Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Delicious Mistakes

Have you ever been really excited about a recipe, gotten everything prepared then realized that your mayo has gone bad or you didn't buy sugar last week like that you thought you had? Have you ever turned that situation around and made lemonade from lemons? The former happens to me often, usually when I think something in fridge is still fresh but it's wilted or I underestimate how much of an ingredient I really need.

Last weekend, I had big plans to make a delicious, traditional apple pie. I often make pies but I don't always go the extra mile of making the crust from scratch. The new apple guy at the Atherton Market had some Granny Smith's that were so beautiful I couldn't help but splurge for a few extras for this recipe. Fast forward to Saturday evening when I have the crust (using butter from Queen City Pantry) and my apples peeled and sliced and in a bowl. I sprinkle in a liberal dose of cinnamon (from Savory Spice Shop), added the sugar and the juice I had in the fridge (this time was grapefruit), mixed it together and poured it in the crust. When I sampled one of the apple slices, however, it was spicy hot. At first I thought my cinnamon was bad but I use it often so I looked closer at the container and realized that I had used cayenne pepper (also from Savory Spice) instead of cinnamon!

Disaster, right? But far be it from me to waste an otherwise perfectly good pie so I put a dash of actual cinnamon in the pie, dotted the top with butter, put the lid on and baked it. To the surprise of everyone (especially me), an amazingly delicious pie that my husband swears is the best I've ever made popped out an hour later.

Don't trust me? Here's the recipe so you can see for yourself.

Spicy Surprise Apple Pie (v)
5 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, sliced into 1 inch slices, 1/4 inch thick
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoons cinnamon
1/3 cup juice of your choice (suggest grapefruit, orange or lemon)
1 top and 1 bottom pie crust
3-4 pats butter
  1. Prepare pie crust.
  2. Combine apples, sugar, cayenne, and juice in a bowl and stir to coat apples.
  3. Empty apples in pie crust and sprinkle cinnamon then dot top with half pats of butter.
  4. Apply top crust and squish rim together.
  5. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes then turn down the heat to 325 until crust is golden brown, about 40 minutes.
  6. Enjoy warm or room temperature.

Note: I got this awesome pie bird for my birthday from a friend. It's made by Le Creuset and you bake it right into the middle of the pie. It helps cook the filling fully but allowing steam to escape (or something) and it really does the trick!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Comfy Cozy Soup Recipe

I don't know about where you are, but here in Charlotte it's been unseasonably cold and gray the last week. Everyone seems to be coming down with a cold or the flu (yours truly included) and sometimes you just need a good bowl of soup.

I wrote this recipe out for a friend recently who is trying the Whole30 program which doesn't allow grains, dairy, alcohol or processed foods. This recipe is perfect for those following that program but also avoiding meat. It's also super easy and you probably have most of this in your frigerator right now. 

The onion and garlic can be found pretty much at any market this time of year; I used squash or zucchini that I've frozen from the summer because we always end up with so much; and the kale is also readily available but I always get mine from Coto Farms.

Comfy Vegetable Soup (V)
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion or 1 whole shallot, diced
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
~1-2 cups consisting of the following: mushrooms, squash or zucchini and/or kale
1 large can petite diced tomatoes
4-6 cups of vegetable broth (depending on how many cups of veggies you add)
Your favorite seasoning - our favorites are tumeric, chili, cayenne, or Peak Lemon Pepper (not together, pick one or two that complement each other)
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Saute the olive oil, onion/shallot and garlic until softened.
  2. Add in the veggies and cook at high heat till they have some color on them.
  3. Add the tomatoes and about 2 cups broth and bring to a boil.
  4. Season then add the rest of the broth and bring to a boil.
  5. Simmer on medium-low for 20-30 minutes to combine flavors.