Goodness From The Kitchen

“The preparation of good food is merely another expression of art, one of the joys of civilized living.” ~ Dione Lucas

 

Good morning, sweet friends.  I hope wherever you may be, this finds you enjoying lovely autumn weather. 

Now that autumn has actually arrived, along with cooler weather, I find myself in the kitchen a little more.  I enjoy cooking and am always happy to share wonderful recipes which I have made, know are not complicated, and are scrumptious.  So, without further chatter,  below you will find a menu, followed by the recipes.  Please know, should you have any questions about the recipes, send me a message under the contact section of this blog.  I will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Le Menu

Spinach, Apple, and Goat Cheese Salad ~ with Molasses Vinaigrette

Cream of Leek and Parsnip Soup

French Apple Cake

“Great cooking favors the prepared hands.” ~ Jacques Pepin

Special Note:  As you read the recipes, you will see I have used Gala apples in all the recipes.  I have not had the best of luck finding good Granny Smith apples this year.  They are tough, don’t cook up well and are even bitter.  They are supposed to be tart not bitter.  I have been using Gala’s and they are lovely.  They are a little sweet, but still on the tart side.  This is just a point of information for you.  However, on the French Apple Cake, definitely use Gala’s.

Apple, Spinach, and Goat Cheese Salad

Ingredients

10 ounces baby spinach

1/2 of a medium red onion, thinly sliced

2 large apples, cored and thinly sliced (I use gala apples)

half of a small red onion, thinly sliced

1 cup pecans, roughly chopped (walnuts are fine)

2/3 cup dried cranberries

5 ounces goat cheese, crumbled (blue cheese is also good)

Add spinach, apples, red onion, pecans, dried cranberries, and half of the goat cheese to a large bowl.  Drizzle with the vinaigrette, and toss to combine.

Serve immediately, garnished with the remaining goat cheese.  If you want to use this salad as a main course, it is wonderful with a roasted chicken breast sliced on top.

 

Molasses Vinaigrette – makes about 3/4 cup

1/4 cup dark molasses

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tsp. whole-grain mustard

1/4 tsp. salt

3/4 tsp. ground black pepper

2 Tbls. extra light olive oil

In a small bowl whisk together molasses, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper.  Gradually whisk in olive oil.

 

Cream of Leek and Parsnip Soup 

Ingredients

4-5 Tbls. butter

1 pound prepared sliced leeks ~ 2 to 3 nice size leeks

1 pound parsnips, trimmed, peeled, and cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces

2 apples, peeled, cored, and roughly chopped ~ (I used Gala apples)

1 large Yukon gold potato, roughly chopped

6 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup heavy cream

salt and pepper to taste

Sprinkle with nutmeg or chopped parsley for garnish (optional)

Crusty bread or croutons (optional)

Sour cream or creme fraiche (optional)

 

Directions:
To prepare leeks trim heavy green leaves and root ends, discard.   Next, cut the leek lengthwise and wash thoroughly under running water, drain leek on paper towel.  Once thoroughly drained, cut the leek crosswise in about 1-inch slices. Heat butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add leeks, cook, and stir often for about 5 minutes until leeks are tender.  Watch this, you may need to add a little more butter. Add parsnips, apples, potato, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until vegetables are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
Note:  In this next step you can use a regular blender or an immersion stick blender.  If you use a stick blender, remove the soup from heat and let it cool just a few minutes.
Using a regular blender:  Working in batches, puree soup in a blender until smooth. Return it to pot; stir in cream. Season with salt and pepper.  Garnish with parsley.
Using a stick blender:  After soup has cooled just a few minutes, blend until all ingredients are smooth. (I use an old-fashioned potato masher to mash thing up a bit before using my stick blender.) Return to medium heat and add cream.  Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with a sprinkle of nutmeg or parsley. Serve with crusty bread and or croutons.  A small dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche is also nice.
Note:  This is a thick soup.  If you prefer it a little thinner, add more broth or whole milk, after you have pureed the mixture.
  
 

This last recipe is, in my opinion, an exquisite dessert with incredible flavor.  Honestly, when this cake comes from the oven you will feel like Julia surely must have been in your kitchen.  It is truly so beautiful and delicious.  It is a lovely dessert to elevate an ordinary day or make a special occasion, extra special.  Everyone who has the opportunity to enjoy this cake will feel as though they are in the home of a French pastry chef.  But here is the beauty of this cake ~ it is so easy.  You don’t even use a mixer.  The cake easily serves six, but it is also nice for a family of two or four, you will have a little leftover for another day.  I promise you will love me for this one! 

French Apple Cake

Ingredients:

4 large apples (any variety, I used Gala)

3 tablespoons Calvados, apple brandy, or dark rum

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt

2 eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, melted and slightly cooled

powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with baking spray (or butter and lightly flour the surface.)  Note:  I used Bakers Joy baking spray with flour.

Core and peel the apples, slice into 1/8 thick slices. Place apple slices in a medium bowl and pour the Calvados over them.  Toss to coat and allow to soak while you are preparing the other ingredients.

In a small bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt.  Mix well and set aside.  In a large bowl add eggs and mix with a wire whisk until frothy. Add vanilla extract and sugar and mix until combined. Add butter and continue to stir. Add flour mixture a little at a time stirring constantly until batter is uniform. Fold in apples, making sure to include any remaining Calvados at the bottom of the bowl. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and pat down the apples with a spatula or back of a wooden spoon.

Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool at least 5 minutes before removing from pan. Dust with powdered sugar before serving if desired.  I checked this at 45 minutes.  In my oven, it took 50 minutes for baking time.

Important Note:  If possible try to find Calvados, a French apple brandy.  It is wonderful in this recipe.  If you live in a larger area you probably won’t have any trouble finding it.  However, I am in a small town and Mike asked the gentleman who manages our liquor store about it and he now carries it.  It is wonderful on many things, especially fruit cakes if you make them. 

“The secret of good cooking is, first, having a love of it… If you’re convinced that cooking is drudgery, you’re never going to be good at it, and you might as well warm up something frozen.” ~ James Beard

 

  Wishing you a most beautiful day and as always, thanks so much for your visit!

Bon Appétit!

 

Special Note:  I am joining the following party: https://thecharmofhome.blogspot.com/

Au Revoir,

Sandra

 

Photos:  via tumblr and Pinterest

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14 Comments on "Goodness From The Kitchen"

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Penny at Enjoying The Simple Things
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Penny at Enjoying The Simple Things

Those recipes sound amazing. I would have never thought to use molasses in a dressing and it sounds wonderful

Shannon@Belle Bleu Interiors
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Sandra, the recipes you have shared sound most scrumptious! I love a good apple dessert in the fall, and I can’t wait to try this one. I hope you have a beautiful and blessed day, sweet friend!!!

Madonna
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Great menu. I am going for the apple cake. Love the lower than usual sugar.

Brenda @ It\'s A Beautiful Life
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Oh my, this post all about apple goodness is really perfect this time of year. I’m going to be trying your French apple cake for sure. And if I make the leek and parsnip soup, hubby will be bowled over with eager delight (he loves parsnips). That salad with the dressing sounds amazing.

Thanks, Sandra, for sharing your beautiful life with us. Bren xoxoxox

Laura Ingalls Gunn
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Oh, I can’t wait to make the soup. It sounds delicious!

Pam Richardson
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Sandra, what a delicious menu full of apple goodness. Salad, soup, and cake are perfect for a chilly autumn evening. I must make these recipes and thank you for sharing them with us. Blessings sweet friend!

Bonnie Morgan
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These recipes sound delicious! Great autumn menu.
Have a beautiful day!

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