Apple and Potato Oven Fries

Monday, June 29th, 2015

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From Cookin’ Up a Storm, natch.

I have to admit, at first I was a little skeptical of the pairing of apples and potatoes in a french fry medium. But it totally works! Sure, so maybe the apples get a little mushy when baked; but thanks to the sugar, the outsides caramelize a tiny bit. Not crunchy, exactly, but kind of french fry-ish.

The recipe calls for five potatoes and two apples, giving it an almost 2:1 potato:apple ratio. Since that serves way more than two people – plus generates more potato and apple wedges than will even fit in my dinky little oven – I halved it, kind of. Two large potatoes, one apple. So a true 2:1 here.

I wasn’t sure what to use for a dipping sauce – Dakin recommends lemon wedges to garnish, but I used concentrated lemon juice – so I put some ketchup on the side and only dunked the potato fries. The apples I ate semi-separately, kind of like a sweet kick in between the tomato-covered potatoes. It sounds weird but worked out really well!

Served with leftover pizza for minimum effort. (Hey, we’d just gotten back from walking the dogs, okay.)

Quickie Apple Strudel

Saturday, November 8th, 2014

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You guys, I was so worried that this apple strudel (recipe courtesy of Elepahntastic Vegan) would be a disaster! I used an old odd-sheet of puff pastry that’s been bouncing around my freezer for ages; the expiration date was a year and a half past, so I’m not exaggerating when I say that it must be a few years old at least. I know, I’m so bad!

Anyway, after I defrosted the dough I had trouble prying it apart. After much nudging and hand-wringing, I cut it half to expedite the process; that gave me two wildly misshapen and differently-sized pieces. One of them – the one closest to the opening of the package, I think – was a bit dried out, while the other was super-wet and moist. I slapped some margarine on the dry one, slathered apple pieces coated in cinnamon sugar on top of it, and then covered it up with the moist piece, which was by then the larger of the two. A little crimping and 25 minutes at 375F later, and I had an apple strudel that was as tasty as it was ugly. Yay!

I dusted it with a but of powdered sugar and enjoyed half for lunch and half later that night for dessert. I think it could stand to have more apples – I was afraid to push it too far, lest I have an exploding juices situation on my hands – but otherwise it was pretty good. Next time I think I’ll also do a wash of some kind for extra sweet goodness.

Not too bad for ten minutes of work! (Woulda been less, but see: “problematic dough.”)

Candle Cafe’s Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Almond Cream and Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

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My very first dish from Vegan Holiday Cooking! I decided to make it a practical one, so I chose a recipe that requires two of my current arch nemeses (butternut squash and apples, which are conspiring to make my fridge/freezer burst open at the seams). Seasoned with cinnamon, sage, rosemary, and chile powder, this Roasted Butternut Squash Soup is topped with an almond cream, as well as pumpkin seeds toasted with lemon juice and cinnamon.

The soup is hella tasty and easy to make; no problems there. The almond cream was a little trickier; mine didn’t get terribly creamy and didn’t look much like that in the fancy gourmet food photo. Actually the difference in aesthetics isn’t terribly surprising; my almonds had their skins intact, hence the variation in color. But it also seemed a little heavier that Candle Cafe’s version, even with extra water added. When I plopped a little into the soup using an ice cream scoop, it just sank right to the bottom, with only a tiny bit staying afloat. Kind of like an iceberg! It still tasted great, though; ultimately I just blended the unused cream with the leftover soup and enjoyed them as one. Why use two containers when one will suffice?

Also, you might notice that those are not pumpkin seeds perched atop the almond cream. Right you are! I didn’t have any, so I subbed in pecans instead. I think they worked just as well.

My to-do list for Vegan Holiday Cooking is more than a dozen items long, so stay tuned for more!

Tenacious Tart Tatin

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

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Now that I’m knee-deep in apples, so begins my annual autumnal tradition: trying each and every apple recipe I can get my hands on. In the case of this Tenacious Tart Tatin (also known as a French Caramelized Apple Tart), it also means knocking another dish off my to-do for reviews list. It’s from Terry Hope Romero’s Vegan Eats World, and is not nearly as fussy as its sounds.

While the recipe does require a few rounds of waiting for stuffs to freeze (the olive oil and then the crust), I was able to spend that time peeling and chopping apples for storage over the winter. You need fresh, firm apples for this recipe, and I worried that my scrappy, home-grown fruit wouldn’t make the cut. Soft apples are prone to devolving into applesauce, you see. (Applesauce: also on the schedule for this month!) But I offset that by slicing my apples on the large side, which seemed to do the trick.

For all its wonderful flakiness, the crust is pretty easygoing. You’re supposed to bake it in a springform pan, which I don’t have, so I just used a regular pie pan. (But not glass, on accounta the rapid change in temps.) I had some trouble slicing and serving the first few pieces of the finished tart, but otherwise it worked just fine.

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This is a seriously sweet tart, even by my standards. You cook the apples along with the caramel on the stovetop (they taste almost poached when done – so good!), transfer them onto the tart, and then drizzle the caramel on top of the whole shebang. And there was so much caramel, y’all! I wonder if maybe I should have held some back.

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The apples made the house smell heavenly, and the scent even coaxed the dogs out of their rainy-day stupor – as evidence by a shamelessly begging Rennie in the above photo.

Yes, I let her lick my plate. ALWAYS.

Apple Pie Oatmeal

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

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Another day, another recipe from The Oh She Glows Cookbook. This stovetop oatmeal dish is packed with hearty goodness: rolled oats, fresh apples, chia seeds, nondairy milk, applesauce, walnuts, coconut shreds, you name it. It requires more energy than I’m capable of mustering first thing in the morning, but seeing as I’m a breakfast anytime kind of girl, this also makes a wonderfully quick lunch or dinner.

The one thing I’d change? Instead of cooking the apples with the rolled oats, I think I’d rather add them to the oatmeal near the end, so that they’d still nice and crunchy and raw.

Supposedly it only serves one, but one batch is more than I can eat by my lonesome.

Also, bonus point for moi: I think this is the closest my food will ever come to looking like the pictures in the cookbook!

N is for Not a Morning Person

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

N is for Not a Morning Person (0001)

You don’t ever want to meet me in the morning. Cranky. Ill-tempered. Easily frustrated. Incapable of even the smallest bits of conversation. And hungry: ravenously so after a night of hard sleeping. Nestled under a pile of dogs, sleep for me is like mini-hibernation. And I don’t emerge without a fight. (Shane’s probably reading this and thinking “Okay, so how is this different from the rest of the day?” Silencio!)

Breakfast, as you can imagine, is mostly a big pain in the ass for me. I’ll never understand how people can so easily shake off their sleepiness and hold hunger at bay while they cook a leisurely, labor-intensive breakfast. Pancakes and waffles? As far as I’m concerned, they are strictly dinner foods.

In order to keep things as simple and brainless as possible (seriously! Morning Kelly is a total zombie! But less fun!), I usually stick with the exact same breakfast until I tire of it. For a long time it was protein shakes; then I did a stretch of bagels with jam and almond butter. My longest run – more than a year! – was with cinnamon sugar oatmeal dotted with bits of dried cranberry. That was delicious, but even pizza eventually elicits groans if you eat it at every meal. (Blasphemy!) My latest kick is cereal, specifically bran flakes.

I know what you’re thinking: boring! Why not just eat a flap of cardboard, right? But there are plenty of ways to dress it up.

For example, the idea of putting nondairy milk in cereal mostly turns my stomach. I’ve had galactosemia my whole life, and just never got into the habit of putting milk in my cereal as a kid. (Soy milk being more of a rarity in the 80s.) Soggy flakes? No thanks! Instead I like to use fruit to add some moisture to an otherwise bone-dry dish. In the bowl above you can spot some apple chunks, but when they’re seasonal I prefer blueberries. They make quite a mess in my teeth, but man is it worth it. Also good is apple sauce, especially when paired with some granola. It’s even drier than bran flakes (if that’s possible), so it helps to absorb some of the liquids in the applesauce. And a scoop of banana ice cream is a delicious treat during the summer months.

If there’s a box in the cupboard, I might also toss in a handful of Strawberry Awake cereal – sweetened rice and wheat flakes mixed with dried strawberries. Since it’s more expensive, a quarter cup is a nice compromise. Keeping costs down, yo!

What about you guys? What’s fueling you on this fine September morning?

 
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A is for Apple Pie Ice Cream

Sunday, September 1st, 2013

It’s that time again, folks: VeganMoFo, where vegans (and the veg-curious) the world over gather to drool over their favorite foods. This year I’m doing an alphabet theme, Vegan A to Z, where I try to hit all 26 letters of the alphabet while cooking/baking/eating my butt off. Let’s kick things off with – you guessed it – the letter A!

A is for Apples! In this case: Apple Pie Ice Cream. Made with frozen bananas, so no ice cream machine required!

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Always start with ice cream, and Always take a banana to a party.

In all seriousness, this dessert is as tasty as it is healthy. Basically you start with a half a batch of my apple pie insides, and blend them with a few frozen bananas. It’s that easy!

 

A is for Apple Pie Ice Cream (0010)

 

Apple Pie Ice Cream

(Makes about a quart of ice cream.)

Ingredients

4 overripe bananas, peeled, sliced and frozen
brown sugar or another vegan sweetener, if needed
a splash of nondairy milk or creamer, if needed

3 medium-sized apples, cut into slices 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 vanilla bean (or a teaspoon vanilla extract)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
a dash of allspice
2 tablespoons margarine, cut into small pieces

Directions

1. Begin by preparing the apples. Preheat the oven to 400F. After you’ve cleaned and peeled the apples, cut them into slices about 1/4″ thick. Consistency is more important than the size; try to cut them as evenly as possible so that they bake at the same rate. The thicker the slices, of course, the longer the bake time!

2. In a medium sized bowl, combine the apples, lemon juice, brown sugar, cornstarch, vanilla bean, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice; mix well.

3. Transfer the apples to a small baking dish. Dot with the margarine. Bake, uncovered at 400F for about 45 minutes, or until the apples are soft and tender. Stir halfway through so that all the apples bake evenly.

4. When done, allow the apples to cool. Transfer the apples (and their juices!) to an airtight container and refrigerate for 6-8 hours or until cold. You can make and store the apples up to a day before blending the ice cream.

5. To make the ice cream: Put the apples in the food process and pulse until chunky.

Tip: If you’d like your ice cream chunky, set a few apples slices aside. Cut them into smaller pieces and mix them into the ice cream at step #8.

6. Add the (frozen) bananas iand pulse until smoothly blended. Most likely you’ll need to stir them by hand several times, as the frozen chunks tend to gather and become “stuck” on one side of the bowl. If necessary, add a splash of non-dairy milk or creamer to get things moving!

Alternately, you can allow the bananas to defrost on the counter top for 30 to 60 minutes beforehand, so that they’re easier to work with. Before putting them in the food processor, break them up into smaller chunks with a butter knife.

Note: Since introducing extra liquids (such as non-dairy milk) into the mix results in a slightly icier finished product, I prefer defrosting to non-dairy milk. If you’re in a hurry, pop the bananas in the microwave for 20 to 45 seconds instead. The juices from the apples should help in this regards.

7. Sample the batter and add a bit of sugar or other spices if desired.

8. Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container. Enjoy immediately as soft serve, or pop the ice cream in the freezer for an hour+ for a firmer dessert. Store any leftovers in the freezer in an airtight container. If the frozen banana ice cream proves too hard to scoop, microwave it for ten seconds to help loosen it up (or let the container sit on the counter for ten to thirty minutes prior to eating, depending on room temp).

 

A is for Apple Pie Ice Cream [with granola] (0006)

Doubly amazing when topped with fresh apples, cinnamon, and a handful of Apple Cinnamon Granola.
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Apple Cinnamon Granola

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

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How am I just now making apple cinnamon flavored granola? Apples and cinnamon are, like, my thang.

As it turns out, I didn’t even think of this combo until after a botched attempt at orange granola, using concentrated OJ (way, way too much concentrated OJ) as the main seasoning. The fail might have been epic, but at least it inspired me to use frozen apple juice in this next batch. In moderation, of course!

 

Apple Cinnamon Granola

Ingredients

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon frozen apple juice concentrate
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon cinnamon (+ an extra teaspoon if you like your apples super-cinnamony!)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon allspice
6 cups quick or rolled oats
1 cup raw almonds
1 cup dehydrated apple slices, cut into bite-sized pieces
2/3 cup raisins (optional)

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 300F.

2. Start by roasting the oats! (Optional.) Lightly grease two medium-sized baking sheets with sides. Divide the oats between the two and spread them out evenly. Bake at 300F for 20 minutes, stirring at the halfway point.

3. In a bowl or measuring cup, combine the coconut oil, maple syrup, apple sauce, maple syrup, and spices; mix well.

4. In a large bowl, combine the oats and almonds. Stir to combine. Pour the apple mix on top of the oats and mix until well blended.

5. Spread the oats out evenly on the baking sheets. Bake at 300F for 45 to 60 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes. If necessary, break up any large clumps with a spoon or by hand. Allow to cool on the countertop for at least a half hour before stirring in the raisins and apple slices and transferring to an airtight container or ziplock bag. The granola can be frozen for longer storage.

Spiced Apple Waffles

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

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Slowly working my way through all the breakfast items in Betty Goes Vegan. idk why, but I’m super-into pancakes and waffles lately. Maybe because Shane always volunteers to make them for me?

The Spiced Apple Waffles (page 39) are pretty tasty on their own, but I bet my apple pie insides would really take these bad girls to the next level. Fresh apple slices, maple syrup, and margarine works in a pinch though!

Deep Dish Apple Brown Sugar Pie

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

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This would have been the last of the untried apple pie recipes from my giant stack o’ cookbooks – had I not went out and bought a copy of Betty Goes Vegan! That’s okay, though, ’cause I have just enough frozen apples left for one more pie. Serendipity! (In case you’re keeping score at home, this one is from Lane Gold’s Vegan Junk Food.)

So this was definitely the most problematic crust I’ve worked with (says the girl who never has any luck with sweet pie crusts). First it was too sticky, then too dry, too sticky, too dry – you get the idea. I finally settled on too dry, rolled it veeeeery carefully, and used a giant pizza spatula to scrape the discs off of the countertop. The bottom one wasn’t too bad – I molded it into the dish with my fingertips – but the top piece proved a hot mess, with cracks running every which way. You can kind of see how the crust further split apart while baking.

The whole thing just collapsed into flaky pieces when I cut into it, so today’s sexy individual slice/crossectional photo is of the leftovers. Incidentally, the pie is hella easier to cut when cold.

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The good news is that it’s tasty as fuck. The flip side of having such a messy, flaky crust is that it virtually melts in your mouth. You can’t really tell from the photo, but there’s also a glaze-type topping of soy milk and sugar on the pie which really elevates it to the next level. If anything I’m glad I tried this recipe just for that extra-juicy pro tip. Put sugar on ALL the pies!

Apple Butterscotch Pie

Monday, February 11th, 2013

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So this is the second of two apple pie recipes from American Vegan Kitchen. The Apple Butterscotch Pie uses the same crust recipe as Mom’s Apple Pie (obvs!) – which, as you might recall, I had a little trouble with last time around. Here I reduced the water to two tablespoons (vs. the recommended five), which seemed to do the trick: I didn’t have to add any extra flour this time around. The dough was easier to work with, but by no means perfect. Prone to tearing and impossible to lift up, I had to do most of the rolling and stretching once the dough was already in place in the pie pan.

But you know what? Totally worth the trouble, even without the butterscotch chips. (They’re supposed to go on top.) I know, I know; butterscotch is kind of the whole point of the recipe, right? But I didn’t have any butterscotch chips on hand, and Noyes gives a second option using brown sugar, so I went with it. No regrets!

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I had tons of trouble coaxing the first slice from the pan, though. I made a total mess of it, but hey, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Namely: oven-baked apples coated in a cinnamon-sugar-nutmeg-lemon syrup. Yes please.

Next time around I think I’ll give the apple pie recipe in Vegan Junk Food a spin. I think I have enough frozen apples for five or six more pies, so hopefully I’ll be able to find a kickass crust recipe before I’m done.

Errr, not that I have to use all those apples in pies. But let’s not kid ourselves, okay?

(More below the fold…)

Mom’s Apple Pie

Friday, January 11th, 2013

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Truth be told, I don’t remember my mom every making pie from scratch. After-school cookies? Check. Elaborately decorated birthday cakes? Yes ma’am. Ginormous cookie cakes for school celebrations? I was the most popular kid that day! But our pies? Always started out frozen.

I imagine that mom’s pies, if she ever made them from scratch, would look hella prettier than anything I can manage. That’s okay, though, because it’s what’s on the inside that counts. And inside this pie is thoroughly edible. If you know what I mean. Ahem.

Anyway, the recipe’s from Tami Noyes’s American Vegan Kitchen, which I’ve cooked from so often that I may as well do a review. (So let’s just say one’s forthcoming, i.e., as soon as I plow through the entire dessert case chapter.) As far as apple pie goes, it’s sound but somewhat standard: apples, sugar, cinnamon, etc. Delicious, nutritious (hah!), dependable apple pie.

I’ve yet to find a pie crust recipe that I truly love, and the one featured in AVK is no exception. For starters, I think I used too much water; whereas 2-3 tablespoons would have sufficed, the recipe calls for five. As soon as I added it, the dough got sticky and whatever ball the food processor had working quickly disintegrated. I tried correcting with a little extra flour, but by then the food processor was pooped, so I had to do it by hand. Even then, I don’t think I added enough flour, as the dough proved difficult to work with and kept ripping apart when I handled it. Note to self: add liquid gradually next time!

I spite of my early difficulties, the dough baked into a golden, flaky crust of pure scrumptiousness. Worlds better than some of the crust recipes I’ve found online.

On second thought, maybe I can perfect it with a little tweaking? Only time and (repeated) taste testings will tell. Luckily, I still have fifteen pounds of apples in the freezer, give or take, so I am good to go.

 

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Baked Chai Apples (use as a topping, or for straight-up snacking!)

Friday, December 14th, 2012

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If you thought that I’d have become sick of baked apples by now, that makes two of us! But I found myself with eight juicy red apples on my hands after concluding this year’s Carl Sagan-inspired fsmas holiday card photo shoot

(To wit:

 

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Kaylee!)

and decided to make some baked apples to use as a topping on bran flakes. I’m not real big on putting milk on my cereal – nondairy or otherwise – probably because I never did so growing up, owing in part to my galactosemia. (The only nondairy option I can remember from my childhood is rice milk, and thanks but no. I might as well put tap water on my cereal! I still love you though rice milk fans. No hate!)

Admittedly, many cereals – especially my go-to bran flakes – can be pretty dry, but save for the heartiest of cereals, putting liquid on ’em just results in the opposite problem: a nasty, soggy mess. Baked apples, it just so happens, provide the perfect workaround: they add a little needed moisture without grossing out your cereal!

In chai flavor because Christmas! I almost went with pumpkin pie spice, but changed my mind at the last minute. Next time maybe?

 

Baked Chai Apples, Redux *

Ingredients

10 medium-sized apples (or 8 large ones), peeled and diced into bite-sized piecesVar
4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 400F. In a 9″ x 13″ glass baking pan, combine the apples and spices; mix well, until all the apple slices are evenly coated.

2. Bake at 400F for about 30 minutes, or until the apples are tender (or not!) to your liking. Serve over your favorite cereal, topped with granola, mixed in with your morning oatmeal, or atop a bowl of ice cream. Store in an airtight container and use within a week.

Optional: For heartier servings, slice the apples instead of dicing them. Bake at 400F for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the apples are baked to your liking.

 

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* I totally forgot that I made a similar dish last year. Doh!

Apple Chews (for dogs and their peoples)

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Back in the day, Ralphie loved his rawhide chews. He used to stash them under the bed, wedge them in between cushions, hide them behind furniture – put them under the rug, even. Naturally, we’d buy him bones meant for larger breed dogs for maximum comedic effect. (Oh, the pictures! I won’t post them here, since they’re tragically non-vegan, but.)

We’ve sworn off animal-based chews since going vegan

– probably a good thing; not only are they gross and apt to goo up the furniture, but considering how he enjoyed hoarding those things, treats left unattended would likely be a source of epic conflicts in this multi-dog household –

and haven’t found a suitable replacement yet. Vegan “pig’s ears” are the closest we’ve come – but as pricey as they are, even those go quickly, devoured in a matter of minutes. Homemade sweet potato chews made in the dehydrator are pretty nifty: less expensive than the pig’s ears, but they last almost as long. The apple chips I made back in September got me thinking: maybe I could make a similar chew using apples. Nothing beats free, amirite people?

While the original apple chip recipe can easily work for dogs (indeed, the dogs begged much of that batch!), this time around I went with a thicker cut than you’d use to make chips: about 1/4″, sometimes thicker. (My hands aren’t always that steady, yo.)

When dehydrating them, you have two options: suck out most – but not all – of the moisture, or dehydrate the apple slices completely. Option A gives you a slightly spongier chew, which might be better for some dogs. (These will also need to be refrigerated or frozen.) Option B results in more of a chip-like chew, similar to the people chips I made, only thicker. I worried that some of the smaller dogs might have trouble chewing them, but so far so good. This includes Kaylee, who has a history of dental problems and is missing half her teeth, as well as Mags, who recently broke two teeth down to the nubs and has dental surgery scheduled in the near future.

If you’re unsure, try a batch of each and see what works. You can always throw the extras in your morning oatmeal or use ’em in a batch of homemade granola!

I also cut out the spices – the dogs enjoy the apples as-is, so why bother? – but you can season them with cinnamon and lemon juice if you’d like. (Just stay away from nutmeg, as it can be harmful to dogs.)

 

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Apple Chews (for dogs and their peoples)

Ingredients

Fresh apples (as many as your food dehydrator can fit!)
Lemon juice (optional)
Cinnamon (optional)

Directions

1. Clean the apples thoroughly before starting. Inspect them for any signs of damage – bruises, worm holes, etc. – and cut away any bad sections. Remove the stems and seeds using an apple corer. (Warning: this is a squirty, messy job!)

2. Slice the apples width-wise, so that each slice is donut-shaped, with a hole in the middle. Cut the slices between 1/8″ and 1/4″ thick plus – a thicker slice will result in a heartier, chewier dried apple slice. If these are meant for human consumption, go with a thinner cut; for dogs, cut each slice 1/4″ thick plus.

3. If desired, season with lemon juice and cinnamon. Place the apple slices in a large bowl. Add the lemon juice and cinnamon – about a tablespoon and a teaspoon worth, respectively, per every eight apples – and mix well.

4. Place the apple slices on the dehydrator trays; they can be spaced closely together, but make sure there isn’t any overlap. Bake at 135F for ten to fourteen hours. About three to four hours in, flip the chews over so that they don’t stick to the trays. Around hour ten, check in on the chews and remove those that are done. Give each slice a gentle squeeze to check the water content.

– If you prefer a slightly softer chew, remove them once they’ve begun to shrink and most – but not all – of the moisture has been sapped out of them.

– If you prefer more of a chip-like chew, leave them in the dehydrator until they’re dry and brittle.

Continue to dehydrate in one or two hour increments until all the slices are done.

5. Store in an airtight container. Softer chews should be refrigerated and used within a week; extras can be stored in the freezer and defrosted as needed. Completely dehydrated chews will keep for a week or more on the shelf, but can still be refrigerated or frozen for maximum freshness.

 

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Open-Faced Apple Pie with a Candied Pecan Topping

Friday, November 16th, 2012

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This might just be the tastiest “cleaning out my freezer” dish I’ve ever come up with!

I had half a batch of pie crust left over from the quiche I made for Vegan MoFo, so I decided to try an “open-faced” apple pie. (Like a regular pie, but marginally healthier!) To compensate for the missing top crust, I made some candied pecans to sprinkle on top. (Okay, maybe not so healthy after all.)

The result? Ugh, so good! I think I used more than half the dough crust for the quiche, because what I had left barely lined the pie pan (and then further retracted while baking, oy). That’s okay, though! The pie’s still super-yummy; a little messy, but totally worth the sticky fingers.

The pecans, which harden up a bit upon cooling (but soften when reheated in the microwave – consider this a pro tip), are a nice touch. If you don’t want to use them on a pie, they also make a nice candy. I may or may not have finished off a sizable portion while waiting for the pie to bake. May or may not, I’ll never tell!

 

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Open-Faced Apple Pie with a Candied Pecan Topping

Ingredients

1 pie crust (store-bought or homemade; see e.g.)

6 medium-sized apples, cut into slices 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 vanilla bean (or a teaspoon vanilla extract)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons margarine, cut into small pieces

4 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons water
1/2 cup pecans

Directions

1. If necessary, pre-bake the pie crust. Preheat the oven to 400F.

2. After you’ve cleaned and peeled the apples, cut them into slices about 1/4″ thick. Consistency is more important than the size; try to cut them as evenly as possible so that they bake at the same rate. The thicker the slices, of course, the longer the bake time!

3. In a large bowl, combine the apples with the lemon juice, brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon; mix well.

4. Spoon the apple filling (including the juices!) into the pie crust. Dot with the margarine. Bake, uncovered on the center rack, at 400F for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the apples are soft and tender.

5. While the pie is baking, make the candied pecan topping. Line a plate or cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water; stir until the sugar is dissolved. On medium-high heat, bring to a boil. Cook, stirring all the while, for several minutes. Once the sugar water starts to resemble a syrupy sauce, add the pecans. Continue to cook until the sauce is thick and viscous. Remove from heat and spoon the mixture onto the parchment paper, spreading the nuts out so that they’re in a single layer. Let cool on the countertop.

6. When the pie is done cooking, top with the candied pecans. Break the candy apart by hand if necessary.

 

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Baked Apples with Clove Oat Drops

Friday, November 9th, 2012

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I’ve been baking so many apples of late, I’m starting to tire of them. Or at least crave something a little different! You know, baked apples PLUS. Plus a crust, plus granola, plus oaty cluster-drop-bit-thingies. Whatever, I’m not fussy. (Actually I am, but that’s another story.) Just give me some variety, okay?

So I started messing around in between my Vegan MoFo cooking and this is what I came up with: Baked Apples with Clove Oat Drops. It’s kind of like an apple crisp, but with less crisp and more apples. The little clove oat “drop” islands are like an oasis in a sea of cinnamon apples – they offer a slight departure from your boring old baked apples, but without overwhelming the apple portion of the dish. Which is really important, when you have five boxes of apples slowly decomposing in your garage!

Though this isn’t quite what I was aiming for – I wanted something drier, even crunchy, kind of like the oat clusters found in granola – it’s pretty tasty nonetheless. This recipe makes enough to fill a 9×13″ baking pan, but you can easily halve it for a smaller, 9×9″ pan.

 

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Baked Apples with Clove Oat Drops

Ingredients

…for the apples

10 medium-sized apples, cut into slices 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 vanilla bean (or two teaspoons vanilla extract)
5 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
a dash of allspice

…for the oat clusters

1 cup quick oats
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch (optional and most likely unnecessary! but I tried it anyway!)
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/4 cup margarine
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup coconut milk

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 400F.

2. First up: the apples! After you’ve cleaned and peeled the apples, cut them into slices about 1/4″ thick. Consistency is more important than the size; try to cut them as evenly as possible so that they bake at the same rate. The thicker the slices, of course, the longer the bake time! Place them in a 9×13″ baking pan and add the lemon juice and vanilla extract; mix well.

2. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Mix until thoroughly blended. Add to the apples and mix until all the slices are evenly coated. Set aside.

3. Now for the oat drops! In a large bowl, combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, cornstarch, and cloves. Mix well, then cut in the margarine. Add the agave, vanilla, and coconut milk; stir until blended.

4. Plop the oat mix on top of the apples in tablespoon-sized clumps.

5. Bake at 400F for about 45 minutes, or until the apples are juicy and tender to your liking and the oats, golden brown and crispy on top. Enjoy warm!

 

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Still trying clothing as a backdrop. Yay or nay?
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Vegan MoFo B-Sides: Fried (or Baked!) "Fiona Apple" Apple Pies

Saturday, November 3rd, 2012

 

The song: “Not About Love” by Fiona Apple

The foodstuff: Paula Deen’s Apple Fried Pies (with a variation for baking)

The connection: I just love her so much.

 

Fried (and Baked) 'Fiona Apple' Apple Pies (0042)

 

Paula Deen, veganized! (Surprisingly, this was not difficult to do. Probably ’cause it’s a rather simple recipe.)

I’ve been meaning to make these fried apple pies since last Vegan MoFo, but never quite found the time. Seriously, this post has been sitting in my drafts folder for at least a year, maybe more. Vegan MoFo may be over, but I’m still determined to finish this recipe, dammit!

And I’m so glad I did, y’all! These pies are delish. Just for shits and giggles (okay, my waistline), I decided to bake half the pies to see what would happen. The result? Well, I guess that depends on how you feel about fried foods. The fried pies are amazing – I mean, fried biscuit dough, hello! – though they do sit a little heavy in the stomach. The baked pies are still pretty tasty too, and a bit lighter. So be your own decider person, is what I’m saying.

Since I’m new to hand pies, I overestimated how much filling could go in each pie and overstuffed them a bit. Hence the ugly and misshapen pastries you see here. No matter, still just as yummy. Pro tip: if you have a pie that’s a little leaky – due to overfilling or inadequate seams – deep fry it. For whatever reason (probably all that hot oil!), you get less filling eruption in the deep fryer.

Paired with Fiona Apple for obvious reasons. Any song would work, but I liked the vid for this one. Zach Galifianakis!

 

Fried (and Baked) 'Fiona Apple' Apple Pies (0016)

 

Fried Apple Pies

Ingredients

2 cups apples, peeled, cored, and diced (about 2-3 medium sized apples)
2 tablespoons margarine
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
a dash of allspice
1 (8-piece) container refrigerated or frozen flaky biscuit dough (or make your own!)
vegan powdered sugar to taste

Directions

1. In a large skillet, heat the margarine on medium-low. When melted, add the apples, sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Sautee on medium heat for fifteen to twenty minutes, or until the apples are tender. Remove from the heat and let cool.

2. Roll the biscuits out on a lightly floured surface making an 8″ circle with each of the eight pieces. One at a time, place a few tablespoons of the apple filling on one half of the circle. Brush the edges of the circle with water and then fold it over to made a half-moon shape. Seal the pie by pressing down on the edges with the tines of a fork. Repeat until each pie is done.

3. To deep fry: Preheat a deep fryer, filled halfway with oil, to 350 degrees F. (If you don’t have a deep fryer, use a pot halfway filled with oil and an appropriate thermometer.) Drop the pies in the deep fryer (carefully!), one at a time, and fry for five to eight minutes, or until they turn golden brown, flipping halfway through. Remove immediately and place on a plate or container lined with paper towels. Blot the excess oil with a paper towel. When cool, sprinkle with a dusting of powdered sugar.

4. To bake: Preheat the oven to 425F. Place the pies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

 

Fried (and Baked) 'Fiona Apple' Apple Pies (0026)

 

veganmofo 2012
Eat to the Beat

white space

Cinnamon Sugar Apple Chips (Dehydrated OR Baked!)

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

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25 apples worth of dried apple chips.
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Apple chips! I’m not usually big on fruit chips (veggie chips? another story!), but given the ridiculous amount of apples we ended up with this year, I decided to give ’em a try. And guess what? They were a huge hit! Even the dogs liked ’em. (I say this like they’re particularly fussy about what they put in their mouths or something. Sadly, this is not the case!)

Pro tip: if you plan on sharing with your canine friends, avoid using nutmeg, as it can be harmful to dogs.

They’re also an efficient use of apples: in the dehydrator, 25 apples shrunk down to about 4 quarts of chips. They took up 9 trays of real estate in my Nesco Gardenmaster, so plan accordingly.

I have an even dozen trays, so I probably could have sprung for another batch – but all that slicing? So tedious! At least peeling is optional.

If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can also make these in the oven – though you may want to cut the recipe in half or even a quarter, lest you end up baking apple chips from sunup to sundown with no end in sight. I guess it depends on how big of an oven you have; mine is a dinky little wall-mounted thing dating back to the ’70s. It doesn’t even have the space to fit my largest cookie sheets! Kitchen Crashers, where are you when I need you?

 

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Cinnamon Sugar Apple Chips (Dehydrated OR Baked!)

Ingredients

8 medium apples
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons sugar

Directions

1. Wash, peel (if desired), and core the apples. Slice them as thinly as possible, working either vertically or horizontally. Vertical slices will give you a mix of large, solid chips (e.g., either side of the apple) and wedges (the middles), while cutting the apple horizontally will produce a more homogenous batch of donut-shaped slices. You can use a mandolin if you’d like – but if you have a steady hand, it’s not really necessary. (I’ve found that my cheapo mandolin is more trouble than it’s worth!)

2. Toss the slices in a large bowl. Add the lemon juice and stir well. Mix in the cinnamon and sugar, rubbing the seasonings into the individual slices by hand if necessary. Try to distribute the cinnamon and sugar as evenly as possible.

3. If using a dehydrator: Place the apple slices on the dehydrator trays; they can be spaced closely together, but make sure there isn’t any overlap. Bake at 135F for ten to twelve hours. About three to four hours in, flip the chips over so that they don’t stick to the trays. Around hour ten, check in on the chips and remove those that are done. If a chips is still a bit squishy and flexible, leave it to dehydrate for another two hours.

4. If baking in the oven: Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place the apple slices on the paper; they can be spaced closely together, but make sure there isn’t any overlap. Bake at 200F for two hours. Halfway through, flip the chips so that they bake evenly. Remove when crispy.

5. These are best when enjoyed immediately, but you can store any leftovers in an airtight container. The drier they are, the longer they’ll keep.

 

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It’s raining apples!
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Apple Pie Insides

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

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Apple pie, minus the crust! Similar to the Apple Cobbler (Hold the Cobbler!) I shared last week, but with a juicy sauce instead of a sticky, doughy coating.

This is perfect if you have a bunch of apples you need to use up – or if you’re feeling too lazy to mess with a crust. Though these apples are delicious on their own (hot OR cold!), they also make an awesome topping for ice cream, pancakes, waffles, or a piece of toast (preferably sweet bread!).

Or mix a bit in with your morning oatmeal, juices and all. APPLE PIE FOR BREAKFAST!

 

Apple Pie Insides

Ingredients

6 medium-sized apples, cut into slices 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 vanilla bean (or a teaspoon vanilla extract)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
a dash of allspice
2 tablespoons margarine, cut into small pieces

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 400F. After you’ve cleaned and peeled the apples, cut them into slices about 1/4″ thick. Consistency is more important than the size; try to cut them as evenly as possible so that they bake at the same rate. The thicker the slices, of course, the longer the bake time!

2. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients, save for the margarine; mix well.

3. Transfer the apples to a 9″x9″ baking dish. Dot with the margarine. Bake, uncovered at 400F for about 45 minutes, or until the apples are soft and tender. Stir halfway through so that all the apples bake evenly.

4. Enjoy warm: on their own, as topping in the world’s healthiest ice cream sundae, or in a bowl of morning oatmeal. Store the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge and use within a week. They reheat well in the microwave – make a batch for breakfast the night before!

Apple Cobbler (Hold the Cobbler!)

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

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The tomatoes might be drying up, but we’ve got plenty of apples now! It took me about 15 minutes to pick this basketful from one of our six trees. Luckily the fruit is ripening at different rates this year, which takes some of the pressure off. I’m sure I’ll still end up giving the majority away, probably to a local food pantry through Ample Harvest or via freecycle. Even after the resident raccoon family stripped one tree almost completely bare, there are more apples out there than I could ever possibly use and/or preserve.

And to think, all these fruit trees (we also have two pear, and one each apricot and peach) weren’t even advertised as a selling point when we bought this house. Total happy accident!

 

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Anyway, with all this fresh, free fruit comes the scrambling search for new and exciting apple recipes. Apple crisps are delicious, but only to a point – after awhile, they get rather tiresome. (Unbelievable but true!)

A few days ago I made a peach cobbler (Shhh, don’t tell anyone, it’s for the upcoming Vegan MoFo! I know I’m such a cheat!) and it occurred to me that the filling would be every bit as yummy on its own. More so, even – the doughy part of the leftover cobbler didn’t reheat as well as the peaches.

And so with a few tweaks and a little fiddling, I adapted the recipe to make Apple Cobbler – minus the “cobbler” portion of the dessert, that is. (The “cobs”? idk, what do you call the dough in a cobbler? For that matter, just what is it that makes a cobbler a cobbler?)

At the risk of overusing the term “yummy,” the apples are just that: soft and warm, and surrounded by a layer of gooey sweetness. Success! If you have a ton of apples that you need to use up quick – or just want to mix things up with your morning bowl of oatmeal – this is the thing for you.

Next up: Apple Pie Insides! Same concept, slightly different execution. My mouth is already watering.

 

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Apple Cobbler (Hold the Cobbler!)

(Inspired by the Peachy Keen Cobbler in American Vegan Kitchen.)

Ingredients

6 medium-sized apples
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
a dash of nutmeg

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 400F. After you’ve cleaned and peeled the apples, cut them into slices about 1/4″ thick. Consistency is more important than the size; try to cut them as evenly as possible so that they bake at the same rate. The thicker the slices, of course, the longer the bake time!

2. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients; mix well.

3. Transfer the apples and “batter” to a 9″x9″ baking dish. Bake at 400F for about 45 minutes, or until the apples are soft and tender. Stir halfway through so that all the apples bake evenly.

4. Enjoy warm, either on their own, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or mixed in with your morning oatmeal.

 

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