Monthly Archives: July 2012

Summer Apple Emergency (apple bread and applesauce)

What to do with the bag of Gala apples that the in-laws have left to languish at the shared cottage? Fortunately, we have a copy of James Beard’s bread book kicking around as well… so, I begin with:

1: Raw Apple Bread with Walnuts and Lemon Zest

Beard on Bread (1981) says: “A rather unusual baking powder bread that you will find delightfully textured and interesting in color and flavor. It keeps very well and, as a matter of fact, will be better if left to mature for at least 24 hours. It is a fine bread to give as a gift.  [1 large loaf]”

½ cup butter or margarine (I used Olivina, cause that’s what we had on hand)

1 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour (I used half whole wheat)

½ tsp salt

½ tsp baking soda

1 tsp double-acting baking powder (I assumed he just meant regular b.p.)

2 Tbsp buttermilk or soured milk (I used 2% plain yogurt, thinned with a little milk)

1 cup coarsely chopped, unpeeled apples

½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans

1 tsp vanilla extract or grated lemon rind (lemon highly recommended)

Cream the butter or margarine, add the sugar slowly, and continue to beat until light and lemon colored. Beat in the eggs. Sift the flour with the salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Add to the creamed mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Stir in the apples, nuts, and vanilla or lemon rind.

Butter a 9 or 10 X 5 X 3-inch loaf tin. (Instead, I lined the ancient pyrex pan with parchment paper and it worked out perfectly). Spoon the batter into the tin and bake in a preheated 350 oven 50-60 minutes, until the loaf pulls away slightly from the sides of the tin or until a straw or cake tester inserted in the loaf comes out clean. Cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then loosen from the pan and turn out onto a rack to cool completely before slicing.

Small crisis: this new IKEA oven is a Celsius only beast. I’m told by math-oriented 17 year old that to convert you should subtract 30 and divided by 2.  No internet here, so I have to go with it. 160 degrees Celsius.

Variation: Sprinkle about 1 Tbsp chopped nuts on top of the batter before baking.

I have to disagree with Beard, though: this loaf is most delicious while still a bit warm from the oven, when it is fluffy with a slightly crispy crust.

Now, one cup of chopped fruit consumes only 3 of the less tired-looking apples. The rest of these candidates for composting I make into applesauce.

2:  Chunky Applesauce — an approximation

Peel and chop remaining apples, cutting out any bad bits.

Place in medium sized pot and add a bit of water (not quite to cover, but enough to start the cooking process).

Sprinkle in a bit of cinnamon, to taste.

Bring to boil on high heat; then simmer on low for about an hour with the lid on. As they soften, mash some of the apples with a wooden spoon, but accept that this will be an applesauce with character.

Add more water as needed – these winter-storage Galas were on the dry side, so I had to add another cup or so.

The verdict of my hungry cottagers:

The five-year old was delighted with the unsweetened applesauce.  My frugal spouse was clearly pleased with my unusual display of home economy.  And, best of all, my seventeen-year-old stepson admitted that the apple bread was delish.



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Red Cabbage Salad

This salad combines some of my favourite things into one big bowl of awesome.



1/4 head of red cabbage, shredded/chopped small

1-2 oz gorgonzola, or whatever blue cheese (portions? of cheese? ignore this)

1/3 cup golden raisins

1/3 cup chopped walnuts


Simple Dressing:

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper


Instructions: do you really need any? It’s a salad. Put it in a bowl, toss it and eat it right away.

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of agates and madeleines

I spent the past 2.5 years of my life studying eastern white pine trees. Pinus strobus trees, for those who are curious. During that time, I chewed on a lot of pine needles. Why? – because when I’m in the woods, I like to sample. Because I like to see how things taste. Because I love to eat.

Some things have become favorites, such as wintergreen leaves. Others, such as  maple twigs, I’ve learned to ignore, because they taste like, you guessed it, twigs. And now that I’ve finished my research project, it’s only natural that I…. pine for those good ole days.

I’ve been seeing so many good popsicle recipes lately, it’s made me wild-eyed with desire to make my own. Since rhubarb is a big hit at my house, it made for a clear choice when pondering what flavor of ice pops to kick off summer with. But…

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Fun with Scapes!

It’s scape season. Here are two deliciously garlicky recipes I’ve made recently with the curly greens.

Creamy, Nutty Garlic Scape Dip
from Victory Garden Vegetables

  • 10 garlic scapes
  • 1/4 cup roasted almonds
  • 2 tbsp. sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • a few tbsp. sour cream and/or mayonnaise
  1. Wash the garlic scapes and cut off the flower tips so you are left with just the crisp, curly stem part. Chop them coarsely.
  2. Add the scapes, almonds, sunflower seeds, and parmesan cheese to the food processor. Process for a minute or so. Then add the olive oil and pulse until you have a pesto-like consistency.
  3. Put the “pesto” into a small bowl and mix in the Greek yogurt.
  4. Finally, mix in a few tablespoons sour cream and/or mayonnaise. You can vary these to your tastes. I like a bit of both.

This dip keeps well in the fridge for 4-5 days.


Garlic Scape and Kale Pesto Stuffed Chicken wrapped in Prosciutto
from Sweeter Salt and Chef at Home

Garlic Scape and Kale Pesto

2 cups of chopped, raw kale
4 garlic scapes
1/4 cup chives (or other herbs such as basil or parsley)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt, or more to taste
water to combine

1.) Place all ingredients, except water and parmesan cheese, into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until roughly chopped.

2.) Add a few tablespoons of water at a time, until you reach a thick, but spreadable consistency. I probably added a 1/4 cup or so.

3.) When it is totally combined, pulse in the parmesan cheese until mixed. Taste test, you might need a pinch more salt.

4.) Top with additional olive oil or cheese if desired. Store in the fridge up to two weeks.

The Chicken

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Lay 2 slices of the prosciutto flat onto a work surface, overlapping them slightly along their long edge, to form a large rectangle.
  3. Place a chicken breast lengthwise at the short end and slit it open along one side to create a wide pocket. Spoon in some of the pesto and then wrap the prosciutto neatly around it. Repeat for the other 3 breasts.
  4. Place on a baking sheet, seam side down and bake until golden and cooked through, about 15 minutes.

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