Apple Bread

Breakfast, Dessert, Fall, Thanksgiving

 

Sick of pumpkin yet?  How about you switch gears and give the apple the love and attention it so rightly deserves?  It doesn’t get easier than this apple bread.  One bowl, 10 minutes, fall flavor explosion.

I get a kick out of calling this apple bread.  It’s really a cake, leaning towards the consistency of a blondie.  But I choose to call it bread to help my readers feel virtuous about eating cake.  Case in point:

“What are you eating?”

“Oh, it’s apple bread.  It’s not cake.  It’s bread.”

See how nicely that works?

apple bread 1

Apple Bread

Inspired from Not Without Salt’s chopped apple cake

Serves 12

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup neutral tasting oil- I used grape seed oil
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 2 flax eggs (instructions follow)
  • 2 apples, chopped but not peeled

Flax Egg (equivalent to one egg)

  • 1 1/2 tbsp flax seed meal
  • 2 1/2 tbsp water

Combine both ingredients into a small bowl and let thicken for 5 minutes.

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a loaf pan and set aside.
  2. Prepare your two flax eggs and set aside to thicken.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  4. Add the oil, applesauce, and flax eggs.  Mix until just combined.
  5. Add the chopped apples.  You will have a thick batter, primarily apples.  This is a good thing.
  6. Cook in the oven for about 50 minutes.  Prick the middle of the bread with a toothpick to make sure it comes out clean.  Let the cake sit in the pan for 10 minutes, and then remove from the pan and let cool completely on a cooling rack.
  7. Challenge yourself to see if you can eat just one slice.

apples in basket

apple bread 2

Creamy Mixed Greens with Pecans

Fall, Sides, Thanksgiving

Creamy Mixed Greens with Pecan / forkful of awesome

By now, I’m sure most everyone has finalized their Thanksgiving menus, but I couldn’t let the holiday pass without sharing this little gem.  Of course, this dish doesn’t have to be limited to the Thanksgiving feast- it’s fantastic anytime during the cold months.  But, if you DO add it to your Thanksgiving repertoire, it will not go unnoticed.  “Green bean casserole?  Pffft, yeah right.  More like creamy mixed greens with pecans!”  I know it’s not traditional, but it works so damn well with turkey and stuffing and cranberries.  It’s begging to be tradition from here on out.

This weekend, I went to visit my youngest sister, my brother-in-law, and my nephew.  They just bought their first home, and I had to go snoop around their new digs.  Also, it’s such a bummer, but they won’t be making it to Thanksgiving this year thanks to the Navy (I give you the middle finger salute Navy).  So, I made them these creamy mixed greens that they can have at their Thanksgiving for three.    They each sampled a bowl of greens and gave me the thumbs up (and not the middle finger salute, thank goodness).  Isn’t my sister loverly?

ashley

Remember my love affair with pecans?  It’s still going strong.  We’re very happy together, and so that’s why they’re included in this recipe.  Wanna diss pecans and use another nut?  Whatever makes you happy on this lovely holiday.  I won’t judge.  Yes I will.  I just won’t tell you I’m judging you.

Be bold, be daring, and try these greens with your Giving Thanks meal.  You’ll be thankful you did.  And so will your friends and family.  Another reason to be thankful?  You can make this a day ahead.  “Oh, thank goodness.” Thanks thanks double thanks.

Thanks.

Creamy Mixed Greens with Pecans

Serves 8-10

Adapted from Martha Stewart Living

Ingredients

  • 1  big ol’ bunch kale, stems removed and leaves roughly torn
  • 1 bunch collard greens, mustard greens, beet greens, whatever kind of greens you like, stems removed and leaves roughly torn
  • 1 bunch swiss chard, stems chopped and set aside, and leaves roughly torn
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup white wine or chicken stock
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups half and half
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Heat the largest pot you own over medium-high heat.  Add the kale, wine, and salt.  If you’re using a thick-leafed green such a collard greens, add it to the pot with the kale.  If it’s something more delicate such as mustard greens, wait to add it to the pot with the swiss chard.  Stir the greens around until wilted, and then cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook for about 10 minutes, until the leaves are tender.
  2. Add the swiss chard and other delicate greens if you’re using them.  Turn in the pot until wilted, about 3-5 minutes.  Put the cooked greens in a bowl.
  3. Return the pot to medium-high heat, and melt 4 tbsp butter.  Add the swiss chard stems, onion, and garlic.  Saute for 3-5 minutes until the onion is softened.  Add to the bowl with the greens.
  4. Now for the creaminess!  Heat the same pot over medium heat and add the remaining 2 tbsp butter.  When melted, add the 2 tbsp flour and whisk for a minute.  Slowly add the half and half while whisking and continue to whisk until the sauce has thickened.  Season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg.  Add to the greens and mix everything together.  Mix in the pecans, and reserve a few to garnish on top.  Ta-da!  Enjoy!  xox

Creamy Mixed Greens with Pecan / forkful of awesomecreamy mixed greens with pecans / forkful of awesome

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Pumpkin Pie

Dessert, Thanksgiving

Chocolate Pumpkin Pie / forkfulofawesome

I admit it.  Pumpkin pie would never be my first choice in desserts.  It’s just okay to me. Similar to gas station coffee- yeah, it’ll do, but it’s not great.  So, if I’m gonna stuff myself to the max on Thanksgiving (and you know I am), the dessert better be freaking amazing just so I feel justified about feeling like a hippo.  “Well, I feel like I just ingested a bowling ball, but I had to!  Did you taste that dessert?  Amazeballs.”

Therefore, I give you Chocolate Pumpkin Pie.  Yes, you still get the pumpkin flavor with the bonus of chocolate.  You’re giving a nod to tradition, but just turning it up to level awesome.  Pumpkin is the first flavor you notice on your tongue, followed by the lingering silkiness of the chocolate ganache.  Mmmm….

And a quick side note.  The ganache is harder than the creamy pumpkin custard in the middle.  For easier eating, flip the slice of pie upside-down.  I know it sounds crazy, but it works!

Chocolate Pumpkin Pie

Serves 12

Ingredients

  • 2 cups ground chocolate graham crackers or cookies
  • 6 tbsp melted butter
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp instant espresso (optional, but it really intensifies the chocolate flavor)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 can (15 oz) pureed pumpkin
  • 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp  ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • 6 oz dark chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 oz milk chocolate, melted

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a food processor, grind your chocolate graham crackers with the brown sugar and instant espresso.  Pour the melted butter over the mixture, and process until it looks like wet dirt.
  3. Pour the crust into a 9 or 10 inch pie dish.  Using your fist, press the crumbs into the pie dish and up the sides until you have an even crust.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Set aside to cool.  Turn oven down to 325 degrees.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, evaporated milk, brown sugar, eggs, corn starch, salt, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.
  5. Pour the custard into your pie crust, and bake for an hour.  The middle of the pie should still wiggle some when you pull it out of the oven.  Cool to room temperature.
  6. Melt dark chocolate with the heavy cream in a heat-proof bowl placed over a pot of simmering water.  When it is smooth and shiny, pour over the pumpkin pie and refrigerate until set.
  7. Melt your milk chocolate and drizzle onto the pie.  Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.  Yay for make-ahead pies!
  8. Serve the pie chilled or else the pumpkin custard will become too soft and squish out the sides when you’re trying to cut the pie.  Cut your pie with a sharp knife that has been rinsed under hot water so it glides easily through the chocolate ganache.
  9. Bask in the spotlight as your friends and family swoon over your homemade pie.

xox

Chocolate Pumpkin Pie

Chocolate Pumpkin Pie / forkfulofawesome

Chocolate Pumpkin Pie / forkfulofawesome

Roasted Delicata Squashes and Apples

DInner, Fall, Gluten free, Sides, Thanksgiving

delicata squash 2

Last year, I hosted my first Thanksgiving at our house.  It was a blast.  My grandparents were in England, and my parents stayed in Omaha.  So it was a young crowd.  My two sisters and their husbands, my nephew, and my mother-in-law, who still acts like a 20 year old (in a good way).  There was much drinking and merriment involved.  By the time the meal was over and the dishes were cleaned, I was passed out on the couch.  This is probably what I looked like-

 

Dog_Passed_Out

I believe everyone else continued into the night around a bonfire.

Of course, the merriment was fun, duh!  But what really made it memorable for me was cooking with my foodie family.  Together, we raised the bar for Thanksgiving meals.  And although I have a fondness for the traditional Thanksgiving feast, we did a little twist on tradition. There wasn’t a green bean casserole in sight.  Don’t even ask about sweet potato casserole- she wasn’t invited.

This recipe is one of those twists, and it was one of the most popular dishes of the day.  Not only is this insanely delicious, it’s perty to look at.  The delicata squash look like flowers on your plate.  So, if you’re looking for an alternative to the sweet potato casserole, look no further.  Bonus: it’s a make ahead too. Directions follow at the end of the recipe.

If you haven’t eaten delicata squash before, it’s dreamy.  You don’t have to peel it (bonus for us lazy peeps) because the skin is yummy.  It has such a gentle, delicate flavor, and I think it’s just about the perfect fall veggie.

Roasted Delicata Squash and Apples

Adapted from Martha Stewart Living

Serves 8-10

Ingredients:

  • 2 delicata squashes, around 1 1/2 pounds
  • 10 baby apples
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 6 oz. pancetta, diced (can also use bacon if you prefer)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pepper
  • fresh thyme or rosemary

Directions:

  1. Slice the delicata squash, crosswise, into 1/2 inch wide circles.  Remove the seeds using a sharp paring knife.
  2. Slice each apple in half, removing the core with a melon baller.  (If you can’t find little baby apples, just use larger, but quarter them instead.  And you’ll probably only need 6-7 apples in that case.)
  3. Put the squash, apples, pancetta, maple syrup, olive oil, salt, and pepper onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Bake for 50 minutes.
  4.  Turn the squash and apples. Bake for another 15 minutes.
See how small these apples are?  So petite.

See how small these apples are? In a three-year olds hands.

 

To make this dish one-day ahead, follow directions 1-3.  Remove from the oven and let cool.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.  The next day, once the turkey is done and is resting, pop the baking sheet back in the oven and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

xox

delicata squash 3