Country Cook News – September 27, 2013

Hi Everyone!

RECIPE OF THE WEEK

With apple season approaching I found it nearly impossible to choose just one special recipe for this week’s blog and Frosted Danish Dapple Cookies won the draw from literally 100s (maybe 1,000s) of apple recipes in my books and files. These cake-like spice cookies are a treat for all cookie lovers. They’re filled with sweet chunks of apples and wholesome oatmeal, which makes them soft and moist with a crowning drizzle of Vanilla Cream Frosting. They are indeed one of my favorite fall cookies.

Here is a handy reference to some tried-and-true apple recipes from my blog: Classic Apple Crisp, CB’s Signature Apple Dumplings , Grandma’s Briggs’ Apple Rolls and Apple Brickle Dip, recipes you might need in case you get carried away buying apples at the market. All previously mentioned apple recipes are in Sweet Apple Temptations, which just this month is available in PDF form for only $5.00.

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BLOG OF THE WEEK

I love the name Half Baked Harvest for a blog. I guess “half baked harvest” was often how I felt on the farm in September when everything in the garden was ready (at once) to can, freeze, dehydrate, pickle or make into jam, jelly or wine. Then in October, after the first light frost, the real work started when it was time to harvest apples. Harvest time was indeed chaotic. But there’s nothing “half baked” about Half Baked Harvest. The recipes are well thought-out, unique, and creative in presentation with gorgeous images taken by (I believe) blog owner, Tieghan. The story behind this blog is interesting and inspiring. You can read more about its inception at About Me.

Half Baked Harvest isn’t just a clever name, there’s substance to its appetizers, soups, salads, entrees, desserts and snacks. This recipe for Crock Pot Chicken Chili con carne Loaded Tostada Stacks looks perfect for a Mexican themed get-together that’s sure to add sizzle to a fall get-together. If you’re more in the mood for salad, try Tieghan’s Steak and French Fry Salad with Blue Cheese Butter and Poached Eggs. The Desserts and Cupcakes categories have a wow factor all their own with Tieghan’s Snickerdoodle Muffin with Kahlua and Chocolate Ganache, which should really be called a dessert muffin. Tieghan doesn’t hold anything back with her recipes, each has a surprising twist that makes the entire site anything but ho hum!

This lady has been busy in the kitchen. Her Press Page is impressive where she touts recipes published in Bon Appetit, The Huffington Post and Parade Magazine, just to name a few of the big name publications. Check out Half Baked Harvest at  http://www.halfbakedharvest.com/ and on Twitter @HBHarvest

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A HINT ABOUT NEXT MONTH’S THEME 

Oh how we love pumpkin season. You did know this gourd-ish squash has its own season, right? Winter, Spring, Summer, Pumpkin…. We anxiously anticipate it every year. Trader Joe’s ~Fearless Flyer, October 2010

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HANDLING APPLES

Handle apples as if they were eggs to keep them bruise free.

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CB’s KITCHEN TIP

BUYING APPLES: When purchasing apples buy the shiniest, biggest and heaviest ones in the bin. The heavier the apple, the fresher and juicier it will be. Shiny apples are fresher; don’t buy apples with waxy, thick looking skin.

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FOR MY DAD  

My dad was a big fan of banana cake, banana bread, banana cream pie, basically any banana dessert. If he was still with us today, on what would have been his 87th birthday, I’d be making this Bananas Foster Poke Cake for him. It’s heavenly delicious and easy-to-make. Enjoy!

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PORK CHOPS BLOG TOUR

Pork Chops & Applesauce just celebrated its 10-year anniversary so I decided a fresh unveiling through a Blog Tour was a good way to put a new shine on an old friend.  Now you’re probably asking, what’s a blog tour? A blog tour is a group of blogs scheduled to feature Pork Chops on a designated day and time. Each blogger features the book in its own unique way with a review, an article, a recipe or showcase, and many do giveaways. WOW (Women on Writing) planned and organized this blog tour for Pork Chops and they’ve proven that they really know their stuff!

Here’s the schedule if you’d like to take a peek: Sept. 16, The Muffin (WOW); Sept. 17, Rural Moms; Sept. 19, CSmashreads; Sept. 24, Shockingly Delicious; Sept. 25, Thoughts in Progress; Sept. 26, Kaisy Daisy’s Corner; Sept. 27, Read These Books and Use Them; Oct. 2, Words by Webb; and Oct. 7, Mrs. Mommy Book Nerd.

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APPLE TRIVIA

Sweetwater Cellars offers a fun chart with lots of apple facts and trivia that’s not just for kids. Check it out: http://www.sweetwatercellars.com/trivia-apples.html

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APPLES NIX FALL ALLERGIES

An apple a day keeps the allergist away, recent research reveals: Folks who eat just five apples a week have significantly lower rates of allergies, bronchitis and asthma, as well as fewer coughs and colds. Apple peels deliver quercetin, an antioxidant that improves lung capacity and protects those organs from air pollution and secondhand smoke. Apples can even slash lung-cancer risk in half! Other research finds they up immune cells, helping your body fight off respiratory infections. Woman’s World Magazine, September 30, 2013, issue 39.

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ASK CYNTHIA A QUESTION – September 27, 2013
Janet asked: Some cookbooks simply call for “cooking” apples, they don’t specify what kind of apple should be used in a recipe. How can I determine which apple is best for what I’m making?

My answer: I’m asked that question quite often. In my book, Pork Chops & Applesauce, I learned my lesson about not specifying which apple to use for a recipe because that’s when people started asked me. So, when I wrote Sweet Apple Temptations I specified in each recipe which apple would work best. Stating the variety of apple to use in a recipe can, however, present problems because there are approximately 2,500 varieties grown in the United States alone and 7,500 varieties grown worldwide. Additionally, what’s available in produce markets in New York City is vastly different than what we’d find in Seattle, Los Angeles, Dallas, etc.

I usually purchase Delicious or Golden Delicious for salads or snacking. However, I do put one or two Delicious varieties in my applesauce along with the hardier apples as a natural sweetener and thickener. Probably my favorite in-between choice is the Fuji, Pink Lady, and Honey Crisp, which are good for eating plain or to use for cooking. There are a world of choices out there and some local names won’t be on these charts. I suggest asking your produce person what apple is best suited for your baking/cooking needs; they’re usually very helpful especially at the farmer’s markets and produce stands.

Here are a few charts that might be helpful. The Old Farmer’s Almanac has an informative chart I like. It’s basic but does the job. RecipeTips.com has an article “All About Apples” that’s quite good. About mid-way through the article is an excellent chart for choosing the right apple. An apple chart that will help you choose an apple for any and all occasions! Thanks for your question, Janet, and Happy Autumn.

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Till next time,
CB

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