“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.
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
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
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)
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
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
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, melted and slightly cooled
powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
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.” ~
Wishing you a most beautiful day and as always, thanks so much for your visit!
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