Easy Apple-Walnut Coffeecake

Start the coffee when you slide this baby into the oven because it’s done in 30 minutes!

I can remember, but just barely, my dad scraping the flesh of an apple with a spoon and feeding it to me when I was a capital-T Tiny little kid. Was I spoiled? Oh, I’m sure I was. I was the fourth kid and born 10 years after the third. Did I learn to love apples? You betcha. And, because God was good (and yes, “God did make little green apples”), I grew up in the same house my entire childhood with apple, plum, and pear trees right outside one door or the other. To say nothing of a midwestern summer garden I’ve never since seen the like of. Of course that all meant work, too, even for the kids. There was planting, fertilizing, weeding, hoeing, picking, cleaning, and the final coup de grâce (crushing blow), canning. Lord, the heat. Apples, plums, and pears, but especially apples, however, didn’t necessitate those long three months of labor followed by a week of boiling jars in a steaming, no-AC kitchen. You simply watched as the trees blossomed in the spring, knowing somehow in the sweet fragrance on the breeze that when fall arrived, you could just munch away to your heart’s content by doing nothing more than reaching up to the low-hanging branches or getting your taller sister to do it for you. There was one thing, though. My mom liked to make jam and jelly, so there were still a few hot Mason jars for that, more’s the pity. She’d make it out of just about anything she could find, but because she had tons of apples in her own yard, we had apple jelly out the kazoo. If I ate a PBJ come wintertime, there’d be apple jelly on it nine times out of ten. Well. That was a lot of the same jelly, so….

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Mesa Apple Tart and Other Miracles

While our world feels like a fearful, indescribable mess — and it is, dear friends — I can handle it better if I’m baking. Especially for a holiday and, like it or not, Easter’s coming. Think renewed life, rebirth, clean beginnings — positive thoughts for anyone of any faith or none. We need this now, even if only two are gathered. A holiday for a duet is a tender occasion and while there’ll be a gorgeous lamb chop a piece and not our huge traditional Italian roasted leg of lamb for a crowd, we’ll also have dessert to remember this spring by.

One of my Easter tables.

I’m looking at Susan Hermann Loomis’ recipe for lamb chops. You might, too. (Do you know Susan’s work? She’s one of my very favorite cooking teacher/writers.) I squirreled away the chops weeks ago, but there’s still time for you to get some. Or something else you fancy more.

Need more Easter or Good Friday ideas? Just type “Easter” into the search window. You can also type “brunch,” “eggs,” “lamb,” “Friday Fish,”etc.

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Upside Down Apple-Spice Muffins or Fall in a Breakfast

The blog, Dave, and I are going on vacation for the rest of September.  If I can, I’ll post photos, but I’m concentrating on tasting and walking France – YES YES YES- and will catch you up after we return. See you later!

                                                                   photo courtesy Beaune tourism

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Turkey-Acorn Squash Salad with Apples + Parmesan Dressing

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I had no leftover turkey as I traveled for the holiday, but I did have some from the deli and, in need of lunch, made this sweet and savory salad.  It was just the ticket for a day when, after boatloads of family dinners, my jeans were not exactly in their happy place.  This meal is fast, nutritious, figure-friendly, and family-pleasing.  Could you add a little of that leftover cranberry salad or relish off to the side of the plate?  I’m thinking you could.  Happy Giving Tuesday!

STILL HAVE FROZEN TURKEY? Take out a bit, unthaw, and use that.  By the way, your frozen turkey is at its best-tasting for 2-3 months if it’s wrapped properly and stored at 0 degrees Fahrenheit, according to STILL TASTY DOT COM, my go-to for storage questions.  If it’s in your refrigerator since last Thursday, it’s past time to throw it away; it was good/safe for 3-4 days only.  In fact, even simple vegetables cooked Thanksgiving day and stored in the refrigerator should be tossed after today.  Sad, I know.

IMG_0049 above:  Rosie thinks she’s Alpha

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TURKEY-ACORN SQUASH SALAD WITH APPLES AND PARMESAN DRESSING

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One Pan-Pork Chops with Potatoes, Onions, Squash, and Apples

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A dear friend of mine named Joyce once wrote a card — one of many she’s sent over the years — and mentioned she was still making my pork chop with potatoes and apples supper.  I vaguely remembered that meal, but it was one of those quick meals I never bothered to write down.  These days I keep a cooking journal and so have records of meals or at least titles and approximate amounts.   (Well, I’m supposed to anyway.  Since the kitchen remodel I’m still finding things.  Do you know where the lids are for my small Pyrex dishes?  Or my good silver??)

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Late Friday afternoon found me cooking up two big pots of Pumpkin-Chicken Chili *-– one for us to share with neighbors and one for me to have in the DACOR kitchen at Shouse Appliance on Saturday.  I needed to make a vat of pinto beans laced with bacon, so those were bubbling away on another burner.  Enter Dave sniffing around for dinner.IMG_6813

(Apple-Cheddar Salad recipe here.)

Since I didn’t want him to overdose on chili, I got out my big sauté pan — it’s about 5 quarts — and threw in a few quickly sliced potatoes, onions, and apples.  On the counter was a yellow (summer) squash that had seen better days.  I sliced it and threw that in, too.  After those goodies were about half-way tender, I shoved them to the side of the pan and added some oiled and seasoned pork chops.  Lid on and dinner was done by the time I set the table and Dave opened a bottle of Pinot Noir.

*If you ate this chili in the Dacor kitchen, it differs from the recipe in three ways: I used beer instead of wine and added cooked Italian sausage as well as the bacon in the beans.

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Above: I had the pups all “dressed” for Halloween and a big bowl of candy. We had two trick-or-treaters. The name Rosie seems to be sticking, despite my love for “Mara,” and all the other wonderful suggestions we’ve received.  I think it’s because I like to sing this old song to her.  This  morning I found her asleep on my feet while I was checking email.  She’s doing wonderfully well, though we’re still working hard on house training. Puppies.

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 Happy Fall cooking…

Below:  Rosie practicing “Come” with Dave in the front yard.

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ONE-PAN PORK CHOPS WITH POTATOES, ONIONS, SQUASH, AND APPLES

SERVES 2    —   Easily doubled

There is enough of the potato mixture to serve another day with eggs or you might be able to stretch it to serve four if you can fit four chops in your pan and serve a green vegetable or salad as a side.  The wine or water makes just a little sauce to keep it all moist.

To a large, deep skillet or sauté pan heated over medium-high flame, add 2 tablespoons olive or canola oil along with 3 sliced potatoes, 1 large sliced onion, 1 sliced yellow (summer) squash, and 1 cored and sliced apple.  Season generously with seasoned or kosher salt, pepper, and a good pinch of crushed red pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for ten minutes or so until all are at least half-way tender. Push the potato mixture to the sides of the pan to make room for the chops.

Add 2 thick bone-in pork chops you’ve brushed with oil and seasoned well with salt, pepper, and a good pinch of dried thyme.  Cook until the chops are well- browned on one side and turn over to brown the other side.  Stir the vegetables and apples, pour in 1/4 cup white wine*, then cover and reduce heat until everything is tender.  Use an instant-read thermometer to check the chops for doneness. It should read 140 degrees.  Let dinner rest in pan five minutes, then taste and adjust seasonings. Serve hot garnished with the grated zest of one lemon.

*Can sub water or chicken broth for wine. For a more smoothly silky sauce, dab in a tablespoon of butter as well.

{printable recipe}

Need an oven version that serves 4?  Here’s something similar you might adapt: SPRUCE EATS  PORK CHOP AND POTATO SHEET PAN MEAL


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Sing a new song; cook some pork chops,

Alyce