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homemade apple chips

apple chipsApples are in abundance this time of the year.  I love autumn for all the delicious fruit and vegetables that leave the farmers’ fields and are readily available in food shops and markets.  One fruit I eagerly await their arrival is the humble apple.  It’s hard to imagine there are over 7,000 varieties! With so much choice, however, I am a creature of habit and really only use about 6 or so different types of apples.  Continue Reading →

Oatmeal Apple Cookies

oatmeal apple cookiesThe word cookie has been around since the early 1700’s where in Scotland it referred to a bread bun that was split, filled with cream and topped with icing.  According to The Oxford Companion to Food, cookies in the early part of the 19th century in the USA were usually associated with New Year’s Day.  Cookies and cherry bounce (cherry cordial) were the correct fare with which to greet visitors on that occasion.  Continue Reading →

Apple Pie Shake

apple pie shakeWeeds and wild flowers – they’re everywhere!  Some consider them a pest especially when trying to keep them out of your lawn.  Our back yard overlooks a small field and as you can imagine, full of weeds and wild flowers.  I have absolutely no patience for weeds and I think they know that.  All you have to do is look at our back lawn and grin.  I do, however, like looking out past our yard and see daisies being pushed around by the wind, thistles with their lovely purple tops, and yellow flowers from stubby plants.  There’s one plant that towers over most of the wild flowers…Queen Anne’s Lace. The flowers grow in flat clusters and resemble that of fine lace.  The flowers are so pretty I brought them in for display and used them as a backdrop for my apple pie shake.  We’ve all had a milkshake at least once in our life but I’ll bet you’ve never had an apple pie shake!  Once you’ve tasted it you’ll want to experiment with your other favorite pies. Continue Reading →

Roasted Squash & Apple Soup with Goat’s Cheese & Bacon

roasted squash & apple soup by The Culinary ChaseSoup. It needs no explanation – everyone knows what it is and it’s been around for a millennia.  There are so many variations.  I love the combination of vegetables and fruit.  There’s something so opposite about the two that you’d think there’s no way they belong together in the same pot…but trust me, the two are a marriage made in heaven.  Throw in some cheese and bacon and you’ll be singing hallelujah! The idea of roasting squash with apples may sound a bit odd but fondly enough they end up being best mates.  Granny Smith apples are tart but when roasted the apples become sweeter as does the squash.  Top this with the distinctive flavor from goat’s cheese and smoky accents from the bacon, it’s a soup that will have you coming back for more.

Serves 4
adapted from What Katie Ate

1kg squash, peeled, seeds removed, cut into small chunks
2 teaspoons cumin powder
2 teaspoons sage powder
olive oil
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, cut into small chunks
8 strips bacon
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
5 cups chicken stock
120g goat’s cheese
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 350f and line a baking tray with baking paper.
2. Place the squash, cumin, sage and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large bowl and season, then toss to combine. Place onto the tray, arrange in a single layer and roast 15 minutes. Add apple and cook for a further 10 minutes or until tender.
3. Meanwhile, in a frying pan over medium heat add bacon and cook. Set aside to drain on paper towel.
4. Clean out the same pan and heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in the frying pan. Add the onion, garlic and cook until softened.
5. Transfer the squash mixture to a large saucepan along with 2 cups of stock and half the cheese. Use an immersion hand blender and whiz until smooth. Add remaining stock to pan and heat until hot.
6. To serve, top soup with bacon and remaining goat’s cheese.  Season to taste.

The Culinary Chase’s Note: I used 4 cups of broth as I like my soups hearty and thick.  Enjoy!

Persimmon Apple Radicchio Stacks

persimmon apple radicchio stacks by The Culinary ChaseI intimidate people.  I remember the first time I was told this and was floored! It wasn’t said in a negative way nor aimed at my personality.   It happened to pertain to my style of cooking.   We love to entertain and our friends enjoy coming to our house for dinner.  The issue tends to be when we get invited out, our friends tell us they can’t cook the same way I do.  Because I am an enthusiastic cook, poring over recipes, and plan to the last detail what will be on the menu, I take this for granted.  However, as much as I adore cooking for others, I love it when people cook for me…no matter what’s on the table.  And, it doesn’t matter how many times you come to our home for dinner, I always get pre-dinner jitters.

Persimmon, available in autumn, is an edible fruit with sweet tones. When looking for persimmons, choose those that are labeled Fuyu (flat bottoms and squat shape).  The other type is called Hachiya and unless its overripe (very soft to touch), it will be astringent and nasty to bite into.  I can still recall the mouth-puckeringly tart sensation in my mouth when I took a bite – not nice at all!

Serves 2
adapted by Ripe

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 medium ripe but firm persimmon
1 Granny Smith apple
1 small head radicchio
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

veg & fruit stack collage by The Culinary Chase1. In a bowl, whisk the oil and vinegar. Season generously with salt and pepper.

2. Using a mandoline set to medium thickness, slice the persimmon from the bottom up, horizontally.  Add the slices to the vinaigrette, turn to coat, then remove to a large plate.

3. Slice the apple on the mandoline, remove the seeds after slicing. Add to the vinaigrette, then remove and place next to the persimmons. Remove leaves of radicchio and tear into pieces big enough to accommodate the fruits slices. Coat with dressing, then pile on the plate.

4. To assemble the stacks, lay 1 persimmon slice on the bottom of a serving plate. Top with an apple slice and a piece of radicchio. Repeat until you have 3 to 4 layers. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.

fruit slices by The Culinary ChaseThe Culinary Chase’s Note:
  This is such an easy appetizer make.  Change the ingredients and use your favorite apple or switch the apple for a pear.  Persimmons should be available now.  Enjoy!

Apple Pie in a Jar

apple pie in a jar by The Culinary ChaseApple pie conjures up good, wholesome food made by grandmothers and moms.  There’s something so pleasing to the senses when a pie is baking in the oven.  The aromas immediately say ‘welcome’.  I wonder, though, why the pie is made in a round plate and not a square.  Is it because it’s easier to lift the pie out of a round dish?  Or was it due to the fact that was all that was on hand many years ago?  I am reminded of a story about a young mother who was roasting a chicken in a small pan.  When asked why she used a small pan, too small for the chicken, she had no answer.  She decided to ask her mother who also didn’t know why and decided to ask her mother.  When asked she replied, “that’s the only pan I had”.   Let’s start a new tradition and make apple pie in a jar!   Why not?  It’s easy to make, you don’t have to worry about making the perfect pie crust, it’s gluten-free friendly, kid friendly and I like the aesthetics of a jar.  If you do like this idea, then click on the link where I made a chocolate cake in a jar.

Serves 4 to 6
adapted by Roost

2 cups pecans
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon salt
homemade chunky applesauce
whipped cream

pecans

Pecans bathed in melted butter before going into the oven.

Preheat oven to 375F. Line a cookie sheet with foil. In a bowl add pecans and toss with melted butter. Pour buttered pecans onto the foil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Once you get past the 10 minute mark, keep an eye on them as the pecans can quickly turn too dark which will result in a bitter, burnt taste. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Once cooled, place into a food processor and process until a course, crumbly meal forms.

apples

Mix the apple varieties for an enhanced flavor.

Make the applesauce and then let it cool slightly before assembling. To assemble, add enough pecan crumbs to cover the bottom of the jar followed by applesauce. Top with whipped cream and sprinkle more pecan crumbs, if you like.

apple peelThe Culinary Chase’s Note: For an exotic flavor, add a teaspoon of ground cardamom to the applesauce. This was so good I made it again the next day.  I did thin layers (parfait style) and liked this look just as much. You decide. Enjoy!