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.


Berry and Buttermilk Cobbler

A few weeks ago I had a number of friends who had birthdays in quick succession.  I wanted to do something to acknowledge their days, and so one Saturday morning when Meg and I awoke far too early in the day, we found ourselves making these individual cobblers and delivering them around.  I looked for a few different recipes for consideration, and the recipe from the Small Victories cookbook looked to fit the bill.  Don’t they look great?

Berry and Buttermilk Cobbler

Berry and Buttermilk Cobbler

2 lbs mixed berries, rinsed (strawberries are not ideal)
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/2 c buttermilk

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly butter the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish with the butter wrapper.  Put the berries in the prepared dish and drizzle with the lemon juice.  Add 1/4 c of the sugar and a generous pinch of salt.  Use your hands to combine all the ingredients. (Taste the berries to check the sugar and lemon levels.  Cut too much sweetness with more lemon juice.  Cut too much tartness with more sugar.)  Mix in the cornstarch and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the remaining 1/4 c sugar, the flour, baking powder, and 1/2 tsp salt.  Whisk everything together.  Drizzle the butter and buttermilk over the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms.

Use two teaspoons to dollop the dough evenly over the berries.  Put the baking dish on a parchment-lined baking sheet to catch any drips and make clean-up a breeze.

Bake until the topping is dark golden brown and the berries are bubbling, about 1 hour.  Let stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes before serving so that the juices collect themselves and don’t run everywhere.

Sun Dried Tomato Quiche

I found some ham in my freezer and thought it would make a good addition to a breakfast casserole, so I started looking through the Linn County Fair Cookbook to see if there was anything that would suffice and this quiche with a potato crust looking sufficiently interesting.  The most challenging piece was finding a provolone cheese to shred, but I was happy to find some and use some sun-dried tomatoes to this.  It got a little bit darker than I would have hoped to have a quiche, but it didn’t taste burnt at all.  It just doesn’t look as pretty.  Taste was great, though.

Sun Dried Tomato Quiche

Sun Dried Tomato Quiche


1 large baking potato (thinly sliced)
2 Tbsp butter (melted)


3/4 c whipping cream
3/4 c provolone cheese (shredded)
5 large eggs
2/3 c sun dried tomatoes in olive oil
1/3 c smoked ham (cubed)
1 medium green onion (chopped)
2 tsp fresh basil (finely chopped)
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Butter the pie plate and arrange potato slices on the bottom of the pie plate to form a crust.  Brush melted butter on top of potatoes.  Parbake in the oven for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven.  In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs with the cream, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper.  Place tomatoes and ham on top of the potatoes.  Sprinkle evenly with basil, onion, and cheese.  Pour egg mixture over the ingredients in the pan.  Bake 40-50 minutes until the knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let stand a few minutes.  Slice in wedge and serve.

My Dog Shadow’s Favorite Dinner

There are some things that I never thought I’d do as a dog owner.  Let’s go with almost everything I do…but one of the issues I’ve had with Meg is a little bit of a reluctance to eat.  According to some other wheaten owners, this isn’t completely unusual.  So, I didn’t stress about it too much, but when I came across this recipe from Flavorwalla, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to give her another option of food.  And, she’s loved it.  So much so that I made a big batch before school started and my freezer is full of little containers of dog food.

My Dog Shadow's Favorite Dinner.jpg

My Dog Shadow’s Favorite Dinner

1/2 c steel-cut oats
1/2 c bulgur
1/2 c diced carrots
1/2 c diced peeled potatoes
1/2 c peas
1/2 c 1/2 inch green beans
1/2 c ground beef
1/2 c chicken livers
3 c chicken stock
1 1/4 c water

In a pressure cooker, combine the oats, wheat, carrots, peas, and green beans.  Add the ground beef and chicken livers, breaking them up with your fingers as you add them.  Add the stock and water and use your hands to mix it all together.  Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly.  Seal the pressure cooker.  Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to bring it up to pressure (it will begin to steam), then adjust the heat as necessary to keep the pressure steady.  Remove the pressure cooker from the heat and let stand, covered, until the pressure releases.

Open the pressure cooker and stir to combine the ingredients well.  Transfer to a bowl to cool completely.

Divide the mixture into individual servings and place each in a small ziploc bag.  Freeze for up to 1 month.


Marvelous Multigrain Bread

My dad gave me some sourdough starter this summer with which he’d been baking.  His bread making skills have become pretty fantastic since he came and took a class with me through our local community college a year ago or so.  I was looking for a recipe to make with this sourdough starter and saw this recipe from the Flour cookbook.  The cookbook calls for a bread sponge that she would have you make.  I decided to substitute the sourdough starter for the bread sponge.  The bread was incredibly dense, but it was good.  It was especially delicous as toast.  I understand why the owner of Flour stated that she started each day with a slice of this toast.

Marvelous Multigrain Bread.jpg

Marvelous Multigrain Bread

1 1/2 c water, at body temperature
3/4 c whole wheat flour
3/4 c buckwheat flour
3 c all-purpose flour
12 oz Bread Sponge
1/3 c honey
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1/3 c millet
1/3 c sunflower seeds
1/3 c flax seeds
Big handful of medium-coarse yellow cornmeal for the baking sheet

Using a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment (or a large bowl and wooden spoon), mix together the water, whole wheat flour, buckwheat flour, and 3 c of all purpose flour on low speed for about 1 minute, or until the flour is mixed and you have a shaggy, stiff dough.  (To prevent the flour from flying out of the bowl, turn the mixer on and off several times until the flour is mixed into the liquid, and then keep it on low speed).  Cover the bowl with a piece of plastic wrap and let sit for about 10 minutes.  (This is called an autolyse, and it allows the water to hydrate the flour, which makes for better mixing down the road).

On medium-low speed, add the sponge, honey, and salt and mix for 3 to 4 minutes, until it is incorporated into the dough.  The dough should be somewhat sticky, but still smooth and feel like an earlobe (strange as that may sound) when you grasp a bit between your fingers.  If it is stiffer than this, mix in a few tablespoons water; if it is looser than this, gradually mix in a few tablespoons all-purpose flour.  You may need to stop the mixer a few times to pull off any dough that has gathered around the hook or on the sides of the bowl.  Add the millet, sunflower seeds, and flaxseeds and mix 1 to 3 minutes, or until the seeds are evenly distributed throughout the dough.  (If you are using a wooden spoon to mix the dough, you must dump out the dough onto a floured work surface and knead for 5 to 6 minutes, or until smooth, then return the dough to the bowl.)

Lightly cover the dough, still in the bowl, with an oiled piece of plastic wrap or a lint-free kitchen towel.  Place the bowl in a draft-free, warm place (78 to 82 degrees is ideal; an area near the oven with only the pilot light on is good) for 3 to 4 hours.  The dough will rise up a little bit (but not a lot) and it will feel a little loose and relaxed.

Flour your hands and your work surface and turn the dough out of the bowl.  Divide the dough in half with a knife or a bench scraper.  Shape each half into a ball by tucking the edges of the dough underneath and then continuing to tuck the edges underneath until the dough naturally gathers into a ball with a taut surface. (At this point, you can cover the shaped loaves and store them in the refrigerator overnight.  Remove them the next day and proceed as directed.)

Sprinkle the cornmeal on a baking sheet to keep the loaves from sticking, and place the loaves on the sheet, spacing them at least 3 inches apart.  Cover them loosely but completely with plastic wrap and let them sit at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours, or until they have loosened up and seem relaxed.  They won’t pouf up too much, but they will seem much softer.

Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 500 degrees.  (It is important that the oven comes to temperature before you place the bread inside.  The correct temperature ensures that your loaves will get enough oomph to rise and grow.)

Sprinkle the tops of the loaves with the 2 to 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour.  Slash the loaves with a knife, and place the baking sheet in the oven.  Place a rimmed baking sheet or shallow pan with about 2 cups water on the oven rack below the bread.  The steam from the water will create a nice moist atmosphere for your bread to grow.  Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the loaves are golden brown and make a hollow sound when you thump them on the bottom.

Let the loaves cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for 15 to 20 minutes, then transfer the loaves to the rack and let cool for at least 2 hours before serving.  Once the loaves have cooled completely, they can be stored in a paper bag.

Carolina Style Pulled Pork

I had been having trouble with my smoker and maintaining the heat in it while cooking.  One of the suggestions I had gotten was to cook with lava rock on the heating element, and so I set out to Grill Works in Marion to pick up some lava rock and because I had read that I might not want to put the lava rock onto the heating element itself and damage the heating element, I ended up adjusting and turning the heating element upside down.  This resulted in not getting as much smoke and while the temperature stayed constant, it didn’t seem to heat as much as I would have liked it to heat.  Next time, I’ll likely try putting less lava rock with the heating element facing the correct direction.

Nonetheless, this recipe from Food and Wine 2009 tasted delicious.  I was so glad to bring it into work to share with others and then continue to eat.  I even considered adding it to a pizza, but didn’t end up making the pizza.

Carolina-Style Pulled Pork

Carolina-Style Pulled Pork

1/4 c dark brown sugar
2 Tbsp sweet paprika
2 Tbsp chile powder
1 Tbsp dry mustard
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
7 1/2 lb bone-in pork shoulder, skin removed and thick layer of fat scored
3/4 c cider vinegar
1/4 c yellow mustard
2 Tbsp honey

In a bowl, mix the brown sugar with the paprika, chile powder, dry mustard and 2 Tsp each of salt and black pepper; rub the spice mixture all over the pork.  Refrigerate the pork, covered, overnight.

Light a grill (smoker).  Set a drip pan in the center of the grill bottom and surround with a single layer of lit coals.  Place the pork fat side up on the grill over the drip pan.  Cover and cook for about 8 hours, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part registers 175 degrees.  Replenish with a layer of lit coals every hour as needed to maintain a steady temperature of 200 to 250 degrees inside the grill.  Transfer the pork to a rimmed baking sheet and cover loosely with foil.  Let rest 30 minutes.

In a bowl, whisk the vinegar, mustard, honey, and 2 teaspoons of pepper.  Pull the pork from the bone in large shreds.  Add the pork to the mustard sauce and toss.  Season with salt and serve with the buns.

Hot Saltine Hack

In addition to last week’s brown sugar bacon crackers, I made this hot saltine hack.  It’s a nice spiced-up saltine cracker that you can eat with a beer or on its own, without automatically going for a cheese or other flavor.  This recipe is from Alton Brown’s Every Day Cook.  It’s not an every day recipe for me, but it is a good recipe to make when you need something simple and easy to take with you without needing too many ingredients.

Hot Saltine Hack.jpg

Hot Saltine Hack

2 Tbsp clarified butter, melted
1 Tbsp hot sauce
1 tsp dry mustard powder
1 sleeve saltines (about 40 crackers

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Meanwhile, whisk the butter, hot sauce, and dry mustard together in a large mixing bowl.  Add the saltines and toss to coat.  Spread the crackers on a half sheet pan.  Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the saltines just start to brown.