Tag Archives: apples

Thanksgiving 2014

29 Nov

I hope your holiday was delicious and special. My friend Natasha and I co-hosted and cooked most of the food together. Our friends brought extra sides (sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, green bean casserole), desserts (mascarpone tart with berries), and drinks (wine, beers, cider), all of which were amazing!

The menu:

Castelvetrano olives

Kale salad with apples and walnuts

Extra-buttery mashed potatoes

Mashed sweet potatoes

Kale stuffing with dates

Brussels sprouts with bacon

Green bean casserole

Spatchcocked turkey with gravy

Roasted garlic

Cranberry sauce (homemade and jellied)

Dessert:

Upside-down cranberry cake

Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Praline Topping

Peanut Butter Pie

Mascarpone tart with berry sauce

Hand-whipped cream

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Clockwise from left: stuffing a la Samin (and Charlie!), with dates instead of prunes and no sausage; spatchcocked and carved turkey from the Serious Eats recipe and video; cranberry sauce (can be made one week before TG) Continue reading

Charoset: A Passover Delight

9 Apr

Happy Passover everyone. Have you made Matzo Lasagna yet this year? There are still 5 more days left of the holiday, so get your cheese on! And if you have a hankering for dessert, try my Kiss n’ Swirl meringues (just use Kosher for Passover vanilla, or omit it altogether).

I love Passover because the food is so unique and holds so much meaning and tradition. Charoset comes from the Hebrew word for clay, and is meant to symbolize the mud which the Israelite’s used to hold the bricks together when they were enslaved in ancient Egypt. You can read more about the story of Passover here.

Charoset is made from grated apples, nuts, dried fruit, and sweet wine…all whizzed up in the food processor or blender (or by hand if you are feeling rustic). I find Charoset utterly delicious, so sweet and full of my favorite ingredients. I like to use dried figs and raisins, but in the past I have also used dried apricots/dates/prunes. Fuji apples are my go-to because they are so crisp and sweet. And the wine has to be Manischewitz Concord Grape. People either love Manischewitz wine or they hate it. I can’t seem to get enough of the sweet stuff.

Charoset

Makes about 5 cups

*Note: you do not have to follow these measurements exactly. I just add ingredients to my liking, using these ratios as a guide. You can use whatever nuts/dried fruit/apples/wine/spices you like. Enjoy.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup walnuts

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1/2 cup dried figs, I like to use Turkish figs

1/2 cup raisins

3 fuji apples

1 cup Manischewitz wine (you can use grape juice or another sweet red wine)

2-3 tablespoons cinnamon

pinch of ground cloves

pinch of ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Method:

In a blender or food processor (I used a blender because that is all I have), pulse the nuts until roughly chopped. Empty the nuts into a large bowl. Now place the dried fruit in the blender. Pulse until chopped and add to the bowl with the nuts.

Chop the apples by hand, halve them, quarter them, and chop each quarter into about 4 or 5 small chunks. Add the apples (you may have to add one at a time if using a blender) and wine to the blender and pulse just until roughly chopped into small pieces. Add the apples to the bowl with the nuts and dried fruit. Add the spices and stir everything together by hand. Taste and add more wine or spices as needed.

Let the charoset sit for a few hours in the fridge to let the flavors develop. Enjoy with matzo and horseradish, or mix it into yogurt.

Apple Tart

1 Jan


The very first thing I made with my new standing Kitchen Aid mixer was a batch of tart shell dough. I made the dough, wrapped it up, and stuck it in the freezer for “emergencies.”

I brought my dough over to Linda’s house yesterday because I thought we might want something more to play with! We rolled out the dough and placed it in a tart shell. We spread the shell with a layer of wild plum jam and then we layered apples from her apple tree in concentric circles around the tart, but first we tossed the apples with a bit of sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon. We made sure not to add too much sugar because we liked the balance of the sweet crust with a nice tart apple. To top it all off, we sprinkled some raw (turbinado or demerara) sugar over the tart. This gave the tart a nice little crunch of sweetness!


I think this may be one of the best apple tarts that I have EVER tasted. Seriously. Not too sweet, but just sweet enough. The crust is perfect. And the apples are so thin and pack a punch full of flavor! Oh, and I absolutely love the combo of the wild plum jam with the apples. Mmm mmm mmm!

Now, laying your tart dough in the pan can be pretty tricky. My goal is to do it like snow white. Even after doing it over and over at work, I still have trouble. Your dough may break here and there, but the dough is pretty malleable and you can just patch things up where you need.

Sweet Tart Dough
from Alice Waters’ The Art of Simple Food

makes enough for one 9-inch tart or six 4-inch tartlets, or 30 cookies (you can make thumbprint cookies!)

Beat together until creamy:
8 Tablespoons (1 stick)
1/3 cup sugar
Add and mix until completely combined:
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg yolkAdd:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose unbleached flour

Mix well, stirring and folding, until there are no dry patches. Chill at least 4 hours or overnight until firm (you could probably just chill for 1 hour and be fine). Or, freeze. Just be sure to defrost for a few hours before ready to use.

Fun variations:
-mix 1 teaspoon of cinnamon into the flour
-substitute some of your all-purpose flour with cornmeal

Apple Tart
invented
1 Sweet Tart Dough (optional: you can pre-bake your shell for 10-12 minutes, but it is not necessary)

Wild plum jam, or any jam of your choice
Apples from Linda’s tree (or any good baking apple), peeled and sliced thinly
Cinnamon, a few pinches
Sugar, maybe 1 1/2-2 Tablespoons
Lemon juice, maybe 1 Tablespoon

Optional: raw (turbinado or demerara) sugar for finishing

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil your tart pan.

2. On a lightly floured surface, roll your tart dough into a 12- inch disk. Carefully transfer to the tart pan.

2. Spread with a layer of plum jam.

3. Combine your apples, cinnamon, sugar, and lemon juice. Arrange over the dough in concentric circles.

4. Sprinkle with raw/turbinado sugar.

5. Bake for about 40-50 minutes. If your edges start to brown, cover with foil and continue baking.

6. Cool and take your gorgeous tart out of the pan. Serve warm with ice cream, coffee, or on its own.