Colorful Kale, Apple, and Fennel Slaw with Tart Cherries

Recently we had another death in my parish and, like I often do, I decided to bring a salad to the funeral luncheon. I was looking for something that would hold up well with refrigeration and this recipe from the Love Real Food cookbook seemed to meet those needs. The sweet lime dressing was a great contrast to the cherries and slight spiciness of the fennel. The flavors all complemented one another quite nicely.

Colorful Kale, Apple, and Fennel Slaw

Colorful Kale, Apple, and Fennel Slaw with Tart Cherries

2 c packed chopped Tuscan kale leaves, tough ribs removed
2 c thinly sliced red cabbage
2 c thinly sliced brussels sprouts, tough ends trimmed
1 c thinly sliced raw fennel
1 medium-large Granny Smith apple, cut into 1/2 in cubes
1/2 c chopped dried tart cherries

Dressing:
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp honey or maple syrup
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp sea salt

To prepare the slaw: In a large bowl, combine the kale, cabbage, brussels sprouts, fennel, apple, and dried cherries.

To make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, honey, vinegar, mustard, and salt until blended. Taste and adjust as necessary.

Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. For best flavor, let the salad marinate for 15 to 20 minutes before serving. This slaw keeps well, chilled, for 2 to 3 days.

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Apple Pear Cobbler with Lemon-Cornmeal Biscuits

I was looking through the Apple Lover’s Cookbook and came across this unique cobbler recipe.  I wanted to make it for Thanksgiving, but my mom decided to bring apple pie.  So, instead I made it for the night before Thanksgiving.  Might as well kick-off the holiday season with lots of desserts, right?  The cobbler had a nice mix of sweet, but not-too-sweet flavors to it.  The lemon-cornmeal biscuits on top were a great way to temper the sweetness.  Unlike some other cobblers that make a 8-inch square pan, this made a large cobbler and I was eating it all weekend long.  I warmed it and added a scoop of caramel ice cream to teh top, and that was a great combination.

Apple Pear Cobbler with Lemon Cornmeal Biscuits

Apple-Pear Cobbler with Lemon-Cornmeal Biscuits

2 1/2 lbs firm-tart apples
1 1/2 lbs ripe pears
1/3 c granulated sugar
3 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp flour
1 1/2 Tbsp chilled salted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

Topping:
1 c flour
1 c cornmeal
3 Tbsp plus 2 tsp sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
1 1/2 Tbsp chilled salted butter, cut into small pieces
1 c plus 2 Tbsp chilled heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and set a rack to the middle position.  Peel and core the apples and pears.  Cut the apples into 1/4 inch slices and the pears into 1/2 inch thick slices.  Put in a Dutch oven.  Add the sugar, lemon juice, flour, and butter, and toss to combine.  Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes.  Can stop and refrigerate at this point overnight.

Meanwhile, prepare the topping: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, the 3 Tbsp sugar, the baking powder, salt, and the lemon zest.  Sprinkle the butter on top and use fingers to work it in, forming thin flakes.  When the dough begins to look like cornmeal, add the 1 cup cream and stir with a fork until the dough just comes together.  Gently pat out on a well-floured surface to a 3/4 inch thickness.  Use a biscuit cutter or juice glass with a 2-3 inch diameter to cut out biscuits, scraping and re-rolling the dough as needed.  Chill the biscuits in the refrigerator while the fruit finishes the first round of cooking.

Remove the fruit mixture from the oven and give it a quick stir — it should look softer and a little glossy.  Arrange the biscuits on top, overlapping slightly in concentric circles, brush with the remaining 2 Tbsp cream, and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tsp sugar.  Bake, uncovered, until the top is golden brown and the sauce is bubbling, about 35 minutes.  Cool on a rack at least 20 minutes, then serve warm.

Mixed Green Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette

At Thanksgiving, I was going over the menu a couple days beforehand and felt like we were missing a little more vegetable.  I went online and found this recipe from Taste of Home and was excited to create a cranberry vinaigrette, as cranberry is a favorite flavor of mine.  This was a great combination of flavors — the blue cheese added a nice creaminess where the apples, dried cranberries, and candied walnuts added a nice crunch to the salad.  It is definitely on my to-make again in the future.  And, since the cranberry vinaigrette is homemade, it seemed like a potential showstopper when needing to bring a dish to a meal.

Mixed Green Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette

Mixed Green Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette

Vinaigrette

1 c fresh cranberries
1/3 c sugar
1/3 c water
1/2 c cider vinegar
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp olive oil

Salad

2 5oz pkgs spring mix salad greens
1 medium tart apple, chopped
2/3 c dried cranberries
2/3 c glazed walnuts
2/3 c crumbled blue cheese

In a small saucepan, combine the cranberries, sugar, and water.  Cook over medium heat until the berries pop, about 10 minutes.

Cool slightly.  Place the cranberry mixture, vinegar and mustard in a blender; cover and process until pureed.  While processing, gradually add the oil in a steady stream.  Refrigerate until serving.

Just before serving, in a large bowl, combine the salad greens, apple, cranberries, and walnuts.  Drizzle with 1 c vinaigrette and toss to coat.  Sprinkle with blue cheese.  Serve with remaining vinaigrette.

Maple-Apple Upside-Down Buttermilk Cake

The end of the apple season is soon upon us.  Until it gets here, I continue to look for recipes that have been hanging out in my to-make pile for months and this cake recipe from Flour, Too has been on my list.  It didn’t look quite as beautiful as I wanted it to look — I think a different pan would have worked better for this.  The cake baked over the edges of the 8-inch round cake pan I had and I only used three apples — so heed this advice.  Use a bigger pan.  The cake tasted awesome, though, and had a great mix of maple and apple fall flavors.  It could even be a good contender for a Thanksgiving dessert if you are wanting to step outside the regular dessert menu.

Maple-Apple Upside-Down Buttermilk Cake

Maple-Apple Upside-Down Buttermilk Cake

1 1/2 c maple syrup
1 c plus 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 Granny Smith or other firm tart apples, halved, peeled, cored, and each half cut into 8 slices
2 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 egg yolks, at room temperature
3/4 c nonfat buttermilk, at room temperature
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 c granulated sugar
Creme fraiche, unsweetened whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream for serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and place a rack in the center of the oven.  Butter and flour a round cake pan.

In a medium saucepan, carefully bring the maple syrup to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 40 to 45 minutes, or until thickened, dark, and reduced to about 1 cup.  (It foams up in the pan, so be sure to use a pan that is large enough so that it doesn’t boil over.  Once it foams, reduce the heat to maintain a low simmer; if it keeps foaming it will start to burn.)

Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the 2 Tbsp butter.  Pour the maple syrup into the prepared cake pan.  Arrange the apple slices in concentric circles in the bottom of the pan, making a second layer on top of the first if they don’t all fit in a single layer.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolks, buttermilk, and vanilla.  Set aside both bowls.

Using a stand mixer, beat the remaining 1 cup of butter and the sugar on medium speed, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl and paddle several times, for 6 to 7 minutes, or until light, pale, and fluffy.  On low speed, add about one-third of the flour mixture and beat for about 15 seconds, or until almost fully incorporated.  Add about one-half of the egg-buttermilk mixture and beat until almost thoroughly incorporated.  Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl and paddle.  Add half the remaining flour mixture and beat until almost fully incorporated.  Add the remaining egg-buttermilk mixture and beat until almost fully incorporated.  Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the remaining flour mixture with a rubber spatula just until fully incorporated.  Top the apples and maple syrup with dollops of the batter and then spread evenly with the spatula.

Bake the cake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until golden brown and the middle springs back when you poke it gently with your finger.  Let cool in the pan on the wire rack for about 1 hour.

Carefully invert the cake onto a serving plate while it is still warm, so that the apples will release from the pan.  Slip any dislodged apple slices back into place.  Serve warm with creme fraiche.

 

Cinnamon Apple Flatbread

In addition to my refrigerator going out a few weeks ago, I had a giant branch fall off one of my trees in my backyard.  Most branches I have lost have been a size that I can drag to the front yard, but this was one where I didn’t have that as an option.  I was talking with one of my neighbors about it and he said he’d come take a look.  The next day when I came home at lunch to let Meg out, there he was, cutting apart my branch and hauling the pieces up to the front yard.  I felt like the luckiest gal in the world.  So, despite it taking a few weeks, I wanted to thank him for it, and so I made this cinnamon apple flatbread to take to him and his wife.  I continue to use my sourdough starter in new ways — do you have any must-cook recipes with sourdough?  This cinnamon apple flatbread recipe came from the King Arthur’s Flour website, which is an awesome resource for sourdough and other recipes.

Cinnamon Apple Flatbread

Cinnamon-Apple Flatbread

1 c sourdough starter, fed or unfed
3/4 c lukewarm water
2 tsp instant yeast
3 c flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp dry milk
3 Tbsp olive oil

Filling:

4 very large firm apples, about 2 pounds
1/4 c boiled cider
1/4 c maple syrup

Topping:

1/4 c Baker’s cinnamon filling or cinnamon-sugar
1/4 c syrup, reserved from cooked apples
2-3 Tbsp coarse white sparkling sugar

Combine all of the dough ingredients, and mix and knead them — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — to make a smooth, fairly soft dough.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, and let it rise for 1 hour. Gently deflate it, and allow it to rise for another hour; it should have at least doubled in bulk, or come close to it. While the dough is rising, prepare the topping.

For the topping: Core the unpeeled apples, and cut each into 8 wedges; an apple corer/slicer works well here. Cut each of the wedges into 3 pieces; you’ll have 7 to 7 1/2 cups (about 27 ounces) of apple chunks.

Put the chunks in a shallow microwave-safe bowl, and drizzle with the boiled cider and maple syrup. Don’t have boiled cider or maple syrup? Drizzle with 1/3 cup honey, 1/4 cup agave syrup, or the sweetener of your choice.

Microwave the apples till they’ve softened, but still hold their shape. In our microwave here, that took about 9 minutes.

Drain the apples, reserving the juice. Set them aside to cool while the dough is rising.

Lightly grease an 18″ x 13″ rimmed baking sheet (half-sheet pan), or two 9″ x 13″ pans. Drizzle olive oil atop the spray; the spray keeps the bread from sticking, while the olive oil gives the bottom crust great crunch and flavor.

Gently deflate the risen dough, then pull and shape the dough into a rough rectangle, and place it in the pan. (Or divide it in half, and put in the two smaller pans.) Pat and stretch to fill the bottom of the pan. The dough will shrink back; as soon as it doe, cover it and walk away for 10 to 15 minutes. Return, and pat it towards the edges of the pan again. You may have to give it another rest; that’s OK. Your ultimate goal is to stretch the dough to cover the bottom of the pan, with perhaps just the very corners uncovered.

Arrange the apple chunks atop the dough.

Mix 1/4 cup of the reserved syrup with 1/4 cup Baker’s Cinnamon Filling or 1/4 cup cinnamon-sugar. The Baker’s Cinnamon Filling will yield a richer, creamier topping. Drizzle the syrup over the apples.

Cover the bread, and let it rise for 1 hour, till it’s nice and puffy. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F.

Uncover the bread, and sprinkle with coarse white sparkling sugar, if desired. Bake the bread for 25 to 30 minutes, till the crust is golden brown around the edges and feels set in the center. Remove it from the oven, turn it out onto a rack, and serve warm.

Cheese Apple Bread

With harvest in progress and fall here, one of the activities we often take part in is the visit to the apple orchard.  Because of that, I have been searching for some apple recipes to heighten the tastebuds.  In addition to the birthdays I mentioned with the berry cobbler, I have a friend who is a little bit more of an adventurous eater who had a birthday and I thought she would be appreciative of this cheese apple bread.  I found it when looking through the Cedar Rapids Women of the Moose Cookbook from 1979 and set it aside to save it for the apple season.  It looks delicious, doesn’t it?

Cheese Apple Bread.jpg

Cheese Apple Bread

2 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2/3 c sugar
1 c grated apples
1/2 c grated cheese
1/2 c oil
2 eggs

Blend oil, sugar together.  Add eggs.  Mix well, add apples and cheese.  Mix flour, soda, and powder together and mix into mixture.  Put into a greased bread pan.  Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour or until done.

Carrot, Napa Cabbage, and Apple Slaw with Creamy Poppy Seed Dressing

After having made the coleslaw with apples and pineapple a few months back, I came across this similar recipe from the Roots cookbook and thought it looked worthy of exploring.  I’m still not a fan of coleslaw, but this one had a bit more of a vinegar taste to it and could use some fresh apples, in season.  It tasted great on its own and on top of a pork sandwich, so definitely worth trying.  I don’t know that it’s automatically better than the other coleslaw recipe, but a nice alternative.

Carrot, Napa Cabbage, and Apple Slaw.jpg

Carrot, Napa Cabbage, and Apple Slaw

Dressing
1/4 mayonnaise
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp poppy seeds
8 oz napa cabbage, cored and finely shredded
8 oz carrots, trimmed, peeled, and cut into matchsticks
1 crisp red apple, cored and cut into matchsticks
2 Tbsp finely snipped fresh chives

To make the dressing, in a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, oil, lemon juice, salt, and poppy seeds.  Set aside while you cut the vegetables, or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day.

In a large bowl, toss together the cabbage, carrots, and apple.  Spoon the dressing over the top and toss the slaw to distribute the dressing evenly.  Transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with the chives and serve immediately.  The cabbage and carrots can be cut up to 8 hours in advance.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to toss the slaw.  It is best to cut the apple right before adding it to the slaw so that it doesn’t discolor.