- Winter Veggie Pie With Roasted Beets, Goat Cheese & Dill
- Pickled Beets With Cumin & Cloves
- Roasted Beets, Asparagus & Oven Fries With Lemon Aioli
- Creamy Beet Salad
- Cumin-Scented Quinoa With Grated Beets & Quick Curried Chickpeas
Saturday, October 20, 2012
Saturday, October 13, 2012
The Silver Palate was the first cookbook I ever bought for myself. I was living in Boston, stumbling through my first year out of college and feeling rather lost, in general, when I came across it in the Brookline Booksmith. My friend, Ali, who I'd lived with the previous three years at Wesleyan and who is both a great cook and the daughter of a great cook, had told me good things about it so I decided to splurge. At that point in my life, a $15 cookbook definitely counted as a splurge as I was positively raking in the cash at my $14 an hour research assistant job. And that was a big step up from my previous job where I'd made a whopping $11 an hour as a medical assistant in an OB/GYN office in order to see if nurse midwifery might be right for me.
I liked the book so much that, a few years later, after I'd ruled out both midwifery and research as careers, I bought Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins' much-expanded tome, The New Basics Cookbook. This chicken and apple dish was one of the first recipes I tried, drawn by its combination of caramelized onions, sweet apples, apple cider vinegar and cream. I've since made it many more times as I am a sucker for the combination of creamy, sweet, and piquant that it offers.
It's been several years since I've made it but I happily dusted it off last week after a field trip with my son's class to the Stone Ridge Orchard. It was a surprisingly glorious fall day that may be the last warm spell we get until 2013 or, maybe not, given the craziness of the weather nowadays.
The weather has since turned decidedly nippier -- it seems that real fall is upon us now. But the chilly air and falling leaves are a perfect backdrop for a warm, hearty dish like this. I love the way that caramelizing the apples turns them wonderfully creamy and sweet.
It's easy to make and goes well with rice -- the lovely sauce needs something to soak it up. Try it with some cider-glazed delicata squash or baked sweet potatoes.
The slightly adapted recipe is below -- I've simplified it a tiny bit to make it less fussy and a little less time-consuming.
Adapted from The New Basics Cookbook
* 3 apples (Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, or MacIntosh, or a combination)
* 1/2 lemon (optional - see step 1 below)
* 2 Tbsps unsalted butter
* 1 Tbsp sugar
* 2 whole, boneless, skinless, organic chicken breasts (1 1/2 to 2 pounds)
* 1 small onion, finely chopped
* 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
* 1/4 cup heavy or whipping cream
* 1/4 cup chicken broth (I use my chicken "stock-sicles" for small amounts of broth like this)
* 1/2 tsp salt
1. Core apples, peel them and cut them into 1/4 inch slices. Rub them with the lemon to prevent discoloration. (You can totally skip this step if you're in a hurry - I usually do!) Melt 1 Tbsp butter in a skillet and saute the apples over medium-low heat, 5 to 7 minutes. Sprinkle them with sugar, raise the heat and cook over high-heat until lightly browned on all sides, shaking the pan constantly to prevent the apple slices from sticking. Set the apples aside.
2. Rinse the chicken well and pat it dry. Cut each chicken breast in half along the breastbone line. Flatten each breast half with a meat pounder until thin.
3. Melt the remaining 1 Tbsp butter in a large skillet. Raise the heat, add the chicken, and cook until it is lightly colored, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside.
4. Add the onion to the skillet, cover and cook until it is tender and slightly caramelized, 8 to 10 minutes. Uncover, raise the heat to high, and add the vinegar. Cook the mixture down to a syrup, about 1 minute. Then whisk in the cream, stock and salt.
5. Return the chicken to the skillet and simmer gently in the sauce, basting often, until the sauce has thickened slightly and the chicken is cooked, 3 to 5 minutes. Do not overcook.
6. Remove the chicken breasts with a slotted spoon, and arrange them on heated plates (15 min. in a 200 degree oven-but not absolutely necessary). Add the apple slices to the skillet; cook over high heat until the sauce has reduced and the apples are thoroughly heated, about 1 minute. Spoon the apples around the chicken and pour the sauce over it. Serve immediately.
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Thursday, October 4, 2012
Baby James turned four weeks old yesterday. Things are going pretty well within the confines of caring for an infant who, like most babies, needs to eat every two hours, poops and spits up a lot, and sleeps only if you're holding him - put him down and he wakes up, it's his most consistent trick so far - and a three-year-old who is accustomed to having the full attention of two or more adults at all times and is not quite ready to give that lifestyle up in favor of a more self-sufficient one (can't say I blame him, really.)
Luckily, there are two of us (hats off to all the single parents out there - I do not know how you do it...) and we have a lot of help from family and friends which makes a huge difference.
Needless to say, my ability to cook is a tad limited at the moment, though, thankfully, I know that all this -- the sleeplessness, the never having more than one hand free, the tantrums, the constant nursing, the near-constant diaper changes and the daily loads of impossibly small, spit up and poop-covered garments and soiled burp cloths -- is temporary! This hard-won perspective does make the second child just a wee bit easier than the first when the future seemed to stretch out before me like a bleak, sleepless, crying-filled nightmare... I actually find myself enjoying the baby a lot of the time (when he's not crying.)
But my big brother and my two adorable nieces are in town for a little visit this week so I handed the baby off to his dad during our older son's nap in order to pull together a simple but tasty dinner of grilled cheeseburgers with avocado and tomato, the world's best oven fries, a green salad with dried cranberries and toasted pepitas, and even (gasp!) DESSERT.
I decided to make baked apples for three reasons: 1) They are yummy and comforting and warm, 2) It is apple season and the Hudson Valley is bursting with delicious, crisp, sweet-tart fruit, and, 3) Perhaps most importantly, they are amazingly easy to make.
I think baked apples are good pretty much any way but I included crystallized ginger to spice things up a bit (my husband loves ginger) along with some toasted pecans we had leftover from another meal.
The rest was easy - brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, butter, and some fresh apple cider that we got at a wonderful cider press party we'd gone to a few days earlier.
I mixed up the filling in a bowl.
Cored the apples, stopping an inch above the bottom to avoid going all the way through.
Then stuffed them, topped them with butter, arranged them in a baking dish so that none would tip over while baking, and poured some of the cider into the bottom. Topped it with foil and put it into the oven for a while.
My advice: Eat with ice cream. to let the wonderful syrupy, spiced cider mix with the melting vanilla - it makes a great companion to the soft, sweet, slightly tart flesh of the apple and the sugary, nutty, gingery filling. A delightful fall treat and so easy that even a sleep-deprived woman with a four-week-old baby and a three-year-old can make it to boot.
Baked Apples With Candied Ginger & Toasted Pecans
* 4 large, fresh baking apples (Rome, Golden Delicious, or Jonagold)
* 1/4 cup brown sugar
* 1 tsp ground cinnamon
* 1/8 tsp ground cloves
* 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
* 1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans
* 2 Tbsps finely chopped crystallized ginger
* 1 Tbsp butter
* A pinch of salt
* 3/4 cup apple cider (or water if you don't have cider)
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Wash your apples then remove their cores to about 1/2 inch above the bottom of the apple. I used an apple corer in combination with a small, sharp paring knife- it was kind of messy/clumsy but worked. You should have a hole roughly an inch wide that does not go all the way through the apple.
2. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, salt and pecans. Place the apples in a small baking pan - you want one small enough to keep all the apples upright but not so small that they're crowded - they'll bake better if they're not touching. Stuff each apple with the filling mixture and top with a small pat of butter.
3. Add the cider (or water) to the baking dish and bake the apples for 30-40 minutes, taking them out several times to baste them with the cider in the bottom of the dish, until they are tender, but not mushy. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.
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