Thursday, September 22

Caramel Apple Turnovers


Time needs to slow down. I have been thinking about it a lot recently, maybe it's because my youngest just celebrated another birthday, maybe it's because I have to go see a specialist for joint pain, or that I can't go out to eat without bringing antacids, or that my oldest son came home from school telling me his teacher told him he had to start wearing deodorant to school (dudes... my kid was the smelly one in class....)

Whatever the reason, I am so not ready for life to be moving at this warp speed.

Like seriously now, how is today the first day of fall? On one hand, I actually cried over the fact that we need to winterize the boat soon.... yet I am so thankful for fresh apples, and apply desserts.






These caramel apple turnovers are so easy to prepare, and worth every darn calorie in each buttery bite. I highly recommend you not only make them, but eat a lot of them along with your feelings about the cold weather creeping in... and your 9 year old buying his first stick of deodorant.

Caramel Apple Turnovers
Ingredients: 
1 sheet of puff pastry
4 cups of peeled, chopped apples
1 1/2 cups soft caramels, chopped
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tbs ground cinnamon
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1tsp water)
1 tbs raw sugar
1 tsp heavy cream

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

In a large mixing bowl, toss apples, 1 cup of the chopped caramel, lemon juice, cinnamon, sugar and flour. 

Roll pastry out until it is just about 1/8 of an inch thick. Cut into 6 squares. 

Place spoonfuls of the apple filling into the center of each pastry square. 
Fold edges of each over and crimp the sides closed. 

Brush with egg wash, and then sprinkling with raw sugar. 

Bake for about 15 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown all over. 

Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 15 minutes. 

Add the remaining caramels and a tsp of cream to a small microwave safe dish, and microwave in 15 second increments, stirring between each, just until it has all melted and smooth. 

Drizzle caramel over the top of each turnover, and serve with vanilla ice cream. 

Turnovers are best if eaten warm, as they cool the caramel will harden.
 
 

Tuesday, September 20

Sweet and Spicy Pickled Green Tomatoes



I have never had much of a green thumb. I tend to kill all plants, inside and out. Growing up in a family filled with hobby farmers, and gardeners, you'd think I'd have learned a thing or two, and would follow in the footsteps of my parents and grandparents. But nope... I fail so hard at growing plants.

Every couple of years I decide I want to be an urban gardener, and plant vegetables and flowers around our little city lot, but then about 3 or 4 week into the summer months, they tend to shrivel up and die. Either from lack of water, or an infestation of some kind.  This year however, I grew some amazing heirloom tomatoes. No horn worms, no blight, and the right mix of water and sun to bring me daily bowls and baskets filled with perfect tomatoes.

But now that the warm days have come to an end, and frost is looming over use every night, I found myself with an abundance of green tomatoes that needed to be picked before the frost got to them. While looking for ways to use them, I stumbled upon an old New England favorite for pickled green cherry tomatoes in one of my Nana's old cookbooks.

These are great served on their own in any relish tray, or as a condiment, but they are also great with cream cheese on crackers, or in cream cheese and cucumber sandwiches. They are sweet, sour, and they have some heat!







Sweet and Spicy Pickled Green Tomatoes
Inspired by a vintage canning cookbook at my Nana's house (can't find the copy now) 

Ingredients:
5 lbs of green tomatoes
1 large white onion
6 small hot chili  peppers (use your favorite variety)
6 cloves of garlic, peeled 
Handful of fresh cilantro
6 tbs pickling spice
8 cups cider vinegar
1 cup water
4 tbs pickling salt

Equipment: 
6 qt canning jars, sterilized
Sterilized jar lids
Canner  or large 10+ quart pot
Canning rack


Directions:

Fill canner with water, add a canning rack. Bring water to a full boil, with the lid on. 

Slice tomatoes, onions into thin slices.

Cut the tops off each chili pepper, halve them if desired.

Place tomatoes, onions in each jar. Filling it as much as you can leaving 1 inch of head room. 

Place one chili pepper, clove of garlic, and a sprig of cilantro to each jar. 

Prepare the brine by bringing the vinegar, water, salt, and pickling spice to a boil. 

Pour into the jars, leaving 1 inch of headroom.

Place lids on each jar, and place in the boiling water bath, covered for 15 minutes. 

Remove jars from the canner, and place on a towel or cooling rack. 

Allow the jars to sit for at least 2 weeks before opening. 

Pickles will last up to 12 months unopened at room temperature. Refrigerate open jars.
 





  

Tuesday, September 13

New England Apple Cinnamon Pandowdy




Fall is in the air here in New Hampshire. Cool crisp mornings, autumn leaves, and apples are sprouting up all across the state. In early September every year, my mom, sister and I take the kids apple picking. This year we headed up to one of the state's most famous orchards, Windy Ridge in Haverhill. It is a bit of a haul from my house, about 2 hours north, right smack dab in the middle of nowhere.

The trek is worth it though, Windy Ridge is not only home to delicious apples, they make the best cider donuts I have ever had.... and they are also home to the most adorable donkey on the planet.



With too many apples taking over my kitchen after our recent trip to the orchard, I find myself craving comforting New England desserts, like Pandowdy. 

For those unfamiliar with the dessert, it is basically what we New Englanders call a  pie like cobbler. It's easy to make, really doesn't need much of a recipe, and it does not have to be pretty. Most pandowdies consist of a sweet apple  filling on the bottom of a skillet, and then it is topped with pieces of pie crust half way through the cooking process. The filling then bubbles up over the pieces of pie dough creating a really rustic, yet delicious dessert, that is WAY easier to prepare than a pie.

I got a little fancy with my pandowdy, as you can see, instead of cutting the dough into squares or circles like most do, I made some leaves. This is completely optional!


New England Apple Cinnamon Pandowdy

Ingredients:

Dough:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1bs sugar
1/8 tsp salt
7 tbs cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
About 1/4 cup buttermilk


Filling:
8 large apples. cored, peeled, and roughly chopped
1/3 cup of unsalted butter  
2 tbs all purpose flour
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
The juice of half a lemon
1 tsp ground cinnamon
 1 tbs molasses 
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup apple cider

Egg wash; 1 egg, splash of water, beaten


Directions:
 
 To prepare your dough, add flour cinnamon, sugar and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. 

With the mixer on low, add in the butter and mix just until the mixture is coarse and crumbly. You should have pea sized butter bits in the flour mixture. 

With the mixer on medium speed slowly pour in the buttermilk just until the dough comes together, yet is still shaggy. 

Remove from mixer, give it two to three kneads, shape into a disk, and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least one hour. 

Meanwhile to prepare the filling, melt butter in a 8-10 inch cast iron skillet. 

Once it has melted, add in the apples and simmer for about 5 minute. 

Turn heat to low, and sprinkle the apples with 2 tbs of flour. give a quick mix to evenly coat them all. 

Add in the remain ingredients, and stir. 

Allow the apples to simmer on low for about 30 minutes, or until they appear glossy and thick, like pie filling. 

Remove from heat, and preheat oven to 425 degrees. 

Roll the dough out so that it is 1/8 of an inch thick. Cut dough into desired shapes, and place on the top of the apple filling.

Brush with egg wash, and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling all over. 

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. 



**Most pandowdies are completely covered with pieces of dough. I chose to only use half of my dough.... because I have one child that hates pie crust... and only wants filling.


 
 

Wednesday, August 10

Sweet and Zesty Pickles



Some of you may not know, my mom own's a small canning company that offers gourmet mustards, pie filling, jam, jelly, and other various delicious items. You can find her products sold at stores across  New Hampshire, and even online!



Growing up my Mom and my Nana canned everything. Our summers were spent foraging for wild berries for batches of jams and jelly, and watching my mom as she canned the veggies from our gardens.


As I got older, the idea of canning things never appealed to me. Why learn, when my Mom and Nana did it so well?



Then, about 5 years ago, right around the time I started this blog. My mom came over and taught me how to make candied jalapeƱos using a recipe she found on the internet.... fast forward a couple of years, and I realized that that recipe was from my sweet friend Rebecca's blog, Foodie with Family.

Small world this internet can be!



Rebecca recently published her first book, all about canning and it also teaches us how to use the canned goods in everyday cooking.  When I got my advanced copy for review, I was bitten by the canning bug. I instantly wanted to can EVERYTHING. So I have spent the last month or so, doing just that. It really is  an amazing book, and I'll talk more about that at another time.... When I do a formal review for my blog.



One of the first things I plopped into the canner this summer was a batch of these Sweet and Zesty Pickles. When I started this recipe, I was really hoping for a sweet and spicy pickle, with heat from horseradish. My batch came out sweet and zesty.... but not really spicy. Which turned out to be a blessing, since my 9 year old son loves them as is! He and I have polished off many jars of these pickles.



Sweet and Zesty Pickles
Recipe inspired by Allrecipes.com

Ingredients:
40 small pickling cucumbers
10 1/4 inch thick slices of fresh, peeled horseradish root
20 cloves of garlic
1 purple onion, sliced into 10 slices
Handfull of fresh dill
5 tbs pickling salt
2 tbs pickling spice
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 1/2 cups white vinegar
5 cups water
(optional: 1/8 tsp of Ball Pickle Crisp granules, per canning jar)

Equipment:
10 sterilized pint jars, with lids (I use wide mouth jars)
1 water bath canner
Large pot for boiling brine
Canning rack for your canner
Jar grabber (optional)

Directions:

Fill canner with water, and bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, in each canning jar, place 1/2 tbs pickling salt, 1 horseradish slice,  2 cloves of garlic, slice of onion, some dill, sprinkle 1/8 tsp  pickle crisp granules, and pack cucumbers into jars, leaving at least 1/2 inch of headroom. I sliced the cucumbers into chips and spears, you can leave them whole or slice as desired.


 In a large pot, bring water, vinegar, sugar, and pickling spices to a boil. Pour liquid over packed cucumbers and seal with lids.

Once the canner has come to a full boil, place jars in small batches into the canner. Be sure to leave room between jars so they are evenly heated. Leave jars in the canner for 10 minutes.

Carefully remove jars from the water bath, and process the remaining jars.

Allow pickles to ferment for about 2 weeks before opening jars.

Can be stored at room temperature in unopened jars, for up to a year.



Monday, August 1

Brown Butter and Chive Lobster Rolls


In these parts of the country, there is much debate over what a lobster roll consists of. Once, about 3 years ago, I blogged a recipe for "New England Lobster Roll" and people claiming to be true New Englanders, commented with fury that I must not  be a true New Englander, because I used god awful mayo in my "New England Lobster Roll" and served it cold.

It was at that time I realized two things, one.... there are two ways of making a lobster roll, and two... my New England friends, family, neighbors, even strangers are a tad crazy when it comes to their beloved lobster roll.

The purists will most defiantly have issue with this recipe as well because, even though it is served hot, and doused with melted butter, the way they all claim it must be made... I made it with browned butter,  fresh chives, and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Oh the horror.


Brown Butter and Chive Lobster Roll 
Serves 2

Ingredients:
1 steamed lobster
1 stick of salted butter, browned
2 lemon wedges
1 tbs diced chives
2 buttered hot dog buns

Directions:

Remove steamed lobster from the shell, and roughly chop it into bite sized pieces.

Toss with browned butter, fresh squeezed lemon, and chives.

Toast hot dog buns in a skillet over medium/high heat until golden on each side.

Fill each bun with buttered lobster, and then serve.


Wednesday, July 20

Cucumber Noodle Salad with Fried Sesame Crusted Feta Cheese




I am not usually one to get caught up in food trends (well maybe sometimes). One of the newest trends over the last couple of years has been the spiralizer. I will admit at first I laughed. "If I want pasta... I'm going to eat pasta. F*** zoodles!"

But then I did Whole30, and the spiralizer changed my life. It really did. I found myself making noodles out of every vegetable I could get my hands on. My favorite being sweet potato for any hot dish, they hold up better than the ever so popular zucchini noodles, and cucumber noodles for cold dishes.



This summer I can not get enough cold cucumber salads. I eat at least one big cucumber out of the garden each day.  You can't ask for a more refreshing on a hot summer day!  This salad takes only minutes to whip up, it's the perfect light lunch, or it works great as a side dish. The cucumbers, onions and berries are tossed in a homemade honey champagne vinaigrette, and to give it a little richness, I added some sesame crusted fried feta cheese and topped with a drizzle of  raw honey.


Cucumber Noodle Salad with Fried Sesame Crusted Feta Cheese 
Recipe yields 1 serving

Ingredients:

1 pickling cucumber, scrubbed clean
A few thin red onion slices
Handful of fresh berries ( I use blueberries, but you can use whatever you have on hand)

For the dressing:

2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 tbs champagne vinegar
1 tsp honey
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp minced garlic

For the cheese:
3-4 1 inches cubes of whole milk feta cheese
2 tbs bread crumbs (use gluten free bread crumbs if you are GF)
2 tbs sesame seeds
1 egg
1/2 cup of olive oil for frying

Extra honey for drizzling over the finished salad

Directions:

Using a spiralizer, spiralize the cucumber. If you do not have a spiralizer, you can julienne the cucumbers as well. Set aside in a salad bowl.

To prepare dressing, whisk the dressing ingredients together.

Toss the cucumber noodles, onion slices and blueberries with the dressing.

To make the  fried cheese, in a small bowl mix the bread crumbs and sesame seeds together.

Add a beaten egg to another small bowl.

Heat olive oil in a small sauce pan over medium heat.

Coat each feta cube in your beaten egg, and then dredge it through the breadcrumbs and sesame seeds.

Quickly fry the cheese in the olive oil on each side, until each feta cube is golden brown.

Place hot cheese on top of salads, drizzle with extra honey and enjoy!


Have you follow me on Instagram yet?  Check out what I've been up to, and watch me turn into a muddy mess July 30th at Mudderella New England, in Epping, NH




Friday, July 15

Life Lately

It's been awhile since I have written a "Life Lately" post... like years? With summer in full swing, I have found it very hard to carve time out to bake, take pictures, or write! So here are some snaps from our vacation life so far!














Basically, life is a vacation here in the summer. I've come to realize how incredibly lucky my kids and I are to have the freedom to spend our days enjoying everything our gorgeous state of NH has to offer. We've had our share of boat days, trips to the ocean, visiting state parks all over the state, and eating our share of fried food and hamburgers.  I hope someday when my kids look back on their childhood summers. They remember how much fun we had!

Though with all these days filled with fried food, lounging by the water, and nights filled with friends and adult beverages. I am feeling little sluggish.  Luckily, some folks working for Mudderella contacted me and asked if I'd be interested in attending their event here in NH, with 5 of my closest friends. Honestly, this obstacle course could not come at a better time. I need to get my butt moving, and need to get myself in shape.

For those of you who are not familiar with Mudderella... It's a unique, 5-mile obstacle mud run where women are able to come together and celebrate strength, teamwork and everything that makes them feel like an empowered woman. The course, designed by women for women, promotes working together, having fun and owning your strong. 

Mudderella is a partner with Futures Without Violence. All proceeds raised by participants support their mission to protect women against domestic and sexual violence. Learn more about their  partnership here.



My friends and I are super pumped to participate this year. To follow along with my muddy adventures, check back next week, where I have some healthy pre event recipes to share. Also follow me on Instagram, check out what I've been up to, and watch me turn into a muddy mess July 30th at Mudderella New England, in Epping, NH

For more info on a Mudderella near you, click HERE. Also be sure to follow them on Facebook and Instagram

(Disclaimer: I received 6 free registrations to Mudderella in return for social media coverage of the event. I did  not receive monetary compensation, and as always all opinions are 100% my own!)