Busy Holidays!

Pardon the radio silence….I’ve pretty much been boycotting the kitchen since cooking my first Thanksgiving dinner. It was fun and went well, but I think I met my cooking quota for the…month? year? decade?  Hard to believe, I know. Meanwhile, craziness has ensued at school because the kids are all pumped up for vacation. So, to bridge the gap before more fun holiday cooking, here are some great cookie recipes (I haven’t tried them yet, but know they’re great because they come recommended by my friend who is the queen of Christmas cookies) …

…and a funny picture of my dear husband enjoying our turkey to make you smile!

Do you have any holiday cookies that you can’t live without?

~CM

And Another Soup

It has been COLD here in the Boston area. Snow. Power outages (not at my homestead). Freezing trick-or-treaters. So today, when school was cancelled (no power there), I decided it was time for another soup. This one comes from yours truly’s brain, so forgive the lack of a recipe. Basically, you can make this soup with anything you want. It’s a great way to use up veggies that are about to turn (or just have turned). I’ve decided to call this version Super Soup because of the nice variety of veggies and vitamins (and because I have the sense of humor of a 10 year old…)

Start with equal parts butter and olive oil in the bottom of a large stock pot (I used about 1 tablespoon of each). Heat over medium. Add celery, leeks, and garlic (or onions, or shallots, or any combination thereof). Cook for about 5-8 minutes, until they start to caramelize.


Next, I added 1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into bite size pieces. Cook a few more minutes, until the sweet potato starts to brown.


Cover the whole combo with broth (I used chicken because I had it on hand, but I’d prefer vegetable for this type of soup). I use a mixture of broth and water, because I think it’s a bit too potent otherwise. For this batch, I used 5 cups broth and 2 cups water. Cover the pot and bring to a boil.

When the soup is boiling, add beans (I used beautiful fresh cranberry beans). Leave uncovered and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add broccoli and simmer until the beans are soft (about 15 more minutes).

Aren’t they pretty?

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy with a nice piece of crusty bread, or if you’re like me and out of nice crusty bread, with a plate of crackers and goat Gouda.

 


Happy November, everyone! Stay warm!

~CM

Early Fall Delights

One of the great things about fall is that my husband and I get a bit more free time together. Despite my crazy back to school schedule, he has fewer gigs so our free time more frequently falls on the same days. On one of those days we went apple picking and did a corn maze (what can I say, it’s fall in New England!).  Actually, we did the same corn maze that made the news when a family got lost inside and called 911 (check out the story here). It was a fun challenge, but we didn’t find it that hard…

 

With our haul of apples, we made a new version of one of my favorite fall treats: apple crisp. We gave it a different twist by cooking it in our favorite cast iron skillet.

This was so good, we made it twice!

Not only was this one of the best apple crisps I’ve ever had, it was also delightful over Greek yogurt for breakfast!

Skillet Apple Crisp

adapted from First Look, Then Cook

Topping:

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 cup rolled oats

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 stick of melted butter (1/2 cup)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cardamom {this isn’t necessary, but I think it really makes it special}

Filling:

8 small-medium apples, peeled and sliced in 1/4 in pieces {I used Cortlands}

2 tablespoons agave nectar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon lemon juice

3/4 cup apple cider

2 tablespoons butter

In a medium mixing bowl, mix together all topping ingredients until well combined. Set aside for now.

Meanwhile, put the cider in a small sauce pan and reduce over medium heat by about 1/2. This will take about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Mix together the apples, agave, cinnamon, and lemon juice in a large mixing bowl. Melt the butter in a cast iron skillet. Toss in the apples and cook for about 8-10 minutes over medium heat. This precooks the apples a bit so they aren’t as crunchy. Turn off the heat and pour the reduced cider over the apples. Spread the topping evenly over the top and bake for 15-20 minutes. Let cool a bit to spare your palate and enjoy!

You could serve this with ice cream but my husband and I found that it didn’t even need it. It was sweet and creamy enough with the precooked apples. Yum. Now I want more. Might have to go for round 3!

Happy Fall!

~CM