Pennsylvania Red Cabbage and Apples

I have delayed a new food posting as I thought about how my meal planning has changed recently. In late August, a storm approached the Texas Gulf Coast that would turn life upside down for millions of people. Hurricane Harvey’s unprecedented rainfall and aftermath flooding left our home and neighborhood mostly dry, with only some minor inconveniences like needing to boil water, rebelling septic systems, brief power outage, and nearby roads, businesses, even a hospital shut down. As we watched rising water very close to us, another storm hit, one of much less magnitude but yet still impacting my life and that of my family.  Even as we gathered supplies and learned more about the Category 4 Hurricane that was spinning nearer, I was diagnosed with Stage 3 renal disease. The time spent being confined to the house during the storm was spent in a number of ways but one of them needed to be planning for the diet restrictions I would now have. I need to be on a low salt diet, and began to research new tools and recipes, trying out a few new things.  One of the biggest things I have learned is that although I can and will add new recipes to my collection of favorites, and can use vinegars, lime and lemon juice, and some available salt substitutes, I need to look at old recipes in a new way and adjust the amount of salt. I am also trying to use more of the list of fruit and vegetables that are the best ones for me to eat.  Here is a good example.
When I got married in 1963, my mother gave me a new Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. As years went on I added many cookbooks to my collection, but I still go back to this one as I remember some of the first recipes I tried as a new wife, many of which became favorites. Cabbage is one of the top 15 in my preferred fruit and vegetable list. I use it often in salads, cabbage rolls, and soups, but this is the prettiest and tastiest cabbage dish  you will ever add to your table.  It is particularly nice served with pork tenderloin or pork chops.

Pennsylvania Red Cabbage and Apples

1 strip bacon, cooked until crisp, lifted to drain, leaving the fat in the skillet. (The original version called for 2 Tablespoons bacon drippings. In those years, we always saved bacon drippings for later use!

1 Tablespoon olive oil

6 cups shredded red cabbage

2 cups chopped unpared apple

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup water

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash salt substitute

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon caraway seed (optional)

Heat drippings and oil in iron skillet; add remaining ingredients. Stir and cover, stirring occasionally. Cook 15 minutes of longer if you want the cabbage to be more tender. Makes 6 servings.

 

 

Spiced Pork Chops with Red Cabbage and Apple

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Since we bought both green and red cabbage at the Farmers Market last week, I wanted to make red cabbage and apples.  This skillet dinner with pork chops was a hearty and delicious meal. The list of ingredients is long, but the layers of flavor produced are worth it!

Spiced Pork Chops with Red Cabbage and Apples

Step 1. Thyme and Dijon Butter (optional)

2 TBSP Dijon mustard

2 tsp fresh thyme leaves or 1 tsp dried French Thyme

1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper

2 tsp lemon juice

4 TBSP softened butter

Blend all ingredients together  and refrigerate until pork and cabbage is ready to serve!

 

Step 2.  Pork and Cabbage Skillet

4 center cut pork chops, 1-inch thick

2  TBSP olive oil1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup  diced onion

1/3 cup diced carr0t

1/3 cup finely diced celery

1 small head red cabbage, quartered, cored and sliced 1/2 inch thick

2 medium cooking apples, peeled, cored and diced

1 clove garlic

6 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried

1 small bay leaf

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup chicken broth

2 TSBP balsamic vinegar

 Trim excess fat from outside edge of the chops, leaving a small rim.. Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat and brown chops well on both sides. Remove and season with some of the salt, thyme, and pepper. Saute onion, carrot and celery in the pork drippings for 5 minutes. Add cabbage, apples, garlic, thyme and bay leaf and saute for another 5 minutes or until the cabbage has begun to wilt. Season with the remaining salt and pepper; add wine, broth and vinegar. Arrange chops in the pan, basting with the cabbage and juices. Reduce heat, cover and cook slowly for about 45 minutes, turning and basting once or twice, until chops are tender and cooked through. Arrange cabbage on hot serving plates, removing the bay leaf and garlic clove. Place a pork chop on each plate and top with the mustard-thyme butter.
Note: The butter can be omitted

 

 

 

Fig and Apple Chutney

IMG_2836One of summer’s gifts comes to us from the fig tree in our garden. When its fruit begins to ripen around the first week in July, it seems as if its branches will break from the hundreds of green figs. The foliage is so dense that I really have to work at finding the blushing fruit whose softening texture and slight bent on the stem say “pick me” even more than the color. This year because we had such a wet June, the harvest began a bit sooner. Picking twice a day can be a chore, especially as the temperatures rise.  We have many ways we like to use the figs, but because I know we won’t use all of them, I start giving bags away to those I know love figs, and try to make at least one batch of fig chutney.  This year, the figs I used for a small batch were almost the last to ripen.  Because of the sudden extreme heat, the tree went into preservation mode and all the green figs on the tree stopped ripening, hardened, and began to drop.  Even though we watered heavily, there were no more ripe figs.  So the few little jars of fig and apple chutney will have to do. It is some of the best I have made, so I will certainly try the recipe again next year.

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Fig and Apple Chutney

1 pound of fresh figs

2 apples 1

1 1/4 cup of sugar

1 / 2 cup cider vinegar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Clean the figs and halve or quarter depending on size. Peel and cut apples into cubes. Put everything in a saucepan with sugar, vinegar, spices and salt. Heat until boiling. Reduce heat and cook for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Ladle the hot chutney in sterilized jars. Close immediately. Turn the jars over until completely cooled. Best after 2 or 3 days. I store mine in the refrigerator.

Apple Cider Muffins

IMG_1328I know I have featured apples oftenhere lately, but we have enjoyed them often!  These muffins were a great Saturday morning breakfast treat, with enough left over for a busy Sunday morning tomorrow! It is already beginning to smell alot like Thanksgiving!  Cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger add to the brightness of apple cider and apple butter for flavor.  The list of ingredients is long, but well worth it.

 

Apple Cider Muffins

:2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt   

1 Tablespoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1 large egg

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup of apple butter (can substitute pumpkin butter or other fruit spread)

1/3 cup of maple syrup

1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger (I use Penzey’s crystallized ginger bits)

1/3 cup of apple cider

1/3 cup of Greek yogurt

1/4 cup of canola oil

For Topping

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 Tablespoon oatmeal

1 Tablespoon flour

1  teaspoon cinnamon

2 Tablespoons  butter, cut into small pieces:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat a muffin tin with cooking spray.

Make topping by combining  flour, oats, cinnamon, and butter together with your fingers until crumbly. Set aside.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove together in a bowl until well mixed.

In another bowl, whisk the brown sugar with the egg, then add apple butter, maple syrup, crystallized ginger, apple cider, and yogurt. Mix well. Slowly add flour mixture to egg mixture; gently stirring until combined. Don’t over mix.

Spoon batter into the muffin tray. Sprinkle topping evenly over the top of each muffin.

Bake for 15; or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes before removing from baking pan.  Serve hot with butter! .

Adapted recipe from For the Love of Cooking.net  Also featured in Eating Well

Apple Puff

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We are surprised by wintry weather early in November this year, very unusual for this far South in Texas. It is definitely sweater and scarf weather, although I smile when I see some decked out in full ski country gear, as if shoveling snow might be next on their agenda  Fact is, there are 2 kinds of people who do that:  those who are so accustomed to the heat here that the first chill wind has them reaching for the electric blanket, and second, those who have winter fashion they seldom get to wear – head gear, boots, puffy vests, and furry jackets. This may be their one chance this year to haul it out!

The things that I have a yen to do when we have a genuine cold snap (or a blue norther, in Texas speak)?  I like to have a fire in the fireplace, bring out my crochet or knitting, and spend more time in the kitchen baking and making hot hearty soups or a big pot of chili – as my mother would have called it – stick to your ribs food.  Include in that category tasty hot breakfasts!   This Apple Pan Puff is perfect when the temperatures dip.  Not only is it full of all the flavors of fall, it fills the kitchen with aromas of cinnamon and baking apples! The recipe I adapted mine from comes (again!) from Breakfast in Bed Cookbook collection by Carol Frieberg. It is a favorite at the Silver Bay Inn in Stehekin, Washington, which is said to offer cozy waterfront cabins with views of Lake Chelan and the North Cascades.

Apple Pan Puff

2 Honeycrisp apples, peeled, cored and sliced

1/4 cup butter

3 large eggs

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

Cinnamon in a shaker bottle for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a heavy iron skillet, melt butter, add sliced apples, and saute, stirring  gently with a wooden spoon, until apples soften. Sprinkle top of apples with cinnamon, and lower heat while blending remaining ingredients..

Place eggs, flour, milk, vanilla, and salt in jar of blender and blend until mixed and smooth.

Pour contents of blender carefully over apples without stirring, and place in preheated oven to bake for 10 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Serve immediately, topped with drizzle of maple syrup on each serving.

To transform this from a breakfast to dessert dish, add a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream.  Pecan Praline ice cream, for instance!

 

 

Pork Chops with Apple Chutney

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We have been enjoying cool evenings and simple hearty suppers. This skillet meal is perfect served alone or with a baguette and a tossed green salad.

Pork Chops with Apple Chutney 

4 boneless center cut pork chops

1 Tablespoon coconut oil

salt and pepper

Apple Chutney:

1/2 yellow onion, chopped

3 tablespoons cider vinegar

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 tablespoon butter

1/3 cup chopped crystallized ginger

1 teaspoon curry powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

salt

red pepper flakes to taste

2 large apples peeled, cored, and chopped

1/4 cup dried cranberries

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Heat coconut oil in an iron skillet  Add pork chops seasoned with salt and pepper. Brown pork chops 1-3 minutes on both sides, remove from pan, and set aside.  In the same pan, add chutney ingredients, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan with wooden spoon. Cook, stirring for 15 or 20 minutes,  until  apples begin to soften  Tuck pork chops into chutney, making sure all the pork chops are covered. Place iron skillet in oven. Bake 25 minutes, or until pork is cooked through. Serve from skillet garnished with fresh mint or basil.

 

Cinnamon Apples

IMG_0847Cool fall evenings call for autumnal dishes.  This is one of my favorite sides for roasted or grilled pork as well as chicken – and nothing makes the whole house smell better than apples and cinnamon browning in a little butter. You can use any variety of apple you prefer, but this photo gleams with the yellow skins of Ginger Gold apples. Of course you may peel the apples if you wish. Add brown sugar if you want a bit of sweet. You may even decide to use this as a dessert or a wonderful addition to brunch.

3 or 4 apples, cored and sliced.  Granny Smith or Ginger Gold work well.

2 Tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon good quality ground cinnamon (I use Penzey’s Indonesian or Vietnamese Cinnamon)

brown sugar (optional)

Heat a 10 inch heavy skillet,  melt butter, and add apples, tossing to coat in butter.

Sprinkle cinnamon over apples. Stir gently as apples cook just until softened.

Cheese, Apple, and Amaretto Omelet

 

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I love the farm fresh eggs I get from All We Need Farms in Needville, TX.  I never get tired of finding new ways to use them.  Last Saturday I made our version of this omelet from a recipe found online in several places and also in one of my favorite cookbooks:  Breakfast in Bed Cookbook, which features recipes from Bed and Breakfast Inns in the Northwest U.S. and British Columbia.  This one is served at Blackberry Inn in Seal Rock, Oregon.  Even if you can’t drive the Pacific Coast Highway north and have a stop there, treat yourself to a visit to Seal Rock here:  www.sealrockor.com/1900_s.html

Notes for assembling ingredients:  If you prefer, substitute 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract for the Amaretto.  Choose apples that are firm and sweet but slightly sharp.  We like apples that are available now called Ginger Gold, an apple with the bite and rich taste of just harvested fall apples. If the name Ginger Gold is unfamiliar, that’s because it is a recent addition to the list of apple varieties. It was discovered growing among the twisted uprooted trees in a Virginia orchard in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Its ancestors are the Golden Delicious and Albermarle Pippin apples.

Cheese, Apple, and Amaretto Omelet

OMELET

4 eggs

2 tablespoons half and half

dash salt & pepper

1 Tablespoon butter for cooking omelet (if you choose, you may spray the pan with cooking spray)

FILLING

2 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons sugar

1 large golden delicious or Ginger Gold apple, peeled and sliced

1 tablespoon amaretto liqueur or 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Cook’s note:  I added an extra tablespoon of amaretto in order to have a little syrup left to pour over the omelet on the plate.  If you

1 1/2 ounces cream cheese

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 Melt butter in a small skillet. Stir in sugar and sliced apple and saute until apples are tender. Remove from heat and add liqueur or extract. Keep warm.

Beat together egg, half and half, and seasoning. When ready to cook omelet, melt  butter in omelet pan and pour in egg mix.

Cook, pushing raw egg to outside edge, when eggs are set, with a slotted spoon, spread apple mixture over eggs and dot with cream cheese.  Slide onto serving plate and divide for 2 servings.  You may prefer to cook half of the ingredients first, repeating with remainder for a second omelet if you want 2 individual servings. If you have used extra Amaretto for flavoring, drizzle this over the top of omelet.

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Caramel Dipping Sauce with Sliced Apples

012Long before the current craze for the flavor of salted caramel in everything from ice cream to popcorn, caramel apples were a sign of the calendar’s turning to the months of Autumn. Fall festivals and Halloween parties featured apple bobbing and the sticky apple treats.  In our family, we love caramel apples, too, but we have made them like this for over 20 years. When we lived in Indonesia, I sang with a group of expat women known as the American Women’s Association Singers.  We performed at least 2 musicals to benefit Indonesian charities each year, and another fund-raising project was the publication of a spiral bound cookbook titled Sing a Rainbow of Recipes.  The recipe for Caramel Dip was submitted by my friend Loretta Slusher and I share with you exactly as she wrote it. She called it Joan Benson’s Caramel Dip, so I gather that she got the recipe from someone else!

Caramel Dipping Sauce with Sliced Apples

2 cups brown sugar

3/4 cup white Karo syrup

1/2 cup butter

1 can sweetened condensed milk

pinch of salt

slices of fresh apples (a mixture of Pink Lady and Granny Smith apples is both pretty and tasty – we like crisp, tart apples)

Combine all ingredients, except apples, in saucepan.  Simmer, bringing to a boil.  Boil for 5 minutes, stirring continually.  Serve, keeping warm, with slices of fresh apple for dipping.

Caution:  the caramel is very very hot so allow to cool slightly before dunking your apple slices.  I know, it is hard to wait but the taste is heavenly so you don’t want to burn your tongue!

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Skye made this for her after school snack!

 

Curry Soup

Yesterday’s recipe made me remember another great soup with curry.  I have been making this soup since  September 1988, when we lived in Jakarta, Indonesia.  I am fondly remembering the meal, and the three couples who came to dinner that night.  Every time I serve this, people love it and have fun guessing what the ingredients are!  I usually serve it in small espresso or demitasse cups, and seconds are always requested.

                                                Curry Soup

                                 3 Tablespoons butter

                                 1 onion, diced

                                 1 clove garlic, crushed

                                 2 Tablespoons flour

                                 1 Tablespoon curry powder

                                 2  Cups half and half

                                 1 quart chicken stock

                                 1 raw apple, peeled and quartered

                                 Salt and Pepper to taste

                                 1 Teaspoon thyme – I like to use Penzey’s French thyme.

Melt butter in large soup pot.  Add onion and garlic; cook over low heat until onion is soft and beginning to turn golden.  Add flour and curry powder; cook about 3 mintes, stirring. Add cream and chicken stock, continuing to cook and stir with a wire whisk until smooth, about 15 minutes.  Add the apple and thyme, salt and pepper.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  Serve in demitasse cups before dinner.  Serves 12.

The original recipe is froom one of my all time favorite cookbooks, The Texas Experience, Friendship and Food Texas Style, which was given to me by my dear friend Sondra for Christmas in 1984.