Monday, September 26, 2011

Short and SWEET...Apple Cider Vinaigrette.

Okay everyone, this is the real deal.  I'm serious.  Your heart is going to melt.

You know I mean business when I don't even babble on and on at the beginning.

So, like the title implies...this is going to be short and sweet.  I don't want you to waste time by sitting here reading this.  I'm going to give you the recipe and then you are going to run, literally RUN to your kitchen and make this.

I'm demanding, huh?

Apple Cider Vinaigrette... I love you. 
-from One Lovely Life
  • 1 cup Apple Cider
  • 1/2 cup Canola Oil
  • 2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Honey
  • 1 Garlic Clove, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Pepper
  • pinch of Cinnamon
Directions: Combine all ingredients in a large jar/container.  Whisk or shake well.  Store in the refrigerator for up to one week.

I didn't even allow myself time to take more pictures.  I immediately threw together this veggie, goat cheese, and pastrami salad.  And smothered it in the vinaigrette of course.  Oooh my goodness.

You won't regret this.  I promise.

Coming up: ....I don't know!  My precious mother will be in town this coming weekend so hopefully we will be able to spend a night at home and whip up something delicious!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Acorn Squash Soup

Alright, three posts in less than ten days?  Who am I?  What happened to the lazy once a month blogger?  Don't worry, I'm sure she will be back anytime.

Seriously though, I'm not sure what has gotten in to me.  Maybe it's the fall weather that's keeping me in the kitchen.  Or all of the delicious fall recipes I've been salivating over and dying to make for the last four excruciatingly hot months.  Or all of the wonderful ingredients sitting in my refrigerator begging to be used immediately.

I'm going to settle with it being a combination of the three.  It only seems fair.

Speaking of fall recipes...This is going to be a stretch because comments on here are rare, BUT I know there are at least a few readers out there so...I want to hear what your favorite autumn dishes are!  Please!  Maybe you will provide some inspiration for recipes to come.  I would love that.  Yes, I would.  

Let's keep this short and sweet and get on with it.

Acorn Squash Soup...with goat cheese and basil croutons.
  • 2 medium Acorn Squash
  • 1 medium Yellow Onion
  • 1/4 cup diced Carrots
  • 1 Apple
  • 2 cups Chicken Stock
  • 1 cup Apple Cider
  • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons Dill
  • 1/4 (or less) teaspoon Cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Goat Cheese for garnish
For the Croutons:
  • Focaccia Bread-Or any other kind of bread!
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoons Butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh herbs (I used basil)
1. Look at those beautiful things.  Straight from Honey Pot Hill Orchard.
2. Cut squash length wise and scoop out the "goop".
3. Salt and pepper the inside.  You can even throw on a little butter if you want.
4. Place them cut side down on a greased baking sheet.  Bake at 425° for 30 minutes.
5. Dice onion and carrots.  And please excuse the lack of light in my kitchen.  I'm not sure how those carrots got to be that strange color.
6. Grab an apple.  Another gift from Honey Pot Hill.
7. Peel, core, dice.
8. Saute onion and carrots in a tablespoon or two of butter for 15 minutes or so.
9. Add diced apples.
10. The squash should be done by now so get those babies out of the oven!
11. After it has cooled just a bit, drop in the squash (no skin of course!)
12. Now slowly pour in 2 cups of chicken stock.
13. And one cup of apple cider.  Let it simmer for 15 minutes.  Stir occasionally.
14. Now puree the heck out of it!  Seriously.  You don't want any chunks.  Chunks = Icky.
  15. Okay I got distracted at this point.  I'm sorry.  Put the pureed mixture back into the pot and add 2 tablespoons dill, 1/4 (or less) teaspoon cayenne, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/2 cup heavy cream.  

See how many pictures I missed there?  Oops.  Keep on low while you are making the croutons.

16. Cut bread into cubes.

17. Put 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 1 tablespoon fresh herbs into a bowl.  Microwave for 45 seconds.

18. Toss bread in butter/olive oil mixture. 

19. Spread a single layer of croutons onto a baking sheet.  Bake for 7 minutes at 350°.

20. Ooo La La!

21. Top with goat cheese and croutons.

22. Eat!

Coming up: More fall favorites.  Including some Apple Cider Vinaigrette.  Yum. Yum. Yum.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Apple and Goat Cheese Tartlets

 Well everyone, it's official.  Fall is here.  The air is crisp, the scarves and jackets are coming out of the closet orchards are opening for the fall festivities!

Fall is quite possibly my favorite season, especially here in New England.  There is nothing better than taking a nice stroll through the North End filled with it's smell of new fall air and the delicious Italian cooking, all to jump into the car and take a picturesque drive to Honey Pot Hill Orchards in Stow, Massachusetts.  Throw in a craft fair, maybe even a pumpkin patch and I would be in fall heaven never wanting to leave.  Why would you?

Yesterday was our second annual trip to Honey Pot Hill.  Which practically makes us regulars, right?  I'd say so.  Honey Pot is not just your average orchard.  It is filled with all sorts of goodies area of farm animals to feed, a country store filled with the delicious fruits, the pick your own orchard, a hedge maze and so on.  While we enjoyed every bit of the aforementioned activities, there is one more that wins above all else.  The bakery.  Serving up fresh hot cider donuts, caramel apples, fresh fruit pies, and apple cider to wash it all down.  Mmm Mmm Mmm.  It's sinful.  And probably the only reason we will drive the two hour round trip multiple times this fall.
Looks like there is about to be a battle for the last donut.
As I mentioned in my last post, we are going to be making Apple and Goat Cheese Tartlets with caramelized onions.  And of course I got the apples at the orchard.  Orchard fresh apples can't be beat.  Here we go!

Apple and Goat Cheese Tartlets...with caramelized onions and honey butter.
  • 1 package frozen puff pastry (2 sheets) thawed
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup honey, divided
  • 4 thyme sprigs, plus more for garnish
  • salt
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) fresh goat cheese at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3 small apples
1. Dice up a medium yellow onion.
2. Melt 1 Tablespoon of butter.
3. Add diced onions to butter and saute on medium heat for 15-20 minutes or until transparent.
4. Add 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar.
5. Add 1 Tablespoon (or a little more) of brown sugar.
6. Add a fresh sprig of thyme and a bit of salt and pepper.  Saute for another 15-20 minutes without browning the onions.
7. Grab your thawed pastry sheets.  Using a cookie cutter or ring cut eight 4 inch circles (four from each sheet). Firmly press down into each round with a 3 inch cutter *being careful not to go all the way through* to create the border.  Put baking sheet into freezer for at least 30 minutes to firm up.
8. I love my honey jar.
9. Melt 2 Tablespoons of butter in a saucepan.  When the butter is halfway melted pour in half the amount of honey.
10. Add several sprigs of thyme.
11. And a dash of salt.  Stir gently.  When butter is melted and honey is warm remove from heat and set aside.
12. In a small bowl combine goat cheese, apple cider vinegar, and a dash of salt.
13. These apples were Ooooh so good.
14. Peel and core the delicious apples.
15. Slice the apples as thin as you can without slicing a finger off.
16. Grab the pastry out of the freezer and put a nice amount of the goat cheese mixture within the border of the pastry.
17. Have I mentioned how much I love goat cheese?
18. Toss on the balsamic onions that we made in the beginning.
19.  And the apple slices on top.
20. Hello honey...butter.
21. Drizzle over the top of apples.
22. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Bake for 30 minutes or until apples are soft and the pastry is golden and puffy.
23. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with thyme.  If you're feeling really wild you can add a nice grated cheese and/or some toasted pecans.
24. Eat!

Up next: Be watching for some more creations via Honey Pot Hill.  I went a little crazy at the country store...Oops.
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