Posts Tagged ‘apple’

Spicy Gravenstein Chowder with Crumbled Bacon

Okay, you HAVE to make this.  It’s not a request, it’s a requirement.  M and I ate two big bowls full each.  EACH.  We left maybe a cup and a half in the pot.  That’s ridiculous.  I can barely move.

I found the original recipe today in the local newspaper, but I didn’t have about half the ingredients.  So I’m going to copy & paste the original and add notes to what I substituted.  And make no mistake:  my version is GOOD.
Spicy Gravenstein Chowder with Crumbled Bacon

Makes 4 to 6 servings

3 to 4 bacon slices (I used turkey bacon)

  • 1 shallot, minced (I used a small Walla Walla onion and one garlic clove)
  • 5 large Gravenstein apples, peeled, cored and diced
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper in a mill
  • 3/4 teaspoon chipotle pepper (I used 1 teaspoon smoked paprika)
  • 4 cups smoked poultry or meat stock, see Note below (I didn’t have smoked stock)
  • 4 ounces naturally-smoked cheddar or smoked goat cheese, grated (I just used regular ol’ cheddar, and M had his dairy-soy-free cheese-like-stuff)
  • 6 tablespoons creme fraiche, stirred until smooth (I had low fat sour cream)
  • 2 tablespoons snipped chives or minced Italian parsley (I had garlic chives from my garden)

Fry the bacon in a medium pot, such as a Dutch oven, until it is fully crisp. Transfer the bacon to absorbent paper and pour off all but about 3 tablespoons of the bacon fat.

Return the pan to medium low heat, add the shallot and cook until soft and fragrant, about 6 to 7 minutes; do not let it brown. Add the apples and potatoes and saute for 4 to 5 minutes, until they just begin to soften and take on a bit of color. Season generously with salt and pepper and add the chipotle powder.

Pour in the stock, increase the heat to high and when the stock boils, reduce the heat so that the mixture simmers gently. Cook until the apples and potatoes are completely tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, let cool slightly and puree with an immersion blender. If you do not have an immersion blender, pass the soup through a food mill fitted with the small blade.

Return the soup to very low heat. If it is too thick, thin with a water until the desired consistency is reached and heat through. Add the cheese and stir until it is incorporated into the soup. Taste and correct for salt and pepper.

Chop or crumbled the bacon.

To serve, ladle into soup plates and top each portion with a spoonful of creme fraiche. Sprinkle chives or parsley on top, followed by crumbled bacon. Serve immediately.


  • DO NOT SKIP THE CHEESE!  Even if you have to find the dairy-soy-free cheese-like-stuff.  It’s necessary.
  • It was a little on the runny side.  I like my blended soups to be thick.  Next time I’m going to add another small potato and another apple.



Sour Apple & Quince Sauce

M and I experimented while canning yesterday.  It started as apple sauce.  It was decided to make it sugar-free.  It turned into sugar-free apple-quince sauce.  It became Sour Apple & Quince Sauce after we forgot to add the Stevia.  If you like sour candy, you will LOVE this!  M and I were definitely enjoying the leftovers.


  • 12 cups peeled, cored & chopped apples, set aside the peels
  • 4 cups peeled, cored & grated quince (use a food processor if you have one, believe me!), set aside the peels
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (get this on the grated quince ASAP or they’ll brown!)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon rind
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Peels of the apple & quince in a cheese cloth bag

Stir everything into a big heavy-bottomed pot until it is the consistency you desire.  We didn’t time it.  We changed the temperatures around.  It was bubbling right before we canned it.  Just remember to remove the cheese cloth bag before canning.  😉

Makes about 6 half pint jars.

Add a little Stevia and taste-test if you want it sweeter.

Apple sauce with an attitude!

Slow Cooker Apple Butter

It’s Gravenstein Apple season over here in Sonoma County!  That means time for canning.

Last year I made apple butter with sugar.  This year without sugar and I forgot the cloves.  They do taste different, but both are good!

Apple Butter With Sugar


  • 20 cups peeled, cored & chopped apples
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 4 whole cloves

Apple Butter Without Sugar


  • 20 cups peeled, cored & chopped apples
  • 1 container frozen sugar-free white grape juice
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • tie up a baggie of cheese cloth with: 1 star anise, 1 crushed cinnamon stick, 6 cardamom pods
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

Cook on high in a 6-quart slow cooker until thick and darkened.  Vent if necessary.  My batch took about 7 hours with 2 hours of venting.

Process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes.

Makes about 7 half-pint jars as long as you don’t drop any on the floor… 😦

Oatmeal Apple Bars

These are soft, moist, crumbly, and bland but not in a bad way.   They’re just mostly oatmeal and not your typical rich & sugary cookie bar.  It was a good way to use my green Gravensteins apples.


  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 finely chopped apples (a food processor comes in handy here)

What I Did:

  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Beat the butter & sugar until creamy, add egg.
  • Add the vanilla, oats, apple, and dry ingredients.
  • Spread into a greased 9×13 inch pan, sprinkle with more cinnamon and drizzle with honey.
  • Bake 25-30 minutes.

Not quite a cake, not quite a cookie, not quite a granola bar!

Baked Winter Squash with Apples

from Rolling Prairie Cookbook


  • 1 1/2 lbs. uncooked winter squash, peeled & cut into cubes
  • 1/2 lb. fresh cranberries (optional)
  • 2 to 3 apples, chopped
  • 1/4 C raisins
  • juice & grated peel of 1 small orange
  • 1 1/4 tbsp. maple syrup (or honey)
  • dash each of salt & cinnamon

What I did:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Combine squash, cranberries, apples and raisins in a small buttered casserole dish.
  • Combine juice, peel, syrup and salt, and pour over squash mixture.
  • Lightly dust with cinnamon, cover, and bake until squash is tender, approximately 30 to 45 minutes.

I  did not have cranberries.

While this doesn’t taste bad by any means, it just isn’t my style.  I like winter squash in a pureed soup, I like it in a hearty winter stew, but in a sweet dish?  It kind of misses the mark for me.  Okay, I take that “sweet dish” remark back: I LOVE pumpkin pie.

This dish is orange-y enough to make my tongue kind of tingly.  Maybe I should have taken it easy with the orange zest…

Winter Squash Bisque

“Bisque” traditionally means a creamy soup made with pureed crustaceans, but it can also be applied to pureed vegetable  soups.

This is another recipe from A Year of Slow Cooking.  It is pretty much perfection.  I only have one modification to it myself, and I highly suggest that you try this out as is before making any changes.


  • One large butternut squash (I used Aunt Themla’s Sweet Potato Squash, it’s not as creamy, but still delicious)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 small diced yellow onions, or 2 tablespoons onion flakes
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 small apples, peeled, cored, and cubed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (you can cut down the salt if using sea salt)
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper (I often just omit this)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves

What I Did:

  • Put the squash in the microwave for 2 minutes and allow to cool.  This will help soften the flesh a little.  Cut it into about four pieces, scoop out the seeds & strings, peel and cube it.  It might take you a while to do this.  It always leaves my right thumb rather sore.
  • Or, you can brush the olive oil on the four sections of squash, put it on a baking dish and bake it in the oven at 400F for about 15 minutes.  The peel will be easier to remove.
  • Add everything to a 5 or 6 quart slow cooker, and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, high for about 4 hours.
  • Blend in a blender or with an immersible wand blender until smooth.

A very warm and comforting soup!

Flax Meal Muffins

When I first made these for M, he poked at them and said, “I can eat these?  Are you sure?”  Of course I was sure!  I had tried a gluten-free diet for six weeks, just to see if it had any positive effect on me (it didn’t).  I did a lot of research to make sure I was 100% gf, and tried out some gf baking recipes.  He ate one and simply asked, “How??”  He didn’t understand how a gluten- and dairy-free muffin could be so fluffy and delicious!

Here’s how…


  • 4 beaten eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 cup flax meal (remember to keep your flax meal refrigerated!)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water

What I did:

  • Beat the eggs and add the other wet ingredients.
  • Add the dry ingredients, combine well.
  • Allow to sit for 10 minutes.
  • Heat the oven to 350F.
  • Bake in well-greased muffin tins for 15-20 minutes (tops should not look squishy).


  • 1 cup berries or fruit (if you add these, omit the 2 T water).  Suggestions: blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, apple, fuyu persimmon.  The best way to add apple or persimmon is to peel, core, cut into about eight pieces, and roughly chop in a food processor.  If using these, add a dash of cardamom to your recipe!
  • 3/4 cup nuts.
  • 2 tablespoons grated orange peel.

My CSA box has apples on a semi-regular basis.  During the spring and summer, we often are treated to baskets of berries.  I can’t wait!

1/2 cup of sugar means there are just two teaspoons of sugar per muffin!

Read a little about the benefits of flax, including lowering cholesterol, fighting inflammation, and easing constipation.