Cranberry and Apple Cake 6-8 servings
This is an easy and fairly healthy dish to make when the holidays are here. Actually, it’s good for anytime of the year. You can vary it as to how you think that you want to enjoy it. I personally like less cake so I cut the cake ingredients in half (shown in my picture). There are other options as well. It’s all up to you. I like versatile recipes like that. So, bon appétit and Happy Thanksgiving to one and all.
Step # 1Ingredients for the filling:
- 12 ounces fresh cranberries, rinsed and picked over for stems if necessary
- 1 Granny Smith or other good kind of cooking apple you like, cored and diced (I diced mine in the food processor).
- 4 ounces Sun Dried Cherries (optional)
- 1 tablespoon of grated orange rind/zest (about 1/2 of 1 large orange)
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice from that 1 large orange you just used
- Orange segments from that 1 orange after you’ve juiced it. I put the segments in with the apple and diced it all together.
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon or some other similar spice that you enjoy
- Some ground black pepper if you wish or even some pepper corns
Step #2 Ingredients for the cake (for more cake like, use the amounts I have listed; if you wish more of a topping like effect, as in my picture, use half of the amounts of these ingredients which also means less calories. )
- 2 eggs at room temperature
- 1/4 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 1 teaspoon vanilla or any other extract you like or even brandy (I used brandy)
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 cup flour
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Step # 3 Topping ingredients for the end result:
- Some Turbinado Sugar to lightly sprinkle over all before placing in the oven
- Some more cinnamon, whatever also to sprinkle over all before placing in oven
- Pre-heat oven to 325F
- Slightly oil or butter a 10-inch glass pie plate.
- Step #1: Mix all of the ingredients together in a medium bowl. Let sit while you do Step #2.
- Step #2: In another bowl, on medium-high, beat with an electric beater the eggs for 2 minutes. Then, on medium, add the remainder of the ingredients except for the flour and beat until just combined. On low speed, slowly add the flour and salt till well combined.
- Step #3: Pour the cranberry mixture into the pie dish. Spread the batter with a spatula over the fruit covering it as completely as you wish. Top with ingredients listed in Step #3.
- Bake in oven for about 55-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean and the fruit is bubbling around the edges.
- Serve warm or at room temperature. Cool Whip, whipped cream or ice cream makes for a nice accompaniment.
Sautéed Apples—serves up to 4
I served this often to my B&B guests and they loved it. It’s so easy to make and is so much better than store bought syrup to use for pancakes or waffles and you get the apples as well. But don’t stop there, it’s great over ice cream as well.
- 1/4 cup (or a bit more if you wish) butter
- 2-3 large tart apples cored and sliced in large segments
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/2 to 1 cup hot water
- 1/4 -1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon or another flavor if you wish
- Raisins (optional)
- In a large skillet or saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; add apples. Cook, stirring constantly, until apples are almost tender, about 6 to 7 minutes.
- Dissolve the cornstarch, brown sugar and cinnamon In hot water in a microwaveable dish. Place in micro for 1 or more minutes.
- When apples are just about tender, pour heated liquid into the pan along with the optional raisins if you wish and cook for 2 more minutes.
- Hints: I started out with the lesser amounts of the hot water and brown sugar. After micro-heating and placing in pan with apples, you can always add more hot water. If you wish to have more sugar, dissolve the sugar first in hot water and then add to pan. But truthfully, I found that 1/4 C. brown sugar was plenty sweet enough.
Margot Van Horn
Cassoulet, the easy way serves 6-8 Originally the cassoulet originated in the South of France and was named after the traditional earthenware pot, a casserole vessel that was used specifically for it. It was a “peasant’s” dish and utilized all sorts of left-over’s. It was a slow cooking dish that traditionally contained pork, sausages, goose, duck, mutton, pork skin and white haricot beans. But it has transformed itself by cooks worldwide to now even containing fish. This is such a versatile dish and it can be quite healthy. It can be a little time consuming due to the chopping of the veggies and the browning of the meats so give yourself a minute or two to this creative dish. The end result will be well worth it. Also, if you wish to vary the meats such as using pork, go for it. The fun thing with this dish is that you can make it your own by using your imagination with many different kinds of variations.
Ingredients for the cassoulet pictured above:
- 2 lbs. lamb shoulder slices (bone in)
- 1 ½ lbs. organic chicken thighs-skin on
- 12 ounces Cajun Style Andouille Smoked Pork Sausages-cut crosswise in large 1 inch or more slices
- Bacon-chopped about 1/4 cup or so.
- 1 shallot, 1 yellow onion, 2-4 garlic cloves–all finely chopped
- 2 large peeled carrots, 1 large peeled turnip, 1 large peeled rutabaga, 1 large peeled parsnip, several celery stalks with their tops all chopped in large chunks
- 1-14.5 ounce can of chopped tomatoes—do not drain and 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 or more 15 ounce cans of cannellini white beans—drained, placed in a colander and well rinsed with cold water
- 1-3 cups of organic chicken (or beef) stock (I used chicken but beef is good too.)
- At least 1/4 cup white wine or white vermouth (taste as you go)
- Seasonings: use as you please and pinches only: all spice, cardamom, coriander, nutmeg, paprika, cayenne, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, a pod of anise.
- Herbs: sprig of Rosemary, thyme, bay leaf, chopped parsley or even dry parsley flakes
- Olive oil—could be up to 1/2 cup
- Pre-heat oven to 350F
- Place your 10 inch cast iron skillet on top of the burner
- Place all of your meats in a separate bowl—if you wish you can S&P them.
- Place your finely chopped shallot, onion and garlic cloves in a small bowl or maybe like I did you’ve made it easy for yourself and used your Cuisinart.
- Place all of your chopped root veggies in a bowl
- Open your chopped tomatoes can and remember the 2 tablespoons of tomato paste.
- Drain and rinse the cannellini white beans and place in a bowl.
- Heat the skillet over medium heat and cook the bacon in it (about 5 minutes). When the bacon is done, scoop the bacon bits out but leave the bacon drippings in the pan.
- Over medium heat, add 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil to the bacon drippings and gently sauté the onion, shallot and garlic (about 5 minutes) till softened. Remove the ingredients to a separate dish.
- Now, still over medium heat, add to the skillet the chopped veggies and sauté them till slightly brown—stirring every now and then.
- Remove the veggies to its separate bowl.
- To the skillet, still over medium heat, add the meats (maybe in several sessions) and brown, turning every now and then (about 10 minutes)
- Remove the meats to its separate dish.
- Over medium heat in the skillet add the chopped tomatoes with its liquid, the tomato paste, the onion, garlic, shallot and 2 cups chicken broth and bring to a slight boil. Add which ever spices you like tasting as you go. Add the white wine or vermouth. Keep on tasting. Add the herbs. If you like the sauce—go for it.
- At this point add the beans, meats and veggies. Now if you need some more liquid add some more stock but you don’t want the mixture to be drowning in the liquid. If you have too much liquid, spoon it out.
- Place the whole skillet, UNCOVERED, in the pre-heated 350F oven and bake for 1 hour. Watch every now and then to see that your liquid has not evaporated. If so, add some more chicken stock.
- Serve with crusty French bread and wine of course.