Sukju namul (Mung Bean Sprout Ban Chan)

When I was younger I could never take the heat of typical Korean cuisine. Luckily for me there were some non-spicy dishes. Like this mung bean salad called sukju namul. It was always my saving grace whenever we went out to eat, it was always there amongst the hot pickely side dishes called banchan, the crunch of the mung bean with the savory notes from the sesame seed oil and sesame seeds makes for a savory dish packed with umami. Even the most delicate of pallets can enjoy this Korean side dish without guzzling a gallon of water.

The one thing that I really love about making Korean food is that most of it comes together rather quickly. The most difficult thing getting the ingredients but with Korean food gaining popularity and H-Marts being in almost every major city it’s no longer as difficult to get these ingredients.

Ingredients

1 pound sukju namul mung bean sprouts

1 scallion finely chopped

1 teaspoon garlic

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon sesame seeds

salt about 1 teaspoon and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Rinse the bean sprouts twice in cold water. Boil 4 cups of water, in a medium size pot, along with a teaspoon of salt. Drop in the sprouts and cover. Blanch the sprouts until slightly softened, about 1 minute.
  2. Drain quickly. When cool enough to handle, gently squeeze out the excess water.
  3. Toss well with the remaining ingredients. Add salt to taste.

Lemon Meringue Cookies

I recently tried to make a pavlova and I tried to cheat and use meringue powder. I just find it easier to measure than egg whites, which are notoriously hard to work with. That’s the one thing with baking, your measurements need to be exact in order for your recipe to work. Unfortunately it still did not work out for me. I didn’t receive the height that I wanted. Ever since becoming a food photographer I know often think about how what I’m cooking/baking is going to translate to a picture. I’m a total fan of ugly delicious food, but we eat with our eyes. I would be doing you guys a disservice by making ugly food. I usually save those ugly delicious shots for my Instagram stories.

At the end of my pavlova debacle I had a whole big-ass tub of meringue powder (my husband could only find the 16 oz. tub) that I needed to use. Inspired by the packaging, there was this fun, fluffy, swirl that graced the label. Then I remembered that meringue cookies were a thing. I ended up tweaking Wilton’s recipe for my meringue cookies. The only thing I really changed about this recipe was that I used lemon extract instead of vanilla. The only reason I changed it was because I couldn’t find clear imitation vanilla. But to be honest I like them way better with the lemon extract. The sourness of the lemon helps to tone down the sweetness of the cookies. They’re crunchy, chewy, light, and fluffy perfect accent to any dessert table.

Lemon Meringue Cookies

Ingredients

1/4 cup Meringue Powder, 4 oz. Egg White Substitute

2 teaspoons lemon extract

1/2 cup water

1-1/3 cups granulated sugar

Favorite icing color

Directions

Preheat oven to 250°F. Prepare cookie pans with parchment paper.

In large bowl, whip Meringue Powder and water with electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. With mixer running, gradually add sugar. Whip until stiff peaks. Add vanilla and icing color and whip until well combined, scraping down bottom and sides of bowl as necessary.

Fill Dessert Decorator Ultra with meringue. Attach tip 1M and pipe 2 in. diameter circles onto parchment-lined cookie pans, spacing 1 in. apart.

Bake 45-50 minutes or until outsides of meringues feel firm and crisp. Cool completely on pan. Peel cooled meringues off of parchment paper.

Irish Potato Shots, another St. Patty’s Day Delco tradition.

Last week I wrote about the Irish Potato candy, but this week we are going to take it a step further and talk about Irish Potato shots. Yes, we’re talking alcohol (cue LMFAO’s “Shots” song), the good stuff, the party starter, the liquid courage. Every year, Nicki, one of my best friends, her family throws a St. Patrick’s Day party. When I lived in Delco, it was always an event I looked forward too. They made such a big deal out of it because they are Irish, and like most Irish – Americans they love St. Patrick’s Day. In addition to it being the biggest Irish holiday of the year it was their mom’s birthday. There’s always a ton of food, everything from stuffed cabbage, sausage with peppers, and of course Irish Potato shots.

Now don’t get me wrong I love living in Lunenburg and the separation from the comfort of Delco has helped me to grow, but I’ll be lying if I said I didn’t get a severe case of FOMO every time St. Patrick’s Day came around. 

Every year this party is like a beacon amongst friends. When you enter the party you are overwhelmed by the amount of familiar faces all drinking, partying, and breaking each other’s stones. There are kids running a muck all over the place, people out back smoking butts, and the birthday girl, sitting in her usual place of honor – on the couch in the living room, with a box of wine next to her just for convenience. All you can hear, are the sounds of laughter from people telling old stories and everyone fighting about which details were true. And true to Irish form, the biggest insults always came from your truest friends. This is the reason why I don’t trust people, who don’t break my stones. These memories are bittersweet for me, it’s one of the many things that I miss about no longer living in Delco. But I get to re-live those memories every time I have this shot.

I remember the first time that I had them. I was sitting there, with my novelty St. Patrick’s day shot glass, hanging around my neck. When suddenly, someone appears with a pitcher of this incredibly boozy concoction. I was hesitant at first, but I was extremely intrigued by the thought of it tasting just like our beloved Irish Potato candy. As soon as it entered my mouth, it did not disappoint. With every liquor representing an ingredient in the candy, the flavors all melded together to taste like a spiked Irish Potato candy. The Bailey’s stands in for the cream cheese, Malibu rum standing in for the coconut, and the Goldenschläger for the cinnamon. Once this hits your tongue there’s no denying that this is definitely an Irish Potato. However, heed my warning, these shots will sneak up on you, like a sucker punch from your enemy.


Irish Potato Shot

Makes 4

Ingredients

1 ounce Jameson whiskey

1 ounce Baileys

1 ounce Malibu Rum

1 ounce Goldenschläger

Directions

Fill a large cup with ice. Pour all ingredients over ice, mix well. (You can use another cup and pour the ingredients back and forth between the two cups or you can use a cocktail shaker.)

Strain mix into shot glasses.

Enjoy (responsibly)!

Irish Potatoes Recipe: An Irish Delco candy tradition.

Hey guys! I’m back after a much needed break. I’ve been going hard on here for over a year! Can you guys believe it? And I have to admit, lately I’ve been feeling overwhelmed. This blog has opened up so many things for me, and I’m not just talking opportunities, it has made me realize my passion for photography, social justice, and mental health. Mental health being the reason why I took a break.

As more time goes on, I constantly set myself to hire standards for this blog, making it become more stressful then fun. When I first started this blog it gave me so much purpose, but then as time went on and my standards for my writing and my photos started to rise, I found myself more and more stressed. I started worrying about not having the right props to portray a certain scene, not having a enough words in my blog post to show up in a Google Search, not having enough time to explore the restaurant and shops that I wanted to showcase.

Then on top of this I decided to take on other side projects, like working with my community and stretching my photography wings by including portraits into my photography repertoire. That’s when I came to realize how stressful this all became, I decided to cut the fat and only focus on what’s important. That’s right, I Marie Kondo’d that shit, and if it didn’t bring me joy, then I cut it out. What was left was my photography portfolio and this blog. That’s right this blog still sparks joy for me, even though it can cause me stress, it still gives me so much purpose. I’ve learned to prioritize my other passions around it. I’m also going to try to be more open, honest, and vulnerable on here. Because I know that it has to be comforting for someone else out there who reads this blog to know that I struggle too. And if reading this made just one person feel better, then I’ve completed what I set out to do.

But enough of the personal stuff and back to why you’re really here. For the Irish Potatoes, which really don’t have potatoes in them at all.

Being from Delco, PA, March meant three things…Shamrock Shakes, St. Patty Day bar crawls, and Irish Potatoes. I’m not talking the things that grow in the ground. I’m talking about a little ball of coconut and cream cheese covered in cinnamon, so that it actually resembles an Irish potato. I remember making these when I was in Girl Scouts as a kid, but then I never made them after that. You didn’t need too, as soon as we turned the calendar to March, every grocery store in town had them. The most popular brand being Oh Ryan’s, they are based out of Boothwyn which was the next town over from where I grew up.

After I moved to Massachusetts and had my first St. Patrick’s Day here, imagine my horror, my surprise, my shock that we did not have Irish Potatoes. I thought, surely this was a mistake, but alas after a half a dozen failed trips to the store, they were never put out. That’s when I decided that I couldn’t let my beloved tradition of getting drunk and eating cream cheese filled candies die. That’s when I started making my own. One year I made them from my son’s class, deciding that even though it was a Delco tradition there was no reason for them to miss out on the fun. My son actually helps me make them, it’s actually a really fun recipe to make with the kids. It helps their fine motor skills by rolling the little candies into a ball and it’s also really fun to roll them in the cinnamon. Plus if there’s no nuts so kids with nut allergies can actually enjoy them too.

Irish Potato Candy

Makes: 30

Ingredients

2 tbsp ground cinnamon

1/4 cup butter softened

4 oz cream cheese softened

1 tsp vanilla extract

16 oz powdered sugar about 4 cups

7 oz sweetened flaked coconut 2 1/2 cups

Directions

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and add ground cinnamon to a small bowl. Set both aside.

Using a stand mixer (or hand mixer + large bowl), cream together butter and cream cheese on medium-high speed until smooth, about 5-7 minutes.

Reduce mixer speed to low. Add vanilla extract, then beat for 30 seconds.

Keeping speed on low, slowly scoop in powdered sugar, adding about 1/3 to 1/2 cup at a time and beating thoroughly between each addition.

Turn off mixer and remove bowl. Pour in flaked coconut and use a spatula (or your hands) to knead the ingredients together.

Using a 1 teaspoon cookie scoop, scoop out dough and roll it between your hands to form a ball. Drop the ball in the small bowl of cinnamon and roll to coat. Place finished candy ball on prepared baking sheet. Repeat this step until all dough has been used.

Place dough in the freezer and let chill for 1 hour or until the candy has set. If desired, roll candy in cinnamon again for a fresh, powdery coat.

Serve candy immediately. Candy can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


Stained Glass Window Christmas Cookies

Christmas time is here and we are baking up a storm. Right now my favorite thing is to bake is cookies. Cookies make me immediately think of the holidays. I thought it be fun to make ornament cookie this year. I’ve always wanted to make these stained glass cookies. Every year I would see them floating around Pinterest and I would buy all the ingredients and then I would eventually just eat the Jolly Ranchers

But this year I decided that I am actually going to make them and they turned out really great. Next year I may even decorate the whole tree in edible decorations. 

I got the recipe from the Fannie Farmer cookbook for a sugar cookie. Then I bought some snowflake cookie cutters. I was lucky that I found these ones that came in all different sizes. You can use any two, you just want to make sure that one is considerable smaller that the other. I used crush blue Jolly ranchers to fill the center of the cookie, then used a toothpick to fill in the small little corners. You want to be careful not to fill it up to much or they will bleed, you also want to use a pastry brush to brush away any shards of candy off of the top of the cookies. Another helpful tip is to make sure that this cookie dough is chilled for at least an hour, overnight would be better. Also you don’t want to forget to use a piping tip to cut out a hole at the tip of the cookies, this way you’ll be able to string a ribbon through so you can hang them on your tree. 

Stained Glass Window Christmas Cookies

Makes 50 cookies

Ingredients

1 stick of butter

3/4 cup of sugar

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon milk

1 1/4 cup flour

Pinch of salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

10 blue Jolly Ranchers, crushed

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter then gradually add the sugar beating until light. Add the egg, vanilla, and milk, and beat thoroughly. Mix the flour, salt, and baking powder together, add to the first mixture, and blend well. On a lightly floured surface shape mixture into a disc, then wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for at least an hour, overnight will be best.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On well floured counter roll out chilled dough  1/8 of an inch thick. Using snowflake cookie cutters cut out snowflakes, then  place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Next take a smaller cookie cutter and cut out the center of a cut out cookie. Then take a piping tip and cut a whole out of the tip of the snowflake. Now fill the cut out center with crushed Jolly Ranchers, use a toothpick to evenly spread the candy and to fill in the corners, if needed use pastry brush to wipe off candy shards.

Bake for 8 to 11 minutes, until edges start to turn golden brown and center has melted and started to bubble. Let cool completely before removing from  cookie sheet. Then use ribbon or kitchen string to hang on tree or simply just eat.

Let me know how this works out for you you. Please tag me in your photos if you post anywhere on social media I would love to see what you made. 

The Blood of Laveau the cocktail

2018_10_26_0755Happy Halloween! This is our absolute favorite holiday around here. I love being able to dress up and be somebody else for the day. Every year I come up with about twenty different costume ideas, but I never end up doing any of them. I always end up being whatever Jameson wants me to be, but this year is a bit different because I actually got a chance to create my own costume. I decided to be Marie Laveau because I love New Orleans and she’s a New Orleans icon. I really wanted to be a powerful woman this year and thought it be great to be Marie because not only was powerful but she was mystical and magical as well.

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It was incredibly easy to pull together this costume, with most of my costume items coming from my own closet or from the thrift store. And once I pulled it together it made me wonder why I hadn’t done it before. So in the spirit of Halloween and easy costumes I decided to make an easy cocktail to go with my easy costume. This drink was inspired by the color red and blood (cue sinister laugh), I added a sugar rim for garnish because why not add to the sugar rush that is Halloween. All you do is shake all the ingredients together and pour it in a sugar rimmed glass. Instead of using lime as the adhesive for the sugar rim I used grenadine so that it would turn the sugar rim red. Can you tell that I have a theme going on with this drink?

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I hope that your Halloween is fun, spooky, and safe.

I would love to hear how this recipe works for you, so be sure to leave me a comment.


The Blood of Laveau

Ingredients

1 ounce vodka

1/2 ounce grenadine

3 ounces pomegranate juice

Granish

1 ounce grenadine

1/4 cup white sugar

Directions

Place ice in a large cup or cocktail shaker, pour vodka, 1/2 once grenadine, and pomegranate juice over the ice. Cover cup or cocktail shaker and shake well.

Pour remaining grenadine in a shallow dish and pour sugar on a separate plate. Take the rim of the glass and dip it in the grenadine, then roll the now grenadine covered rim in the sugar. Make sure to cover the whole rim.

Pour the drink into the garnished glass.

Enjoy!

Pumpkin and Apple Butter tart with Gingersnap Crust.

2018_10_17_0536Pie making  season continues in my house and this week I made a pumpkin and apple butter tart with a gingersnap crust. I went in this direction because I needed to use up the apple butter that I bought from Highland Farms from the Lunenburg Farmers Market the other week. I used apple butter a couple of weeks ago when I made the apple butter hand pies  and still had some leftover. I knew I couldn’t let all that deliciousness got to waste. The spices in the apple butter help boost the warm flavors of this tart, the subtle warmth from the cinnamon and ginger really makes it feel like its the fall season in your mouth.

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I topped the tart off with some Fluff whipped cream, which was really easy to make. All you needed to do was add some fluff to your normal whipped cream making process. It’s really just that simple. I’ll leave you instructions on how I did it just in case you never made whipped cream before.

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The texture to this tart is super creamy and making your own fresh pumpkin pie puree is key and really simple to do. I grew up on pie filling from the can but I take pride knowing that I can make my own, it makes me fill more self sufficient. The way i roasted the pumpkin, I just cut a sugar pumpkin in half, scooped out all of the seeds and roasted it in an oven safe dish (I used my cast iron skillet, you can use anything, I just thought it would make a cool picture) at 400 degrees.  But of course you can use pumpkin puree if you don’t have time to roast and puree your own.

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The most labor intensive part of this recipe is making the crust and it’s really not that bad at all, in fact it’s easier then making and rolling out pie dough. You just have to run through a food processor about a dozen cookies with melted butter, sugar, and some spices until it becomes uniformly ground. Then press it into your 9″ tart pan (you can use a pie dish), you may have some extra gingersnap crumbs all depending on how finely you grind the cookies up. Another warning you might end up with extra filling as well.

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As usual let me know how this recipe worked out for you and leave a comment.


Pumpkin and Apple Butter Tart with Gingersnap Crust

Gingersnap Crust

12 oz gingersnap cookies

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Tart Filling

1 1/2 cups of fresh pumpkin puree or 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree

1/2 cup apple butter

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoon light brown sugar

2 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk

3 large egg yolk

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Fluff Whipped Cream

1 tablespoon Fluff

1 cup cold heavy cream

Directions

Make the gingersnap crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a food processor, pulse together the gingersnap cookies and brown sugar until you have a coarse crumb. Add the ginger and cinnamon and pulse once or twice to combine. Pour in the melted butter and pulse until combined.

Spoon the crumbs into a un-greased 9-inch tart pans (with removable bottoms) and use your fingers to gently divide the mixture into an even layer on the bottom and sides of the pan. Follow with the flat bottom of a measuring cup or glass to firmly pack the crust into the pan.

Bake for 5-8 minutes, then remove from the oven and let cool for at least 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the pumpkin and apple butter filling: Heat the pumpkin, apple butter, sugars, ginger, cinnamon, and salt in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-heat, until the mixture begins to sputter. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly, until smooth and glossy.

Remove from the heat and slowly stir in the condensed milk, whisking until completely combined. Whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time, whisking until completely combined after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Pour the filling into the tart shell.

Bake for 30 minutes, until the edges of the filling are just starting to set. Turn the oven down to 325 degrees F, and bake for another 25-35 minutes, until the filling is mostly set (the center will still be slightly jiggly). Cover just the crust with aluminum foil or a pie crust shield, as needed, if the crust starts to brown too quickly. The filling may bubble and puff up slightly as it cooks – that’s okay, it will settle as it cools.

Remove from the oven and let cool for 2-3 hours until completely set. The tart filling will continue cooking through residual heat. Place metal stand mixer bowl and whisk attachment in refrigerator while tart cools.

Make Fluff whipped cream. Attach child whisk attachment and in chilled metal bowl, on high speed, whisk together the heavy cream and fluff. Whisk for 2 -3 minutes, until soft peak have formed. Be careful not to over beat or you will end up with butter.  Garnish tart with fresh whipped cream and serve chilled or at room-temperature. Best eaten the day of, but will keep for 2-3 days in the refrigerator.

*Recipe modified from an original Fork, Knife, and Swoon recipe. 

Caramel Apple Pecan Tart

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First let me apologize for not writing a blog post last week. My home was in serious disarray and needed to be put back in order. We had a yard sale, room renovation (that’s still a work in progress), and just a general fall clean up around the house and garden. I also wanted to take some time to really focus on creating beautiful photos.

The photography aspect of blogging is something I really fell in love with. It started with me really wanting to capture how delicious my recipes are, then it blossomed in to this sort of obsessions with visual story telling. Now with the beauty of autumn upon us my creativity is bursting at the seems. I’ve been able to capture beautiful moments with my family because of my relentless passion to practice my photography.

Because of this blog my vision for what I want to become has become more clear and I hope that my dreams become a realization. I just wanted to thank all my readers for supporting me.

I also need to thank Lanni Orchards for having the most amazing apples so that I was able to make this delicious tart. I feel so lucky to have this beautiful orchard so close to me right here in Lunenburg. They’re open all year and have delicious baked goods and produce. In fact it’s the same place where I got my rhubarb for my rhubarb tart that I made earlier this year. Which I just realized that I promised a recipe for that and never posted it, oops! Next spring I promise!

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Now back to the food. This tart was inspired by a pear tart that I made last year for Thanksgiving. I got the original recipe from The Pretty Blog, but this blogger no longer has the original recipe on their site and have actually closed down to pursue other endeavors. Which is a shame because the original recipe was amazing! Of course I made a few changes of my own, the first being the crust. The original was made out of a shortbread crust, which was tasty but very fragile. Whenever I make pies or tarts I always want to do something creative for the top crust and the shortbread crust always fell a part, even after I refrigerated it to make it firmer. So instead I opted for my usual pie crust recipe with the addition of cinnamon. The cinnamon is definitely optional and can be left out, however if you do decided to include the cinnamon in your pie crust be careful not to under bake your pie, the cinnamon gives your pie dough a brown hue and can be mistaken for being done.

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Some other notes: Make sure you fully cool the dough and the pie filling before assembling the pie. Especially if you want to make a pretty lattice top like I have pictured here. All I did was braid three strips of the pie crust, then I took the braid and laid alternating pieces of strips and braided pieces across the pie. I use the leaves to cover up where I pressed the strips in to the crust. I also blind baked the bottom crust to make sure that the filling didn’t make it too soggy. Also this tart may leak, make sure you line your baking sheet with parchment paper so that you have an easy clean up. And because of all the cooling time between steps make sure you give yourself plenty of time to make this tart.

Please leave me a comment and let me know how this recipe worked out for you!


 

Caramel Apple Pecan Tart

Dough

Ingredients

Makes 2

6 tablespoons water

4 teaspoons cornstarch

318 grams (2 cups plus 4 tablespoons) all purpose flour

2 teaspoons cinnamon

4 teaspoons white sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

20 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces and chilled

4 tablespoons sour cream

 

Directions

In two separate small bowls, place three tablespoons of water and 2 teaspoons of cornstarch and whisk together in each bowl.  Place in the freezer and chill for 5 minutes. Mixture should be firm and congealed like jelly.

After cornstarch mixture has chilled, in a food processor combine 159 grams of the flour, 1 teaspoons cinnamon, 2 teaspoons of white sugar, and 1/4 salt. After they are combined add one of the small bowls of the cornstarch mixture and pulse until mixture becomes uniformly ground. Then add 10 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of sour cream and pulse until dough forms around the blade.

On a lightly floured surface turn out dough mixture. Knead together and form a 5 inch disk then wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

Repeat steps with remaining ingredients to make the other pie dough.

Blind bake the bottom crust. When dough is ready to bake pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.

After dough has chilled, on a clean lightly floured surface, roll out dough to a 12 inch circle. Hang the dough over the rolling pin and transfer to a 9 inch tart pan. Gently ease the dough into the pan by lifting the edges while pressing down into the corners of the pan, then tuck the overhang under itself so the dough is flush with the rim of the pan . Line the crust with heavy duty foil and then fill with pie weights or dry beans. Bake for 25 minutes, then remove the weights and bake for another 7 minutes until bottom begins to color.

Cool on wire rack for at least an hour to completely cool.

Filling

1 stick of salted butter

1 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup whole milk

4 apples, peeled, cut into 1/4 inch pieces

1/2 cup pecans, chopped

1 teaspoon vanilla

Pinch of salt

1 egg

1 tablespoon water

1 tablespoon sugar

Directions

In a medium sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat, add brown sugar to the pan and whisk to fully combined. Slowly whisk in milk until fully combined.  Fold in apples and pecans, then off heat add vanilla and salt.

Let filling cool completely. While filling cools, roll out top crust, cut out decorative pieces and place pieces on parchment lined baking sheet, then place in refrigerator while filling cools.

Assemble

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Place cooled tart shell on a parchment lined baking sheet then fill the tart shell with cooled tart filling, then top with decorative pieces. Mix egg and water together to make egg wash, then brush the top of the tart with the egg wash then sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, making sure to rotate half way through, top crust should be golden brown.  Once tart has cooled use an offset spatula to remove the bottom of the pan. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Apple Butter Hand Pies

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It’s officially fall and I’m so excited to be using the oven again. It’s so nice to bake, even though I’m suppose to be giving up carbs and doing this keto diet. I figured it would be a sin to be a food blogger and not doing something with apples. When you are on the Keto diet the apple is really the forbidden fruit, it’s packed with so many carbs you are suppose to absolutely avoid eating. I have so many apple recipe ideas that my Keto diet is just going to have to wait until next month.

I love these little puff pastry delights. They’re so easy and I cheat a lot in this recipe, meaning that I use already made puff pastry and for the filling I use apple butter that I got from Highland Farms. They sell jars of this stuff at the Lunenburg’s Farmers Market. It’s not overly sweet it’s full of warm autumn spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg. It’s made from local apples and which are the best, in fact Leominster (the next town over) is the hometown of  Johnny Appleseed, so naturally we have access to the best apples around.  If you’re not from central Mass don’t worry I’m sure your local farmers market will have some apple butter in stock.

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One reason I really love these sweet little treats is because as much as I love apple pie I hate it chunky fruit pies. It’s a texture thing for me. I really love pies and desserts that are smooth, that’s why apple butter is the perfect filling for these little hand pies. With store bought puff pastry and already made apple butter these come together so quick. I just made these for my son for a little after-school pick me up

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Apple Butter Hand-pies

Makes 4

Ingredients

1 puff pastry sheet (thawed)

4 tablespoons Apple butter

1 egg

1 tablespoon water

4 teaspoons of white sugar

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Using a biscuit cutter (or glass) cut out 8 circles from the pastry sheet. Take one of the circles and spread one tablespoon of apple butter on the circle, take another circle and using a piping tip cut a circle out of the middle, (this is where you can get creative and cut strips for a lattice top or cut out fun shapes) then using a fork crimp the edges.

Mix the egg and water together to create an egg wash. Using a pastry brush, brush the tops of the hand pies with the egg wash, then sprinkle the tops of each one with 1 teaspoon of sugar.

Bake hand pies 25-30 minutes on lined baking sheet, until edges of pastry are golden brown. Cool on wire rake for at least 30 minutes.

Enjoy!

 

 

Slow Roasted Tomato Marinara Sauce

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I have been making this sauce so much I felt the need to share it. I feel like this recipe is part of my end of the summer routine. Make tons of marina to freeze to enjoy later when we are missing all of our fresh tomato dishes. I actually used this same sauce in last week’s post for my homemade meatballs. This marinara sauce has such deep flavor thanks to the slow roasting and and the caramelization of the touch of sugar that’s sprinkled on top. The char from the sugar really adds complexity to the sauce, my aunt Florence always added sugar to her marinara and she made the best food ever. So I honor her memory by always adding a touch of sugar.

After the tomatoes are done roasting I process them in a food processor to make it smooth. It won’t be super smooth but that’s ok because we don’t want tomato juice anyway. You want some of that texture, it maybe to thick actually. What you will do when you’re ready to use it is thin it out with some chicken stock. Using chicken stock instead of water is always a great idea, it add so much flavor to your dish. Just always add it in slowly, you can always add more in as you need it. On the other hand the marinara sauce undiluted makes a great sauce for pizza or dipping mozzarella sticks.

As we say goodbye to summer I’m so happy that I’ll have a little piece of summer sitting in my freezer.

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Homemade Marinara

Ingredients

10 (4 oz) tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup olive oil

2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped

2 teaspoon white sugar

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut tomatoes in half, place cut side up on lined baking sheets. Season tomatoes with salt and pepper, sprinkle rosemary and sugar over the top of the tomatoes. Drizzle olive oil over the top of the tomatoes. Roast tomatoes for two hours until the tomatoes size have reduced in size.

Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees, roasted for 30 more minutes until black spots start to appear on tomatoes. Let cool completely. Place tomatoes and drippings into processor and process until desired thickness.

If using right away: Over medium heat, place in sauce pan and add chicken broth to thin out sauce. Warm marina to desired temperature.

If using for later: Place marina in a gallon zip lock bag and freeze. When ready to use let marina come to room temperature for 15 minutes. Over medium heat, place marina in sauce pan and heat through, add chicken broth until the marina reaches your desired consistency.

Enjoy!

As usual leave a comment and let me know what you think about this recipe.