyable as well - trying to make the perfect wrap - tight around all the juicy bits. But when you're hungry and want to wolf down 5 rolls one after the other, it becomes frustrating - you rush the process, break the skin, make it too loose and it falls apart as you dip it. It just so happened a blog I follow offered a spin on it. Toss everything in a bowl and use rice noodles instead of the rice wrapper and call it a salad. Same ingredients, same taste, with a big payoff. Tried it out last night and it was delicious. Here is my spin on his recipe.

Salad Base
  • 3 chicken thighs
  • salt, sugar, water (brine)
  • romaine lettuce
  • fresh mint
  • fresh basil
  • fresh bean sprouts
  • rice noodles
  • roasted peanuts
(for 2.5 heads of romaine lettuce it was still more than enough, adjust as necessary)
  • 1/4 c + 1 T water, hot
  • 1/3 t salt
  • 3/16 c sugar
  • 3/16 c rice vinegar
  • 1/4 c fish sauce
  • 1/2 t crushed red pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • juice of half a lime (about 1-2 T)
  • 1/2 carrot, shredded
  1. Fill a large container with water and add 1T salt and 1T sugar or whatever brine ratio you like. Let sit for one hour in the fridge.
  2. Make the marinade: Add the salt and sugar to the hot water and let dissolve. Add the rest of the ingredients. You can set some aside to use as dressing for the noodles and salad. 
  3. Bake the chicken at 350F until done. (I checked after 20 min, flipped them and took them out 10 min later). 
  4. Cool slightly, cut/shred and dump into marinade. Let sit for 1-2 hours in fridge.
  5. Make the salad: Chop the lettuce and sprouts into bite size pieces. Add some chopped mint and basil. 
  6. Boil water. Add the rice noodles. Follow package directions (based on width of noodles - about 5-7 minutes) for length of time. Drain and run under cold water until cooled. Cut with scissors to bite size lengths. Coat with marinade. Toss in with salad. 
  7. Add the drained chicken. Top with peanuts. 
  8. Serve with extra marinade on the side. (You don't need much as the noodles and chicken have plenty - and you get plenty of flavor from the herbs.)
coriander, shrimp, cucumber, beef, tofu

If using frozen shrimp, boil for 2-3 minutes. Drain and run under cold water. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Pumpkin Breads

October means pumpkin season! I first discovered pumpkin bread at a grocery store near my college. It was delicious and I looked into making it myself. Always tasty, I eventually looked into reducing the fat and sugar content. No surprise that it still turns out moist and delicious. Now with M, I've looked into a gluten-free version. It turned out a bit ugly (dry on top, not risen as high) but just as moist and delicious on the inside. How can you go wrong with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves? 

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread
I forgot to take a picture of this. As noted, it wasn't the prettiest, but it tasted good!
  • 1 c rice flour
  • 1/4 c millet flour
  • 1/4 c starch (potato, tapioca, or corn)
  • 1 t soda
  • 3/4 t salt
  • 1/2 t xanthan gum
  • 1/4 c butter (1/2 stick), melted
  • 2/3 c sugar (brown and white mix)
  • 1/4 c applesauce
  • 1 1/4 c pumpkin
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 c orange juice
  • 1/2 c raisins
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9x5 bread pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flours to xanthan gum).
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the butter, sugar, applesauce, pumpkin, eggs and orange juice.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until well blended. 
  5. Pour into pan and bake for 1 hour.
  6. Let cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan. Allow to cool further before slicing. 
Reduced-Fat Pumpkin Bread
"Reduced fat" always sounds like something awful - like they replaced the fat with margarine or just got rid of taste altogether. Don't let my title for this bread fool you. It's just as moist and delicious as typical recipes, just with reduced butter and sugar. 
12/25/12 made this as muffins, but didn't have enough raisins so filled out with craisins. prefer raisins. also used canola oil instead of butter. next time try chocolate chips.
  • 1.5 c flour
  • 1 1/4 t soda
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t nutmeg
  • 1/4 t ginger
  • 1 1/4 c pumpkin puree
  • 2/3 c brown sugar, lightly scooped
  • 1/2 c yogurt (or 1/2 c milk + 1/2 t lemon juice)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 T butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  1. Mix dry ingredients (up to ginger) in a large bowl. 
  2. Mix remaining (wet) ingredients in a medium bowl. 
  3. Mix wet into dry, stirring just until flour is moistened. 
  4. Pour into 8x4 or 9x5 greased bread pan. Bake at 350 F/175 C for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until done.

Traditional Pumpkin Bread

Much higher in oil and sugar. Compare to above recipe - gives idea of how much ingredients can be bumped up.
  • 3.5 c flour
  • 2 t soda
  • 1.5 c light brown sugar
  • 1.5 c sugar
  • 1.5 t salt
  • 1/2 t nutmeg
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t cloves (optional)
  • 1 c oil
  • 2/3 c water
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 c pumpkin (one can)
  • 1 c raisins
  • 1 c nuts
  1. Mix everything thoroughly.
  2. Bake at 375F for about an hour, using two 9x5 bread pans..
  • Try different gf flours: instead of millet flour use sorghum flour, brown rice flour, oat flour or whatever you have on hand.
  • Instead of all white flour, substitute half a cup of whole-wheat flour
  • If you don't have applesauce, use all butter. If you don't want as much butter, substitute applesauce. If you don't have butter, use oil.
  • Add walnuts or other chopped nuts.
  • As with any quick bread, bake in muffin form - this reduces the baking time significantly.
  • Vary the spices - try more cloves instead of nutmeg or the ginger. Go with the taste you like!