Category Archives: autumn

Broccoli Apple Ale Soup

march 20, 2015

broccoli apple ale soup

 

During this week’s Saint Patrick celebration (why just one day?), some folks enjoyed green beer. Here is a recipe for broccoli apple ale soup that provides your serving of greens in a more natural manner, with locally brewed beer for good measure.

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Sweet Potato Custard

december 5, 2014

sweet potato custard

There are good reasons to covet pie fillings without the fuss of crust.  The making of a good, flaky pie crust is time consuming and, if you’re like me, you may find premade pie crusts lacking in quality and flavor.  Lots of folks are foregoing extra carbs in grains, making a homemade grain free  crust (made with ground nuts) attractive, but also time consuming.

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Flounder with Balsamic Fall Vegetables

november 7, 2014

flounder with balsamic fall vegetables

Living close to the Chesapeake Bay means access to fresh seafood all year long and when the flounder are running, go with the flow and thank your lucky stars.

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Tuscan Kale and Goat Cheese Salad

…and a visit to Sullivan’s Pond Farm

october 24, 2014

tuscan kale and goat cheese saladWhen lifelong Virginians Rona and Tim Sullivan left city life behind in 1998, their goal was to live close to the land and enjoy a natural existence farming goats and chickens. Relocating to Virginia’s bucolic Middle Peninsula, an historic area rimmed with picturesque creek and river views, they eventually settled on a farm in Wake with rolling hills and big sky.

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Sour Cream Apple Crumble

october 10, 2014

sour cream apple crumble

 

Fondest memories of shopping roadside stands involve apples that grace markets with their myriad colors, aromas and levels of crisp-crunch.  Apple season in Virginia starts tentatively, with Ginger Gold and Piney River Gold fruits making their debut, followed by Honey Crisp and then the endless palettes of the reds.  Rome Beauty, Stayman Winesap, Red Delicious (nothing like the uber-polished tasteless pretties at the grocery stores), Empire and York, among others.

My favorite apple is any type one can incorporate into desserts.  So, really, any apple will do, although I profess a fondness for super crisp and slightly tart apples for eating out of hand.

The reds have arrived and I say let the dessert making begin in earnest, and continue for as long as there are apples at the stands.

stayman apples at Berry's Produce

Stayman apples at Berry’s Produce in Hanover, Virginia

This crumble is like an upside down pie, with a cinnamon scented buttery crisp topping serving as our convoluted crust, and a sour cream custard, not too sweet, binding thin slices of twice cooked apples.  Cooking the apple slices with butter, sugar and cinnamon until tender before baking avoids the problem of apple pileup, wherein your stack of fruit lies so high in the pan you can’t avoid overflow and there’s no room for custard or topping.  I like walnuts in the crumble topping, but you can substitute pecans or almonds, or eliminate nuts altogether.

sour cream apple crumble ingredients

This dessert is easy, feeds a small crowd and may be enjoyed chilled, at room temperature (best, I think) or lightly warmed.  Crowning with a dollop of vanilla bean ice cream or cinnamon dusted whipped cream will elevate it from homey simplicity to elegant comfort food.

 

sour cream apple crumblesour cream apple crumble

recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company

makes ten to twelve servings

ingredients

2 ½ pounds apples, peeled, cored and cut in thin slices
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups sour cream, preferably full fat
3 tablespoons heavy cream
2 eggs, room temperature
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
crumble topping
1 cup all purpose or gluten free flour (see apple  cake with caramel glaze for my favorite homemade mix)
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ cup chopped walnuts
one stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, cut in small pieces

directions

  1. Melt butter in heavy large wide skillet over medium heat, add apples and stir gently to coat.
  2. Add one half cup sugar and stir to coat all slices  with sugar.
  3. Cover skillet, turn heat to medium low and cook, stirring gently once, until apples are softened but still hold their shape, about 7 minutes.
  4. Remove lid, turn heat to high and evaporate most of the liquid, until a light syrup coats apples, about 5 minutes; turn heat lower if needed to avoid scorching.
  5. Add one teaspoon cinnamon and stir gently to coat.
  6. Allow mixture to cool completely.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  8. For sour cream custard, gently whisk eggs, sour cream, heavy cream, 3 tablespoons sugar and vanilla in small mixing bowl until blended.
  9. In larger mixing bowl, whisk flour, salt, cinnamon and brown sugar until combined, add walnuts and then work in butter bits with fingers until crumbly but some butter remains in tiny pieces.
  10. Butter 2 quart baking dish, add cooled apples, pour sour cream custard over apples and then top evenly with crumble topping.
  11. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until crumble appears puffed at edges and center no longer appears wobbly.
  12. Let settle at room temperature at least 30 minutes before serving to allow custard to set.
  13. Serve at room temperature, chilled or lightly warmed.
  14. Store tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to one week.
heirloom bean soup with parmesan and thyme

Heirloom Bean Soup with Parmesan and Thyme

march 21, 2014

heirloom bean soup with parmesan and thymeComfort has always been a pot of beans simmering on the stove.  It’s a favorite childhood memory – my mom’s white beans cooked simply, with or without meat for seasoning.  Gloriously overcooked so that beans and broth melded into a creamy slurry of bean goodness, and accompanied by a biscuit fresh from the oven.

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Ginger Scallion Sweet Potatoes

Ginger Scallion Sweet Potatoes

november 16, 2013

Ginger Scallion Sweet Potatoes

At Thanksgiving many of us take the literal approach to preparing sweet potatoes by making them even more sweet.  Candied yams, sweet potato casserole topped with marshmallows…nothing inherently wrong with these dishes, except that some folks simply do not care for treacly sweetness alongside their savory foods.

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ginger cinnamon applesauce

ginger cinnamon applesauce

october 15, 2013

ginger cinnamon applesauce

The heady perfume of Virginia apples at my local roadside stand draws me in, and I load up my box with way more than I can use in a week.  What’s a cook to do?  Well, cook ’em up, of course.

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slow roasted tomatoes with garlic and herbs

october 1, 2013

slow roasted tomatoes with garlic and herbs

 

When you are given a gift of late season tomatoes, you have only two choices; you can eat them all right away, or make them last longer by preserving them for later enjoyment.

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pasta with kale apricot pesto

march 22, 2013

DSCN1309

fresh Bombolini gluten free shells with kale apricot pesto

 

What I love about greens : kissed by the first frost of autumn, they are tender and flavorful; picked in springtime, they are equally tender and just as flavorful.  Something else to love about greens ? Their versatility in the art of cooking.

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