Apple and Sage Pork Chops

Apple and Sage Porkchops

Apple and Sage Porkchops

When I was a young girl, my family lived next door to a farm, and on this farm they raised some pigs.  No, their name was not McDonald, but in addition to the pigs they raised cows for milking.  They also grew strawberries, and other fruits and vegetables and my family was often the lucky recipient of their over abundance.  Well one year I was witness to their slaughtering one of the pigs.  I won’t go into details, but suffice it to say that I will never forget it and for a long time afterward I would not eat pork of any kind.  As I grew older and became responsible for preparing meals for my family, the vivid memory faded, and I gradually got over it.  Pork came back into my diet and now I can say that it is a meat I like very much and look for different ways to prepare it.

I just got around to making this dish, but I’ve had the recipe for quite some time now.  Don’t know why I waited so long.  Actually it seems  like the perfect fall meal, and that’s about when I clipped out the recipe.  But some things just take time to get to.  No matter, it is outstanding whenever you make it.

Pork chops—I used the boneless variety—apples, onions and a highly seasoned sauce.  Not a big time investment to make but a hugh payoff when you sit down at the table for dinner.  Wow! they were delicious.

IMG_3136

APPLE AND SAGE PORK CHOPS

SERVINGS:   4

YOU WILL NEED:

Cider, apple, onion and seasonings.

Cider, apple, onion and seasonings.

  • 4 pork chops, 1-inch thick, about 1 1/4 pounds
  • 1 Tablespoon flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons rubbed sage
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 red apples, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup apple juice or cider
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar

DIRECTIONS

1.  Whisk together the flour, salt and all the seasonings in a small bowl.   Sprinkle both sides of pork chops with 1 Tablespoon of the seasoned mixture.  Pat lightly to make it adhere.

2.  Cook pork chops in hot oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat until browned on both sides.

Season chops and brown on both sides.

Season chops and brown on both sides.

Remove from the skillet to a plate.  Add onion to skillet; cook and stir 3 minutes or until tender.  Add the apples;  cook and stir 2 minutes.

Add onions, then apples to skillet.

Add onions, then apples to skillet.

3.  Stir in juice, sugar and remaining seasoned flour until well mixed.  Return pork chops to skillet.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 6 – 8 minutes or until desired doneness.

Return chops to skillet and continue cooking till done.

Return chops to skillet and continue cooking till done.

4.  To serve, arrange chops, onions and apples in a shallow bowl.  Pour sauce over all.

Arrange in a serving dish with apples and onions poured over chops.

Arrange in a serving dish with apples and onions poured over chops.

Served with broccoli and sweet potato.

Served with broccoli and sweet potato.

SOURCE:  Bon Appetite.com

Rustic Applesauce

Homemade cinnamon applesauce.

Homemade cinnamon applesauce.

Fairly often during the winter months I like to make homemade applesauce.  The fresh apples from the nearby orchards aren’t available any longer, so as a substitute I make applesauce with what’s available at the supermarket, and put it in my husband’s lunch.

Now to make applesauce like this I don’t want to purchase premium apples just to cut them up, cook and mash them.  So I keep an eye out for apples that have been reduced in price and placed on the shelves where slightly bruised but still useful produce is displayed.  Many times there will be a package of 4 – 6 apples at a very good price.  And also these packages may contain two or three different kinds of apples.  Just what I want for my applesauce, because for my taste, the most flavorful applesauce, like the most flavorful cider, is made from a variety of apples.

It all starts with the apples.

It all starts with the apples.

I call this “rustic” applesauce because I mash the apples to create a chunky sauce.  You can certainly make it smooth, if that’s your preference, by processing all or part of it in a processor or blender.  Lastly I tint the applesauce pink with my “secret” ingredient:  cinnamon  heart candy.

The secret ingredient.

The secret ingredient.

Stay with me here as I show you how to make it.

RUSTIC APPLESAUCE

YIELD:   about 6  cups

Prepare the apples:  Collect about 8 medium to large apples, a mixed variety is good. Keep in mind that not all apples cook-out the same.  Some retain their form, while others mash easily; so use apples that are compatible.  Two kinds I like to mix are Empires and Cortlands. Generally, if they are good pie-apples, they will make good applesauce, too.  Peel, core and slice the apples into a large saucepan.   Add a very small amount of water to the pan,  just enough to cover the bottom.

Slice the apples into a large saucepan.

Slice the apples into a large saucepan.

Cook the apples:  Over medium heat start the apples cooking.  As the water in the bottom of the pan starts to simmer, turn the heat to low and allow the apples to cook slowly, uncovered, stirring occasionally, so they don’t stick to the bottom.  They will produce more juice as they cook, so don’t cover the pan or it will become too juicy.  This takes anywhere from 20 – 30 minutes, depending on kinds of apples and how thick you cut them.

Making the sauce:   When the apples are very tender ( any maybe falling apart, or becoming “saucy”), remove from the heat.  Mash to desired  consistency with a fork or potato masher.

Cooked apples are tender and "saucy".

Cooked apples are tender and “saucy”.

Flavoring and tinting:  While the sauce is still very hot, add in about 1 Tablespoon of cinnamon hearts red candies.

Add cinnamon candies to hot sauce.

Add cinnamon candies to hot sauce.

Stir in and as they melt they will flavor the sauce and tint it pink.  Now, taste and adjust flavor by adding some sugar;  1-2 Tablespoons, and ground cinnamon to taste.  A pinch of salt will bring out the flavors or a splash of lemon juice will also brighten it up.

Applesauce tinted pink as candies melt.

Applesauce tinted pink as candies melt.

Do yourself a favor and give it a try.  It’s so much better than the bland, smooth stuff you buy in a jar!.  This applesauce is also a very good accompaniment to pork entrees, or serve with potato pancakes.

So good and fresh tasting.

So good and fresh tasting.

SOURCE:   A Carolyn Original

Apple Cobbler Cupcakes

Apple Cobbler Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting

After deliberating for several days over what kind of cupcakes to make for my father-in-law’s birthday party.  I finally decided on these:  Apple Cobbler Cupcakes.  Since this celebration was the weekend before Halloween, it seemed logical to make a tie-in.  Then I thought, well no, his birthday should be the main focus, but it is Fall so something with apples would be good.  When you frost these with a caramel frosting, you get a riff on the traditional caramel apple—a Halloween treat.  Makes perfect sense, yes?  Everyone at the party thought so, and didn’t waste any time in making them disappear.   In fact, I had to hold back the crowds so I could get a picture or two.:)

Presentation on the Dessert Table

This recipe is supposed to make 12 cupcakes; that’s filling the baking cups nearly full.  I felt they didn’t need to be that big since we also had Birthday cake and ice-cream for dessert.  So I filled my cupcake tins (paper lined ) about half full and I got a total of 18 cupcakes.  Once baked they came up to the tops of the liners.  I topped them with a generous swirl of frosting, some orange colored sugar and a “gummy ” pumpkin for decoration.

APPLE COBBLER CUPCAKES

YIELD:   12 – 18 cupcakes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 cup ( 1 stick ) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 2 1/2 cups apples, roughly chopped

DIRECTIONS

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cupcakes tins with paper liners or grease lightly.

2.  Whisk together the dry ingredients;  flour through ginger.

3.  Beat butter and sugars together in a large mixer bowl until light and fluffy.

4.  Beat in eggs, sour cream, and lemon extract till well blended. Scrape down the bowl once or twice.

5.  Mix in the flour mixture till well incorporated.

6.  Fold in the apples.

7.  Scoop into 12 – 18 cupcake liners.

8.  Bake at 350 degrees for 23 minutes (18 cupcakes) or 25 minutes (12 cupcakes).  A toothpick inserted into the center of one should come out clean.

9.  Cool for a few minutes in their pans, then transfer to wire cooling racks to cool completely before frosting.

CARAMEL FROSTING

YIELD:  Makes about 2 1/4 cups

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup milk or light cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/2  – 3 cups confectionery sugar, sifted.  It’s always best to sift your confectionery sugar for a silky smooth frosting.

1.  In a saucepan, heat butter, brown sugar and milk.  Bring to a boil over medium heat.  Cook and stir for 2 minutes.  Remove from the heat.  Add vanilla.  Cool to lukewarm.

2.  Gradually beat in the confectionery sugar till you get a spreadable consistency.  If you are piping on the frosting it needs to be a little stiffer to hold its shape.

3.  Frost cupcakes and decorate as desired.

  

SOURCES:    Cupcakes:  The Cupcake Connection

Frosting:        Luscious Bakeshop Favorites From Your own Kitchen,  Shelly Kaldunski

Pumpkin-Apple Streusel Muffins

Pumpkin-Apple Streusel Muffins

I’ve just eaten one warm from the oven..I was patient just long enough to photograph them and then I HAD to have one.  Oh,Boy,  are they good!  Fall spices, apple and pumpkin married together, not too sweet, a tender crumb, and a crunchy crumb topping.  What else could you do to these to make them any better?   I think these are perfect anytime you want to have one.  At breakfast with coffee?  Mid-morning coffee break?  For Lunch with yogurt or cottage cheese perhaps?  For dessert after dinner—as I said, anytime at all.  You must make these now, before there’s no more pumpkin left on the store shelves.  You’ll be sorry if you don’t.
The recipe makes a batch of 18 muffins.  I thought that was a lot for just two of us, so I made half a recipe and got nine muffins. Now I wish I had made the whole thing and froze some.  Guess I’ll just have to make more to have on hand for Thanksgiving morning.

PUMPKIN-APPLE STREUSEL MUFFINS

YIELD   18 MUFFINS

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour  ( I used half white flour and half whole wheat)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups apple finely chopped

STREUSEL TOPPING

  • 2  Tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 teaspoons butter

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease 18 muffin cups, or line with paper liners.

2.  Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl.  ( flour through salt)

Dry ingredients.

3.  Mix wet ingredients together in a medium bowl.  ( eggs, oil and pumpkin puree)

Wet ingredients.

4.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix just to moisten.  Fold in apples.

Mix everything together. Fold in chopped apple.

5.  Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full.

6.  Mix together the streusel ingredients to form coarse crumbs, and sprinkle on batter.  Pat lightly to adhere.

7.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 – 40 minutes.  Test for doneness with a toothpick.  Cool slightly in pans and then transfer to cooling racks to cool completely.   Ha!  if you can wait that long!

SOURCE:  adapted from all recipes.com

Rustic Autumn Fruit Tart

Rustic Autumn Fruit Tart

As a hostess gift when I went to visit in North Carolina I brought some apples grown right here in the town where I live.  We who live here are so spoiled by the ease with which we can obtain fresh orchard-grown apples and pears ( at this time of year) as well as other fruits earlier in the season.  Folks who formerly lived here miss that kind of freshness in the fruits they are able to buy in their local grocery stores, and the variety of kinds of apples.  So a gift like the one I brought with me is always welcome.

Coincidentally, my hostess wanted to make a baked gift to give to a friend who had been kind to her and her husband, so together we made this Rustic Autumn Fruit Tart.  Actually we made two;  one to keep and one to give.   We used some of the apples I brought, and some pears that she had on hand, ripe and beautiful.

This is very easy to make, goes together quickly and looks very impressive when completed. It tastes as delicious as it looks.  The recipient of this gift was surprised and delighted to receive it.

RUSTIC AUTUMN FRUIT TART

SERVINGS:   8

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 roll packaged refrigerated pie crust, at room temperature
  • 2 large apples – peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 1 pear – peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup apricot jam, warmed

DIRECTIONS

1.  Unroll the pie dough and lightly roll into a 10 – 11″ circle.  Fit into a 9 ” pie pan, or place flat on slightly greased baking sheet.

Tart can be made in a tart/pie pan or flat on a baking sheet.

2.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

3.  Toss the sliced apples and pear with the orange juice.  Whisk together the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and cornstarch.  Toss the fruit with the sugar-spice mixture.

Toss sliced fruits with orange juice.

4.  Arrange the fruit decoratively in the pastry shell.  If you’re baking it on a baking sheet, leave a 2-inch rim of dough with the fruit arranged in the middle.

5.  Fold the dough up and over the edge of the fruit ( the pastry folds will overlap).

Fold edges of pastry up and over top of fruits, pleating the excess.

6.  Bake the tart in the preheated oven until the crust is browned and the filling is bubbly, about 30 minutes.  Remove the tart from the oven and brush the whole top with the warmed apricot jam.  This creates a beautiful glaze.

Serve warm with a dab of ice cream——Deeelish!

SOURCE:   allrecipes.com

Grilled Cheese with Apples and Bacon

Grilled Cheese with Bacon and Apple Sandwich

Are you ever at the point where you just crave something really simple but oh, so good?  That happened to me not long ago.  We had been out doing Saturday morning errands and  it was rainy, windy  and chilly.  When I got home I just wanted something hot, and satisfying.  My husband suggested Grilled cheese sandwiches, which I thought was a good idea, but as I got started preparing them one thing led to another and I ended up creating these sandwiches that were oooey, gooey good with the addition of crisp bacon and thinly sliced apples with the cheese.  These have now become my new go-to sandwich for when I need some comfort at lunch time.

GRILLED CHEESE WITH BACON AND APPLES

YIELD:  makes 2 sandwiches.  Scale ingredients up to make  more.

  • 4 slices bacon

    Maple Syrup, Apples and Cheese, Yum!

  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • 4 slices whole-grain bread
  • 4 slices cheddar cheese
  • 1 apple, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
  • soft butter

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Brush each side of bacon slice with maple syrup.  Place on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 8 minutes.  Turn over, and continue baking for another 8 minutes.  Since bacon slices will vary, times are approximate.  Watch closely that it does not become too crisp or burned.

2.  To assemble the sandwich, butter one side to each slice of bread. Lay two bread slices buttered side down, top with a slice of cheese.  Lay 2 bacon strips on top, then some sliced apple, another slice of cheese, and then the last piece of bread, buttered side up.

Building the Sandwich

3.  Place sandwiches, buttered side down, in a hot skillet or grill pan, and cook until cheese is melted, turning over about half way through.  Sandwich should be golden and melty.

Ooey, Gooey, Good!