Video: Apple Dumplings

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First video on Location! (Very fancy….)

Ingredients:

  • Pie crust for double crust (or two pre-made 9″ crusts)
  • 6 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 9×13 inch pan.
  2. Mix brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Make your crust, or roll out pre-made crust. (I’ll post a video on making pie crust soon, so if you don’t know how, feel free to buy pre-made. It’s not the best, but it makes for a stupidly simple preparation.)
  4. Cut crust into 6 squares, or cut so that each piece can wrap around your apples.
  5. Peel and core your apples. (If you don’t have an apple corer you can cut the apples in half to make it easier to core. Like it shows in the video, it may split if you do that, but it will still be amazing!)
  6. Put a piece of butter in, then some of the brown sugar and spices. More butter and some more brown sugar. Sprinkle some cinnamon and brown sugar on the outside of the apple (but inside the crust, duh.)
  7. Wet your fingertips and bring one corner of pastry to the top. Repeat with all the corners and smoosh it together until it’s totally covered. (You may need to pinch the top together a bit to make sure it sticks.)
  8. Place apples in greased glass baking dish and set aside.
  9. In a small saucepan, combine water, white sugar, vanilla extract and rest of butter. (About 1/2 the stick.) Place over medium heat, and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, or until sugar is dissolved. Carefully pour over dumplings.
  10. Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes. Place each apple dumpling in a dessert bowl, and spoon some sauce over the top. Don’t forget vanilla ice cream, it’s the best!

So for real, this is such an easy recipe!! It’s pretty heavy and rich, so I’d recommend serving with a lighter dinner. That being said, it’s one of my favorite desserts for summer. I’ve had two boys propose to me after eating this, so be careful who you make it for. :)

xoxo,

Mel

Video: Butter Chickpea Curry

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Ingredients:

  • 4 medium potatoes, cubed and cooked
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into bite sized pieces, steamed
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes (regular sized can)
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup cream (or milk)
  • 1 (12 ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans) rinsed and drained.

Directions:

  1. Place potatoes in a saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil over high heat; simmer until the potatoes are tender. Drain, and set aside.
  2. Steam or microwave cauliflower until it’s cooked but still firm. Drain and set aside.(You can cook the potatoes and cauliflower ahead of time, just throw them in the fridge up to one day.)
  3. Melt butter in large pot over medium heat. Stir in onion and garlic, and cook until the onions are soft and translucent.
  4. Stir in curry powder, garam masala, ginger, cumin, and salt. Cook for at least 2 minutes, stirring the whole time. (Don’t worry that it’s a weird pasty mess, it will be fine once the liquid is added. Promise.)
  5. Pour in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, cream, and chickpeas. Stir in potatoes. Simmer at least 5 minutes, up to 30 minutes

This dish can be served right away, but it’s also delicious when it’s had some time to sit and let the flavors come together. If you let it cool then reheat it don’t forget to add a little water, as the curry can thicken up quite a lot. You want the curry to be like a heavy gravy, not lumpy and grainy.

Hopefully you saw in the video how totally easy this is. It’s a great dish, and even though it’s vegetarian I still feel like a hedonist when I eat it.

As always, enjoy and let me know what you think.

xoxo,

Melanie

Video: French Toast

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Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 9 eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups whole or reduced-fat (2%) milk
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 3/4-inch-thick slices French bread

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees (to keep cooked french toast warm.)
  2. Wisk all ingredients together (except bread of course) in large bowl.
  3. Soak both sides of bread in wet ingredients until fully saturated.
  4. Heat large skillet to medium/medium high heat, coat skillet with butter. (Butter should sizzle but not smoke.)
  5. Place bread in skillet and cook until golden brown, 3-5 minutes. Flip over and cook 3-5 minutes more. (May take more or less time depending on oven and skillet. Keep an eye on it!)
  6. Once french toast is done, place in oven to keep warm. Make sure to put more butter on the skillet before cooking the next batch.

This recipe is really easy, and produces great French Toast!  Don’t forget that it’s very sweet. Preserves or even fresh fruit would be a great topping if you can’t handle too much sweetness. Let me know what you think!

xoxo,

Melanie

Video: Quick, delicious pasta sauce

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Ingredients:

  • 2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 8 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 32oz. cans whole tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil (triple the amount if fresh)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more if you want heat)
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon marjoram
  • bay Leaf
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1teaspoon sugar
  • pinch of black pepper (more to taste)

Directions:

  1. Saute chopped onion and garlic in olive oil on medium heat till tender and somewhat translucent
  2. Add basil, pepper flakes, oregano, marjoram, bay leaf (and any other seasonings you may want into saucepan and stir for 2 minutes
  3. Add both cans of tomatoes (including juice), salt, sugar and pepper and bring to a boil
  4. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, stirring every 20 minutes or so.
  • This recipe was soooo easy! What I like so much about it is how versatile it is. If you’re a new cook, just follow the recipe and it will turn out great. If you’re a little more comfortable in the kitchen, trying adding some things. Red wine, vodka, cheese, meat, different seasonings, there’s really no limit.
  • Also, don’t forget that this is a great recipe to double. It doesn’t increase your cooking time, and pasta sauce freezes great! I like to put it in zip-lock sandwich bags, freeze it, and then when I’m in the mood for a simple meal I can pull one out and defrost it real quick.

Garbanzo bean, lentil and vegetable Stew – Recipe

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Close up of amazing Vegetarian Stew, yum!

makes 4 serving

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 1/4 cups canned vegetable broth
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 1 cup dried lentils
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 15 to 16 oz can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 carrots, peeled and cup in 1/4 inch rounds
  • 1 cup frozen Lima beans
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley (looks great but you don’t have to have it.)
  • 1 oz bag fresh spinach leaves (or 1/2 a bag of frozen)

Stew on rice with cornbread

Directions

  1. Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium low heat. Add onions and garlic and saute until soft and golden (about 10 minutes)
  2. Add tomato paste, coriander, caraway and cayenne; stir one minute.
  3. Stir in broth, water and lentils. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until lentils are almost tender about 15 minutes.
  4. Add garbanzo beans, carrots, Lima beans and parsley. Cover and simmer until carrots are very tender, about 20 minutes.
    (If you want, you can cool this and refrigerate this a day ahead. Bring it back to a simmer before continuing)
  5. Stir spinach info stew. Cover and cook just until spinach wilts, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Ladle soup into bowls, over rice, and prepare to really enjoy your meal!

Who knew vegetarian food could be so good?!

Recipe: Roasted Garlic

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This is a great way to use up Garlic that’s beginning to get old. (You can tell it’s getting old when you cut it and it’s beginning to sprout. See second picture down.) This is one of my favorite things to eat in the world, enjoy!

You will need:

1. Garlic

2. Olive Oil

3. Aluminum Foil

3. Oven safe dish

4. Salt and pepper

1. Cut Garlic bulbs 1/4 inch from top with a SHARP knife.

2. Set cut garlic bulbs in Aluminum foils squares that can wrap around bulbs completely.

3. Pour extra virgin olive oil over bulbs until oil begins to spill over. (Don’t put much more in!)

4. Make sure each bulb is saturated. (I recommend you keep the olive oil, it will be Garlic flavored and great for dipping bread into!).

5. Wrap each bulb up, making sure they are covered, put in oven safe container.

6. Cook in 375 degree oven until garlic is very soft and caramelized looking. (45 minutes to an hour normally.)

Tonight I had this on toasted french bread with a little sea salt. It was amazing! But my other favorite way to prepare it is to get a good quality blue cheese, fresh basil and a baguette. Slice and toast the baguette, smear some blue cheese, roasted garlic and a tiny bit of basil. It is really heaven in your mouth. Be careful though, one time I ate two entire bulbs of garlic and they almost sent me home from work the next day. Oops!

Please let me know if you have a good recipe using roasted garlic, I’d love to post it here.

xoxo

Dinner tonight

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Roasted garlic on toasted pieces of bread and a bunch of leftovers that turned into a pseudo lasagna. Can you get more comfort foody?!