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.


Leave a comment

vegan desserts

For some reason whenever I Google gluten-free lately, a whole bunch of vegan, gluten-free ideas come up. I have been going low dairy lately, but I love milk and butter, especially in desserts, so I was a bit hesitant to try anything vegan.

BUT, friends, do I have some treats for you! Not only are the following recipes vegan, they are raw and super simple…oh and tasty, did I mention tasty?

The following recipes call for the same crust – which is:

Vegan, gluten-free dessert crust
In your food processor, add the following:
8-10 pitted dates (depending on size)
1 cup nuts (almonds, walnuts and almonds, etc.)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

Optional, depending on dessert: add a spice – cinnamon, cardamom, etc. or some cocoa powder. You could also use a nut butter in place of 1/2 the dates – add a tablespoon to two.

Process until the mixture sticks together well. If it doesn’t, you can add more dates or a bit of coconut oil. The mixture is a thick crust for a 8×8 pan, a thin crust for a 9×13 or moderate thickness for two pie plates. I recommend either greasing your pans with coconut oil before spreading or lining the dish with parchment paper for easy serving.

Avocado Pie
Prepare two pie dishes with the crust.

Rinse your processor and add the following, blending the ingredients together until smooth.

6 avocados (preferably ripe, but unripe will simply take longer to process smooth)
juice of 5 limes
juice of 4 lemons (add more or less lemon or lime to your citrus preference)
1/2 cup coconut oil
4 tablespoons honey or agave (to taste)
2 teaspoons vanilla

Once smooth, spread over crusts and place in freezer for 4-6 hours until frozen through.

Variation: substitute 2 large bananas for every 1 avocado.

Chocolate Nut Butter Banana Bars
Press crust above into a 9×13 dish.

In food processor, blend the following ingredients until smooth:
6-8 ripe bananas
1 cup nut butter (almond or peanut)
1 cup coconut oil
2 tablespoons honey or agave, to taste

Spread over the crust and place in freezer for 1 hour.

In a saucepan, heat 1/4 cup of coconut oil until melted and add 4 ounces dark chocolate (I prefer a less sweet chocolate). Drizzle on the semi-frozen bars.
Freeze for an additional 2-3 hours until solid.

Pumpkin Banana Bars
I recommend using a bit of cocoa powder in the curst above for this recipe. Place the crust mixture in an 8×8 dish.

In your food processor, blend until smooth:

1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2-3 ripe bananas
1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 tablespoons honey or agave

Spread the pumpkin mixture on crust and sprinkle with coconut flakes. Freeze for 2-4 hours until solid.


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

special soup

Every so often I want a special soup. Something to serve for guests. Or to have something extra special for comfort.

This soup is based on a native american soup recipe. It may sound like a bizarre combination, but trust me, it is quite good.

toasted pecan soup with cheddar cheese

4 cups pecans
olive oil
1 onions chopped
1-2 quarts vegetable broth
4-5 sprigs fresh thyme sprigs, leaves removed (may use dry)
salt and pepper
good quality yellow cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 400*. Place pecans on a cookie sheet and put cookie sheet in the oven. Bake for 5-7 minutes, checking frequently to make sure the pecans don’t burn. You want them just golden and hot. Let cool.

Crush the pecans into smallish chunks.
In a soup pot, heat some olive oil and add the chopped onion. Once soft, add the broth and bring to a boil. Add the pecans and thyme leaves.
Simmer for 20-30 minutes, until pecans are somewhat soft.
Using a blender, food processor or a hand-blender, puree the soup. Season to taste.

Serve warm with the shredded cheddar cheese. Or room temp without the cheese.