Wednesday, October 29, 2014

apple butter.

If you are anything like me, apple picking means returning home with more apples then one could possibly eat in a reasonable amount of time.  This is not necessarily a bad problem to have especially when there is a slew of apple items you can make (pie! crisp! pork chops with apples!).

But sometimes you long for something else and that is where apple butter comes into play.

Apple butter is not pretty.  It looks like brown mush (no point in stating anything but the obvious) . It's nothing like the beautiful peach jam of summer or strawberry jam of spring.  But! What it lacks for in looks it more then makes up for in flavor.

Apple butter is dreamy.  It's the definition of fall and its everything I want slathered on my peanut butter sandwiches this time of year (best sandwich ever involves chunky peanut butter, apple butter, chia seeds and a sprinkle of sea salt - DYNAMITE).  Cubes of apple are cooked with apple cider and spices. As the apples cook, they begin to thicken to create a cross between apple sauce and jam that may in fact be the greatest condiment ever.  EVER.

Fall, I love you.

Apple Butter 
Recipe from Apt 2B. Baking

Yield - about 2 pints of finished butter

2 pounds good eating apples, peeled, cored and cut into bite sized pieces (but really any apples work)
½ - 2 cups apple cider
¾ cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cloves
¼ teaspoon fresh nutmeg
Juice of half a lemon

In your biggest, heaviest pot combine the apples and enough cider to cover them. Bring to a simmer and cook the apples until tender. A bit of foam will form on the surface that should be skimmed off, it's okay if you can't get it all.

When the apples are tender, remove the pot from the heat and puree the mixture until it is smooth (an immersion blender is the best tool for this). Stir in sugar, spices and lemon juice.


Simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, until it darkens in color and begins to pop and bubble, about 1-1 1/2 hours. Make sure to watch the pot carefully and stir often in the last 1/2 hour to prevent scorching. I would usually tell you here to cook the butter until it reaches 220º, but I couldn't get mine above 210º and the set turned out perfect. Ladle the hot apple butter into your prepared jars.  

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

what happiness (and love) looks like.





















Photo courtesy of the wonderful Daniel and Sarah at Chellise Michael.  

a touch of green.

Green and gold are the colors I keep coming back to.  Wedding colors, life colors.  

It feels earthy yet glamorous.  Which is what I wish my life was like.  

(Pendant bulbs are my latest and greatest obsessions.)

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Image via Pinterest.  

Sunday, October 26, 2014

brown butter apple crunch crumble.


I know nothing is more American (and more fall) than apple pie but I am here to present my case for the apple crumble (or apple crisp if you are so inclined to call it that).  

Apple pie is great.  But pie is a pain in the butt to make.  Make the crust, chill the crust, roll the crust, chill the crust again, par-bake the crust....you get the point, it's exhausting. (Though sometimes its therapeutic and other times it's a wonderfully necessary evil.)  


But! If you get rid of the crust you get rid of 90% of the work! This is why when it's a lazy rainy Sunday and I want apple deliciousness without all the work I turn to the wonders of the apple crisp to fulfill all my cravings. 


This is the apple crisp of my dreams. Layers of thinly sliced apples tossed in cinnamon and ginger (and a splash of bourbon for good measure because why not?) are nestled under a generous layer of crisp topping (without the crust you want a nice thick layer of crumble).  The crumble is dreamy - oats, walnuts, spices galore, and a little bit of maple syrup (because a little bit of maple syrup belongs in every fall dessert) are tossed with brown butter to make the most heavenly topping for that spiced sea of apples (I went crazy and incorporated 4 different varieties).  It's epic, it's fall, and it's insanely easy. What's not to love?  


Bronwn Butter Apple Crunch Crumble
Recipe adopted from the NYTimes

For the filling

2 pounds apples, peeled and thinly sliced 
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon 
1 tablespoon bourbon 

For the crumble topping

1 stick of butter 
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup + 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt.  
½ cup finely chopped walnuts (or the nuts of your choice!)

Preheat over to 350 degrees.  

Brown your butter: Melt butter in a small/medium saucepan over medium-low heat. It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom as you do. Keep your eyes on it; it burns very quickly after it browns and the very second that you turn around to do something else.  Remove from heat and set aside

To prepare filling, toss apple with sugar, cinnamon, and bourbon.  Set aside.

To make the topping, in a large bowl, whisk together the oats, flours, sugar, maple syrup, spices and salt.  Stir in butter and nuts.  Coarse crumbs will form. 

Pour filling into a 9 inch square or round pan.  Using your fingers form mixture into ¼ inch to ½ inch crumbs and spread over fruit.  Bake until filling bubbles and topping is light golden, about 55 minutes.  Let cool slightly. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

kabocha squash toasts with miso jam.

In my humble opinion, the best way to get food into one’s mouth is not via a fork but via a slice of bread. 

I am very adept at using bread as a utensil and doing so allows you to explore so many toppings.  Avocado and feta! Peanut butter, apple butter, and chia seeds (a personal favorite at the moment)! Roasted tomatoes and burrata!  Do you see how many possibilities exist? SO MANY.  It’s kind of exhausting but it also ensures you will never ever be bored.  Toasted bread and toppings is the answer to all of the “I’m hungry what should I eat?” questions. 

When I stumble across a recipe that encourages one to use toast as a base for all of my favorite things (miso! cheese! squash!) you can pretty much guarantee I will be making it.  

These toasts are kind of incredible. Sweet and salty miso jam is the perfect base for tender squash (roasted with just a hint of smoked parika) and then layered with creamy goat cheese and crunchy salty pumpkin seeds. These are infinitely pop-able and absurdly addicting.  They also further validate my thought that everything is best when served on a slice of bread.  

Kabocha Squash Toasts with Miso Jam
Recipe adapted from Tasting Table

Yield: 4 servings

For the Miso Jam

¼ cup red or white miso paste
¼ cup honey
2½ tablespoons water

For the Kabocha Squash Toasts

¼ medium kabocha squash (12 ounces), sliced ⅛-inch thick
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon olive oil
12 ½-inch thick baguette slices, sliced on a bias, toasted
Miso jam
¼ cup goat cheese, softened
3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, toasted
Pinch of flaky sea salt
Olive oil for drizzling

Make the miso jam: Whisk the red miso paste, honey and water in a small saucepan over medium heat until the mixture comes to jam consistency, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, transfer to an airtight container and let the jam cool to room temperature. Store in the refrigerator and use within 2 months. Makes about ⅓ cup.

Make the pumpkin toasts: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  On a parchment lined baking sheet, places your pieces of squash and sprinkle them with the olive oil and smoked paprika.  Roast for about 10 minutes or until the squash is tender and just beginning to brown.  Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature. 

To assemble, spoon about 1 – 2 teaspoons of the miso jam over each toast (depending on the size of your bread). Place a few pieces of squash on each toast. Crumble the goat cheese on top and sprinkle each toast with pumpkin seeds. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with some olive oil. 




Monday, October 20, 2014

t-minus.



I've reached the less then one month until the big day point and the question on everyone's lips seems to be "how do you feel?".
ruffle and flower backdropSo to answer that question, I feel great. Actually, I feel more then great, I feel awesome.  All the stress from the very beginning has dissipated and you want to know why?  It's because I can't change anything. I can't change my mind, I can't alter my decisions. This is my bed and now I have to lie in it and lie in it I will.  Sure, I can imagine myself having made different decisions, I can ponder the what-if's all day long, but what good does that actually do?  I'm marrying the guy who can still manages to make my heart skip a beat AND I AM SO EXCITED.  So that's how I feel.  I feel excited and happy and better then ever.
So - let's do this thing.  T-minus 26 days.

Image via Pinterest.