My dad was visiting a few weeks back, and when he learned that I didn’t have a pastry ring, he was horrified – just horrified – that I was missing such an essential cooking tool. I pretended like I didn’t care, but obviously within a week I was ordering my own and plotting how I can use my new baking toy during salt and pepper month here at S&S.
Happily, it was easy to come up with a recipe – I took a few of my favorite things (dough, mushrooms, and cheese) and used an ingredient I’ve owned forever and always forget about: truffle salt. I actually bought the salt awhile back at Pike’s Place Market, and was re-reminded of it (and how much I like it) during a recent food tour we did of said market. The truffle salt adds a great final, earthy touch to this savory tart and makes it feel just a little extra-special fancy.
Not only do I love this pepper but I love the Hawaii Kai’s Palm Island Black Lava Sea Salt that I get at Savory Spice. This salt was perfect for topping these brownies. They are topped with a caramel that I thinned a bit with water and when I poured it on while the brownies were still hot the caramel soaked into the brownies a bit. Since I was really only using this caramel to make the salt stick to the brownies I wasn’t too sad about the sinking it caused. I actually really liked the end result.
Hands down, salt is one of my favorite condiments. When I was a kid, my dad used to get annoyed with me at dinner for salting my food before I tasted it, “Morgan!” he’d say, sternly, “How can you know if the food needs salt if you don’t taste it first?!” My father – a master chef, as we’ve discussed before – found this habit of mine irritating. But always I think that most foods need just a bit more salt.
The introduction of salt into desserts – on top of chocolate chip cookies and brownies, in particular – has been an absolute revelation for me. And indeed, Salted Caramel Ice Cream is a go-to for me when I go out for ice cream. Naturally, I wanted to recreate the experience in my own home, and behold Jeni’s homemade ice cream amazing deliciousness. Her basic recipe consistently makes an incredibly creamy, rich base with pronounced flavor. The salty caramel ice cream almost tastes like butterscotch – I added in some nuts and chocolate because – you know – why not?!
How many of you have a collection of various salts and peppers in your pantry just waiting to be used? With all of the tempting varieties of both out there, I’m guessing, there’s at least a few in everyone’s pantry. I fell in love with salts two years ago when a co-worker gave me this collection as a gift from Savory Spice.
Strudel and I thought October would be a perfect month to showcase some of these wonderful flavorful ingredients that are quite frequently overlooked.
I couldn’t help myself when Savory Spice sent me an email that their Bourbon Barrel Smoked Black Pepper was out. I had fresh roasted pumpkin in my refrigerator and I pondered how I could put the two together. What better than a biscuit!
When we bought our house, we inherited two apple trees, an Asian pear tree, and a (sickly) Bartlett pear tree. These trees create enormous amounts of fruit (with the exception of the ill pear tree) that we watch – every year – with a mixture of guilt and sadness, because we just don’t know what to do with all the fruit. At the start of the season, we’re so excited, and by the end, when we’re picking up buggy, moldy fruit off the front lawn, we feel guilty for not trying harder, and doing more, with our fruit. It’s a little ridiculous, but then again, so are we – and so it goes.
So I’m working on having a restorative experience this summer. Before all the fruit is eaten by the worms and other bugs, I’m planning on canning and doing what I can with the apples. First up, apple butter. We love jams for toast and cheeses, and a thick, apple-y spread seems a great way to use the apples AND to make in big batches AND to eventually give as house gifts or little holiday giveaways.
I’m pleased to say that the lovely apples from my lovely tree created a thick, spiced spread that tastes like fall – it will be great to use for sandwiches, on eggs, stirred in overnight oats and definitely to be served with creamy cheeses. With a bit of chopping and some mostly hands-off time, this is recipe is a keeper for the fall season.
I couldn’t let this month of apples go by without telling you that I have finally figured out why people get excited about crabapples. For 15 years I had a huge, out of control, crabapple tree in my yard that caused me nothing but grief. The only time I liked it was during the one week a year it gave me beautiful pink blooms that blew in front of my kitchen window in the spring and made me happy.
As I helped a friend move a few weeks ago she said, let all the kids go pick crabapples! I truly thought I would just take some of the hideous fruit and throw it away when I got home. As three girls picked two home depot buckets full of crabapples I looked upon these beautifully dark red little crabapples and thought, these are not crabapples. Lo and behold, they were the crabapple that everyone else gets excited about. Who knew there was more than one type of crabapple?!
My friend’s tree is a Dolgo Crabapple and it produces tart little apples that are a delight to work with. Her husband invented his own corer that made coring these apples fun and fast!
I followed this recipe to make this beautiful pie. It’s quite tart but so delicious! Even though I have made many pies (like this one and this one) and just as many pie crusts (like this one and this one), this pie crust was the best I’ve ever made by far!
I’m slightly resentful that we’re already in Apple Month here at S&S – not because of the fruit itself, of course – but because, as Streusel pointed out, apples are a sign of fall. We never got much of a summer here in Seattle, so it feels counter-intuitive to be celebrating fall already. With the exception of one really warm week, I felt like I spent most of this summer waiting for summer to actually start. My Early Girl tomatoes are finally coming ripe – in September. I’ve been cheated!
Nonetheless, it’s time to deal with reality – fall is coming. And it’s been a very busy start, so rather than have a new apple recipe for you this week, I’m going to do a bit of a retrospective. I’ve been traveling quite a bit, mostly for work, spending a week in DC (where I got to spend sometime with this lovely and her awesome Sous Chef) and then some playtime in NYC. During my travels I managed to come down with an ugly cold, so returning home and to the kitchen wasn’t something I wasn’t interested in (with the exception of one batch of matzo ball soup, a recipe I make when I’m feeling my most pathetic).
Happily, we’ve got some fantastic apple recipes on this blog to help me get excited for fall – some of my own and some of Streusel’s that I’ve been meaning to make forever. Apparently all it takes me to enthusiastically about a new season is a bit of butter, some phyllo dough, and cinnamon.
Streusel made these a few years back, and they are the perfect combination of simple to make and look amazing. Adding to the “must bake” list for this year!
I made this for the first time recently, and it’s a perfect dessert to take to dinner parties and other places you want to impress people. Or, you know, if you want a tasty dessert just to please yourself.
I’m instantly invested in anything with phyllo – and in fact, I also have some extra phyllo hanging out in my freezer AND about a million apples falling from my apple tree.
And speaking of having a million apples – this is the *perfect* time to jam and can some of those apples!
As the nights get cooler here I start to think of fall, which makes me giddy, and then I think of winter, which makes me sad. Even though I have simplified life and no longer have a huge driveway to shovel snow off of and have a Subaru, the obligatory Colorado vehicle, I still don’t like winter!
Let’s not think of winter for now.
Let’s celebrate the end of summer and the beginning of my favorite season by enjoying apples this month.
I am a giant fan of mustard – I love to pile it on sandwiches, garden burgers and it’s my first choice dipping condiment for the Greatest Food of All Time, french fries (that I think ketchup is a vile substance created to punish me for bad behavior in a past life is a story for another time). As part of “make it yourself” month here at S&S, I figured it was time to try out a new recipe.
I was having coffee with my friend Cristy yesterday and trying to figure out what to make next for the blog. When I was lamenting about what homemade item I could make next, she immediately asked if I had ever made butter before.
How have I never made butter before?
Now that I have made it, it is so easy and SOOOOOO good! I keep trying to find things I can slather it on just to eat more of it! What’s even better, when you make butter you are also making buttermilk. Biscuits and Butter anyone?