Category: Apples

Recipe: Gluten-Free Apple, Beet, and Date Crisp

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A few weeks ago farm member Sarah Hamstra asked me if I’d ever tried beets in an apple crisp.  I had not, but since I’m a big fan of almost anything that gets topped with vanilla ice cream, I decided to give it a try.  As a base recipe, I used America’s Test Kitchen’s apple crisp recipe from their fabulous The How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook.

The night I served this to my family, I told them it contained a special ingredient and they had to figure out what it was. Since my kids like beets and are used to eating my food experiments, no one seemed that surprised by the veggie addition, and everyone agreed that the new version was just as delicious as the original–yay!

I find this recipe is best made on a day when you have some time, maybe a Saturday morning (crisp works perfectly well for brunch!) or a relaxed Sunday afternoon.  Make yourself a cup of coffee or grab a glass of wine.  If you want to make it a family affair and you have children, enlist their help.  If you need some time alone, shoo those kiddos outside, put on some music, and simply enjoy yourself.

Start by prepping the topping.  First, cut 6 tablespoons of butter into 6 pieces and let soften.  Set aside.  Then preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line a baking with parchment paper.  Place 1 cup of old-fashioned rolled oats on one side of the baking sheet and 1 cup chopped almonds, walnuts, or pecans on the other side.  (ATC calls for almonds, but since I never know which nut I’m going to find in the cupboard, I’ve tried all these–any of them works here.)  Bake for 3-5 minutes, until the oats and nuts are lightly toasted.  Set them aside to cool.

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Next, quarter 4 small beets, or cut 2 large beets into 1″ pieces–you’ll want to end up with about 1 cup of beet pieces.  While recipes with beets often call for peeling, if your beets are fresh and tender (like those found in your fall share), there’s no need to peel. Steam the beets for about 10 minutes.

Grab a large bowl and add 4 teaspoons lemon juice and 3/4 teaspoon cornstarch.  Whisk these together until the cornstarch is dissolved.  Keep this bowl close by; it’s where you going to be adding the rest of your filling ingredients.

Cut 4 Gala apples (or whatever kind of apple you have on hand) into 2″ pieces to end up with around 5 cups of pieced apples.  Next, half 1 cup of pitted dates.  Add both the apple and date pieces to the bowl.  Once the beets are done steaming, add them to the bowl, along with 1/3 cup of granulated sugar and a pinch each of salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Mix this all together until the fruit/veggie pieces are coated.  Set aside.

If you have eight ramekins, lightly grease them to prepare them for the filling.  Ramekins work well for company or if you want to easily hand out individual servings.  If you don’t have ramekins, transfer the filling to a lightly greased 8-inch square baking dish.  Whichever you use, cover it tightly with tin foil, and bake for 20 minutes.

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Back to the topping.  First, set aside 1/4 cup each of the toasted nuts and oats.  You’ll be using them for finishing touches at the very end. Next, get out your food processor and pulse the following ingredients together until combined (about 5 pulses): 1/2 cup of the toasted oats, 5 tablespoons of Bob’s Red Mill GF All-Purpose Baking Flour, 1/4 cup packed brown sugar or coconut sugar, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon water, and 1/8 teaspoon salt.  Remember that butter you set aside at the beginning?  Add that, along with half of the toasted nuts, over the topping mixture and process for about 30 seconds, until the mixture clumps together.  Sprinkle the rest of the nuts and oats over the mixture and finish with 2 quick pulses.

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Assuming your filling is finished baking, remove it from the oven, uncover, and stir well.  Cover the filling with pieces of the topping–it won’t cover it completely, which is fine.  Bake for about 20-25 minutes, rotating the dish(es) halfway through baking.  When the topping is lightly browned and the fruit is tender and bubbling around the edges, you’re good to go!  Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack for 15 minutes. 

I recommend serving with the purest vanilla ice cream you can find and/or real whipping cream.  Finally, sprinkle the reserved toasted nuts and oats on top of the ice cream.  Enjoy!

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 Photography: Anne Kingma

Gluten-Free Apple, Beet, and Date Crisp
A unique take on a classic recipe.
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Ingredients
  1. Topping
  2. 1 cup GF old-fashioned rolled oats
  3. 1 cup chopped almonds, walnuts, or pecans
  4. 5 T Bob's Red Mill GF All-Purpose Baking Flour
  5. 1/4 cup packed brown sugar or coconut sugar
  6. 2 T granulated sugar
  7. 2 tsp vanilla extract
  8. 1 tsp water
  9. 1/8 tsp salt
  10. 6 T unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces and softened
  11. Filling
  12. 4 tsp lemon juice
  13. 3/4 tsp cornstarch
  14. 4 small or 2 large beets, cut into 1" pieces and lightly steamed
  15. 5 Gala apples, cut into 2" pieces
  16. 1 cup pitted dates, halved
  17. 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  18. pinch of salt
  19. pinch of cinnamon
  20. pinch of nutmeg
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place oats on one side of the baking sheet and chopped almonds, walnuts, or pecans on the other side. Bake 3-5 minutes, until oats and nuts are lightly toasted. Set aside to cool.
  2. Whisk together lemon juice and cornstarch in large bowl. Add apples, beets, dates, 1/3 cup granulated sugar and a pinch each of salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir until well coated. Place in 8 individual lightly greased ramekins or a lightly greased 8-inch square baking dish. Cover tightly with tin foil, and bake for 20 minutes.
  3. Pulse together the following ingredients until combined(about 5 pulses): 1/2 cup of the toasted oats, flour, brown sugar or coconut sugar, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, vanilla extract, water, and salt. Place butter and half the toasted nuts over the topping mixture. Process for about 30 seconds, until the mixture clumps together. Sprinkle 1/4 cup each of nuts and oats over the mixture and finish with 2 quick pulses. Set aside remaining nuts and oats.
  4. Remove filling from oven, uncover, and stir well. Cover the filling with pieces of the topping.
  5. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, rotating the dish(es) halfway through baking. Remove from oven when topping is lightly browned and the fruit is tender and bubbling around the edges.
  6. Let cool on a rack for about 15 minutes.
  7. Serve this crisp topped with the purest vanilla ice cream you can find and/or real whipping cream. Sprinkle with reserved toasted nuts and oats.
  8. Enjoy!
Adapted from ATC's Apple Crisp
Adapted from ATC's Apple Crisp
Perkins' Good Earth Farm http://perkinsgoodearthfarm.com/

The Vinaigrette

When Dan and I got married, dear friends gave us a wedding gift of a wooden salad bowl and tongs, as well as several favorite salad and vinaigrette recipes.

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Eventually the tongs took on multiple uses, such as a drumstick for banging pots and pans when my boys were toddlers, and sadly, one day the tongs broke.  But we still use that wooden bowl for delicious salads, which, at their very core, consist of fresh greens and a vinaigrette.

The basis for every vinaigrette is three parts oil mixed with one part acid. The acid is usually a vinegar but can also be a citrus juice.  You can make any amount of dressing that you want and add all sorts of good stuff, but if you want the dressing to mix well and taste good, stick to an approximate 3:1 oil/acid ratio.  

How to choose your oil and vinegar?  1) Whatever tastes best to you!  2) Whatever complements your salad toppings. Here’s what I choose from most often:

OILS

  • olive
  • avocado
  • canola
  • sesame (in combination with olive or canola)

VINEGARS/CITRUS

  • balsamic vinegar
  • red wine vinegar
  • white wine vinegar
  • unseasoned rice vinegar
  • lemon juice

Combine your oil and vinegar in a jar or bottle, add a little sea salt and freshly ground pepper, and shake, shake, shake it! You’ve just made your own salad dressing. 

If you want to get a little more creative, here are some of my favorite ingredients to add, NOT all in the same dressing.

ADDITIONS

If you’ve never made your own dressing before, please don’t let all these lists intimidate you! Think of them as tools for unleashing your creative culinary genius on your next salad.  If you’d like specific recipes, here are a couple combinations I used in the past week.

For the single-serving salad I posted about on Monday, I made this:

Garlic Vinaigrette

  • 1 T avocado oil
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • one clove minced garlic

On Sunday I made a chopped spinach salad (8 oz spinach) with blue cheese, chopped Paula Red apples, and caramel corn.  (Yes, caramel corn.  What can I say–I ran out of pecans but had just opened a bag of Chicago style popcorn!)  We’ll call this a honey mustard vinaigrette because syrup mustard just doesn’t quite sound right.

Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 olive oil
  • 1 T white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp Rogers Golden Syrup (I ran out of honey.  Fortunately I had this cane syrup that, sadly, you can only purchase in Canada.  Thanks to my parents and Canadian relatives for keeping me stocked in this deliciousness!)
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Note: My 8-year-old Harper declared this salad delicious and a little sour–I took that as an okay to make it again this week. 🙂

If you don’t use all your vinaigrette at once, it can be stored in the fridge for a week or longer, depending on your ingredients.  Make sure to shake it up again before using to mix together the oil and vinegar.

What’s your favorite vinaigrette?

Photography: Anne Kingma 

Recipe: Greens with Maple Apples and Onions

In the spring and fall, when fresh greens are abundant and delicious, I often eat a salad for a lunch.  I throw a bunch of Perkins’ Good Earth Farm baby lettuce or spinach in a bowl, then search the fridge for toppings.  I know some people aren’t big fans of leftovers, but I’m not one of them.  Leftovers turn my bowl of greens into a meal complete with protein, veggies, fruit, fats, and carbs. 

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For instance.  A few weeks ago, I made Pork Chops with Maple Apples for dinner, a recipe from Better Homes and Gardens’ weeknight cooking features.  Since pork chops are somewhat of a treat in our family, I didn’t have any leftover meat, but I did find surplus maple apples, aka apples sautĂ©ed with onions and garlic, then simmered in apple juice, cream, maple syrup and thyme.  I warmed up the apples, placed them on my greens, and topped the salad with toasted almonds for flavor and crunch.  My only disappointment was that I didn’t have enough leftovers for a second bowl.

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While you don’t need to make pork chops to enjoy this salad, you just might want to.  When I first made this, I used my cast iron skillet to cook the pork chops, then used the same skillet—without cleaning it—to cook the apples and onions.  If you want only the salad without the chops, you could use a little bacon fat along with the olive oil to get some pork flavor.

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First, fill four individual bowls or plates with one cup (for a side salad) or two cups (for a main dish) of salad greens and/or baby spinach.  Set aside.

If you’ve made the pork chops, your skillet should be hot and ready to go.  If not, heat it up over medium-high heat and work on your food prep.

Start by coring and slicing two cooking apples; I used Jonathan.  Next, slice a small red onion (or half of a medium-large onion), and mince two cloves of garlic

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Once your skillet’s hot, add a tablespoon of olive oil and wait for it to sizzle.  Add your apples, onions, and garlic to the skillet and cook for just a couple minutes, stirring every now and then.

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Add a quarter cup of apple juice or cider, and cook for 4-5 minutes, until almost all the liquid has evaporated and the apples are just beginning to soften.  

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While the apples are cooking, mix 1/3 cup whipping cream, one tablespoon of maple syrup, and two teaspoons of chopped fresh thyme (about 5 sprigs).

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Pour this mixture over the apples in the skillet and cook for a couple minutes, until the sauce is heated through and starting to thicken.

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Spoon about a quarter cup of apple mixture over each bowl of greens, then top the salads with a sprinkling of toasted almonds.  Enjoy!

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Note: If you’re making this topping for both pork chops and salad for four, I recommend doubling the recipe.

Scroll down for the printable, and let me know how your salad experience turned out! 

Photos and Food Styling: Anne Kingma

 

Greens with Maple Apples and Onions
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Ingredients
  1. 4-8 cups salad greens or baby spinach
  2. 1 Tbsp olive oil and/or bacon fat
  3. 2 cooking apples, cored and thinly sliced
  4. 1 small red onion, sliced
  5. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  6. ÂĽ cup apple juice
  7. 1/3 cup heavy cream
  8. 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  9. 2 tsp snipped fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
  10. ½ cup toasted almonds
Instructions
  1. Fill four individual bowls or plates with 1-2 cups of salad greens and/or baby spinach. Set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil or bacon fat in skillet. Once fat is sizzling, add apples, onion and garlic to skillet. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add apple juice and cook for 4-5 minutes, until almost all the liquid has evaporated and the apples are just beginning to soften.
  4. While apples are cooking, stir together cream, syrup, and thyme. Pour over apples and onions in skillet. Cook and stir for 2 minutes, until the sauce is heated through and beginning to thicken.
  5. Spoon about a ÂĽ cup apple mixture over each plate of greens. Sprinkle with toasted almonds. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. If you’re making this topping for both pork chops and salad for four, I recommend doubling the recipe.
Adapted from Pork Chops with Maple Apples
Perkins' Good Earth Farm http://perkinsgoodearthfarm.com/

Recipe: Kale Salad with Apples and Figs

The first time I made this salad—as a side dish for a family get-together this summer—I almost exactly followed the recipe I found on Epicurious’s website.  We liked the salad so much, Dan made it for our 4-year-old’s preschool potluck, but he made a couple changes (including cutting out the red pepper flakes to make it more kid-friendly!)–and it all got eaten!  Today, the recipe I’m sharing has received a substitution here and an addition there, based on what sounds tasty to me and what I have in the house.

One advantage of this salad is that you can prepare most of it ahead of time, including pre-dressing the greens.  Pre-dressing doesn’t work well for salads with delicate greens like spinach and baby lettuces, but sturdy kale leaves are tenderized by the dressing, leaving the perfect texture bite after bite.

Before we get to the recipe, let’s talk a little bit more about the kale.  In your share, you’ll receive two varieties: Lacinato (also known as dinosaur kale) and Siberian.  Both these varieties are known for their tenderness, so they work really well raw in salads. The Lacinato is, in my opinion, a bit sweeter than the Siberian.  The Lacinato is what my boys eat raw from the field, although their choice might just result from getting to say they’re eating dinosaur kale. 

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Lacinato (dinosaur) kale

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Siberian kale

Let’s start with the veggie prep.  Finely chop part of a green onion, enough to give you 3 tablespoons chopped.  Set those aside and turn to your kale.  You’re going to need about ÂĽ pound kale for this recipe, which is what half share farm members will receive in their share this week (full share, you got a ½ pound, so go ahead and split it in half or double your recipe!).

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quarter pound of kale

Remove the kale leaves from the stem.  Compost the stems (or use them in a soup!), and finely chop the kale into bite-size pieces. 

Now it’s time for the dressing.  Whisk together the lemon juice, chopped green onions, honey, salt and red pepper flakes (if using) in a medium-sized bowl; I used my 8-cup Pampered Chef batter bowl. 

A quick note about the ingredients in the dressing.  Instead of bottled lemon juice, I used fresh-squeezed.  I used local honey from Van Kley’s Blueberry Farm, purchased at Belstra Milling.  And, finally, I had the privilege of using French sea salt (fleur de sel de guĂ©rande) that a dear friend gave me after her trip to France this summer.  My point: I encourage you, if you have the opportunity, to use the best ingredients possible when making your salad, or any dish for that any matter!  (And lest you think I’m becoming a kitchen snob, I also dropped my container of red pepper flakes and had to take a break to sweep the floor in the middle of making this recipe.  I guess that makes me a kitchen klutz.)

Back to the salad.  Add the kale and toss well.  If using the aforementioned batter bowl, just put on the lid and shake the bowl around, leaving one hand on the lid, just in case.

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Let the dressed kale sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, toast 1/3 cup slivered almonds over medium heat in a dry skillet for 5-7 minutes.  Stir constantly; these guys can go from nicely toasted to burnt in short time.  Remove from the skillet and let cool.

Next, chop up an some dried figs and a half an apple.  I used Honeycrisp that Dan, Harper, and Asher picked from Mowry’s Fruit Farm in Crown Point, but you can also use a tart apple if you want greater contrast with the sweet figs. 

Once your kale has sat for 20 minutes, toss with a couple tablespoons of olive oil, and voilĂ , your greens are dressed and ready to go!  At this point, you can refrigerate the greens for up to a day, or serve right away.  Right before serving, toss with a portion of the almonds, apples, and figs, leaving a little of each to decorate the top of your salad.  Finally, sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan or Romano.  Enjoy!

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 How did you end up changing this recipe? Let me know by leaving a comment!

Photography and Food Styling: Julie Oudman Perkins

Kale Salad with Apples and Figs
Serves 4
A flavorful fall salad.
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Ingredients
  1. 3 Tbps green onion, finely chopped
  2. Juice of ½ lemon
  3. 1 tsp honey
  4. ½ teaspoon sea salt
  5. ÂĽ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  6. ÂĽ pound kale, stems removed and leaves chopped
  7. 1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  8. 8 dried figs, thinly slice
  9. ½ apple, chopped
  10. 2 ½ ounces Romano or Parmesan, grated
Instructions
  1. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together lemon juice, green onion, honey, salt and red pepper flakes. Set aside for 20 minutes. Toss olive with kale greens. Refrigerate up to one day or serve with toppings immediately.
  2. Toast almonds in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly for 4-5 minutes. Set aside and let cool.
  3. Toss greens with a portion of almonds, figs, and apples, leave a portion for the top of the salad. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan. Serve and enjoy!
Adapted from Epicurious's Kale Salad with Dates, Almonds, and Parmesan
Perkins' Good Earth Farm http://perkinsgoodearthfarm.com/

 

 

 

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