Monday, November 29, 2010

all-day apple butter

 The first thing I made in my crock pot is this "All-Day Apple Butter", from this cookbook my parents gave me called, "Fresh From The Vegetarian Slow Cooker". I've been wanting to make crock-pot apple butter for so long, ever since my old, super crappy crock-pot burned a first attempt a few years ago. Burned apples are just sad. So, I went for it right away with my shiny and new crock-pot. Apple butter is such a comfort food, so of course I want to eat it in mass quantity. Also, it makes a delicious gift, which is always helpful this time of year. I highly recommend this fantastic recipe.

3 pounds cooking apples, such as Granny Smith, Rome Beauty or Gala, cored, left unreeled, and cut into eighths

3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

3/4 cup apple juice

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 ground cloves

Combine apples, brown sugar, apple juice, and lemon juice in a 4-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on Low for 8 hours, until the apples are very soft.

Remove the lid, turn the heat setting to High, and stir in the spices. Continue to cook, uncovered, for 2 hours (I did this about 3 hours because it didn't look thick enough), stirring once about halfway through, if possible, until the mixture thickens.

Press the apples through a metal strainer into a large mixing bowl to remove the peels, or process the apples through a food mill. (I actually just used my immersion blender blend everything together, and that worked perfectly)

After cooling to room temperature, the apple butter may be stored, tightly covered, in the refrigerator in clean jars, where it will keep for several weeks.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

caramelized baked pears

(This photo is from my phone so it's not bad, but it could be way better. Apologies)

As it turns out, the majority of what I eat is based on a completely out of the blue hankering I get. Sounds like I'm pregnant, I know, but this blessing/affliction has been with me since childhood. It's just how I do. If I don't get the thing I'm craving, I'll think about it for weeks until the particular thirst is satiated. This is pretty much the reason why I learned to bake and cook. I would be away at college and call up my Mom and have her coach me on how to re-create whatever childhood concoction I needed to eat at the time. Thanks, Mom! (She's a very patient woman, and the apple fell very far from the tree in that regard.) Anyway, that's how this particular dessert came about. I knew I'd be staying in SF over the weekend, so I emailed my Mom and asked her if she remembered how she used to make these yummy caramelized baked pears back in the day and if we could maybe perhaps make them this weekend? She's always a good sport so she agreed. Problem was, she couldn't remember where the recipe was. We had an idea about what the measurements were, that the oven temp. was hot and the type and amount of pears needed. We just weren't positive on the timing and the exact oven temperature. We called my Aunt who had the recipe and it was very close to what we remembered (what's up memory skills?!) so here it is. Soooo good. The perfect cozy winter night dessert.

Caramelized Baked Pears

6 medium sized Bosc pears
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cube butter
1 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 450°. Peel, core, and quarter pears, then place in a 9x13" baking pan. Sprinkle sugar over pears and cut butter into chunks and place over pears. Bake for 45 minutes; spooning the syrup over the pears every 10 minutes (once the sugar melts and forms the syrup). When sauce thickens, and turns golden, pour in the cream. Continue to bake and baste pears until syrup and pears turn golden brown. Serve hot over vanilla (or other appropriate flavored ice cream—I'm looking at you, butter pecan).

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

you should go to here

(photo via Sheena Jibson of

Please click on this link to see what I've been up to lately...

Along with my crazy traveling full-time job, I've been working with the amazing Fluer De Sel catering talents of Elizabeth Gilman and the gorgeous decor and event planning talents of Jana to create some full-service events. Also, we are selling pies for Thanksgiving. So buy some! Let us feed you! We are way better than the alternative.

Thanks to the amazing Sheena Jibson for the beautiful photos!