Breakfast Baked Apples

Here’s a way to really enhance and turn that morning oatmeal for two into something special. Take two large Granny Smith apples and turn them into apple-bowls. The Granny Smiths are a great baking apple. With their bright green skin and creamy white flesh, Granny Smith apples are crispy, pleasantly tart and are available year-round. Their distinctive tartness pairs well with the cinnamon, sugar and butter needed for a classic baked apple recipe. They hold their shape very well when cooked, resulting in a professional-looking dessert.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 large Granny Smith apples
  • 1 cup of cooked oatmeal
  • Cinnamon
  • Brown sugar
  • Raisins
  • Butter
  • Maple syrup or honey

Yeah, I know there are no amounts for most of the ingredients, it’s because they are all measured ‘to taste’.

First, make the oatmeal, where its those steel cut oats or instant oatmeal, whichever you prefer. Add the cinnamon, sugar, raisins ‘to taste’. This will be the stuffing mixture for our apples. Now, core the apples, cut them in half, and hollow out about a third of the center forming a ‘bowl’ in the middle of the apple half. I like to take the apples removed from the hole and adding it back to the oatmeal mixture.

Take a scoop and divide the mixture into the four apple bowls and drizzle some maple syrup, or honey, over the mixture. Top each with about ¼ tsp of butter.

Place them into a baking dish and pop into a 375 degree oven for about ten to fifteen minutes.

baked-apple-87064592m

Fresh Fruit with Fresh Lime Dipping Sauce

Hazy Hot and Humid… just a perfect day for a platter full of fresh juicy fruit to snack on. You’ll find this platter to be delicious, refreshing and a healthy alternative to salty, high fat snacks. Serve this along with the chicken salad stuffed tomatoes (tomorrow’s post) for a cool lunch with which to beat the heat. Oh, did I mention that Western Beef had a great sale on limes.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 Granny smith apples peeled, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into wedges
  • 1 Honey dew melon, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges 2 to 3 inches wide
  • 2 pounds watermelon, rind removed, and fruit cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges 2 to 3 inches wide
  • 1 small pineapple, peeled, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into wedges
  • 1 ripe papaya, peeled, seeded and sliced crosswise
  • Creamy Lime Dipping Sauce

Creamy Lime Dipping Sauce

  • 1 container (6 ounces) vanilla fat-free yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 jalapeño pepper minced

To make the Creamy Lime Dipping Sauce combine all ingredients in small bowl; mix well to combine. The important thing to remember is to remove ALL of the white pith and seeds from the jalapeno. Nearly all the capsaicin, the acidic source of the pepper’s heat, comes from the rind. The rind, once the pith is removed has a strong fruity flavor.

So make a patio picnic of it and whip up a couple mojitos

Mojito

2 oz White Rum
.75 oz Simple Syrup
.75 oz Lime Juice
Fresh Mint
Soda

Take the leaves off of one of the sprigs of mint and put them in your mixing tin along with the simple syrup and the lime juice.  Muddle the mint gently.  Add the rum and some ice and shake well.  Strain (you should double-strain) into a glass filled with cracked ice.  Top with soda, garnish with the remaining mint.

mojito ingredients – combine with caution

Post Memorial Day Waldorf Salad Variant

I know it’s a day after Memorial Day, but I’m still not done. Another great summer treat is Waldorf salad. We are working on a variation on a theme and I think the theme is picnic food. I like light, easy, pack-n-go salads for picnics. This particular salad is vegan friendly, but I will check with my vegan friends and confirm this. I do know that no animals were present in the making of this treat.

 

Here’s what you’ll need:

 

  • 3 granny smith apples
  • 3  tablespoons of cider vinegar
  • 1 cup mayo
  • Sea salt and Pepper
  • 2 ribs of celery
  • 2 teaspoon curry powder
  • ½ of a small red onion shredded
  • Boston lettuce

Chop three apples granny smith, cause I like granny smith apples, into small chunks. Then wash them in 3 tablespoons cider vinegar. This prevents browning. Then fold these into one cup of good quality mayo, add a pinch of seal salt and a grind or two of pepper. This is the basis, a well balanced basis of the salad.

Now, for the variation, add to this base; 1 cup raisins, 2 tea spoons of curry powder, 2 ribs of celery, and ½ of a red onion shredded. Fold each item into the salad till its well mixed. Finish with a garnish of chiffonaded mint leaves and you are certainly good to go.

The waldorf salad is traditionally served on lettuce leaves, and for this I have a personal preference for Boston lettuce leaves as they are particularly ‘bowl-like’ in shape.

National Apple Pie Day

Mother’s Day is national Apple Pie Day… go figure! So, in keeping with the holiday, here’s my contribution to the nation’s apple pie recipe repository. All you need is a touch of the natural maple sugar and a drizzle of natural maple syrup.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  •  1 ready made pie crust ( ok, so I cheat a little)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple sugar
  • 2 Tbsp REAL maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 3 lb. Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced (8 cups)
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, cut up
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1–2 tbsp. milk
  • 1 Tbsp. raw sugar

In a large mixing bowl combine granulated sugar, maple sugar, maple syrup, flour, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. Add apples; toss to coat. Transfer to pastry-lined pie plate. Dot with butter and pour whipping cream over filling. Trim edge of crust even with edge of pie plate.

On the lightly floured surface, roll out remaining pastry to a 12-inch circle. Cut an “x” or a design in the center of the pastry. Place pastry over filling in pie plate. Seal and crimp edges. Cut small slits in top of crust, if desired. Brush with milk and sprinkle with raw sugar. Place pie on a foil-lined baking sheet. To prevent overbrowning, cover pie edges with foil.

Bake in a 375° oven for 40 minutes. Remove foil from edges. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes more or until fruit is tender and filling is bubbly. Cool on a wire rack.

Enjoy this with your Mom!

Bunratty Cranberry Apple Sauce

Since the red cabbage was such a hit… I have another side dish here that goes nicely with pork. It’s a cranberry applesauce made with mead. It’s a ferments wine with honey not grape as its base. Mead was enjoyed by the Four Kings of Ireland in the middle ages after having been introduced by monks. If you can’t enjoy alcohol delivered by monks, well…

There must be something sacrilegious about you.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 4 Granny Smith apples
  • 4 oz cranberries
  • ½ cup Bunratty Mead
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water

Peel, core, chop the apples and toss in a pot with cranberries, mead, and water. Cook this till the apples are soft and the cranberries have popped. Add the sugar and grab the old fashioned potato masher. Now, some people would have you take this mixture and put it in a blender, or food processor, but I think that this apple sauce works best if you mash it by hand so that the final sauce is not overly processed. It should be more farm house, not warehouse.

This makes a nice side to roast pork… or did I mention that before… I don’t recall, must be this nice mug of warm mead. Did I mention that mead is best served warm? Oh well, that’s another recipe…

Smithwicks Red Cabbage

Smithwick’s is an Irish red ale style beer from Kilkenny in Ireland. Smithwick’s is listed in the top five best tasting beers by the McHale beer rating club of Ireland. And if you can’t trust an Irish beer drinking club on matters of taste, who can you trust, Tim Gunn?

Well if you happen to find yourself just sitting around with a bottle of Smithwick’s and a head of red cabbage, then you have the makings of a great side dish, and you even get to drink half that bottle.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 bottle of Smithwick’s Irish Ale
  • 1 head of red cabbage shredded
  • 2 onions chopped
  • 2 granny smith apples chopped
  • 2 rashers of bacon
  • 1 tablespoon currant jelly
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

Cook the bacon till crisp and set on a paper towel. Add the onion and apples to the bacon drippings and saute. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked apples and onions to the cabbage, currant jelly, caraway seeds, and half a bottle of Smithwick’s. Combine gently and transfer it to an ovenproof casserole dish and pop it in the oven. Drink the other half of the bottle (it’s part of the ‘clean-up’ process so, cheers!).

Cook the cabbage for about 40 minutes.

Smithwicks Ale

 

Bulmers Cider Duck

It’s a blog about Long Island, so there has to be a duck in here somewhere… and this is a wonderful recipe that I usually make in the fall, but its equally at home in March I suppose. The tang of apples and the succulence of duck… brought together with a hard cider sauce.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A 5 pound duck
  • A bottle of Bulmers original cider
  • 3 granny smith apples cored and diced
  • 2 tablespoons butter unsalted
  • 2 tablespoons or so of flour
  • A rasher of two of bacon

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Rub your duck with a little salt and pepper and fill its cavity with the diced apples. Secure the flap with skewers and place it on the rack of a good roasting pan. Pour ¾ of the bottle of cider over the duck, and then lay a rasher or two of bacon over it. Pop this into the oven for about 2 ½ hours, basting every twenty of thirty minutes or so. Once the duck is cooked, transfer it to a warm serving platter and let’s make some sauce.

Deglaze the roasting pan over a medium heat with the remaining cider, then lower the heat and add the butter then start adding the flour to create a smooth roux. This is then poured into your gravy boat, and it should really float your duck over there.