Apple Crumble

If you are anything like me then you can’t refuse the bounty of apples overflowing the farmers markets at this time of year.  Or better yet, you’ve gone picking and have an abundance of beautiful fruits to use.  There are Cortlands and Empires, Macouns and McIntosh, Red Delicious and Ginger Gold, Spencers, Ida Reds…. this list keeps going.  I am a big fan of apples in a pie and I love to mix it up and use a variety of different apples so that each bite is different, some sweet and soft, some tart and crisp.

This particular recipe is based on the Weight Watchers version of an apple crumble pie, so it’s a bit leaner on the butter use than a typical pie.  I subbed in  whole wheat pastry flour for white, and I chose to use dark brown sugar in the crumble because of its intensity of flavor.

Ingredients

Crust

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

2 teaspoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small chunks

2 tablespoons water (maybe a touch more)

Filling

4 medium apples, peeled, cored and sliced 1/4-inch thick

1/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon whole wheat pastry flour

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon water

Crumble

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small chunks

1/2 cup rolled oats

5 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour

2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

Directions

  • Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400ºF
  • Spray a 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray
  • To make the crust: combine the flour, sugar and salt in bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade and pulse to combine
  • Scatter the butter over the flour mixture; pulse until dough resembles coarse meal. Slowly add water, adding another tablespoon if necessary, until the dough comes together
  • Place the dough in the prepared pie pan and press it up the sides and around the bottom to form a crust; prick the bottom of the crust with a fork

  • To make the filling: combine all filling ingredients in a medium bowl and toss gently to combine

  • Spread evenly over the crust

  • To make the crumble: to a food processor fitted with a blade add the oats, flour and sugar; pulse to combine, then add butter chunks, pulse again, and scatter over apples
  • Bake for 20 minutes
  • Reduce heat to 350ºF and continue baking until both crust and crumble are golden and apples are juicy, about 30 to 40 minutes

You’ll need to let the pie set up for about half an hour after baking before you should attempt to cut and serve it.

J

Apple-onion pan sauce

Autumn has arrived in New England.  I personally lucked out in that I went away to Maine this past weekend and saw the leaves turn, then fall, and now I’m back home (a wee bit south) and get to see it all over again.  This particular season is so wonderful: clean and crisp, cool and colorful.  It welcomes a harvest of new crops from the farms, and with that tons of apples.  This recipe will only use up one of those little beauties, but it’s tasty.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon salted butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, cut in half and sliced into moon slivers

1 apple, peeled and cut into slices

1 cup chicken broth

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

salt & pepper

Directions:

  • Bring a cast iron skillet to temp over a medium heat and add the olive oil & butter
  • Toss in the onion, lower the heat and caramelize, slowly, for 30-40 minutes
onions set to caramelize

  • Add the apples to the onions in the pan and cook for another 10 minutes
apples & onions

  • Pour the chicken broth and apple cider vinegar into the pan and bring to a boil, then allow it to simmer for 10 minutes
apple-onion pan sauce

  • Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper and serve
apple-onion pan sauce over egg noodles

We had this pan sauce over egg noodles, as a side to some pork chops that had been grilled with Montreal steak seasoning (salty & peppery).  It was a lovely combination.

grilled pork chops

As an aside, you could substitute the chicken broth for vegetable broth for a vegetarian sauce.  You could also use beer, but if you do that then leave out the ACV and expect that the sauce will be significantly sweeter.  Same goes of you decide to use cider or hard cider.

J

Carrot-Walnut Cookies

Are you a fan of the “morning glory” muffin?  They are the breakfast muffin with a little bit of everything in them- carrots, raisins, apple butter, wheat germ, nuts.  Well this cookie is similar to that.  Packed with fiber, servings of fruit and vegetable, whole grains, and warm spices this cookie has a lot going for it health-wise.  And it’s tasty too!

Ingredients:

1 cup raw, un-salted walnuts

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1 cup raisins

1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

2 carrots, grated

1 apple, grated

1 very ripe banana, peeled and mashed

1/4 cup apple juice

Directions:

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F
  • Line your baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Combine the walnuts, oats and raisins in a food processor and pulse until ground
  • Transfer to a bowl and stir in flour, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger

  • Add carrots, apples, banana and apple juice and mix until combined

  • Drop by tablespoons one inch apart on the baking sheet, making about 24 cookies
  • Press down on each cookie with the back of a fork to flatten them a bit (peanut butter cookie-style)
  • Bake until tops and bottoms are lightly browned, 20 to 25 minutes

Inspired by this recipe by Whole Foods Market.

J

Butternut Squash Soup

This season I’ve been trying a new soup recipe each week.  I’ve eaten more soup in this one winter than I ever ate in my entire life combined, and I’m loving it.

Butternut squash soups are easy, and they’re also easy to change up.  You can add chilies to make the soup zesty.  You can add black pepper for boldness.  You can add more onions or apples, or even some maple syrup for a sweeter soup.  You can add sour cream for a more full, creamy soup.  The options are endless.  This particular recipe is a good base that can be added to, depending on your personal taste at the moment.

Ingredients

3 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1 cup chopped onion

3 cloves garlic, chopped

5 cups (about 1 pound) butternut squash

1 apple, peeled, cored & chopped

Directions

  • Heat 1/2 cup of broth in a large pot over medium heat.
  • Add onion and garlic and cook, until soft, about 10 minutes.
  • Add butternut squash, apple and remaining broth, cover and simmer until squash is very tender, about 30 minutes.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  • Working in batches, carefully purée in a blender until smooth.
  • Transfer to bowls, and serve.

The color of this soup is really quite nice.  A beautiful shade of orange that’s not too bold, and not too boring.

And did you know that the seeds of the butternut squash are edible?  They’re terribly good if you clean them up a bit, dry them off and either pan fry them in a little bit of olive oil or dry roast them with a bit of salt.  You could eat them as a snack, or use them to top your soup or a nice salad.

J

Apple-Cinnamon Oat Squares

This recipe is reminiscent of fall with the use of fresh apples and cinnamon, but hearty for winter with those steel-cut oats. It’s not too sweet at all, just the sweetness of the apples & raisins, really.  I think that the recipe would do grandly with the addition of walnuts or pecans as well.

Me, I ate it just-cooled from the oven with a small scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt on the night that I made it.  The next day I had it cold from the fridge as a breakfast.  And the day after that, at room temp with tea for a snack.

Ingredients

2 cups non-fat milk

1 1/2 cups steel cut oats

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup ground flax seeds (not whole flax seeds)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 (about 1 pound) Granny Smith apples, cored and grated

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.
  • Transfer the thick batter to a parchment paper-lined 9-inch square baking pan, press down and smooth out the top and bake until firm and golden brown, about 1 hour.
  • Let cool in pan; cut into 16 equal squares and serve warm or at room temperature.

J