Monthly Archives: October 2010

Easy Apple Crisp for Two or Three

I recently started scanning in recipes from my Mom’s recipe box and came across her Apple Crisp recipe.  Now, I have made apple crisp a number of times, but somehow it always seemed to be more work than it should have been.  But, I knew it would be wonderful as a dessert to follow one of my new favorites, Harvest Pork Stew. Plus, my Mom’s recipe had proportions for as few as 3 apples, which made me realize that I did not need to make a huge batch.  THAT saves on time spent slicing apples!

I also did an Internet search just to see what else I could find and came across what the author, a young man named John,  calls The Best Apple Crisp Recipe.

Between the two, I came up with my own version.  I used the ingredient portions from my Mom’s recipe except I substituted butter for the margarine.  And, from the other recipe, I added lemon juice to the apple slices and used the mixing technique for the butter.  I also planned to add nutmeg, cinnamon, and walnuts, but I found sunflower seeds and used those for the nuts and totally forget about the spices! And, you know what?  It was great even without the spices.

Well, I did remember, halfway through the baking time, that I had forgotten the spices and, while I couldn’t find my cinnamon at the time (I DID find it later!) I did grate a little nutmeg on it, but not that much.  ANYWAY, here is the recipe, with spices listed as optional*.  🙂   Note:  you can easily double or more the size of this recipe!

Easy Apple Crisp for Two or Three

  • 3-4 apples, depending on size, sliced
  • 1-2 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup oatmeal
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup cold butter
  • 1/8 or a bit more sunflower seeds or 1/4 cup walnuts or pecans
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional*)
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg  – fresh ground if you can! (optional*)
  1. Slice apples to 1/4 to 3/8 thickness, discarding core.  Peel if desired, but the skin is good for you!

    Use at least one Granny Smith for tartness.

  2. Place apple slices in a bowl and toss with lemon juice.
  3. In another bowl, combine oatmeal, brown sugar, flour and any spices.
  4. Slice cold butter and cut into the oatmeal/flour/sugar mixture using two forks or your fingers until the mixture is crumbly.
  5. Add nuts, if using.
  6. Grease a 9 inch pie plate or equivalent, spread the apples in it, and top with the crumbly mixture.

    Ready for the oven!

  7. Cook for 35-40 minutes in a 350 degree oven until apples are soft and it is browned on top.

And that is that.  So easy!  And really good.  And, thanks, Mom.  <3

P.S. (I keep forgetting to take pictures after the recipes are cooked! I guess it is because they look so good that we eat them right away. <grin>)

Harvest Pork Stew

I bought a lovely butternut squash from Farmer Dave at the Wakefield Farmer’s Market and, while I love butternut squash any which way – roasted, smashed, in a pie, etc., I was in the mood to try a new recipe.  So, I searched around the Internet and found a recipe featuring butternut squash called Harvest Pork Stew.

I hit the jackpot.

This is really good, really easy to make, and can be done in an hour or so before dinnertime, or be started off early to cook in a crockpot.  In addition, since it also calls for apples, onions, potatoes and carrots, it provides the perfect opportunity to highlight all kinds of  fresh fall produce. With the flavors of sage, rosemary, and bay leaves topping it off – this makes for a perfect meal for an autumn evening.  For the perfect complementary dessert, try my simple but delicious Apple Crisp recipe.

I pretty much followed the recipe I found on  Allrecipes.com verbatim. Here it is with any of my changes or clarifications in brackets. [ ]

Note:
To prepare from fresh squash, see How to EASILY Peel Raw Butternut Squash!

Ingredients
•    2 tablespoons butter or oil
•    1 1/2 pounds boneless pork, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
•    2 cloves garlic, minced
•    1 medium onion, chopped
•    3 cups chicken broth
•    1/2 teaspoon salt
•    1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed [I doubled this amount]
•    1/4 teaspoon rubbed sage [I used two fresh leaves]
•    1 bay leaf
•    3 cups frozen, cubed butternut squash   [I used a bit more of fresh squash]
•    2 MacIntosh apples, cored and cubed  [I used 1 1/2 big Macs]
•    2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed (optional)   [I used two medium potatoes]
•   2 cups carrots, peeled and diced (optional)   [I only used two small carrots]
•   [I also added ground  black pepper to taste, maybe 1/2 teaspoon]

Directions
1) Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook until lightly browned on all sides. Stir in the garlic and onion, and continue to cook until the onion has softened, and the pork is firm, and no longer pink, about 5 minutes.

Onion and garlic just added to lightly browned pork, with pork still a bit pink.

Pork, with onion and garlic cooked until just tender

2) Place the pork and onions into a large saucepan. Pour in the chicken broth, and season with salt, rosemary, sage, and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Instead of dried, I minced two fresh sage leaves and crushed dried rosemary in my suribachi to make 1/2 a teaspoon.

Ready for the first 20 minute simmer

3)  Stir in the butternut squash, apples, potatoes, and carrots. Return to a simmer, then cook, uncovered until the squash and apples are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and serve.

Three HEAPING cups of cubed squash. The rest went into the fridge.

Two HEAPING cups of cubed apple. I saved the rest for later.

Two HEAPING cups of potato

Just a cup of diced carrots

Ready for the last 20 minute simmer

Slow Cooker Method – I have not tried this, but I bet it is just as good!
Lightly brown the pork in the butter or oil and cook until firm and opaque. Add to the slow cooker along with remaining ingredients. Cook on High for 1 hour, then reduce heat to Low and simmer 4 hours, or until tender.

This recipe was truly a winner.  Steve and I both loved it, it stretched the meat, and was full of tasty and nutritious vegetables.   Next I am going to try it with chicken.  And, I bet the slow cook method would be good with beef.  Post a message if you try the chicken or beef before I do!

Update – If you are in a big hurry, buy the peeled squash halves at the grocery store.  The folks at America’s Test Kitchens recommend such in a pinch, but they do NOT recommend the peeled and cut up product.  However, from a local market that does it themselves, such as Wakefield MA’s Farmland, it is a totally acceptable choice, in my opinion.  🙂

How to EASILY Peel Raw Butternut Squash!

FINALLY, an easy way to peel butternut and other winter squash!

If I am going to mash the squash, I’ll halve it, remove the seeds, and roast face down in a shallow pan for about an hour at 400 degrees then cool a bit and scoop out the cooked squash.  (By the way, the roasting gives the squash a wonderfully intense flavor.) BUT, what if you want to cook cubes of squash?  Here is how to do it, courtesy of a person going by the  screen name chromadome-ga who posted on this Google Answers thread in 2006.

  1. Bring a pot of water big enough to hold the squash to a boil
  2. Put the whole squash into the pot of boiling water and simmer for a few minutes until you can easily pierce JUST the skin with a toothpick or folk.  If you start smelling an aroma of cooked squash, it will be ready.
  3. Cool for a bit, cut into a few pieces, and peel.

    peeling squash

    Note the small ring around the edge from parboiling briefly.

  4. Remove seeds and cut into cubes or chunks as needed, and cook as directed in recipe.

P.S. (If anyone knows who chromadome-ga is, let me know! I’d love to be able to thank him or her directly!)