When Friends Give You Apples….Make Fall Desserts

My friend gave me a bag full of her beautiful apples right off her tree.  It doesn’t get any better than that.  Except a week later she gave me another bag and I can’t believe these are even bigger and juicier.  The first bag I made this super easy apple crisp.  Crisps are so easy and with so few ingredients I just made it up as I went along. I went to a friends’ and shared with lots of moms and kids. It was a hit and I was asked for the recipe.  Oops!  My own kids didn’t have any crisp. And my daughter didn’t get to help.   So when the second bag of apples came around my daughter and I made another crisp to share with my kids and followed a real recipe so I could share with everyone.  Although I cooked according to directions for 40 minutes and the apples turned to sauce.  I think 25 – 30 minutes for firmer apples.

Another great option for fall apples is an Apple Gallett.  Easier than a pie as the crust is tasty but more rustic and doesn’t require all the fuss of a pie pan, fluting, etc.  I still have some apples left so I’ll make this next.

Apple Crisp

6 -8tart apples, peeled, cored, and sliced (such as Granny Smith)

2 -3 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup flour (can use whole wheat)

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup butter

Toss apples with lemon juice, sugar, and spices; turn into an 8×8″ baking pan that has been lightly coated with no-stick cooking spray

Cut together flour, brown sugar, and butter until crumbly; sprinkle evenly over apples.

Bake at 350° for 30-40 minutes until apples are tender; serve warm with vanilla ice cream.






Apple Galette

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) plus 2 tablespoons cold butter

1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten

1/2 cup walnuts

2 pounds tart apples (3 to 5), such as Pink Lady or Granny Smith

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 large egg, beaten to blend with 1 tablespoon water

In a food processor or large bowl, combine flour, granulated sugar, and salt. Cut 1/2 cup butter into pieces and add to flour mixture; pulse motor, cut in with a pastry blender, until mixture resembles coarse meal. With motor running (or stirring with a fork after each addition), add egg yolk and 3 to 4 tablespoons cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time; process or stir just until mixture comes together in a ball. Form dough into a flat disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill until firm but still pliable, about 1 hour

Meanwhile, spread walnuts in a baking pan and bake in a 375° oven until barely golden under skins, 6 to 8 minutes (leave oven on). Coarsely chop nuts.

Peel and core apples; cut each into eight wedges. In a 10- to 12-inch nonstick frying pan over medium heat, melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter. When it’s foamy, add apples and stir often until slightly softened and brown at edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Sprinkle brown sugar and nutmeg over fruit and stir until liquid is syrupy and bubbling, about 5 minutes. Stir in walnuts. Remove from heat.

Unwrap dough. On a lightly floured surface, with a lightly floured rolling pin, roll into a round about 15 inches in diameter. Line a 12- by 15-inch baking sheet with cooking parchment and carefully transfer dough round to sheet (edges will hang over sheet)

Pour apple mixture onto center of pastry, mounding wedges in a circle about 8 inches wide and 2 inches high. Gently fold edges of dough over apples, pleating as you go, leaving an opening about 4 inches wide in the center. Brush pastry all over with beaten egg.

Bake in 375° oven until pastry is golden brown and apples are tender when pierced, 40 to 45 minutes (35 to 40 in a convection oven). Transfer galette (with parchment, if using) to a wire rack to cool. Transfer to a large plate, gently pulling parchment from under tart. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature, cut into wedges.


Vegan for Fun – Cookbook Review and Coconut Curry Recipe

America may not, at least I didn’t,  know German celebrity chef and cookbook author Attila Hildmann.  He’s big in Europe and started the vegan trend with his bestsellers, Vegan for Fun and Vegan for Fit.  We, Americans will know him shortly as his books have now been translated and published in English.  Attila lost his father to a sudden heart attack due to malnutrition.   Attila was motivated and converted to a vegan diet and lost 77 lbs.  His book Vegan for Fun, Modern Vegetarian Cuisine shares his favorite recipes which shows his passion for health and fitness and also for taste.  In addition to his story and over 200 tasty vegetarian and vegan recipes, he gives great tips about vegetable substitutions, stocking a pantry, getting motivated to change your diet, how to shop at the grocery store and kitchen tools to make your life easier.


I’m always looking for more vegetarian ideas and this book is inspiring with lovely photographs as well.  There are many simple, tasty recipes for everything from sandwiches and pastas to salads and desserts.  Many do not even require having to buy added vegan ingredients, which I like.  I’ve also found these recipes are easy to convert for all diets and tastes.  I made the Vegetable Coconut Curry (recipe below) vegan for myself and daughter but also added chicken for my husband and son.   My daughter who usually thinks curries are too spicy, loved this one.  We also enjoyed the Spaghetti Bolannaise both as written with tofu and also with ground turkey.  The only drawback is this cookbook seems geared for a single or couple.  You have to check the servings andy sizes if you’re making for a family or larger group.  I make sure I double the ingredients on many of these recipes to feed my four.  My kids are looking forward to trying some of Attila’s desserts next.  Chocolate croissants anyone?

Vegetable Coconut Curry with Basmati Rice (pg 112. Vegan for Fun)

INGREDIENTS for 2 servings

¾ cup Basmati rice (150 g)

Sea salt

1 carrot1

1 ½ cups sugar snap peas (150 g)

1 red chili pepper

1 cup mung bean sprouts (80 g)

3 tablespoons canola oil

1–2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 onion

1 garlic clove

¹  ³–½ inch fresh ginger (1 cm)

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 cup coconut milk (250 mL)

1 teaspoon agave syrup

1/4 bunch cilantro


Cook the Basmati rice according to the package instructions in lightly salted water. In the meantime, peel the carrot and cut into thin matchsticks. Wash the sugar snap peas and blanch in well-salted boiling water. Wash the chili pepper, remove the seeds, and cut into thin rings. Wash the mung bean sprouts and allow to drain. Heat 2 tablespoons canola oil in a skillet or wok and sauté the vegetables over high heat for 3 minutes. Add the soy sauce and remove from heat. For the sauce, peel and finely chop the onion, garlic, and ginger. Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a skil let; sauté the onions, garlic, and ginger with the curry powder for 2 minutes. Add the coconut milk and agave syrup. Cook for 2 more minutes and season with sea salt. Wash the cilantro, shake dry, finely chop the leaves, and fold into the rice. Arrange the rice on plates with the vegetables and sauce and serve.



Camping Requires Food – Wine Tasting a Bonus


I have been remiss in my food blogging for sure.  I’m blaming it on a great summer.  It was the first time my kids flew on an airplane by themselves.  Plus a great all family trip to Oregon.  Where even the grandparents went white water rafting.  When I think back on the summer I don;t remember much about the food, other than what I already shared.  Yes, there was the Edible Excursion trip to the Mission and we certainly had our share of ice cream recipes.  But really not much to speak of for great food on this summers travels.

Until we went camping over the Labor Day holiday.  We went with about 10 families and had a great time.  I must say I don’t always look forward to this trip.  There’s the amount of people.  There’s the lack of sleep and worrying about the kids poking each other’s eyes out with sticks.  And there’s my daughter whining “what will I be able to eat” when planning the camping food.  But it was great.  There was everything from hiking to biking to rope swings and reading and of course campfires.  But here was also wine tasting.  We went to Hendy Woods State Park where conveniently right out the gates are wineries such as Husch Vinyards, Navarro Vinyards, Roederer Estate and others.  It was quite relaxing meeting at  Navarro before even heading in to the campground.  A nice glass of wine (and grape juice for kids) and the tranquil setting helped everyone rejuvenate after the drive, before pitching tents.  We also ventured out in shifts – one of moms and one of dads (Anderson Valley Brewing) on one of the days to get a break from the camp activities for an hour or two.


Of course if you’re going to buy good local wine and cheese and local beer you’re also going to cook some tasty meals.  Unfortunately I don’t have photos (you’ll have to imagine) of the camping grub because my phone died in the park.  It was actually a nice break from electronics and taking photos.  Just enjoying the time, food, friends and family.  One night was every kind of burger – veggie, turkey and beef and pesto, pasta salad.  Another night was a variety of sausages and dogs and edamame salad.  Lunches were a smorgasbord of sandwich fix ins from hummus and grapeleaves (yes, my daughter) to cold cuts, veggies and fruit.  Breakfast was big with this group.  Open fire bacon and eggs, plus bagels and fixings.   The last day one dad made his famous berry pancakes and must have made at least 100.  Of course there was s’mores every night.  Not just the traditional Nestle milk chocolate but also some dark chocolate bars.  And the marshmallows were both vegan and regular.  When my daughter explained why she didn’t want to eat marshmallows with gelatin, and talked about the animal products to make gelatin,  it seemed like a scary campfire story.