Slow Cooker Chunky Applesauce

OK, time to get on your hands and knees in the kitchen so you can reach for the slow cooker that has been collecting dust on the bottom shelf…way in the back! We all (almost) have one and it is such a practical appliance but for some reason we give up on it soon enough.

My theory on that: all the recipes we know taste like the 1950s! We are under the impression nothing modern tasting can come of it. Well I say it is time to test that slow cooker stereotype! My tool in hand to break this myth: the Holiday Slow Cooker cookbook by Jonnie Downing. I received a copy of this great little cookbook filled with classics and fresh ideas for preparing hassle free holiday meals.

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Cranberrylove: Cranberry Lime Galette

What could be a appropriate in season fruit to cook with for the love bloghop this November than cranberries. They bring up memories of holidays to come and huge feasts to enjoy. My mom always made her own cranberry sauce. I can’t stand the canned stuff.

So tart on its own when you bite into a fresh cranberry. You feel the tartness creep into your ear canal. Add a little sugar and it is a whole new taste. Did you know that cranberries are now part of the growing list of Superfruits due to their nutrient contents and antioxidant qualities? 95% percent of crops go to juice making so only 5% make it to other uses like fresh packaged bags or dried fruits.

Psssst, don’t forget there are only 2 days left to enter the An Edible Mosaic Coobook Contest

The idea of this recipe came from the blog The Dogs Eat the Crumbs, the recipe being part of the Tuesdays with Dorie group. A more traditional cranberry tart usually has walnuts in it, perhaps some cinnamon. What really attracted me to this version was the lime and ginger. The recipe suggested raspberry jam but I used some fig jam I have made a little while back. The flavor was so wonderful and complex, I really loved this filling.

I do want to point out your galette will not turn out burnt a bit like mine. My oven sometimes conks out and refuses to get hot enough…I had to do most of the baking in a toaster oven.

 

Yields 6

Cranberry Lime Galette

15 minPrep Time

50 minCook Time

1 hr, 5 Total Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe

Ingredients

  • puff pastry
  • 1 8 oz package fresh cranberries
  • 2 apples
  • 1 cups sugar
  • zest and juice from one lime
  • 1.5 in chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup fig jam

Instructions

  1. Roll out puff pastry into a large circle...say size of a pie plate plus 3 inches around.
  2. In a large bowl mix all the ingredients together very well.
  3. Pour topping in the middle of the puff pastry and fold edge over the topping, giving it a rustic pie look.
  4. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degree for 20 minutes, reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake for 30 minutes more, until the crust is well-browned and the filling has cooked down and is bubbly.
Recipe Type: Desserts
7.6.4
210
http://cultureatz.com/cranberrylove-cranberry-lime-galette/

 

Cranberry cultivation is pretty much done only in the North East of the US and most of Canada. I thought I would show you a pic from Wikipedia of a cranberry harvest. It is a pretty impressive site. I did find out from the article thought that during the growing process the beds are not flooded. They are only flooded when it is time for harvest as it facilitates the process.

Please join in on the #cranberrylove fun by linking up any cranberry recipe from the month of November 2012. Don’t forget to link back to this post,so that your readers know to come stop by the #cranberrylove event! The twitter hashtag is #cranberrylove 🙂

My fellow co-hosts are…

Deanna @ Teaspoon of Spice @tspbasil

Kimberly @ Badger Girl Learns to Cook @bdgergrl

Evelyne @ Cheap Ethic Eatz  @cethniceatz

EA @ Spicy RD @thespicyrd

T.R. @ No One Likes Crumbley Cookies @TRCrumbley

Shulie @ Food Wanderings @foodwanderings

Becky @ Baking and Cooking, A Tale of Two Loves



>

Wordless Wednesday: Apple Picking

A couple of weekends ago I spent a lovely day apple picking with friends in Saint-Hilaire at the Verger Petits et Fils. The first half of the day was cold and wet, perfect timing for a crepe lunch and a cider tasting. To bad the sky was so grey: you cannot see the autumn leaves at their most colorful. I do love the shot from the restaurant window however.

But the sun came out to play in the afternoon just as we hit the orchard. My friend Yan got the awesome pics. Come join us on the tractor ride with this tantalizing visual tour as we picked some Empires, Cortlands, McIntosh and Spartans. Recipes to come…at some point!

Photo by Yan Giasson (Nagi)

Photo by Yan Giasson (Nagi)

Photo by Yan Giasson (Nagi)

Photo by Yan Giasson (Nagi)

5 Star Makeover: Tarte Tatin with Sage, Vanilla and Clove Infused Butter

This month’s theme for the 5 Star Makeover is quite seasonal: Apples. With such an easily adaptable ingredient to field of options was pretty wide open. But I decided finally to go for a very classical dish, a wonderful French apple pie cooked in a luscious caramel sauce. It is a very sophisticated tasting pie which consists of 3 ingredients in profusion: lots of butter, lots of sugar and lots of apples.

It may not be the absolutely prettiest pie in the world but the taste is really gourmet. The first time I had a Tarte Tatin was at a lovely French restaurant in Montreal called Tonnerre de Brest. This charming true french bistro serves outstanding French classics and the small place is true to a real bistro like you find in France. I believe it was my first visit that I ordered this dessert. I was blown away and conquered for ever. If I see it on a menu I always get it. I added an interesting little twist to my version. I infused my butter with an interesting combination of sage, cloves and vanilla. The notes of this infusion was beautifully subtle and very welcomed.

I love the folkloric tale recounting the origin of this pie. The Tarte Tatin was first created by accident in a French Inn, in the 1880s. The hotel was run by the two Tatin  sisters. Supposedly one of the sister was work in the kitchen preparing meals for the customers. She started to make a traditional apple pie but left the apples cooking in butter and sugar for too long. In an attempt to save the pie, she tried to rescue the dish by putting the pastry base on top of the pan of apples and baking it in the whole pan in the oven. She then served the pie by flipping it onto a plate. Another version to the story I heard is that when taking the pie out of the oven the sister would have dropped it on the floor and she tried to save it by slipping it onto a plate and serving it upside down. Either story had the same result: the Tarte Tatin was a success.

Ξ Tarte Tatin with Sage, Vanilla and Clove Infused Butter Ξ

8 to 10 firm apples: a mixture of sweet and acidic varieties. I used Fuji and Gala.
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, slightly soft
4 cloves (1/4 tsp rounded, ground)
8 sage leaves (2/3 tsp dried)
vanilla bean, 2 inch segment
1 cup sugar
8 ounces (half a box) puff pastry

1. In a small sauce pan heat the butter over medium heat. When the butter is frothing and bubbly, turn heat to low, halve a 2 inch segment of vanilla bean and scrape the beans into the butter, then add 4 cloves and 8 sage leaves. Heat for five minutes, stirring occasionally, then off the heat and set aside to steep. Strain the infused butter.

2. While your butter is infusing, peel, core and halve lengthwise the apples.

3. Preheat the oven to 400F. Pour the butter in a cold large skillet. Make sure to cover the bottom and sides of the skillet. Sprinkle the sugar on the top and shake to ensure it is evenly distributed. Arrange the apples standing on their sides, in concentric circles, embedding them in the butter/sugar mix. Pack the apples in as tight as you can.

4. Turn the burner on med-high and cook the apples. It will take 10 to 20 minutes. I like to turn them half way if the piece  are still solid. As the apples cook, the sugar will turn to a caramel as well. Keep an eye on the pan, ideally you want a rich deep toffee color.

5. Roll out the puff pastry into a disc 1 inch wider than the rim of the pan. When the apples are ready, drop the disc of pastry onto the apples and let the edges hang over the sides of the pan. Place the pan in a preheated oven and bake for fifteen minutes, or until the pastry is nicely browned.

 

6. Remove from oven and let it rest for 5 minute. Then place an inverted plate, slightly bigger than the pan, over the top. Hold with one hand firmly the plate and grip the handle with a cloth firmly with the other hand. Quickly flip the skillet over so the plate is underneath. Lower the plate and pan onto a steady surface, pause a moment, and then lift off the pan. Serve warm.

hosted by 5 Star Foodie & Lazaro Cooks!

Velata Chocolate Fondue and electrical Warmers

OK how many of you like chocolate? How about chocolate fondue with nice ripe fruits? This is such a simple and wonderful alternative after a meal instead of a heavy dessert.

It can be a pain though to go hunting for those tea light candles, set up the fondue kit, melt your chocolate without burning it, pouring it into the fondue dish, etc. That is when I change my mind because suddenly it feels like too much trouble. Well someone came up with a really neat idea and I was asked to review this great new chocolate fondue product: the Velata fondue warmer.

What makes this fondue warmer different? It is electric! Yep, you plug it into the wall outlet and turn on with the dimmer switch a 25 watt light bulb. The heat generated by the light bulb is ideal to keep your chocolate melted and the heat put out is consistent so you can’t overheat and cook the chocolate. When you are done turn off the light bulb and unplug.

I also received with the warmer two Belgium chocolate pouches. These are designed to go in the microwave and then be poured out by the spout into the silicone. Just put the cap back on for any unused portion. The chocolates come in 4 different flavors: milk chocolate, white chocolate, dark chocolate and caramel milk chocolate.

This is a totally innovative idea, but actually my favorite part is the silicone dish. Silicone is a great material that gently diffuses heat evenly. Silicone goes in the microwave and the dishwasher for easy preparation and clean-up. Although sturdy, the dish is flexible too. After enjoying our fondue I simply placed the dish in the fridge and let the chocolate harden. Then I bent the dish a bit and I could pop out the chocolate in a solid block to store for reuse (or just eat it like a chocolate bar).

   

We went with a more eclectic choice of fruits and goodies to dip: with cactus pears, peaches, bananas and marshmallows. I so would do the cactus pears again! And what do you think of the cute mousse(!?!?) my friend Raquel made with the marshmallow lol? I like the concept of the pouches, but honestly I was not a fan of the chocolate. They were overly sweet and did not taste like fine chocolate. I did not use the whole pouch so the next day I cut up the pouch to take a look: the chocolate was unusually brittle.

 

When using the chocolate pouches alone in the dish you will find the consistency quite thick. If you want to thin it out add a bit of milk or cream like you would with a homemade chocolate fondue recipe. I could pass on the chocolate pouches but do love the fondue warmer a lot and am so happy to add it to my kitchen appliance arsenal.

Peachlove: Peaches Swimming in Red Wine

It’s summer and it is a hot one! I take a dive in a pool any chance I get. Everyone should go swimming. Even our food! Even peaches! They have been hot and sweating too on a branch in the sun for a while. Give then an inebriated break!

Some fruits can be paired quite well with wine, even red ones. In the case of peaches try coupling them with a Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Pinot Noir. This is the dessert version of a Sangria! So simple yet such a sophisticated taste.

Ξ Peaches Swimming in Red Wine Ξ

Per person…

1 ripe peach, sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 to 1/2 cup red wine
A pinch of a powdered spice of your choice, such as cardamon, star anise, cinnamon (optional)

Using a slotted spoon, place peach, one at a time, in boiling water for about 20 seconds. Remove and place in iced water. The skin will easily peel off with a small sharp knife. Pit and cut peach into slices. Toss the peach slices with the sugar and a spice if you are using one. I tried a pinch of cinnamon. Place the slices in a wine glass or dessert dish and pour red wine over the sliced peaches until almost covered.

August is #peachlove month!

Please join in on the #peachlove fun by linking up any peach recipe from the month of August 2012. Don’t forget to link back to this post, so that your readers know to come stop by the #peachlove event! The twitter hashtag is #peachlove 🙂

5 Star Makeover: Apples With Beet Hummus and Mint Yogurt Sauce

OK you caught me, I lied! In my last post I said the next thing I would publish would be the raclette dinner party but, oops, I did not realize it was 5 Star Makeover time. So here is my February entry with BEETS as the theme. Raclette coming up next post!

Beets are such an underused vegetable. I actually really like them but I never buy beets. A lot of people fear them. Because of the color? Because of the earthy taste the older ones may have? Actually a fresh beet is quite sweet. One type of beet, the sugar beet, is processed into refined sugar and the sugar produced represents 10% of the Canadian sugar market. For this challenge I really wanted to play up the sweet factor and make the deep red/purple color shine.

hosted by 5 Star Foodie & Lazaro Cooks!

Ξ Apples With Beet Hummus and Mint Yogurt Sauce Ξ

My creation was inspired by this staking recipe on a raw food recipes site…this is not a raw recipe though as the beets are cooked. My stack composition is with yellow apples, a Beet Hummus posted by Elise on Simply Recipes and a Mint Yogurt Sauce  recipe. I removed all savory elements from the original recipes and I added sweet flavors. I really enjoyed this unique dish and its refreshing taste. I just don’t know if I would serve it as appetizer or as a dessert???

Cooking Beets: cut off any tops, scrub the roots clean, and peel once they have been cooked and cooled. In my opinion boiling is the worst way and roasting is the best. To roast, wrap them in aluminum foil and put on a baking tray in the oven.  Cook them for 30-60 minutes on 400F, or until they can be easily pierced with a knife. Then there is the lazy way: place whole in a dish, pierce the skin and add 2 tablespoons of water. Cook on high for 9 to 12 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before cooling and peeling. Tip for hand stains: Clean any beet juice from your hands with a little lemon juice and soap.

Beet Hummus Recipe

  • 1/2 pound cooked beets, cubed
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tbsp brow sugar
  • 1/3 tsp of ground cardamom
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • dash of sea salt

Place all ingredients in a food processor (or blender) and pulse until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings and ingredients as desired. Chill and store in the refrigerator. Makes 2 cups.

Mint Yogurt Sauce

  • 1/2 cup fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 mango
  • 1/2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/2 cup of plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • dash of sea salt

Make the mint yogurt sauce by blending the mint, cilantro, mango, lime juice, yogurt, honey and salt until smooth.

Mint Yogurt Sauce

Assembly

Slice 2 yellow apples about 1/8 in and brush with lime juice. Begin with one slice of apple. Top with 2 teaspoons of beet hummus. Top with another slice of apple. Top that with 2 more teaspoons of beet hummus and then a third slice of apple. Place a generous spoonful of mint yogurt sauce on the plate for each stack. Place the stacks on top. Place a small spoonful of the mint yogurt sauce on top of the third apple. Garnish with chopped mint and serve. Makes 6 portions.