Edible Patchwork

Caramel Apple Fool

017

  • 8 small apples, cored and diced (I used a combination of all different types: since they’re all stewed together, it doesn’t really matter. Some might get softer more quickly than others, but you won’t notice in the final stages.)
  • 1 cup caramel sauce
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 pints of whipping cream (I like good old Hood®)

Place the apples and caramel in a large saucepan over medium heat until the caramel begins to bubble just a bit, and the apples, and stir until they begin to soften. Add the sugar and stir.

Turn the heat to medium-low and allow the apple-caramel-sugar mixture to stew on the stove for about 20-30 minutes, or until the apples are very soft.

Remove the apple mixture from the heat, and allow it to cool completely.

Once the apples are cool, whip the two pints of cream using an electric mixer (or by hand, if you’re very patient!). This goes very quickly if you place the mixing bowl and whisk in the freezer beforehand. Whip until the cream begins to firm, forming stiff peaks as it whips (or, obviously, so it is the consistency of whipping cream). Keep an eye on it and don’t go for too long: you want it to be soft, not foamy.

Place the whipped cream in a large serving bowl, and fold in the apple-caramel mixture, ¼ at a time. Mix so that it is evenly distributed throughout the whipped cream.

Allow to cool in the fridge for at least two hours before serving. It only gets better with time (though goes bad after about a week) and usually tastes even better the next day.

 Pulled Pork Polenta

021

  • ½ cup yellow polenta
  • 1 ½ cups chicken broth
  • 1/8 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ¼ yellow onion, diced
  • 1 small apple, cored and diced
  • ½ cup baby carrots, halved
  • ½ cup spinach/any leafy green
  • ¼ cup pulled pork*
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Coat the bottom of a small frying pan with the olive oil, and place it over medium heat. Add the apples and carrots, and cook until they have softened, stirring them continuously. This takes about 20 minutes, depending on how soft you would like them to be. I find it’s nice when the apples still have a little crunch.

    Place the chicken broth in a medium-sized sauce pan over medium heat, and cook until it begins to simmer slightly. Poor in the polenta and stir continuously. Add the parmesan while stirring, and add salt to taste (be generous: polenta needs a lot of help to bring out its flavor). Turn off the heat while the polenta is still very soft, since it continues to firm.

    Meanwhile, turn the heat on again under the apples and carrots, and add the leafy greens and polenta, stirring until all the ingredients are warm—only a couple of minutes.

    Pour the polenta into a soup bowl, and form a slight ditch in the middle. Add the pork and vegetable mixture. Eat it with a spoon, and enjoy!

    *I love the store-bought kind those plastic tubs, such as that made by Lloyd’s®. But, if you have 8-10 hours   to spare, you can make your own quite easily. Simply place 1 ½ lbs. of pork shoulder roast, ½ cup water, and 6 oz. barbecue sauce in a slow cooker or crock pot. Cover and cook on medium heat for 8 to 10 hours, stirring every now and then so the pork shreds. When done, stir in the remaining barbecue sauce.

    Eggnog Wheat Bread

    190

    • 2 tsp vegetable oil
    • ¼ eggnog, room temperature
    • 2/3 cup warm water (100 to 110 degrees F)
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 packet active dry yeast
    • 2 tsp white sugar
    • ½ cup whole wheat flour
    • 1/3 cup rolled oats
    • 2 cups bread flour (whole wheat or white)

    Pour the yeast into the warm water, gently stir, and allow to proof until slightly foamy (usually about ten minutes). Meanwhile, combine the vegetable oil and eggnog in a medium bowl. Once the yeast has proofed, add the yeast, salt, and sugar to the oil and eggnog. Mix in the wheat flour and the oats. Add the bread flour, ½ a cup at a time, to form a thick dough that can be kneaded (I used about 2 cups of bread flour but you may find that you need more or less).

    Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for about 5-7 minutes until it is slightly sticky and elastic in texture. Place the dough in a greased medium sized bowl, and turn it over so that it is lightly greased on all sides. Cover the bowl with a clean cloth. Preheat the oven for one minute, turn it off, and place the dough inside. Allow to rise for about 45 minutes or until doubled in size.

    Turn the dough onto a board and knead it for about 5 minutes. Shape into a loaf and place on a greased bread pan (or La Cloche). Place it back in the oven and allow it to rise for about 30 minutes.

    Remove the bread and allow it to continue rising for about 10 minutes while you preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the bread for about 40 minutes (if you bake it in La Cloche, remove the lid for the final ten minutes). Turn it onto a drying rack and allow to cool before slicing (not too much—nothing’s more divine than warm bread fresh from the oven).

    Wholesome Holiday Gingerbread

    191

    • 1 ¼ cups molasses
    • 1 cup honey
    • 3 eggs
    • ½ cup vegetable oil
    • 3 cups whole wheat flour
    • 1 tbsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 2 tsp cinnamon
    • 1 ½ tsp ground gloves
    • 1 ½ tsp liquid ginger (or ground ginger)
    • 2 cups milk

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Beat together the molasses, honey, eggs, and oil. Mix together the dry ingredients and add them to the egg mixture, alternating with the milk. Pour the batter into a greased 13″ x 9″ x 2″ baking pin. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 

    This is heavenly when served warm from the oven, but don’t fret if you don’t finish it all in one go; the generous amount of molasses keeps this bread moist for quite some time. I enjoyed it reheated for about a week; simply wrap a piece in foil and place in a 350 degree F oven for about ten minutes. 

    Savory Cinnamon Raisin Loaf

    • 1 package active dry yeast
    • ¾ cups warm water (100-110 degrees F)
    • 2 tsp vegetable oil
    • ¼ cup milk, room temperature
    • 1 ½ tsp salt
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 2 tsp white sugar
    • ¾ cups whole wheat flour
    • ½ cup raisins
    • 1½-2 cups bread flour (I used whole wheat bread flour, but white would work as well)

    Add the yeast to the warm water, gently stir, and allow to proof until foamy. This usually takes about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, mix together the vegetable oil, milk, and sugar in a medium bowl. Once the yeast has proofed, add it to the milk mixture. Mix in the whole wheat flour and raisins. Add the bread flour slowly until you have a firm dough that can be kneaded by hand. Knead the dough on a floured surface for 5-7 minutes, until it is slightly sticky and elastic in texture.

    Place the dough in a greased bowl. Preheat your oven for one minute, then turn it off. Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and place the bread inside the oven. Allow to rise for about 45 minutes, or until it has doubled in size. Knead the dough for about 3-5 minutes and shape into a bread loaf.

    Place the loaf on a greased pan—again, I like using La Cloche. Cover the loaf and return it to the oven, allowing it to rise for another 30 minutes, or until it has doubled in size. Remove the bread from the oven, preheat it to 350 degrees F, and bake the loaf for about 40 minutes. If you use La Cloche, remove the lid after 30 minutes.

    Pumpkin Loaf

    • 1 cup pureed pumpkin
    • ¾ cup honey
    • ¾ cup vegetable oil
    • 3 eggs
    • 3 cups whole wheat flour
    • 1 tbsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 2 tsps ground cinnamon
    • 2 tsps pumpkin pie spice
    • ¾ cups brown sugar
    • 2 cups milk

    Beat together the pumpkin, honey, oil, and eggs in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and sugar. Add the dry ingredient mixture to the pumpkin mixture, alternating it with the milk.

    Pour the batter into a greased 13″ x 9″ x 2″ baking pan, or two 9″ x 5″ loaf pans. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. It can be tricky to tell with pumpkin, since it’s very moist and slightly gooey. You may need to cut about an inch into the center with a knife; once it has a bread-like texture, it’s good to go, even if it still looks a bit wet—and it will firm up a bit as it cools.

    This is another good one for dunking in eggnog–or, even better, eggnog whipped cream. I’ve also been slathering it with fig spread for an additional hint of sweetness.

    Maple Wheat Bread

    • 1 packet of active dry yeast
    • 2/3 cup warm water (100-110 degrees F)
    • 1/3 cup maple syrup
    • ¼ cup milk
    • 1 tablespoon melted butter
    • 1 cup whole wheat flour
    • 1-2 cups bread flour

    Pour the yeast into the warm water, stir slightly, and allow to proof until slightly bubbly (about 10 minutes). Add the maple syrup, milk, and butter and mix well. Stir in the whole wheat flour. Gradually add the bread flour until you have a dough that is just firm enough to knead by hand. Knead on a floured surface for 8-10 minutes, adding more flour if needed to keep the dough from sticking.

    Grease a medium bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn it over so it is greased on the top. Cover the dough with a clean cloth. Preheat your oven at 350 degrees F for one minute, turn it off, and let the dough rise in the warm oven for about 45 minutes, or until it has doubled in size.

    Punch down the dough and knead it again for about 5 minutes (you shouldn’t need to add any more flour at this point). Shape the dough into a loaf and place it on a greased pan, cover it again, and allow it to rise in oven for about 30 minutes. (You might want to preheat the oven again for one minute. If you’re pressed for time, remove the bread after 20 minutes so you can preheat your oven for the final baking as soon as possible.)

    Bake the bread at 350 degrees F for about 30-35 minutes. Allow it to cool on a rack before slicing.

    White Chocolate and Cranberry Fool

    • 1/4 cup milk
    • 1 cup white chocolate chips
    • 1 1/2 cups cranberries
    • 16 oz. whipping cream

    Warm the milk in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add the white chocolate and stir until melted. Add the cranberries and turn the heat up to medium-high. Cook until the cranberries have softened, about 5-8 minutes, stirring continuously. Immediately remove from heat and let cool completely but not too far past this point or the mixture will begin to firm up a bit. About one hour should do the trick.

    Whip the cream (using a KitchenAid unless you are very patient/strong-armed) until it is thick and holds its shape as the whisk passes through. Fold the cranberry and white-chocolate mixture into the whipped cream and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or longer; I find overnight is best) before serving.

    Truth be told, I most often eat my fool out of oversized mugs, but for a slightly classier affair, serving it in cocktail glasses is far more elegant.

    Savory Squash Bread Pudding

    Pudding

    ■2 tbps butter
    ■2 yellow onions, chopped
    ■12 cups spinach, washed
    ■1 1/2 tsp salt
    ■1 larte butternut squash, washed, peeled and chopped into 1/3″ pieces
    ■1 lb. whole wheat bread (I used my favorite whole wheat sourdough), cut into 1/3″ cubes
    ■1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (or other cheese of your choice)
    ■9 oz. sausage (I used three of Aidells chicken apple sausages)

    Custard

    ■6 eggs
    ■2 1/2 cups whole milk
    ■1 cup heavy cream
    ■4 tbps mustard (I used Dijon)
    ■4 tsps ground sage
    ■2 tsps nutmeg
    ■3 tsps sea salt
    Preheat the heaven to 375 F (or as the clever Veggie Venture blog points out, you can prepare the pudding beforehand and bake later on).

    Melt the butter in a large pan over medium-low heat and add the onions, cooking until they are soft. Remove half of the onions and set them aside. Add the spinach, a handful at a time, stirring so that it is coated with the butter and decreases in volume. Add the 1 1/2 tsps of sea salt, stir, and set aside.

    To prepare the custard, whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Add the other custard ingredients and mix them together.

    In  a (very) large bowl, combine the squash, bread, sausage, and set aside cooked onions. Transfer half of this mixture to a greased baking dish, either 8″ x 11″ or 9″ x 13″. Sprinkle half of the cheese over this layer, than distribute the cooked spinach evenly on top. Add the remaining squash/bread mixture, and sprinkle the remaining cheese. Pour the custard across the pudding, covering it evenly and being sure to moisten all the top bits of bread.

    Bake for about 45 minutes. Pierce a piece of squash with a fork; it should be fairly soft. If not, continue baking, covering with foil so that the bread doesn’t burn. Let the pudding rest for about ten minutes before serving.

    Whole Wheat Gingerbread Pancakes

    • 1 cup whole wheat flour
    • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
    • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • ¾ cups molasses
    • ½ cup whole milk
    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
    • 1 large egg

    Mix together the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the molasses, milk, butter, and egg. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix.

    Brush oil over a griddle or skillet and place over medium heat. Spoon ¼ cupfuls of batter onto the griddle/skillet and cook until brown, about 2 to 4 minutes on each side (keep a close eye on these pancakes, they burn quickly!)

    Hefty Healthy Calzone

    (Pardon the blurry picture, my camera was not cooperating)

    The Dough

    • 1 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast (or ½ a .25 oz. packet—this doesn’t have to be too precise)
    • ¾ cups warm water (100-110 degrees F)
    • ½ tablespoon honey
    • 2 cups whole wheat flour (approximately)
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil

    The Insides

    • 1/3 cup canned pizza sauce
    • ½ cup butternut squash, peeled and cut into ½” cubes
    • ½ cup broccoli, steamed
    • 4 oz. canned tuna (drained)
    • 1 heaping tablespoon raisins
    • ¼ cup feta cheese
    • ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
    • ½ teaspoon herbes de provence (or thyme)
    • 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
    • Salt to taste

    Make the Dough

    Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and allow to proof until foamy; 5-10 minutes. Add the honey and olive oil. In a separate bowl, combine the salt and 1 ½ cups of the whole wheat flour. Pour the yeast mixture  over the whole wheat flour. Continue to add flour until the dough is firm enough to knead by hand.

    Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead until it has an elastic texture, about 10-15 minutes. Lightly oil the inside of a large bowl and place the dough inside. Cover with a clean cloth and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to an hour.

    Make the Insides

    While the dough is rising, steam the broccoli (you can let it get nice and soft for this recipe, or keep it crunchy if you prefer) and roast the butternut squash.

    To roast the squash, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lay the squash cubes across a roasting pan, add the olive oil, herbes de provence, and sprinkle salt across the surface. Toss the squash and bake for about half an hour at 350 degrees F. Taste test as you go to see if more salt is needed.

    Put it all Together

    Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (be sure to remove the squash first!). Once the dough has risen, punch it down and spread it into a 12″ circle on a greased baking sheet.

    Coat one half of the circle with the sauce, then broccoli, squash, tuna, raisins, and both cheeses. Leave a ½ inch rim for closing the calzone.

    Fold the dough in half and press together along the rim so it is sealed.

    Bake at 450 degrees F for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

    Smoked Salmon & Egg Sandwich

    • 1 whole wheat Arnold Sandwich Thin, or bread of choice
    • 3 tsp cream cheese
    • a few thin slices of red onion
    • 1 tsp capers
    • 2 thin slices tomato
    • 3 slices smoked salmon
    • 1 egg, over easy
    • salt to taste

    I realize sandwich-making isn’t exactly rocket since, but the right preparation can make a difference. First things first, spread the cream cheese on one of the bread slices. Cover the cream cheese with the capers, onion, and tomato.

    Lightly toast both halves in a toaster oven (keep an eye on this so the cream cheese doesn’t melt too much). Meanwhile, prepare your egg over easy. (This site does a better job explaining it than I would, but my one addition is to lightly sprinkle the egg with salt before flipping.)

    Remove the bread from the toaster, and top with the smoked salmon and egg. Eat immediately so that the yoke is still runny. Yes, it’s a bit messy. It’s supposed to be. Runny yokes are oh so good.

    Acorn Squash and Baked Beans

    • 1 acorn squash
    • 2 T butter
    • Salt
    • Chili pepper
    • 1 cup red beans
    • ¼ cup molasses
    • 1 T ketchup
    • 2 strips of bacon, broken into little bits (optional)

    Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Carefully cut the acorn squash in half and scrape out the seeds and stringy buts with a spoon. Rub the inside of each half with 1 T of butter and sprinkle with salt and chili pepper. Place the halves flesh-side up in a baking dish filled with a ¼ inch of water. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

    Meanwhile, heat the molasses and ketchup in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Stir for about 3-5 minutes. Add the beans and continue to stir for another 5 minutes. Ad this point, you can add the bacon bits if you are including them.

    Divide the beans evenly and add to the cavities of the acorn squash. Bake for another 35-40 minutes, until the squash is soft when pierced with a fork—but you’ll want to eat this dish with a spoon.

     

    Pizza for One

    • 3/4 cups whole wheat flour 
    • ½ T baking powder 
    • Pinch of salt* 
    • Pinch of oregano
    • ¼ cup room temperature water
    • Dollop of EVOO

    Combine the whole wheat flour, baking powder, salt, and oregano in a medium bowl. Form a well in the middle of the flour mixture and add the water and EVOO. Fold in the flour until you have a kneadable dough (you may need slightly more water; add just a bit at a time).

    Knead the dough for about 4-6 minutes (yes, this is slightly tricky since it’s such a small amount, but you can still press it with the heel of your hand, rotate, etc.). Allow the dough to rest in an airtight plastic bag for about an hour.

    Meanwhile, prepare your ingredients. For this pizza, I steamed a few broccoli florets and roasted some butternut squash.

    Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

    Grease a pizza stone (I use the bottom of my La Cloche) or baking sheet. Press the dough into an approximately 8″ circle (or larger if you prefer a thinner crust). Cover with your toppings. I topped mine with tomato sauce, the broccoli and butternut squash, chopped dates, feta cheese, and sharp cheddar.

    Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until the crust starts to brown slightly and the cheese has melted.

    *It used to drive me crazy when recipes had vague terms like “pinch” and “dollop” in them—but honestly, that’s how real cooking happens. You’ll get the feel for these amounts soon enough, and then you’ll really be enjoying the process.

    Spinach & Cheese Spoon Bread

    • ¾ cups yellow cornmeal
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 cup boiling water
    • 3 tbsp melted butter
    • 1 cup whole milk
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • ¼ cup sharp yellow cheese, grated
    • 1 large handful baby spinach
    • 1 tbsp olive oil

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

    Sautee the spinach in a medium sauce pan, coating it with the olive oil and stirring until it is entirely softened.

    In a large bowl, mix together the cornmeal and salt. Add the boiling water while stirring continuously, then add the melted butter. The batter should be smooth.

    In a smaller, separate bowl, whisk together the eggs. Gently whisk in the milk. Add the milk and egg mixture to the cornmeal mixture and whisk together, gradually adding the baking powder. Sprinkle the cheese and spinach across the top of the batter and mix it in gently with a wooden spoon.

    Poor the batter into a greased baking dish, about 8 x 8 inches. Bake for 30 minutes or until firm.

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