Butter Usage – by month – March 2016

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Meyer Lemon Bars

8 March – 16 Tbs – Raisin Walnut Oatmeal Cookies

11 March – 6 Tbs – Guinness Brownies

11 March – 16 Tbs – Pie Crust

12 March – 8 Tbs – Apple Walnut Pie

20 March – 13.5 Tbs – Walnut Muffins

24 March – 11 Tbs – White Chocolate Chip Cranberry Pecan Oatmeal Cookies

25 March – 16 Tbs – Meyer Lemon Bars

86.5 = 10.8125 sticks = 43.25 ounces = 2.703125 pounds

Not embarrassing, to say the least – in the butter use department. And I have to say that butter pie crust was so amazingly good. Now I am feeling slightly guilty about knowing the source for it. Will dig through lots of papers to figure it out.

Egg Usage – by month – (February 2016)

What shall I decide to represent the February Egg Usage, not sure what will work. But these are great sugar cookies that I have been making them for donkey’s years and now I have Mardi Gras Cookie Cutters. Cool.  Thank you King Arthur Flour. I really hope March is better, but that is just me. Damn Mardi Gras came too early. So strange. D&D_1180

February 4 – 2 – Chocolate Chip Walnut Blondies

February 5 – 2 – Sugar Cookies

February 20 – 2 – Oatmeal Pecan Toffee Cookies

February 24 – 3 – Carrot Cake

February 27 – 2 – White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

February 29 – 4 – Apple Carrot Cupcakes

Apparently I need to add this up and do some math – ugh.

15 eggs @ .33 each = $4.95. I can do better.

January – March 2016 – Food “Holidays” Recap

Super Bowl – February 7

Spiced Pecans * Roast Beef Horseradish Sandwich * Bacon-wrapped Fruit Bites * Buffalo Rolls * Proscuitto Fontina Pinwheels * Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Torte *

Mardi Gras Pot Luck – February 9

Mardi Gras Sugar Cookies *  Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Torte *

Margarita Day – February 22

Leap Day – February 29

Apple Carrot Cupcakes *

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Apple Carrot Muffins – slightly amazing. And, no. I’m not bragging.

Pi Day – March 14

Apple Walnut Pie *

Butter Pie Crust *

St Patrick’s Day – March 17

Guinness Brownies *

Easter – March 27

Not sure yet, but I have a few days to sort it out. Yikes.


Apple Walnut Pie

Yep – this is Pi Day. And I actually prepared ahead of time for it. Who knew?  Well, I knew, because there is pretty much no way I’m doing anything in the kitchen on a Monday (groan). D&D_1269

1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
8 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup diced Granny Smith apples
1 1/2 cups walnuts, chopped
Butter Pie Crust, chilled and rolled out into a pie plate and chilled again

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray pie pan with cooking spray. Roll out pie dough to 1/8 inch and spread over pie pan tucking excess dough into sides. Crimp around the edges. It is so pretty.

In a bowl, mix together brown sugar, flour, salt, butter, eggs, and vanilla. Fold in apples and walnuts. Pour into pie shell.

Bake until crust is golden and filling is set, 50 – 60 minutes. Let cool before serving a cuple of hours or overnight.

Notes: I kind of did the pie because I had apples and walnuts and the filling was so brown sugar-laden that I could not help myself. It is damn near amazing, and I not one to give fawning praise, but stupid good could apply in this case. I think I will be eating this for breakfast tomorrow – no matter how wrong that seems. Don’t care.

Apple Butterscotch Sour Cream Upside Down Cake

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Apple Sour Cream Butterscotch Upside Down Cake

I made this cake on a whim (from Bon Appetit – March 2006) the first time. I mean – longest recipe name, um, ever. But all the component parts sounded really good together. The methodology was different than anything I had ever made and that made it all the more appealing.  Then the Boy went crazy for it – understandable. It was/is slightly amazing. And it has stood the test of time. Let us see how that works – it works like this: 19 March 2006, 22 April 2006, 22 April 2007, 26 April 2008, 24 April 2010, 19 April 2013. 26 November 2015 – all of these at the Boys request. Are we seeing an April – birthday – theme. Yes, yes we are. But it totally makes sense for Thanksgiving – fall & apples.

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup superfine sugar or regular sugar – does not seem to make a difference, and I have done both.
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
1/2 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, finely chopped

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup butterscotch morsels
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, halved, cored, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices and the other half of the one that went into the batter

Preheat oven to 375°F. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt over a piece of waxed paper. Using mixer, beat butter in large bowl until smooth. Gradually add sugar and beat until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, and vanilla; beat until blended. Mix in flour mixture, then sour cream. Stir in chopped apple. Set aside while preparing the upside down part of apples and butterscotch.

Melt butter in 10-inch-diameter nonstick ovenproof skillet* over medium heat. Add apples and sauté to soften just a bit. Then add brown sugar and butterscotch morsels; stir until melted and smooth and mixture is bubbling. Cook until apples are golden, u (there will be a lot of liquid in skillet). Remove skillet from heat and let cool 3 minutes. Using tongs, arrange apple slices in skillet in concentric circles or other pattern – if you are really that person – never bothered myself.
Carefully spoon cake batter in dollops on the apples in skillet. Using offset spatula, spread batter evenly to edges of skillet (batter will seem to float on top of apples and pan juices). Bake until cake is golden brown and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool in skillet 10 minutes. Run plastic knife around edges of cake to loosen. Place large platter over the skillet. Using oven mitts or pot holders, hold platter and skillet firmly together and invert. Use the courage of your convictions. Serve cake warm. Or at room temperature – it works just as well that way.D&D_1008

*If your nonstick skillet does not have an ovenproof handle, wrapping the handle in two layers of heavy-duty foil. I always do this and it works – and my skillet is only 9.5″ but I kept it just for this recipe. Would not want to disappoint the Boy.

Apple Cake “Tatin”

It is the time of year that I start thinking about apples (and pears). I have a great apple cake recipe that I make for The Boy – D&D_IMG_0779-EditSour Cream Butterscotch Apple Upside-Down Cake. It’s dreamy. No really, not kidding, even though the name is long and I never seem to put all the words in the same order. Sometimes I make it for Thanksgiving, sometimes in the spring for his birthday. Apples are great anytime, but they, to my mind, really are fall fruits.

I like this idea because it plays on the classic tart Tatin which, by definition, is “A famous French upside-down apple tart made by covering the bottom of a shallow baking dish with butter and sugar, then apples and finally a pastry crust.”*

I’ll admit to some trepidation about this recipe, but it was really only the part that involved a candy thermometer. Even though I have a good bit of candy making (sugar work) experience, sugar can go south so fast, but my Thermopen and careful watching saved the day. Thank you Ina Garten!

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing the dish
1 1/4 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced into 12 pieces or more as you see pictured – yep, that’s just me.
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Confectioners’ sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter a 9-inch glass pie dish and arrange the apples in the dish, cut side down. Okay, there are two cut sides – um, yep there are.

Combine 1 cup of the granulated sugar and 1/3 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over high heat until it turns a warm amber color, about 360 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Swirl the pan but don’t stir. Pour evenly over the apple slices.

Meanwhile, cream the 6 tablespoons of butter and the remaining 3/4 cup of granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy. Lower the speed and beat in the eggs 1 at a time. Add the sour cream, zest, and vanilla and mix until combined. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt and, with the mixer on low speed, add it to the butter mixture. Mix only until combined.

Pour the cake batter evenly over the apple slices and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool for 15 D&D_IMG_0782-Editminutes, then invert the cake onto a flat plate. If an apple slice sticks, ease it out and replace it in the design on top of the cake. Serve warm or at room temperature, dusted with confectioners’ sugar.
* Food Lover’s Companion, p.620.

I’m sorry, but this cake is only slightly amazing.
I dub you – breakfast apple cake!
And this will make an appearance at the Thanksgiving table – a high honor indeed. Plus the MotH liked it too which is nothing short of amazing. It is not too sweet and the apples baked up to perfection.D&D_IMG_0793-Edit

9 October 2015

Apple Turnovers (chausson aux pommes – apple slippers)

This recipe is a bit time consuming but not really difficult, but it is so worth it because it tastes just like the fried apple pies that my grandmother (Nettie McLean Fields) used to make.  I just imagine that since she used canned biscuit dough, dried apples, and an electric skillet, that her’s were, somehow, easier. But maybe that’s my imagination talking. I did add up the times to get a sense of how to have it ready for dessert for Christmas Eve – here’s what I have: 10-15 minutes to sauté apples, but get the puff pastry out about 30 minutes before to thaw. Then 10 more mins in the freezer and another rest of 30 minutes in the fridge. And then another 15  – 20  to bake, so … um, guess this involves math now – not my strong suit. But here goes: Get going about 90 minutes ahead of when you want to serve.

Might, next time, sprinkle some some kind of sugar on the top for a little bit of crunch. That could be good, since it’s not overly sweet to begin with (hate ending a sentence like that) (or like that – ugh.) Please see notes below.

Apple Turnovers

  • 2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2 x 1″ slices
  • 1 1/2  tsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbs packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • dash freshly grated nutmeg (must be freshly grated – really!)
  • 2 Tbs unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 Tbs whole milk
  • 1 package (14 – 16 ozs) frozen puff pastry, thawed

Apple Turnover

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Place apples, lemon juice, brown sugar, sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and butter in a large saucepan and stir to combine and coat apples. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until apples are soft, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Set a fine mesh sieve over a small bowl and pour in apple mixture   Let apples cool to room temperature and reserve juice in the bowl.

When apple ply mixture has cooled, whisk together the egg and milk in small bowl until the egg is broken up, set aside. Spread a sheet of puff pastry on lightly floured surface. Dust pastry lightly with flour and using a rolling pin, roll into 12 inch square. Using a sharp paring knife, trim the uneven edges and cut dough into four equal squares. Transfer the squares to the baking sheet and place in freezer until firm, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Using a pastry brush, lightly brush a 1 inch border on the edges of the dough with egg wash. Reserve egg wash. Spoon 1/4 of apple mixture in middle of each square and fold dough in half to form a triangle. Seal the edges with the tines of a fork. Cut a few slits in the top of each pastry with the tip of a paring knife. Cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm 15 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat oven to 425 degrees and arrange rack in the middle.

Remove the turnovers from the refrigerator and remove plastic wrap. Brush the top of each turnover with the egg wash. Bake until golden brown and flaky, about 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool slightly. Serve warm, drizzled with reserve juice.

Thank you – Chow.com for bringing back a memory.

24 Dec 2014

Notes: Well, this recipe says it’s for a package of puff pastry, but for four turnovers, it’s only one sheet of pastry. Pretty easy to double for eight, but it’s not accurate on that point.