Saturday, February 18, 2012

Apple Crisp + Link Love

The Bucket List

Stop reading this post and head on over to erinnish, an amaze-balls food blog I just discovered.  Great huh?  Definitely added her to my list of blogs to check daily.

I think one of the things I miss most about living back in Orange County is its proximity to Los Angeles.  There's always so much going on there, especially with it's infinite amount of dining options. (Though I don't miss any of the stress inducing traffic and under-qualified drivers, and smoggy air).  I think what I miss the most though is how many bands stop by there for concerts!  

This past week I made the two and a half hour drive (on a Thursday night, and two and a half hours each way to say the least) to cross something off my life's bucket list, and that was to watch this little band called Coldplay.  Ab-so-lute-ly-worth-it.

I've always been a fan of pies, cobblers, crumbles, and of course crisps.  I distinctly remember asking my dad for an apple pie instead of a cake for what I think was my 10th birthday, and all of my family members giving me the strangest look once they saw the massive Costco pie with a candle sticking out of it.  Excuse the Nigella Lawson-esque language, but there's nothing better than a soothingly warm apple crisp with a crumble that crackles slightly as you dig your spoon into it, revealing a steaming, golden compote of soft apples scented with cinnamon and orange.  I think a giant birthday crisp may be in order for my next birthday.

the way it should be

Apple Crisp

 adapted from Ina Garten


5 pounds McIntosh or Macoun apples
grated zest of 1 orange
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
for the topping
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
to serve
vanilla ice cream or freshly whipped cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 14 by 2-inch oval baking dish. 

Peel, core, and cut the apples into large wedges. Combine the apples with the zest, juice, sugars, and spices.  Pour into the dish.  To make the topping, combine the flour, sugars, salt, oatmeal, and cold butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Mix on low speed until the mixture is crumbly and the butter is the size of peas.  Scatter evenly over the apples.

Place the crisp on a sheet pan and bake for 1 hour until the top is brown and the apples are bubbly. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Parmesan and Green Onion Biscuits

Short & Sweet

Another short post as I get through my bogs of work.

Cookies and milk.  Apple pie and ice cream.  For me soup and some form of dippable carb is a classic, indispensable combination.   As a kid I would use up an entire crusty baguette and tear it into my soup until it became a one to one ratio, from clam chowder, french onion soup, to chicken noodle.

I've always been a huge fan of biscuits- the green onion gives a really nice sharpness while the parmesan had a nice saltiness. 


Parmesan and Green Onion Biscuits

recipe from Giada de Laurentiis


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup stone-ground cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 ounces (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 cups (5 1/2 ounces) grated Parmesan
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup olive oil

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Add the butter. Using fingertips or a pastry blender, work the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Stir in the Parmesan and green onions. Add the buttermilk and olive oil. Stir until the mixture forms a dough. Drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheet in 12 equal-sized pieces. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes until golden. Cool the biscuits for 10 minutes then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sausage & Kale Soup

Never Catch a Break

Blogging, Y U SO HARD TO DO?!

But in all seriousness- as much as I love to blog, every time I open up the Dashboard to Blogger I feel that I literally have nothing new to write.  I'm not sure you all want to read every other day about how much time I spend in the library, or how much I don't understand accounting, or how much pain typing up a mock business plan is.  I mean, I could always just post recipes without a story, but where's the fun in that? 

I've been to the infamous Olive Garden about 2 or 3 times in my life.  Well yeah, it mostly sucked but if there is one thing that I always got it's their Zuppa Toscana.  Thankfully there are dozens of copy cat recipes on the web, and so after a quick glance at some of them, here's what I came up with.  The only thing I did was use milk instead of half & half/cream because when it comes to soup I can easily down a couple of bowls and my waist line could use some trimming.

soup = happiness

Sausage & Kale Soup
inspired by Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana

spicy italian sausage
1 large onion, chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
red pepper flakes
red potatoes, sliced into 1/4 inch disks
chicken broth 
1 cup of milk
parmesan cheese rind (optional)
1 bunch of kale, washed and roughly chopped
salt & pepper to taste
parmesan cheese 

Note: These quantities are obviously just guesstimates- add amounts that you feel seem right

In a large pot, cook the sausage in some olive oil on medium high heat until the casings are brown and crisp (don't worry about cooking them all the way).  Remove from pot, and saute the onions with some salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes until translucent.   

Add in the potatoes, the seared sausage, chicken broth, milk, and parmesan cheese rind.  Bring the soup to a boil, and then cover and reduce to a simmer until the potatoes are tender and the sausage is finished cooking.  You may need to skim grease off the top of the soup.  Take out and slice the sausages, and before you're ready to serve, add them back in along with the kale for 5 or so minutes until the kale is wilted and everything is heated through.  Serve with parmesan cheese and if you're feeling it some of those tacky refrigerator "Italian" breadsticks in a can.