During the Pandemic lockdown, the girls and I joined our local winery, InVINtions, for their Zoom Italian Cooking classes with Chef Lucas. We made many wonderful dishes with Chef Lucas, and Pears in Red Wine Sauce was a delicious surprise. We didn’t have great expectations for this recipe, but trust me, it was one of many fantastic dishes!
When the holidays are upon us and we are tired of dishes that are too sweet or too rich, this is the perfect answer. It is a beautiful dish to serve your guests or to enjoy all by yourself!
PEARS IN RED WINE SAUCE
1 Bottle Red Wine
8 Ounces (1 cup) of Sugar
3 Cinnamon Sticks
- In a pan, combine all the ingredients.
- Cook over low heat for about 1 hour.
- If you desire a thicker sauce, remove the pears after
cooked and mix one teaspoon of corn starch with a 1/4
cup water and mix with the wine.
- Serve hot or cold. They are delicious warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream! You can store in the fridge for about a month.
Recipe from Lucas Migliorelli
Autumn and apples are like hand in glove. I love making apple desserts and salads and I needed a Vegan and Gluten-Free dessert for a gathering of friends. This recipe fit the bill and was scrumptious for all.
APPLE CRUMBLE — GLUTEN FREE AND VEGAN
- 6 large Granny Smith apples (around 1 kilo), peeled, cored and chopped into cubes
- ½ cup coconut sugar
- 1/4 cup arrowroot powder
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. ground ginger (optional)
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 tbsp. water
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 cup almond meal
- 1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour
- 1 cup gluten-free rolled oats
- 1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 3/4 cup coconut sugar
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract2 tbsp. water
- Preheat oven to 180C (350F).
- In a large bowl combine all the filling ingredients making sure that all the apples are coated well.
- Spread the apples evenly in an approximately 31x21cm (12.2×8.27inch) baking dish and set aside.
- For the crumble topping, reusing the bowl from the apples, combine all the topping ingredients well with a spatula. If you feel like it isn’t mixed in well enough evenly, I like to get in with my hands.
- Crumb the topping over the apples evenly and put in the oven to bake for around 45-50 minutes.
- Serve warm with some vegan ice cream, cream or even yoghurt.
Recipe from theminimalistvegan.com
Fall is in the air and I am ready for soup season! A friend shared the Pork Poblano Stew (with citrus notes) recipe with me and we brainstormed a starch to use in the recipe. I thought sweet potato would be great either added to the stew (which I did) or served over a baked sweet potato. The flavors are unique and so delicious. It is great served with cornbread, crusty bread or, as one daughter suggested, with tortilla chips.
Next week I’ll post a second recipe for a savory Pork Poblano Stew. Both are delicious!
PORK POBLANO STEW WITH SWEET POTATO
2 teaspoons hot or mild chili powder
1 ¼ pounds pork tenderloin, cut into 3/4- to 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 fresh poblano chile pepper, seeded and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 large red sweet pepper, seeded and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 medium onion cut into thin wedges
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed (optional–I added and it was delicious)
14.5 ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes with garlic, undrained
14.5 ounce can chicken broth (I used a quart of chicken broth)
3 inch stick of cinnamon
2 teaspoons finely shredded orange peel
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
- In a medium bowl, sprinkle chili powder over pork. Toss to combine.
- In a large saucepan heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Cook the pork, about 4 minutes or until cooked through, stirring occasionally. Remove pork from saucepan; set aside.
- Add remaining oil to saucepan. Add poblano pepper, sweet pepper, and onion to saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until vegetables are just tender, about 5 minutes. Add sweet potato, tomatoes, broth, and cinnamon stick.
- Bring to boiling. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Uncover and add reserved pork and orange juice. Return to a simmer for 5 minutes more. Stir in orange peel.
- To serve, remove stick cinnamon. Ladle into shallow bowls.
Recipe adapted from BHG.com
Autumn brings cooler weather, falling leaves and wonderful vegetables. I’ve become a huge fan of roasted vegetables and loved the idea of combining squash with Brussel sprouts. Adding cherries, nuts and honey were the icing on top of the vegetables.
This is a wonderful dish for a potluck, holiday and just an ordinary night at home.
ROASTED BRUSSEL SPROUTS
4 cups Brussel Sprouts, ends trimmed, yellow leaved removed, halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt to taste
ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH
1.5 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and dubbed into 1 inch cubes (about 4 cups)
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons honey (or maple syrup)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans or halves
1/2 cup dried cherries (or Craisins)
optional: 2-4 tablespoons honey or maple syrup (I did not add additional honey)
Roasted Brussel Sprouts
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease the foil-lined baking sheet.
- In a medium bowl, combine halved Brussel sprouts, 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt (to taste) and toss. Place on foil-lined baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 20-25 minutes. During the last 5-10 minutes of roasting, turn them over for even browning. The cut sides should be nicely browned and partially charred.
Roasted Butternut Squash
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a foil-lined baking sheet.
- In a medium bowl, combine cubed butternut squash (peeled and seeded), olive oil, honey, and cinnamon. Toss to mix.
- Place butternut squash in even layer on the baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning once half-way through baking, until squash is softened.
NOTE: You can roast both the Brussel sprouts and the butternut squash on 2 separate baking sheets at the same time .
- In a large bowl, combine the roasted Brussel sprouts, roasted butternut squash, pecans, and cherries (or cranberries) and mix to combine.
OPTIONAL: For more sweetness, add 2-4 tablespoons or honey or maple syrup…add slowly to desired amount of sweetness.
Adapted from Juliasalbum.com
My first time to host Bunco and I decided to go with a Mexican themed menu including Chile Pie, peach and tomato salsa with chips, Mexican Chocolate Snickerdoodles, salad and watermelon. I grew up eating traditional snickerdoodles and this is a great new twist on that recipe. If you’re a chocolate lover, you will enjoy this cookie!
MEXICAN CHOCOLATE SNICKERDOODLES
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup brown sugar
1 tsp. cream of tartar
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
½ cup unsweetened cocoa
2¼ cups all purpose flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- In a large mixing bow, beat the butter and sugars together until nice and fluffy.
- Beat in cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, and cayenne pepper until well blended.
- Beat in eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla extract.
- Stir in unsweetened cocoa and flour just until combined.
- Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
- Use a cookie scoop to scoop out dough and use the palm of your hands to form into a ball. Roll the ball in the cinnamon-sugar mixture and place on the prepared baking sheet. Flatten slightly with your palm.
- Bake cookies for 10 to 12 minutes. Let cookies cool on cookie sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
- Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Recently our book club read and reviewed ‘Tallgrass’ by Sandra Dallas, a historical novel that addresses the life and times of the small Colorado town and the controversial internment camp that divided the townspeople. It was an great book and spurred an excellent discussion. We all agreed that Sandra Dallas, who lives in Colorado and has family ties to Iowa, has an excellent voice for her characters.
Our book club always begins our gathering with a wonderful potluck typically with a theme associated with book. This evening we enjoyed sushi, edemame salad, fried rice, salads, fruit and much more. After brainstorming with my book club buddies, I decided to make an Old Fashioned Apple Pie in honor of Mary Stroud, a key character in the book.
My favorite Apple Pie is, again, from one my all-time favorite cookbooks. I must confess that I don’t make my own pie crust. I think the Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crusts are excellent and I’d rather spend time on the good part…the filling!
As I was making this pie and cutting the vents for the top crust, I couldn’t help but think of my Mother and the hundreds, if not thousands, of pies that she baked over the years. I carry on her vent design, simple but effective.
The pie is excellent on its own but always wonderful topped with vanilla bean ice cream, too!
OLD FASHIONED APPLE PIE
Pastry for 2 crust pie
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons flour
6 cups thinly sliced, pared tart cooking apples
2 tablespoons butter
- On lightly floured surface, roll out half of pastry into an 11 inch circle. Use to line 9 inch pie plate, trim. Refrigerate, with rest of pastry until ready to use.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- In small bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon, flour and salt, mixing well. Add to apples in large bowl, tossing lightly to combine.
- Turn into pastry-lined pie plate, mounding high in center; dot with butter.
- Roll out remaining pastry into an 11 inch circle. Make several slits near center for steam vents; adjust over filling; trim.
- Fold edge of top crust under bottom crust; press together with fingertips. Crimp edge decoratively.
- Bake 45-50 minutes, or until apples are tender and crust is golden-brown.
- Cool partially on wire rack; serve warm.
- Optional: Top with vanilla bean ice cream.
Recipe from: McCall’s Cook Book, 1963
Our baby shower treats of last Saturday focused on baby-sized treats, including Mini Snickerdoodle Cupcakes. Who doesn’t love a Snickerdoodle cookie…so why not a cupcake? They could easily be adapted to a full-size cupcake without a problem. They are yummy, yummy in the tummy as I will soon say to my first Grandbaby.
MINI SNICKERDOODLE CUPCAKES
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, plus 1/2 teaspoon for dusting
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for dusting
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups milk
6 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 to 4 tablespoons milk (or more to achieve desired consistency)
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Makes 98+ mini muffins.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Sift together both flours, baking powder, salt and 1 tablespoon cinnamon.
- With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk, and beating until combined after each.
- Divide butter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full.
- Bake rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about (10-15 minutes). (Cathy’s Note: Each oven varies greatly with mini cupcakes, so do a test run.)
- Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored up to 2 days at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months in airtight containers.
- Frost mini cupcakes and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
- Cupcakes are best eaten the day they are frosted. Keep at room temperature until ready to serve.
Cupcake recipe adapted from: Martha Stewart
Icing recipe from: Betty Crocker
No Bake Energy Bites were another Pinterest find. They sounded delicious, somewhat healthy, and easy. They remind me so much of the no-bake chocolate cookies we made when I was a kid (and for my kids).
I added cinnamon to the recipe and also rolled some of them in oatmeal, just to add a little visual interest. Next time I plan to add some chopped walnuts, almonds or sunflower seeds.
Energy bites any time of day for energy or when your sweet tooth is getting the best of you!
No Bake Energy Bites
1 cup dry oatmeal
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- Mix all ingredients together.
- Roll into balls and refrigerate. You can also roll the bites in the oatmeal again to coat (optional).
Adapted from: http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/no-bake-energy-bites/
Apple Butter was a fall tradition in my Mother’s kitchen back on the Iowa farm with plenty of local apples to use. She would can several jars and store in our ‘fruit room’ in the basement. Neighbors and friends would share the fruits of their apple harvest with the offer to come pick what remained on their trees. That’s just how neighbors treat neighbors.
Years ago, a co-worker shared her crockpot apple butter recipe with me. It’s been in my recipe box ready to be used and this was the year. The process takes a while but you don’t have to stand over the stove watching it to assure it doesn’t stick and burn. I’m easily distracted so this is the ticket!
What to serve with the apple butter? I made a loaf of oatmeal quick bread (see post of October 23) and served a slice of the bread with fresh apple butter on top for an autumn dessert to die for.
– Apple Butter Spread on Oatmeal Bread
12 to 14 apples
2 cups apple juice
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cloves
- Wash, core and quarter apples (do not peel).
- Combine apples and apple juice in lightly oiled Crock pot.
- Cover and cook on Low setting for 10-18 hours (or on High setting for 2-4 hours).
When fruit is tender, put through a food mill to remove peel. Measure cooked fruit and return to Crockpot. For each pint of sieved cooked fruit, add sugar, cinnamon, allspice and loves; stir well. Cover and cook on High setting for 6-8 hours, stirring every 2 hours. Remove cover after 3 hours to allow fruit and juice to cook down.
You can can the apple butter by spooning into hot sterilized jars and processing according to standard cooking methods. I chose to refrigerate and share with family for immediate (and I do mean immediate consumption). It’s too wonderful to last long!
Yield: 5 1/2 pint jars
Fall is in the air and the apples are fantastic. What a perfect time to make fresh applesauce just like Mom used to make. I’m honored that this tradition continues as older daughter, Megan, made this year as well.
A trip to the Farmer’s Market for fresh apples and a little time and you’re ready to go.
I’m fortunate enough to still have the vintage colander sieve with wooden pestle my Mother used for many years, making quick work of making ultra-smooth applesauce. I have even cooked the apples with the skin on (and sometimes with the seeds) knowing that the colander/sieve will strain out the skin and seeds.
8 apples (Granny Smith’s work well–but use what you have)
1 cup cold water
1 teaspoon cinnamon
sugar to taste (or none if you prefer)
- Wash the apples under cold water. Peel and core each apple and cut into smaller pieces. Put apples, water, and sugar in saucepan.
- Cook over medium heat. When the water begins to boil, turn down heat to medium low to simmer and add cinnamon. Cover with lid and lower heat again to keep from sticking. Stir often while cooking about 40 minutes. Add more water if needed.
- Use a vintage sieve and pestle, potato masher (or food processor) to mash apples into smooth, thick sauce.
Serve warm or chill in refrigerator. Freezes well.