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Recipe: Apple Skillet Cake

To me, there is nothing better than a crisp, juicy apple. Unless, of course, that apple is turned into pie, cobbler, applesauce or cake! Pamela of Whither Will I Wander has provided today’s applicious recipe. You can visit her original post for additional tempting pictures.

This apple cake recipe was adapted from a recipe found here. Once written the other way round, but on a whim it was turned round once so that our apple cake could be crowned with a spiral of golden apples.

Apple Skillet Cake

Apples

* 2 or 3 medium tart apples (such as Mac), cored/ sliced
* 1/4 cup brown sugar
* 3 tablespoons orange juice or apple cider
* generous sprinkling of your favorite combination of sweet spices (cinnamon, nutmrg, cloves, cardamon, ginger, etc)
* ¼ teaspoon salt

Cake

* 1 1/3 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
* 1/2 cup granulated sugar
* 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 2/3 cup warm milk
* 1 large egg
* 6 tablespoons melted butter
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9 ½” to 10″ (2″ deep) cast-iron skillet; or a 9″ square cake pan.

2) Combine the apples with the brown sugar, orange juice/cider, spices, and salt. Set aside.

3) Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

4) Mix the warm milk, egg, melted butter, and vanilla. Add to the flour mixture, stirring to combine. Pour into the prepared skillet.

5) Arrange the apple at the bottom of the skillet in single layer pattern. Over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes let apple mixture caramelize and brown.

6) Pour the batter on top and bake the cake for about 40 to 55 minutes until it is a light golden

7) Remove from the oven, and cool for about 5 minutes. Loosen the edges of the cake from the pan, and place a large plate on top of skillet, turn over and serve.

Prettydreamer, Pamela’s Etsy shop, is located at the place where form and function meet. She creates wooden toys and housewares from solid wood and finishes them with care and an eye for beauty. The simplicity of line and judicious use of color gives each object an aura of tranquility.

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Recipe: Applesauce Oatmeal Muffins

I’m sure you’ve all been wondering: “She posts all these recipes, but what does Emily eat?” Lose sleep no longer: here is my new favorite muffin recipe. Just sharing it with you means I have to make them for breakfast. This article was posted over on my blog, Yarn Miracle.

Applesauce Oatmeal Muffins

You’ve probably got everything you need in your pantry and ‘fridge. That’s my favorite thing about this recipe – besides the deliciousness. The recipe makes 12. Ellie and I usually half it. She’s going to be good at fractions.

* 3/4 c. some kind of milk (I used almond this time. I like almond milk.)
* 1/2 t. apple cider vinegar

Stir the vinegar into the milk and give it a few minutes to curdle up like buttermilk. Then add:

* 1 c. applesauce (we used unsweetened)
* 3 T. canola oil
* 1/2 c. brown sugar

And stir everything well to combine. Dump in the dry stuff:

* 1 1/2 c. AP flour (we used whole wheat pastry flour this time)
* 2 t. baking powder
* 1/2 t. baking soda
* 1 t. ground cinnamon
* 1/2 t. ground nutmeg
* 1/2 t. salt
* 1 scant cup of oatmeal

Note: the original recipe wants 3/4 c. of oat bran. But you can’t get oat bran at our Winn Dixie so we went with oatmeal.

Mix everything up until it is just combined. Ellie was helping, so the pictured batch is over-mixed and didn’t rise as well as it could have. Looks aren’t everything.

Scoop the batter into a greased muffin pan (or cupcake liners if the condition of your muffin pan is starting to Concern you) and pop it in a 350F oven for 30 minutes. Don’t be afraid to let them get a little dark – it makes the tops crunchy yummy omnomnom.

The original muffin recipe is found in Veganomicon. If I could only have one animal-free cookbook, Veganomicon would be it. The majority of the recipes are for things Ellie actually eats and use ingredients that can be found in a grocery store. My kid is a less picky eater than some, but what two year old eats Kumquat and Chipotle Relish on a Bed of Kale?

I totally made that last one up.

Yarn Miracle specializes in comfortable, conscious companion animals hand knit from natural, sustainable, humanely grown fibers and fillings. Every purchase of a full sized Companion or Itty Bitty Playset helps real companion animals (the kind that eat kibble and shed) find homes through Emily’s local humane society BARC.

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Recipe: Fauxtato Salad

I like the yuca in my Terra Chips a lot (a LOT a lot), but Kat has used this root in a completely different way! For the original post about her twist on a classic, visit Kat’s blog.

doesn’t that look like potato salad?? well it is not. that, is yuca salad!

i was introduced to yuca by my dear friend tinker. she brought my family cuban food when we were in our babymoon. it was all so scrumptious, but the fried yuca was my favorite. later, when i was off nightshades, we had it again. this time i realized that the yuca was similar in taste & texture to potato.

it took me awhile to get courageous enough to prepare yuca on my own, but i finally did. i bought mine at whole foods, but i imagine i can find it (for less money) at a hispanic market. here, in los angeles, there are many. look for specialty markets in your area first, because wf charged a pretty penny.

preparing the yuca is simple. shave the skin with a sharp knife, or peeler. you then cut the yuca into thick slices, & drop them carefully into a pot of boiling water. keep an eye on the pot; as you would with potatoes; & drain when fork-tender.

at this point i cut the slices into cubes, & stuck the majority into the fridge. the remainder i fried in olive oil, to eat right then, with salt & pepper mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

the next day i tossed the chilled yucca with the ingredients of my mother’s potato salad, & voilá! fauxtato salad for those allergic/sensitive to nightshades.

notes: yuca has a hint of sweetness to it. the salad was delicious, but it needed to be tweaked for balance. next time i’d swap the sweet onions for scallions, perhaps add some chopped olives, or a bit of horseradish?? definitely some crushed garlic. great, now i’m hungry. if you prefer a sweet potato salad, like my mil’s, then you could just do a straight yuca-for-tater swap.

what is your favorite cuban treat? fried yuca? fried plantains? do tell!

Kats in the Belfry is home to wool crowns, pencil pouches, stuffed chickens and unique peg dolls. Kat says, “i enjoy making toys that inspire creative play. all creations are made from natural materials: fabric, wood, felt, paper. i strive to make things that spark the imagination, feel good in their hands, & are just plain pretty.”

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Thursday Recipe: Clam Chowder

Today’s recipe comes from Beth’s blog Acorn Pies. Beth posted the original article in August, but as the seasons begin their change, residents of the Northern Hemisphere may want to savor a dish that brings sandy beaches and salty water to mind.

Clam Chowder

My niece and I went quahogging last weekend. A quahog is a hard clam which grows well in estuaries from New Jersey to Cape Cod, where the water is relatively warm and salt water mingles with fresh. The word “quahog,” pronounced “ko-hog,” comes from the Narragansett Indians’ word for the clams, “poquauhock.” The Indians used the clam shells to carve “wampum,” purple and white beads used for trade.

The smallest legally harvested quahog is 1 inch thick at its thickest. It is called a “little neck.” The largest quahogs are called “chowders.” The medium sized are called “cherrystones.” It takes 3 or 4 years for a quahog to get big enough to eat. If you want to find out how quahogs are harvested, you can read about our experience here.

After letting my bucket of quahogs clean themselves out for about a day with multiple changes of fresh sea water, I scrubbed off the mud and threads of little plants which cling to the shell using a special scrub brush I use only for that purpose.

I bought two of these scrub brushes in hopes of roping someone into helping me. It takes some elbow grease to scrub quahogs, and it is messy work, so I sit outside.

Once my quahogs are clean, I put them in the pot with about an inch of water, cover, and steam them until the shells open. Discard any clams which don’t open.

I save the water I used to steam the clams, and also the bit of water which is left inside the shells. This is called the “clam liquor.” It is very flavorful and very salty and I use it to season my chowder.

Then I chop up the clams very finely. Clams can be chewy. They are best in tiny pieces. I also try not to look too closely at the clams and all their various parts.

Here are some of the other delicious ingredients which I put in the chowder: 2 onions, 3 or 4 unpeeled new potatoes, 2 cloves of garlic, butter, two chopped pieces of freshly fried bacon, and cream. I am making chowder with clear broth because my husband is lactose intolerant. My young son and I add some heavy cream to our bowls.

Chop the onions, mince the garlic, and gently cook them in a generous amount of butter.

Roughly chop the potatoes and cook them in water. Don’t let them get too soft or they will fall apart in the chowder. Save the potato water.

Now put about 4 cups of water (or light cream or milk if you prefer) in the big soup pot, add the potatoes and potato water, the onions and garlic, some pepper, some Northern Bay leaves, (which I collected locally,) and clam liquor to taste. Go easy on the clam liquor. Last time I made my chowder too salty! Most people like their clam chowder thickened, so you can whisk some flour in a little bowl with some of the broth, and then add it to the chowder pot. Let it all warm up together. Now add the clam bits and get the soup hot.

Serve it with oyster crackers. Delicious.

Beth has populated her shop, Primroses, with a host of the sweet-faced, Waldrof-inspired dolls that she creates from natural materials. But you will also find charming hand-colored block prints, delightful collage art and even a deep-brimmed bonnet or two!

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Thursday Recipe: Sun Strawberry Jam

Keep the fresh, sweet taste of summer in the ‘fridge for a fall tea time with Beccijo‘s recipe for Sun Strawberry Jam!

When strawberries go on sale, it’s time to make sun jam, a delightful taste of summer made with solar energy to enjoy any time of year. A very GREEN thing to do. Although it requires patience to prepare sun jam, it captures the fresh flavor of the strawberries. This is a great recipe to do with kids.

Things You’ll Need:
1 1/2 pounds ripe fruit
1 cup sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
Stainless steel saucepan
cheese cloth
Sterile glass jar (with lid)
string

How To:
Wash the fruit.
Cut it into thin slices.
Mix all of the ingredients together in a stainless steel saucepan.
Cover and let it sit at room temperature for one hour.
Place the pan on the stove and bring to a boil.
Boil for five minutes without stirring.
Remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool for 30 minutes.
Pour the cooled fruit mixture into a glass jar.
Cover with chesse cloth and tie with string to allow the moisture to evaporate.
Set the jar outside in full sunshine or in a very sunny window for three to eight hours.
The jam is ready when it has thickened.
Last seal it tightly. Store the jam in the fridge.

While your Sun Jam is basking on the windowsill, why not help the fairies prepare some of their own with a Fairy Kitchen Play Box? If baking isn’t your thing, Beccijo also hand paints wooden dinosaurs, school rooms, remote pirate strongholds and even space themed play sets. There is something to engage every imagination in The Enchanted Cupboard.

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Pickles Tomatoes

I truly believe that there is no such thing as too many tomatoes. However, if you’re faced with an Abundance in your garden (or your neighbor’s), Amber has a delicious solution.

A great way to use up some tomatoes from the garden!

This vegetarian recipe “pickles” tomatoes with a spice blend and they are ready to eat the next day. We serve them with a loaf of warm crusty bread and cheese for dinner. Great as a side too with grilled food.

Ingredients:
1 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 large tomatoes
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
2 jalapeños, sliced into rings and seeded
2 teaspoons salt

Bring vinegar, brown sugar and salt to a boil and then remove from heat and set aside. In a skillet, heat the olive oil, garlic, ginger and all the spices low about two minutes. Pour the hot oil into the vinegar. Put the tomatoes, scallions and jalapenos in a large mason jar and pour the vinegar oil blend on top. Put in the fridge overnight and enjoy over the next few days!

This is one that definitely gets better overnight.

Woodmouse uses ustainably harvested domestic woods and beeswax from a local beekeeper to create her handcrafted wooden toys. The simple details and cheerful washes of non-toxic paint that decorate her toys are sweetly reminiscent of children’s book illustrations.

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Not Cheesy Oven Fries

Stephanie of Earthetarian has provided today’s recipe for scrumptious oven-baked fries. If you are unfamiliar with nutritional yeast, it’s flakey, savory, full of B vitamins and can be found at most health food stores or on-line.

Not Cheesy Oven Fries

Ingredients:
6 or 7 organic russet or other large, hearty potatoes
about 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup garlic powder (to taste as this much gives them some kick!)
sea salt to taste
pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 cup paprika (to taste)

Preheat oven to 400.
Slice potatoes into large slices. (Like “steak” fries).
Toss in large bowl with olive oil to coat.
Add other ingredients in a pile over the fries and stir until all fries are coated. They won’t coat evenly, but will crisp nicely this way.
Arrange on a baking sheet in one layer. You may need two sheets.
Bake for 45 minutes or more, turning occasionally to brown all sides.
Enjoy!

Source of recipe: I made this up.

Makes: 5 servings, Preparation time: 8 minutes, Cooking time: 40 minute


Visit her Etsy shop, Elemental Handcrafts, to find a wealth of handmade, earth-friendly goodies. “Everything my husband and I make is from natural materials, many reclaimed and given a new life here!”

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Make vanilla coconut oatmeal cookies

Today’s recipe was created by Steph from Elemental Handcrafts, full of beautiful earth-friendly handcrafted pieces. She made these cookies up for her kids to give them a healthy (but so cleverly disguised) snack. Thanks, Steph, for sharing this great new recipe.

RECIPE: Make Healthy Vanilla Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients :

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup unhullled sesame seeds
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
1/2 shredded raw coconut
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1/2 cup maple syrup (or other natural sweetener)
1/2 cup barley malt
2 tablespoons vanilla

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and cover two cookie sheets with parchment paper or spray your pan with oil.
Combine dry ingredients in large bowl.
Combine wet ingredients in a separate bowl and mix well.
Add your wet to your dry and mix until well incorporated.
Drop by spoonful onto prepared baking sheets and bake for about 15 minutes, until lightly brown.

*hint* Measure oil first, then maple syrup and barley malt. The oil left in the measuring cup will keep the malt from sticking.

Makes: 24 cookies, Preparation time: 10 minutes, Cooking time: 15 minutes

Here is one of Steph’s new beautiful needle-felted dolls!

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Make whole wheat flat bread

Today’s {delicious} recipe is from Beccijo, whose The Enchanted Cupboard”>shop is filled with handpainted wood toys and dolls.

Whole Wheat Flat Bread by Beccijo

This past summer my family made a plan to go without air conditioning for as long as we could. We made it until the very hot month parts of August and September but still used it sparingly when we did turn it on. The one downside to this plan was baking bread in the hot days of summer.

About 2 years ago, I started grinding my own wheat for our bread and baked goods. The benefits of fresh ground wheat are overwhelming and outweigh an extra work it makes for me. So now I was faced with over heating our house or giving up my baking. I was not prepared to do either and I researched other options.

When I first started my homestead, green living lifestyle I was in love with the idea that I could make anything. Our own ketchup, hamburger buns, salad dressing, and laundry soap to name a few of the things we make for ourselves. It was so rewarding to know that when we ran out of something it did not mean a trip to the grocery store. Instead, we could mix a few ingredients we already had in the pantry.

I started researching other ways to make bread-type items without the use of an oven. I checked out bread makers and bought an inexpensive bread maker that is working out nicely and is great for mixing up dough that I may use for rolls or pizzas! I also found some great recipes that are for making flat breads on the stove top. The kids and I experimented and made a recipe that works for us. It has a good bit of oil in it but it makes a nice dough that is easy for kids to roll out.

RECIPE

2 cups of whole wheat flour [note from Jen: organic whole wheat or whole spelt can be used here as well]
1.5 cups all purpose flour
0.5 tsp of baking powder
7 tsp of oil
1 cup very hot water

– 3 minutes of kneading
– 15 minutes to rest under wet warm towel
– then form into golf ball sized balls
– next roll out and cook on a cast iron grill or non stick pan, cooking on medium heat
– cook one side until browned and then flip

Enjoy!

Here is a sweet painted toy, a woodland accessory set, from Beccijo’s shop!

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Make a Strawberry Fruit Tart


Today’s recipe is by Cyn of FairiesNest (be sure to check out her lovely shop here). The timing for this recipe is perfect with so much local fruit just coming into season (can’t wait for our local organic strawberries in June). It would make a delightful Mother’s Day surprise too.

Recipe for a Strawberry Fruit Tart

The strawberries in our part of the world are coming in fast and furious. To make this fruit tart, you start with a pre baked tart shell, preferably a sweet shortcrust. My favorite one is from the book Festive Tarts by Sylvia Thompson. (This is a fantastic tart book that I highly recommend and although it’s out of print you can find cheap used copies).

1 2/3 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
10 tablespoons butter
pinch of fresh ground nutmeg
1 egg yolk
3 tablespoons cream

Combine the dry, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles cornmeal, add the wet and mix lightly until a ball of dough forms. refrigerate for 15-30 mins. Roll out and place in tart form. Stick in the freezer for 30 mins and then bake in a 400 degree F oven with pie weights (or dried beans) on a piece of parchment inside. After 15 mins remove the weights and bake for 12 more mins. Cool and fill!


photo via Flickr

Cut up enough fruit to fill your tart; peaches, berries, plums, all of one kind or a mix …whatever you think is yummy. Mix together 1 cup sugar with 3 cups of orange juise and 4 tablespoon cornstarch in a saucepan. Heat this stirring constantly until it thickens. Put about 1/3 of the mixture in the bottom of the tart. Now place in the fruit in a pretty pattern or all mixed up, it doesn’t matter. Then carefully cover all the fruit with the rest of the OJ sauce. Refrigerate for at least an hour, but not more than 4 or 5 because you don’t want it to get soggy…though it will still taste good! One little trick; if you’re using fruit that might brown, like peaches, toss them with the OJ first and then drain them and proceed. It also gives the OJ a great peachy taste… This works well for freezing peaches too!

Here‘s a sweet spring flower pixie from Cyn’s shop!