Mom's Apple Cake

Just thinking about this cake brings a smile to my face and warm feelings to my heart. It is a family recipe- one that is so strongly associated with my childhood I will forever call it “Mom’s apple cake”.

Honeycrisp Apples

Sienna in Field
This is a picture of my childhood home. My Dad is in the back working in his garden.
The large expanse of yard in front of our tiny house contained several apple trees. Each fall we would take an empty laundry basket into the field and fill it full of fresh apples. Even the dogs “helped” out, chasing apples that rolled away as if they were tennis balls and learning that if they jumped up on the picnic table they could pick apples straight off the tree. (This wasn’t encouraged!) When we were finished picking, the baskets were overflowing and our fridge was filled with green fruit. Mom would begin to work through the apples that needed to be eaten right away, and one of the first things to come out of the oven each fall was a big batch of apple cake.

Making Apple Cake

Mom's Apple Cake

A simple combination of a few ingredients mixed with fresh apples- this cake is anything but fussy. Peeling the apples is the most time consuming task, and within about an hour your house will smell of cinnamon, apples, and fall. The dense, moist cake sits out on the counter top, tempting you to take nibbles throughout the day whenever you walk by. In fact, this is one instance where my Mom gave up altogether on regulating dessert, and just left a table knife in the cake. We would all cut off bits for breakfast, snacks, or just because we couldn’t resist until it quickly disappeared.

Mom's Apple Cake-8

Many years later, just after meeting Mr. B for the first time, an occasion arose for me to take something by his house. Already smitten, I spent hours contemplating what would woo him without seeming too “intentional”. When the memory of Mom’s apple cake crossed through my mind I immediately knew it was just the dish to make. Quite happily it worked its charms, adding another warm memory to the long list of why I love this cake.

Apparently I’m not alone in my fondness for mom’s apple cake. Deb of SmittenKitchen also had an apple cake baking mother. The recipes are very similar, leading me to believe that this may be a cake beloved by mothers everywhere!

Mom’s Apple Cake (Printable Recipe)
Serves 10

Ingredients:

2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon mace
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups peeled, diced apples (not too small)
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup dried fruit cut up to raisin size (optional, I used raisins)

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the middle.

In a large bowl, sift together the sugar, flour, cinnamon, mace, baking soda, and salt. Stir the dry ingredients until the are well combined. Next add the diced apples to the bowl and stir until the apples are coated by the dry ingredients. Add eggs, oil, vanilla, and dried fruit. Stir well until the mixture is evenly moist and all ingredients are combined. Pour the cake batter into an ungreased 9×12 pan, using a spatula to even out the surface if necessary.

Bake the cake for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out cleanly. Let cool for a few minutes before cutting the cake. The cake is best when eaten the same day, but can last at room temperature up to three days.

 

 

Mom's Apple Cake

Just thinking about this cake brings a smile to my face and warm feelings to my heart. It is a family recipe- one that is so strongly associated with my childhood I will forever call it “Mom’s apple cake”.

Honeycrisp Apples

Sienna in Field
This is a picture of my childhood home. My Dad is in the back working in his garden.

The large expanse of yard in front of our tiny house contained several apple trees. Each fall we would take an empty laundry basket into the field and fill it full of fresh apples. Even the dogs “helped” out, chasing apples that rolled away as if they were tennis balls and learning that if they jumped up on the picnic table they could pick apples straight off the tree. (This wasn’t encouraged!) When we were finished picking, the baskets were overflowing and our fridge was filled with green fruit. Mom would begin to work through the apples that needed to be eaten right away, and one of the first things to come out of the oven each fall was a big batch of apple cake.

Making Apple Cake

Mom's Apple Cake

A simple combination of a few ingredients mixed with fresh apples- this cake is anything but fussy. Peeling the apples is the most time consuming task, and within about an hour your house will smell of cinnamon, apples, and fall. The dense, moist cake sits out on the counter top, tempting you to take nibbles throughout the day whenever you walk by. In fact, this is one instance where my Mom gave up altogether on regulating dessert, and just left a table knife in the cake. We would all cut off bits for breakfast, snacks, or just because we couldn’t resist until it quickly disappeared.

Mom's Apple Cake-8

Many years later, just after meeting Mr. B for the first time, an occasion arose for me to take something by his house. Already smitten, I spent hours contemplating what would woo him without seeming too “intentional”. When the memory of Mom’s apple cake crossed through my mind I immediately knew it was just the dish to make. Quite happily it worked its charms, adding another warm memory to the long list of why I love this cake.

Apparently I’m not alone in my fondness for mom’s apple cake. Deb of SmittenKitchen also had an apple cake baking mother. The recipes are very similar, leading me to believe that this may be a cake beloved by mothers everywhere!

Mom’s Apple Cake (Printable Recipe)
Serves 10

Ingredients:

2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon mace
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups peeled, diced apples (not too small)
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup dried fruit cut up to raisin size (optional, I used raisins)

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the middle.

In a large bowl, sift together the sugar, flour, cinnamon, mace, baking soda, and salt. Stir the dry ingredients until the are well combined. Next add the diced apples to the bowl and stir until the apples are coated by the dry ingredients. Add eggs, oil, vanilla, and dried fruit. Stir well until the mixture is evenly moist and all ingredients are combined. Pour the cake batter into an ungreased 9×12 pan, using a spatula to even out the surface if necessary.

Bake the cake for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out cleanly. Let cool for a few minutes before cutting the cake. The cake is best when eaten the same day, but can last at room temperature up to three days.

 

 

Pumpkin Tureen-10
The summer I turned 12, we took a big family trip to visit relatives in Washington D.C. It was a big trip both in the distance traveled- we lived on the West Coast and typically didn’t travel out of the region, and in the duration- we stayed for two weeks. My memories of the time spent in D.C. are surprisingly vivid, and are not surprisingly filled with lots of food.

One of my favorite stops on the trip was in the historical town of Williamsburg. I watched with fascination as a blacksmith pounded horse shoes with sparks flying and a cooper shaped long boards into barrels. Walking around a costumed historical village was almost like living in a novel- I loved it! While in Williamsburg, I purchased two books- Entertaining Ideas from Williamsburg and Christmas Decorations from Williamsburg. Filled with pictures of the decorated houses and traditional recipes, they added illustration to my fanciful day dreams of living in a historical village. (And yes, at 12 years old I was already a total cooking and decorating geek!)

Pumpkin Tureen-13
Now many, many years later I still enjoy looking through these books and satisfying my inner Martha Stewart tendencies while reminiscing about our trip. One photo that has always enticed my creative side is a beautiful pumpkin encircled by fall flowers and filled with a savory squash soup. This fall I decided that I needed to stop day dreaming and just get in there and do it! So I tracked down the supplies and ingredients, set aside a few hours, and got busy.

The process is simple, requiring only a knife, bowl, scissors, and a metal skewer. First you wash the pumpkin’s exterior and cut a large opening in the top. Next you clean out the inside of the pumpkin using a spoon to scrape out the seeds and membrane.

Carving out the pumpkin
Finally, you poke holes into the edge of the pumpkin using the skewer and stick the stems of flowers and leaves into the holes to create a floral wreath around the outside of the pumpkin.
Making the Pumpkin Tureen
Once the pumpkin is finished, you can fill it with hot soup and serve the soup directly from the tureen. This would make a lovely centerpiece for a fall buffet, or could even be adapted using small pumpkins to create personal ‘bowls’.
Pumpkin Tureen-9
I wasn’t crazy about the flavor of the squash soup recipe which accompanied the tureen instructions, and instead would recommend making my favorite butternut squash and parmesan soup to fill the tureen. The flowers will start to look droopy after about 4-5 hours, so be sure to assemble the tureen shortly before filling it with the soup and serving the meal.

Oh and a final note- It can be rather difficult to estimate the right size pumpkin for the quantity of soup. I’d recommend erring on the smaller side, knowing that you can always add more soup if needed.

How to Make a Pumpkin Tureen (Printable Instructions)
Adapted from Entertaining Ideas from Williamsburg
Supplies:
1 medium pumpkin, rinsed and dried
1 large assortment of flowers, leaves, and berries
Sharp knife
Large metal spoon
Large bowl
Newspaper
Scissors
Metal skewer (or another sharp, pointy metal object)
Instructions:

Spread newspaper on the floor to make cleanup easier. Using the sharp knife, carefully cut a big circle around the top of the pumpkin. Remove the circle, creating an opening. Use the metal spoon to scoop out all seeds and scrape out any membrane inside the pumpkin, placing them into the large bowl. Discard or reserve seeds for another use.
Next use the skewer to poke a hole into the side of the pumpkin. You will want to stay about 1/2″ below the opening, which will help keep the foliage from falling into the soup if bumped. Cut the stem of a flower to equal the depth of your skewered hole (about 1/2″) and carefully push the stem into the hole. Repeat this process around the edge of the pumpkin, creating a pleasing pattern with the foliage.
Once finished, set the pumpkin on a plate or flat surface that can be cleaned in case the soup leaks a little bit (this happened with mine). Fill the pumpkin tureen with a piping hot soup and serve.

 

 

Autumn Panzanella

As fresh loaves of bread now emerge from my oven on a weekly basis, it has become necessary to get creative and ensure that it does not got to waste. Besides enjoying lots of toast and jam for breakfast, I have also started to work bread into our dinners. In moderation, I’ve found that bread is a great meal extender- allowing small quantities of other ingredients to shine while ensuring we are still full and satisfied. (It is also is very budget friendly- which is always appreciated!)

Autumn Panzanella

A big loaf of leftover sourdough inspired me to create an Autumn riff on a traditional panzanella (Italian bread salad). I cubed the loaf of bread and then toasted it with a red onion and sweet potato to create the base of the salad. Toasted pepitas added a flavorful nutty crunch, while a big pile of grated Parmesan cheese melted around the warm bread cubes nicely.

To create the dressing, I played around with a combination of sage, garlic, olive oil, cider vinegar, and thyme until it had just the right balance of savory herb flavor, pungent garlic, and bright acidity. Once mixed together, the flavors melded beautifully and created a savory alternative to traditional panzanella.

Making Autumn Panzanella

This would be a delicious salad to take to a potluck and would shine as a side dish alongside my favorite roast chicken with meyer lemon and sage. Or if it is a Tuesday night and you just want something simple, dish up a bowl for dinner and call it a day!

Autumn Panzanella

Autumn Panzanella (Printable Recipe)
Serves 4 as a main course or 8-10 as a side salad

Be sure to allow the finished dish to sit for an hour before serving. This is necessary for the flavors to fully develop, otherwise the bread will not have time to absorb the dressing and may taste rather bland.

Ingredients:

Salad
10 cups cubed Sourdough bread (cut into 1″ pieces)
1 cup diced sweet potato (about 1 medium)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large red onion, cut into 1/2″ wedges
2 cups diced fresh tomato (or a 14oz high quality can, drained)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup pepitas, toasted (pumpkin seeds)

Dressing
1/4 cup Olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon fresh sage, minced
1 teaspoon, fresh thyme
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon herbes de provenence

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees, with a rack in the middle. Line a large rimmed baking pan with foil, and evenly spread the bread, sweet potato, and onion across the sheet. Drizzle 1/4 cup of olive oil over the baking pan, and then toss all ingredients so they are evenly coated with oil. Place the pan in the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring the contents occasionally, until they are evenly toasted and the vegetables are soft.

Meanwhile, assemble the dressing. Place olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, sage, thyme, vinegar, salt, pepper, and herbes de provenence in a blender. Blend in quick five second bursts, until the garlic is emulsified and the ingredients are well combined.

Once the bread and vegetables are toasted, place them in a large bowl along with the diced tomatoes, grated Parmesan, pepitas, and dressing. Gently toss all ingredients until they are well combined and the bread is evenly coated with dressing.

Cover the salad, and let it sit at room temperature for an hour, which will give the bread time to absorb the flavors of the salad. Once the flavors have melded together nicely, taste the salad to see if it needs any additional salt, pepper, or apple cider vinegar. Adjust seasonings to your taste, and serve.

 

 

Harvest Bean Soup-3
On the short list of things I could eat every day until I die- soup is near the top. It induces a supremely comforting feeling that hardly any other food can provide. For lunch, for dinner, or simply re-heated for a quick snack- when I have a steaming bowl of soup in front of me I feel happy. Luckily most soups are relatively healthy and eating an inordinate amount during winter won’t do any permanent damage (unlike Mr. B’s ability to eat ice cream every day!) I will do my best to break it up a bit- so you aren’t reading about soups every week- but do know that when the snow starts to fly, a pot of soup permanently resides on my stove!
Harvest Bean Soup-1
After another morning of wild abandon at our farmer’s market (only two weeks left!) I returned home with a cooler full of vegetables, a cold nose, and a wicked craving for soup. So I chopped and sauteed and stirred and simmered, until a big pot of soup was born. This harvest bean soup combines a basket full of fall vegetables with my favorite heirloom beans and bits of ham for a thick, filling meal.
Making Harvest Bean Soup
Two secret ingredients make this bean soup stand apart from other similar soups. The first secret is to toss a Parmesan rind into the pot. That’s right- don’t ever throw your rinds away! They add a unique deep note of nutty cheesy goodness to many soups, (including my favorite butternut squash soup), and are excellent with beans.

Harvest Bean Soup-5

The second secret is to finish the dish with a splash of high quality vinegar. It brightens the flavors and adds a lovely nuance to the finished soup. For the harvest bean soup, I used a delicious Gegenebauer Apricot Vinegar sent to me by the fun people at Cube Marketplace. You may recall that last winter I purchased an incredible artisan polenta from Cube and was thrilled with how well it accompanied coffee and chile braised short ribs. Well they were thrilled that I enjoyed Cube products and sent the vinegar to try as a thank-you.*

Harvest Bean Soup-6

The apricot vinegar has a delicate flavor that hints of apricots but is not overpowering. I think it would be incredible on a blue cheese and walnut salad with bits of dried cranberries mixed in and hope to try it that way very soon!

Harvest Bean Soup-2

This soup could easily be adapted into a vegetarian dish, by omitting the ham and ham bone and substituting a vegetable soup base instead of a ham base. The finished bowl of soup was hearty, satisfying, and chock full of vegetables. It kept us warm and full of energy for a busy fall weekend.
Harvest Bean Soup
Oscar is really hoping I’ll leave the room…
*Full disclosure- The apricot vinegar was sent to me as a gift with no obligation to review, write about, or otherwise promote the product. I am sharing it with you because it was delicious and I don’t believe in keeping delicious things all to myself (besides the occasional jar of peach salsa that is…).

Harvest Bean Soup (Printable Recipe)
Serves 10

Ingredients:

1 lb. Yellow Eyes Beans, soaked overnight (or dry great northern beans)
1 large Ham hock
1 lb. Cooked ham, diced into small cubes
2 Tablespoons Olive oil
1 large Onion, chopped (about 3 1/2 cups)
3 Carrots, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
2 ears of Sweet corn, kernels removed (or 1 cup of frozen corn kernels)
1 large Red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and diced
1/4 cup diced fresh Fennel
5 cloves Garlic, minced
3 Celery sticks, strings removed and diced
1 Bay leaf
1/2 Lemon, juiced
1 Parmesan rind
12 cups water
1 Tablespoon Ham Soup Base (I like
Penzey’s)
2 Tablespoons Kosher Salt
1 teaspoon Ground Pepper
2 Tablespoons
Apricot Vinegar (or a quality white wine vinegar)

Grated Parmesan cheese
Crusty bread

Directions:

Place a large stockpot over medium heat. Add olive oil to the pot and warm it for 1-2 minutes. Once the oil is warm, add onion, carrots, corn, red bell pepper, fennel, garlic, and celery and saute until the vegetables are softened. Next add the beans, cooked ham, and ham hock to the pot and stir to combine the ingredients. Add the bay leaf, lemon juice, Parmesan rind, water, and soup base. Stir well so that all ingredients are incorporated throughout the soup. Cover the pot with a lid and simmer the soup for about two hours or until the beans are cooked through.

Once the beans are tender, scrape the Parmesan rind with two forks to pull off any remaining cheese bits, and then remove and discard the rind along with the bay leaf. Add salt, pepper, and vinegar to the soup and stir to combine. Taste the soup and add additional salt, pepper, and vinegar until the taste is to your liking. Serve with grated Parmesan on top alongside crusty bread.

 

 

Fall Seed Pod
The weather in the Dakotas has decisively turned to fall and threatens to speed like a freight train right into winter. Almost all the leaves have dropped leaving the cottonwood trees naked and forlorn. Our temperatures dipped into the shockingly cold territory of twenty degrees (shocking only for a short while- come January that will be balmy!), and we have already experienced a few snow storms.

October Snow Storm

This has caused me to take refuge in soups, comfort foods, and hot drinks. Knowing that I am not alone in my need for wooly clothing and crackling fires, I want to share a few of our favorite fall recipes. If you are looking for ways to ward off the chill this weekend- here are a few ideas from the archives!

Do you have any favorite fall recipes? I’d love to hear about them!

 

 

Beef Pho Soup

The October 2009 Daring Cooks’ challenge was brought to us by Jaden of the blog Steamy Kitchen. The recipes for Vietnamese Pho (pronounced fuh) soup are from her new cookbook, The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook. When I learned about this challenge I became quite excited since 1.) It didn’t require working with temperamental dough (hooray!) and 2.) I’ve been curious about beef pho soup for a long time but have never worked up the nerve to buy beef shin bones.

When I purchased beef bones from my neighborhood butcher, he was more than a little surprised to learn they were not for Oscar. Apparently making Vietnamese soup isn’t a common occurrence around here! In an adventurous excursion to a Chinese/Latin American/Thai/Vietnamese grocery store (I really need to write about that place sometime- it is crazy!) I managed to identify many of the remaining ingredients and came home with all the supplies necessary for Pho soup.

Beef Bones

Par-Boiled Beef Bones

The first step in making a quality Pho soup (or any other soup for that matter) is to make the base stock. This is a simple process, which entails par-boiling beef bones to remove the scummy bits, and then simmering them for a long time with spices and vegetables. In a unique twist, this recipe incorporates charred ginger and onion as base flavors for the stock. While the stock simmered, our whole house was filled with the aromatic scents of anise, cinnamon, and ginger. It was at once a foreign and comforting aroma- perfect for the first snowy day of the season.

Making Beef Pho

Once the stock is finished simmering, the rest of the recipe is simple assembling. A mix of fresh herbs, rice noodles, and chili peppers are layered into individual bowls. Then strips of flank steak that are ‘cooked’ by the hot broth are added at the last minute. Warm, fragrant, comforting and filling- a bowl of beef pho is the perfect way to warm up on a cold October afternoon!

Beef Pho Soup

The full recipe can be found at Steamy Kitchen.

 

 

Classic Reuben Sandwich
After several months of participation in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice challenge Mr. B has learned to anticipate Saturdays scheduled around rising dough. He also has embraced eating the resulting loaves with gusto. This week when he asked what type of bread was next, I replied “A marble rye bread.” “Really?” he replied, as his eyes lit up like a kid at Christmas. “That means we can make Reubens!” I smiled and agreed that Reubens were in order.

On Saturday I made the marbled rye bread, basically mixing two different doughs (the dark one contains chocolate powder) and then layering them in the final rise to create marbling. The loaves turned out beautifully and as a lover of rye bread I will definitely make this recipe again!

Making Marble Rye Bread

Making Marble Rye Bread

Making Marble Rye Bread

Not one to let such a monumental opportunity quietly slide by, Mr. B took it upon himself to call around town to find the best source for homemade corned beef and thousand island dressing. All I can say, is the man loves his Reubens! Thus I was not surprised when I learned that for our anniversary dinner we were going to trek about 40 miles outside of town to an old school steak house, where not only do they butcher their own beef, but they also make all the supplies for a classic Reuben. After a great steak dinner we drove back home with a package of corned beef and container of dressing tucked safely between my feet.

Reuben Fixings

With all of the ingredients for a Reuben now assembled, we started making sandwiches. This is a simple recipe- basically a doctored up grilled cheese- but oh what fabulous results!

Pan Frying the Sandwich

The toasted outer layer of buttered rye bread envelops an inner filling of gooey Swiss cheese, crunchy tart sauerkraut, thinly sliced corned beef, and creamy zesty dressing. It was sandwich bliss. We dipped our warm sandwiches in bowls of a creamy crab bisque and washed it all down with a cold beer. After the sandwich had disappeared, Mr. B turned and looked at me and said, “Round 2?”

P.S. I think over the weekend we managed to eat these Reubens for six meals in one weekend….I am in desperate need of a salad!

Classic Reuben Sandwich (Printable Recipe)
Serves 2

As is the case with many simple recipes, using the best ingredients you can find makes a big difference in the final result. I have a feeling that with a bottled thousand island dressing and store-bought bread this sandwich would have lacked much of the flavor we enjoyed.

Ingredients:

4 slices of Marbled rye bread, (or regular Rye if you’re not making your own!)
1/4 cup thousand island dressing (please make this if you can’t find a good source!)
1/3 cup sauerkraut
1/2 pound Corned beef
1/4 pound Swiss cheese
2 Tablespoons butter, softened

Directions:

Place a heavy skillet over medium heat. Evenly spread the butter on one side of the bread slices. Place that side facing down on a cutting board. On the un-buttered sides of the bread, thickly spread a layer of thousand island dressing. Layer sauerkraut, corned beef, and Swiss cheese on two of the slices. Place the remaining slices on top of the filling so that the buttered side of the bread is now on top (facing you). Place the sandwiches in the skillet and cook on one side until it browns. Flip the sandwich to the other side and cook until it has browned and the cheese is melting. Remove sandwich from heat, cut in half and serve!

 

 

Crab Bisque

My fascination with crabs started at a very early age. I had the great fortune to grow up with a rocky beach just a hop and a jump down the hill. As soon as I could walk I spent hours (with Mom nearby) exploring it, delighting in the rubbery texture of seaweed and the way sea anemones squirt water when gently pressed (or accidentally stepped on!). At low tide rocks normally underwater were wet and exposed. I could pick up a rock and find dozens of tiny rock crabs scurrying beneath. Most of the rock crabs were no larger than a quarter; when I picked them up I would giggle as their tiny legs tickled my hands while they tried to crab walk away. One day I decided that I would like to take the crabs home and keep them as pets. My parents tried to dissuade me- explaining that crabs do not make very good pets- yet, I persisted and finally carried about a dozen crabs home in my little yellow bucket.

Once home I filled the bottom of the bucket with sand and added a small bowl of water. The crabs milled around on the sand and seemed happy enough in their yellow bucket world. I set the bucket up on my dresser and went to sleep. In the middle of the night I woke up to the sound of scratching. It was dark in the room and I couldn’t see the crabs, but I assumed they were just moving around in the bucket. Unconcerned, I quickly fell back asleep. As soon as my feet hit the floor in the morning I eagerly ran to check on my pet crabs. Peering into the bucket I gasped- it was empty! The crabs had escaped from the bucket and were now loose in the house!

To say my mother was distraught is a bit of an understatement. We spent quite a while looking for crabs, exclaiming when we would see one scurry out from underneath a chair across the carpet. Unfortunately many of the crabs were very good at hiding in small dark places and nearly impossible to find. In fact, a few were not found until days later once they had ‘expired’ and began to smell. One poor crab crawled underneath the refrigerator leaving my mother to wonder what in the fridge had such an awful smell for at least a week. Finally it dawned on her and my father had to move the fridge to locate the offender. Needless to say that was the last time I was ever allowed to bring crabs home from the beach!

Little crabs grow into big crabs, and living near the ocean I also enjoyed catching fresh crab to eat at home. Until I moved thousands of miles away to a place with oceans of corn instead of water I didn’t realize how lucky I was to enjoy fresh crab frequently. Now, whenever I have the opportunity to cook fresh crab it is cause for great celebration.

Crab Bisque

Making Crab Bisque

This recipe pulls out all the stops with cream and sherry to create a rich and fragrant broth. Decadent and indulgent, it is worthy of your good china and a dinner party for your favorite people. Big lumps of sweet crab are offset with cayenne pepper providing the perfect balance of sweetness and spice.San Marzano tomatoes are an Italian variety that provide a beautiful ripe tomato flavor and an acidic undertone to this soup. If you can’t find San Marzanos, use the highest quality canned tomatoes that you can find. I also highly recommend making or buying quality fish stock as the base for this soup, it will enhance the flavor of all your ingredients. This bisque will leave you intently scraping the bottom of the bowl to chase down every last drop- and daydreaming of pet crabs…
Crab Bisque

Crab Bisque (Printable Recipe)
Serves 10

As with any soup this is infinitely adjustable. I’ve noted below ingredients that I feel could be easily adjusted to meet your tastes without compromising the overall quality of the soup.

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons Olive oil
1/2 cup diced Shallots
1 14oz can San Marzano Tomatoes
1/2 cup Medium-dry Sherry (I like Dry Sack)
6 cups Fish stock (or chicken in a pinch)
1/2 Lemon, juiced
1 1/2 – 2 cups Heavy cream (adjust to taste)
2 teaspoons Fresh thyme
2-4 teaspoons Salt (adjust to taste)
1/4-1/2 teaspoon Cayenne pepper (adjust to taste)
1 lb Cooked lump crab meat (check it over for any bits of shell)

Directions:

Place a large heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Add olive oil and shallots, stirring frequently until the shallots are softened- about three minutes. Next add the tomatoes, and sherry (be careful when adding alcohol with an open flame) and simmer while stirring for about two minutes. Add fish stock and lemon juice to the pot. Turn down heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and cook for fifteen minutes, allowing the flavors to develop. Reduce the heat to low, and add in the initial quantities of cream, thyme, salt, and cayenne pepper. Stir to combine, and then taste- adjusting the ingredients as necessary until it is flavored to your liking. Once the broth is finished add in the lump crab. Stir the soup and cook for five minutes, or just until the cream and crab are warmed through. Turn off the heat and serve immediately.

 

 

Teriyaki Tempeh Sandwich
Teriyaki Tempeh Sandwich on a Kaiser Roll (Recipe at the End!)

It has been well over a month since my last bread update, and I’m happy to report that in that time I’ve still been elbow deep in dough, going through more flour than I ever thought possible! For those who are just now joining in the fun, I am part of the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge. A wild and crazy effort to bake straight through The Bread Baker’s Apprentice cookbook- one recipe per week. Recipes are not posted online (since we are baking all of them), however after a more than a dozen loaves I can say with confidence that this book belongs on your shelf.

When I started this challenge my fear of yeast bread was right up there with spiders and swim suit shopping. Things to be avoided at all costs! Now after several months of baking, I find myself actually looking forward to measuring out flour, kneading the dough, and filling the house with the comforting smell of fresh bread. So what have we been gleefully eating this month?

French Baguettes

Making French Baguettes

French Baguettes

Camembert cheese, Avocado, Tomato, & Lettuce Sandwich on French Baguette

French Baguette Sandwich

Italian Bread

Making Italian Bread

Italian Bread

Lavash Crackers
Making Lavash

Lavash Crackers

Light Wheat Bread
Making Light Wheat Bread

Light Wheat Bread

Yes indeed, that is a LOT of bread! We have been eating it in as many ways as you can imagine. However the Teriyaki Tempeh sandwich on a Kaiser roll (pictured at the top) was a real winner. You can pull it together in less than 10 minutes, making it an ideal candidate for a fast healthy dinner. What is next in my bread baking adventures? Well here’s a hint: Mr. B has been searching all over town for corned beef…

Teriyaki Tempeh Sandwich (Printable Recipe)
Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 8oz package of Tempeh
1 cup of your favorite Teriyaki sauce
4 fresh pineapple slices (I used 1/2 cup of chunks, but slices would be ideal.)
2 Kaiser Rolls (or hearty hamburger buns)
1 tomato, cut into round slices
2 bibb lettuce leaves
2 thin slices of red onion
Mayonnaise
Wasabi Mustard (or stone ground mustard if you aren’t a mustard geek like me!)

Directions:

Cut tempeh in half, widthwise, into two even rectangles. Place the tempeh and the teriyaki sauce in a small Ziploc bag, seal, and toss to coat all sides. (You can do this up to an hour ahead of time.)

While the tempeh is quickly marinating, assemble your remaining ingredients and lightly toast the Kaiser rolls if desired.

Place a medium non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, and add the tempeh squares to the skillet (reserving the teriyaki sauce in the bag). While the tempeh cooks, place the pineapple slices in the Ziploc bag with the remaining sauce, seal, and toss to coat. Once the first side of the tempeh has browned, flip it over and cook the other side. When both sides are browned (after about 4 minutes), remove the tempeh from the skillet and set aside.

Next add the pineapple slices and remaining teriyaki sauce to the skillet, stirring constantly. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the pineapple begins to turn brown and the sauce has reduced to a thick coating. Turn off the heat and remove the pineapple from the pan.

Assemble the sandwich. Spread a thin layer of mayonnaise and mustard on the buns and then layer it with the tempeh, pineapple, tomato, lettuce, and onion. Serve immediately.

 

 

 

  • RSS
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • YouTube

Sign up for Phoo-d email updates:

Enter your Email