Amy’s Apple Crisp

Amy's Apple CrispAn Apple a Day
At the first sign of fall I get a yearning for something apple-y. If I lived back east I would be knee deep in apple cider donuts and spiced fresh cider. But alas, I am not. So when the first of the new apple crop hits the shelves (I’m looking at you Gravensteins) I make an apple crisp.

Usually when the new apple season is upon us, the temps outside are too hot to make turning your oven on seem like a good idea. But, I make an exception for apple crisp. Sometimes a little pain is worth the gain.

There are any number of ways you could make an apple crisp. Personally, I prefer to top mine with an oatmeal crumble. Of course, you can add other fruits besides apples in there too. The last of the summer stone fruits would work. I love adding a handful of raisins. Or, some of the new pears and later in the season, cranberries can add a bright pop of tartness. For the first crisp of the harvest season, I always keep it simple and go with only apples. I will make an exception for cinnamon or a little cardamom as a nice twist.

My recipe is pretty basic, though lately I have been adding some boiled cider to all of my apple recipe for a little added apple kick. This works great for your freshly-picked apples from the garden or market—but also with the ones that have been in your fruit bowls for a day or to longer than they should have.

This is dessert for the soul, especially when served with ice cream. But, the left overs make for a very satisfying breakfast the following morning…what? There’s oats in there. That counts!

Amy’s Apple Crisp
Yields 8 Servings Read more…

Raspberry Rhubarb Cobbler

Raspberry Rhubarb CobblerDitchin’ The Cheese
I had planned on talking about cheese this week. You can never go wrong with cheese. But then, sometimes life throws you a curveball. Since it’s now March, everywhere you look things have gone green in anticipation of St. Patrick’s Day. And, of course, I immediately think “Cheese!” (I know. My friends and family have long since stopped trying to understand my thought processes.)

However, over the weekend, I made something that was just so good I couldn’t stop myself from writing about it. The cheese will have to wait…

My in-laws were in town so I had everyone over for a lovely salmon dinner with roasted asparagus. It was while picking out the asparagus that I was enticed by the gorgeous rhubarb in all of its deep red glory that was calling my name from the shelf above. To me, rhubarb is a sign of hope that we are in fact leaving winter, and its cabbages and root vegetables, behind to usher in the new and more interesting produce that arrives with spring. My entire family loves rhubarb so there was no question. I was not leaving the store without it. But what to make?

When it comes to rhubarb recipes, I like to keep it simple. I love a good crisp—or even just roasting it by itself to put in yogurt. Strawberry Rhubarb Pie is always a hit. But, the strawberries aren’t that great yet so I will leave that to when it weather is warmer. I chose this recipe for Raspberry Rhubarb Cobbler because it was fairly quick, and something about the twist of the raspberries just appealed to me.

I have never seen a dessert disappear so fast. It might be because the flavors were so bright and different from what we’ve been eating in the last few months. But, this one, my friends, is a definite keeper. The color was stunning and I think the biscuits on top will be how I do all my cobblers going forward.

I did make some changes to the original recipe. For one, I added more cornstarch. The filling was a little too loose for my tastes. I also bumped up the sugar just a bit. Although, you could add some honey if you prefer.

Raspberry Rhubarb Cobbler Recipe  Read more…

Breakfast Grits with Succotash

Breakfast Grits with SuccotashSouthern Romance
I’m a reader. I easily read 2-3 books a week. Granted, I am not always reading the really heavy stuff. (I have a thing for romance novels. Sorry, not sorry. 😜) I am also that person who will read a series over and over if I love it—which is what I started doing last week. My current selection is a Romance series I have now read three times. It is set in the charming city of Charleston, SC and while all of the characters are fantastic, the real star of these books, in my opinion, is the food.

There’s a lot of talk about bacon, and shrimp, and cheese grits in these pages and it has been making my mouth water the whole time. I have always been a fan of a tasty bowl of shrimp and grits. And, to read the words used to describe them in the story makes my culinary imagination run wild. The recipe that stands out the most is one for a bowl of breakfast grits topped with southern succotash and a poached egg. I mean. I just can’t even…It’s killin’ me!

Unfortunately, there is no recipe to go along with the tasty prose so I had to recreate it on my own. For the first time in a while, I will actually be able to sleep in this Saturday so my plan is to indulge in this recipe over the weekend.

It’s important to use good grits in this situation which, if you ask any self-respecting southerner, means stone-ground grits. Not instant grits. It’s up to you whether you go with the white or yellow version. Personally, I prefer the yellow. Here on the West Coast, it can be difficult to find the really good artisan grits though you can sometimes find them at the farmers market or you can always get them online. If you don’t want to wait that long (I feel your pain.) I recommend Bob’s Red Mill Stone Ground Grits.

And, I called for fried eggs for the recipe because they are easier. But, if you have a good system for poaching go to it! They’ll be delicious.

Also, butter and half n half are a must. Leave your diet at the door. Anything worth doing is worth doing it the right way. And, in this case, that means butterfat and cream. Oh, and bacon, let’s not forget the bacon. I will be leaving the okra out of the succotash, though. My Florida raised husband had okra forced upon him as a child and it didn’t end well. If I served this to him with okra, he might get lawyers on the phone…

Breakfast Grits with Succotash
Yields 4 to 6 servings
Read more…

Mini Frittatas

Mini FrittatasEasy Like Christmas Morning
Christmas morning is a time of magic, wonder, and barely-controlled chaos. Sometimes it can be a challenge just to get the coffee pot going. Though for most people, that is priority one especially if your children woke you at the crack of dawn because they just couldn’t stand it anymore.

By the way, this doesn’t end just because they hit their teenage years. Mine still do it. It’s harder to have the family snuggle in our bed though when the 15 year olds are both 6 feet tall or above…but they still try!

Making breakfast amongst all of this activity can be difficult. For one, there are too many excited people running around in your kitchen. At least that is how it is for me. For another, who wants to be in the kitchen all morning and miss out on all of the fun. Lastly, sometimes you just don’t think about it until the last minute. In the rush to make sure you have gifts for everyone including the dog, forgetting that your family would like to eat breakfast has been known to happen. Something easy and tasty for Christmas morning with ingredients you probably have on hand is the answer.

Sure you could go the tried and true pancakes or waffles route. Those are always a hit. Personally, I like these little guys listed below. They’re quick and easy and you can pretty much put whatever you have on hand in them. No ham? No worries. How ‘bout a little jack cheese and chilies? Or sausage? Or diced green onion and red pepper? No matter what you decide to put in them, you could easily serve them alongside the pancakes and waffles. Because it’s Christmas…you get to live a little and have both…

Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Mini Frittatas
Adapted from Giada De Laurentis and the Food Network
Yields servings
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