simplelittlespaces

Keeping things simple in a not so simple world


1 Comment

my favorite applesauce

I’m a huge fan of applesauce.  Many people no longer eat applesauce as adults, but I think you are missing out.  I love having a small bowl with my dinner…it is a bit of dessert and happiness all in one bowl.

I also use applesauce to bake.  But this recipe is not about that.  When I want applesauce for baking, I use my food mill.  Simply peel apples, quarter, boil in a small amount of water and then run through the mill – seeds and all.  The sauce is smooth and thin.

No, this is not that recipe.  This recipe actually starts in early October when we do our annual trip to an apple orchard with friends (and then an afternoon of food and fun in Princeton.)  Like most kids, mine get super enthusiastic about picking apples and we usually end up spending much more money than our friends or what is budgeted on apples.  Think: seventy-five dollars worth of apples.

Most years, we can barely make it through half the apples before I need to make sauce out of the soft apples.  This year, I only made two quart-sized jars.  My little girl loves her fruit!

The orchard we go to in Lawrenceville has a specific variety of apple that we love.  It is called Styman Winesap and is great for pretty much any which way you like apples – sauce, pies, plain eating, you name it.  But we also pick up a fair number of Granny Smiths because I love nothing better than a tart apple.

This recipe is both Granny Smiths and Winesaps.  It is tart with just a hint of sweetness.  It is rich with dark brown sugar and good Vietnamese cinnamon.  It is chunky, but with the perfect size chunks.  I do hope you will give it a try.

Applesauce

8 medium to large sized Granny Smith apples
6 medium to small sized Styman Winesap apples (substitute: golden delicious)
cinnamon
dark brown sugar

Peel the apples, remove stems and cut into large quarters.
Fill a very large stock pot (8-10 quart) with a cup and half of water.
Place the apples in the pot, cover and bring to a boil. Boil until apples are soft. This DOES NOT TAKE LONG! So keep an eye on them. If they boil too long, you will have mush!

Don’t drain, instead, use a spoon to transfer apples to a large mixing bowl. Don’t worry if you get a bit of the water in the bowl, just try not to have too much.

Add cinnamon to taste and 1/4 cup dark brown sugar. Using a potato masher, mash the apples until you get bite-sized pieces of apples. Yes, there will also be some completely mashed apples too.

Feel free to can the finish product or place in a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to eight months.

Advertisements


Leave a comment

seville arroz

This is one of my favorite recipes…a simple one pot. The original recipe calls for chicken and spicy sausage, but I find the spicy sausage enough. I recently made it for my birthday party and it was a hit. A bit of sweet and spicy…

Seville Arroz

1 to 1.5 lbs spicy sausage, preferably andouille or chorizo (Trader Joe’s makes a decent andouille); half length-wise and then cut into bite-sized 1/2 moons
1 vidalia onion, chopped
1 garlic clove minced
1 red pepper, chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
2 cups brown rice
1 8 ounce can tomato puree
1 quart chicken broth
1 zest of 1/2 orange
1 orange cut into segments and the segments halved
1/2 cup slivered almonds

Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a heavy bottom pot. When hot, add the sausage and cook until just starting to brown. Remove sausage, add onions, garlic and peppers and cook until glistening and onions are transparent. Add the rice and stir until coated with the oils. Add sausage, tomato sauce and broth. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer until rice is almost cooked through and liquid almost absorbed. Add the orange zest, orange segments and almonds, mix thoroughly. Serve when broth is absorbed completely.

Sprinkle with cilantro if desired.
Serve as a main course or like a risotto appetizer.


Leave a comment

not an ordinary chili

Over the years, I have tried a variety of chili recipes. I make a great vegan chili – dumping all sorts of veggies in. We tried a new coconut butternut squash chili for a Holiday party this past December. A killer meat chili with organic ground beef and lots of ancho chili pepper…

The types of beans, veggies, meats – it varies every time. I’m sure yours does to.

Today, I have a chili recipe that is about flavor. Forget the veggies and meat. This is about savoring the balanced blend of smokey and sweet and bitter. The mellow with the fresh and robust.

I hope you try this. It is VERY simple. But certainly does not taste so…

not an ordinary chili

1 onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 gloves garlic, minced
sunflower oil
2 15 ounce cans of black beans (3 cups black beans)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
30 ounce can tomato puree
3 cups vegetable broth
8 ounces good quality organic dark chocolate, in smallish pieces
2 tablespoons chili powder (ancho is preferred)
1 tablespoon cumin powder
1 tablespoon oregano
salt and pepper

In a large soup pot, heat the oil and add the onion and celery, cooking until just soft. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant and golden.
Add the tomato paste, stirring until incorporated.
Add the beans and puree, mix well.
Add the broth and bring to a boil.
Reduce to a simmer and add the chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper.
Add the chocolate, stirring frequently until melted.
The consistency should be thick and saucy. The color should be a deep brown-red.
Add more chocolate if desired.

Leave to simmer…

In the meantime, make the cilantro pesto…

1 bunch of cilantro
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoons lime juice
1/2 cup walnuts
olive oil

In a food processor, add all the ingredients, drizzling with the olive oil. Pulse, adding more olive oil as needed.

Serve the chili with a dollop of pesto on top.

My kids inhaled this. It was a real hit!


Leave a comment

things i’m loving lately

My six-year old and I are going back to camp with these beauties.

This was a huge hit!

Love to try this new craft project after I finish this one for my partner.

Thinking about this for my daughter’s birthday.

Our most recent book club read. It was phenomenal!

As always, loving the earthy smell of Vetiver in the house!

Or, some Sweet Basil in an oil burner! (Not for use on body!)

Just a few!


Leave a comment

spring in the air

Yes, I realize that we are having a spring snow. But I am in denial. Sometimes, mother nature is too much.

This lovely spring soup has brought us lovely spring goodness to our home and comfort to a dear friends. Our community gardener, someone who has become family to us, whose daughter is our sitter, sister and friend, passed away suddenly Monday. This soup was a small token in a time of hurt.

To spring and happier times…

carrot dill soup

4-6 large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1-2 quarts vegetable broth
1 bunch of fresh dill, finely minced

In a large stock pot, heat olive oil until shimmering and add the vegetables, saute for 4 minutes or until onion is soft and golden.
Add the vegetable broth, bring to a boil and then simmer until the vegetables are soft.
Using a hand-blender, food processor or blender, puree the soup until smooth.
Season with salt and pepper.
Add the dill.

Serve.