Tag: recipes

Apples, Apples and Applesauce

crates of applesRight about now you are spying apples everywhere and nothing could be cozier for kids and adults alike than some simple homemade applesauce.

But don’t stop there! Apples work in so many ways… adding nutritious sweetness to baked goods, roasted as a versatile side dish, or enlivening a roasted vegetable combo.

Crockpot Applesauce

Makes 3 cups; from Skinny Taste

Nothing beats homemade applesauce, making it in the crock pot is easy and your house will smell divine while the apples and cinnamon simmer all day long. The hardest part about making this sauce is peeling the apples (which is not hard at all!).

  •             8 medium apples, combination of Golden Delicious, Honey Crisp, Fuji, Gala, etc.
  •             1 strip lemon peel – use a vegetable peeler
  •             1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  •             3-inch cinnamon stick
  •             5 teaspoons light brown sugar, unpacked (you can leave out for sugar-free)

Peel, core, and slice the apples. Place them in the slow cooker.

Add the cinnamon stick, lemon peel, lemon juice and brown sugar. Set crock pot to low and cook for 6 hours.

Stir apples occasionally, apples will slowly become a delicious applesauce.

Remove cinnamon stick and use an immersion blender to blend until smooth or if you prefer a chunky sauce, leave sauce intact.

Double Ginger Baked Apple Slices

Serves 2

apple slices in dishThis marvelous dish can be served as a side dish for poultry or meat or a flavorful dessert… especially decadent with the addition of ice cream.

  • 2 large apples of your choice, peel if they are not organic, but if they are, keep the skin on as it is full of nutrients
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon candied ginger, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350F.

Wash the apples and slice into thin wedges. Place the wedges in a baking tray, sprinkle ground ginger, lemon juice, and salt on the top and gently mix the ginger in. Dollop butter on top of the apples.

Bake for about 20 minutes. Check the apples after 10 minutes, mix them around with a spatula, add candied ginger and place them back in the oven.

Take them out of the oven once they soften up and start to brown .

Serve warm or cool. You can serve as a side dish, a topping for oatmeal, pancakes or dessert with whipped cream, plain yogurt, vanilla ice cream or just serve plain.

Roasted Sweet Potato, Apples and Brussels Sprout

Serves 4

apples and vegetables in a dishIn this recipe you want to prepare the vegetables and apples so they can bake for relatively the same amount of time. If you are thinking of serving for a special meal like Thanksgiving when the oven is loaded, the dish is good even at room temperature.

  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled cubed in 1” pieces, lightly steamed but still firm
  • 2 apples, skin on, cored and cut into half-moon slices
  • 8 oz Brussels sprouts, cleaned, halved & lightly steamed
  • 1 medium sweet onion, cut into 1/2-inch wide wedges
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • freshly cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 425F.

In a medium bowl, toss sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts with 2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with salt.

Bake on a lined cookie sheet for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through.

In a separate bowl, add apples, remainings 1 tablespoon oil, and maple syrup, stirring to combine.

After baking the sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts for 20 minutes, add apple mixture to tray. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes until golden and tender, stirring halfway through. Toss in rosemary and freshly cracked black pepper – serve immediately.

With over three decades in the food, media production, marketing & public relations fields, Rita Calvert has created myriad programs, events, cooking sessions on national television, the stage & The Annapolis School of Cooking. She has partnered in writing cookbooks and product lines to showcase the inspiration & nourishment of food. In her cookbook with Michael Heller, The Grassfed Gourmet Fires It Up, Rita supports the effort for Regenerative Agriculture.

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Fig Frangipane
Fig Talk on the World’s Most Ancient Fruit

Figs

Figs are my passion – the fruit and the tree. Figs just have a certain cachet! Maybe it’s the ancient history, or the Mediterranean origin which makes them so alluring, or possibly the exotic ingredients which complement them in pairings. Different varieties of figs can be paired with varietal wines. This is some brief chit-chat on a topic aficionados love to go on about. If you want to talk figs, contact me on Facebook or through Annapolis Green.

I am happy to say I’ve had some great fig education this year during an especially robust harvest. Recently  I met the farmer who, by arrangement, picked up 35 pounds of figs from me for her CSA members. What a huge learningexperience this year! Refrigeration was a key roadblock as there is just never enough space and these East Coast delicate figs must be refrigerated. Rain taught me the other lesson – big time! At near ripeness it will crack due to the rain as the inside fruit grows too fast for the skin to manage. So for trying to fill this large order for me I had to pick, pick, pick when I knew a rain storm was coming.

Fig plant

Then there is packaging. How do I get 35 pounds to a farmer and how will she store and distribute to her many CSA customers. Also, there was juggling on how to keep supplying my accounts such as restaurants and individuals.

Now the major bearing trees are winding down and I have some later figs coming from a black mission and another tree of unknown variety.

I’m sharing a recipe I developed as a special birthday fig tart/cake. It complements the exotic caché of this ‘fruit of the internal flower.’ I am told by Facebook the photograph of my Fig Frangipane Tart is the most popular from all of my posts. I’ll give other fig ideas after the very special tart recipe.

Fig Frangipane Tart

I used a rectangle tart pan just because it is different enough to be an extra attention- getter! I have also made this more freeform as in a rectangular gallette.

This frangipane recipe makes enough almond cream for 1 large tart or several small tartlets.

figs in basketsIngredients
Tart
1 dozen large fresh figs (about 1 full pound) more if figs are small, cut in half
Sea salt
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed but still cold

Frangipane
1/2 cup ground almond meal (can use almond flour)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
pinch salt
1 egg
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Dash almond extract
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Using a food processor, combine all the ingredients until a smooth, creamy paste is formed.

Directions
First make the Frangipane.
Preheat oven to 375ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Unroll the puff pastry and place it on the parchment paper. Refrigerate to keep cold.

Spread Frangipane on puff pastry sheet, leaving 1/2 inch border around the edges. Bake 10 minutes on rack positioned lower in oven to get bottom crust completely baked.

Tart
Place fig halves, cut side up, on top of frangipane & sprinkle very lightly with salt, return to oven & for the final 30 minutes bake on a rack placed in the middle of the oven. Puff pastry edges should be crispy and golden brown.

Cool for a 10 minutes, then brush with melted black currant jelly to glaze. Let cool to solidify.

Fig Frangipane

Other Fig Ideas

Splendidly Simple – Use abundantly on charcuterie trays

With Mascarpone
Cut large figs in half lengthwise
Spread generously with mascarpone

With Carambola
Cut large figs in half lengthwise
Spread each half with a large soft dollop Saint Andre or Carambola cheese
Drizzle with balsamic glaze (not vinegar)

With Prosciutto
Wrap whole medium size figs with a band of prosciutto
Bake in 375ºF oven for 5-7 minutes

Fig Toast
Brioche bread, mascarpone, crumbled crisp bacon, figs-bake briefly – 400ºF

Figs in Salads
Figs pair beautifully with cheese, nuts, arugula, lettuces, homemade croutons so use your imagination

Sauces
Sautéed halved figs with a dash of red wine and caramelized onion complement chicken, lamb and pork beautifully.

With over three decades in the food, media production, marketing & public relations fields, Rita Calvert has created myriad programs, events, cooking sessions on national television, the stage & The Annapolis School of Cooking. She has partnered in writing cookbooks and product lines to showcase the inspiration & nourishment of food. In her cookbook with Michael Heller, The Grassfed Gourmet Fires It Up, Rita supports the effort for Regenerative Agriculture.

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peach salad

Stone fruits—peaches, apricots, cherries, nectarines, and plums—are some of the great mouth-watering joys of summer. They are packed with phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals plus they are low in calories. Stone fruits are super fruits, with plums as emerging stars. One of the benefits found is that plums inhibit breast cancer growth in lab cells. Now is the time to get your fill because the height of the season will soon be upon us.

For ease in separating the halves, the free-stone varieties come into season later and are well worth the wait.

peach salad

Peach Salad with Lemon Thyme Vinaigrette 

Serves 4

salad radishes
A salad turnip eaten raw.

Any of the stone fruits work with sweet or savory preparations. This salad is a winner as the succulent white nectarines pair beautifully with the lemon thyme dressing. The thinly sliced salad turnips-no they ARE NOT radishes, give a great crunch along with the hazelnuts.

  • 3 ripe peaches, sliced into thin wedges
  • 3 cups baby lettuces (mesclun)
  • Salad turnips, thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons chopped hazelnuts
  • 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon thyme
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 ounces fresh chevre, crumbled
immersion blender making dressing
Using an immersion blender and a canning jar makes preparing vinaigrette a breeze.

In a large bowl, toss together nectarine slices, mesclun, sliced turnips and hazelnuts.

Put vinegar, lemon thyme, salt and pepper in a mason jar, blender or food processor and combine until smooth.

If using the jar with an immersion blender, puree while slowly adding the olive oil.

Divide peach salad among serving plates and drizzle with the fresh vinaigrette. Sprinkle with the chevre crumbles.

 

gorgonzola dish

Grilled Stone with Balsamic Glaze and Gorgonzola

Just because I found them fresh and at Grauls Market, I decided to add a simple dessert to the grilling class I conducted recently. It turned out these grilled jewels were the hit of the class as the flavors couldn’t be more perfect together. Three ingredients are all you need here – amazing! The trick here is to add the room temperature gorgonzola while the peaches are hot.

  • Peaches, scrubbed and cut in half
  • Balsamic Glaze
  • Crumbled gorgonzola (or blue cheese), at room temperature

Light the grill to high heat.

Place the prepared peach halves on a tray (to carry to the grill) with cut side up. When the grill is hot, drizzle the peaches with the balsamic glaze. Quickly place glaze-side down on the grill. Sear until nicely browned. Immediately place on a serving plate and sprinkle with gorgonzola so that it melts.

Stone Fruit Salsa on Salmon

Here you go with a savory treatment for stone fruit. For this very fresh salsa I used a lot of what was happening from my kitchen and herb garden. You can interchange any other stone fruit here. Serve it with seafood as I love it, or with chips, beans, or in sandwiches or just by the spoonful!

  • 2 white nectarines, diced
  • 1/2 diced cup cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 cup diced red tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup diced orange tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon fresh garlic chives, thinly sliced

Mix ingredients together and refrigerate for 20 minutes to let season before serving.

With over three decades in the food, media production, marketing & public relations fields, Rita Calvert has created myriad programs, events, cooking sessions on national television, the stage & The Annapolis School of Cooking. She has partnered in writing cookbooks and product lines to showcase the inspiration & nourishment of food. In her cookbook with Michael Heller, The Grassfed Gourmet Fires It Up, Rita supports the effort for Regenerative Agriculture.

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tasty squash dish

Garden Leadership/Garden Eating

with Rita Calvert

Before we get to recipes, look at this gardening inspiration on showing the way to be a creative leader. To those of us who garden, the lessons are rewarding and incomparable.

“There is a lot that gardening, design, and creative leadership have in common,” states Tim Brown, Executive Chair at IDEO, Vice Chair at kyu Collective. His profound thoughts can, in turn, get us pondering all the benefits of our gardens.

Gardening is generative, iterative, and user-centered – You might be interested in planting a “Grab and Go Garden” that contains only fruits and vegetables that could be eaten straight away… more plants were eaten, less were wasted. A good garden, like good design, needs to meet the needs of its users.

Gardening helps us frame future design challenges – The old assembly-line metaphors of the Industrial Revolution won’t help us design the future. Our world is complex. Like a garden, we must tend it, cultivate it, steward it, and encourage it to meet our needs instead of always trying to be in control of it. Our solutions must accommodate the competing needs of humans and the rest of nature. Successful design, like successful gardening, is never finished and is constantly changing.

Gardening teaches us how to be creative leaders – A gardener helps living things thrive through attentiveness and dialogue. Good leadership starts by finding talented people, giving them a safe space to cultivate their creativity, and letting them grow into their full potential under careful guidance—not a controlling thumb.

Recipes from your garden

Summer squash is what most gardeners and farmers in the region are finding in abundance this time of year. That’s the produce focus this week. Grill, roast, shred, can, pickle or freeze that crookneck, Zephyr, zucchini, yellow zucchini, or pattypan to extend your season. Some tasty ideas are below.

Roasted Zucchini Baton Salad

Serves 2

vegetable mix

Although the zucchini are roasted to bring out the flavor this is a fresh, cool and very filling salad. Basil leaves are used for flavor impact instead of lettuce leaves.

  • 2 medium zucchini cut into “batons” (see photo)
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 cup small red and orange or yellow tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup halved pitted Kalamata olives
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • About 1/4 cup small fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup Marcona almonds

zucchini batonsPreheat the oven to 400F.

Place the zucchini batons on a baking pan and brush with olive oil. Bake on the top rack of the oven for about 18-20 minutes, until nicely brown. Let cool.

In a large bowl toss together the zucchini, chickpeas, tomatoes, olives, lime juice, salt, pepper and olive oil. Place each portion on a serving plate. Tuck in basil leaves and sprinkle with the almonds.

Crookneck Gazpacho with Cannelini Beans

Serves 4

yellow & green squash

A yellow gazpacho over the traditional red is a delight and simply says summer. This is a chilled soup even though the squash is first simmered and pureed to form the light foundation.

  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cups diced crookneck squash
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups chopped seeded unpeeled cucumber
  • 1 cup finely chopped freshly roasted yellow bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped sweet onion
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • Sour cream or plain Greek yogurt for topping soup

Bring broth to a boil, add squash and boil gently for 10-12 minutes or until very soft. Add the garlic, salt and pepper. Using an immersion blender directly in the pot, puree the squash and let cool.

Stir in the cucumber, roasted bell pepper, onion, balsamic vinegar and Old Bay Seasoning. Taste and adjust spices.

Ladle into individual bowls and garnish with a tablespoon of sour cream or thick yogurt.

Pattypan Ricotta Galettes

Makes 4 personal-size galettes

savory squash dish

Summer Squash galettes seem to be enticing for summer’s lush bounty. I’ve traded out basic pastry dough for the extra special puff pastry and made individual tartlets. The galettes need to cool before adding the basil leaves.

  • 6 medium pattypan squash, cut horizontally into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced, (use divided)
  • 3/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or lemon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • egg wash-1 large egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400°.

slices of yellow squashCombine squash, 1 tablespoon oil and half of garlic in a bowl.

Combine ricotta, egg, remaining garlic, thyme, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a medium bowl, stirring to combine.

Brush the egg wash ONLY on smooth dough surfaces-not cut edges (or it won’t rise).

The points are pulled up; brush the edges with egg wash and pinch together.

squash filled pastryUnwrap puff pastry sheet and place flat on a lightly floured surface. Cut into 4 equal squares. Place first square on ungreased baking sheet pan. Place a scant 2 tablespoons ricotta mixture in just the center of square. Arrange 4 squash slices overlapping, over ricotta mixture. Sprinkle squash with salt and pepper. Fold points of dough toward center, brushing the center of the edges with egg wash and pressing gently to seal (see photo). Brush the outside and the folded tips with egg wash. Repeat with remaining 3 pieces of puff pastry dough.

Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 5 minutes.

Top with grated cheese and a few small fresh basil leaves. Serve.

With over three decades in the food, media production, marketing & public relations fields, Rita Calvert has created myriad programs, events, cooking sessions on national television, the stage & The Annapolis School of Cooking. She has partnered in writing cookbooks and product lines to showcase the inspiration & nourishment of food. In her cookbook with Michael Heller, The Grassfed Gourmet Fires It Up, Rita supports the effort for Regenerative Agriculture.

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annapolis maritime museumAnnapolis Maritime Museum Winter Lecture Series

  • Examine the powerful effect of the local Chesapeake Bay food economy and the value of building a local food system
  • Practical advice for adopting a locavore diet, from shopping at your local farmer’s market to joining a community supported agriculture share.
  • Recipes for those curious about how they can make their own more environmentally conscious food choices

Presenter: Renee Catacalos | Author and board member for multiple sustainable agriculture non-profits

Information

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