Sunday, October 30, 2011

Apple Cake...when to healthify and when to fatten

When you are making a recipe, do you ever stop and think, "Gee this is a ton of butter" or "does this brown sugar really need to be packed??" I do. Every time I bake. But the important thing is...I don't always change it. really just has to be that way.

Here are my personal rules about when to healthify and when to serve up the "good stuff:"

Healthify when...
1. Cooking for immediate family.
2. You've made that recipe a billion times and you know it inside and out.
3. No one will know who made what at the potluck anyways...what if you can get a little whole grain into 'em?
4. Making crumbles or cobblers. Normally the streusel can have a lot less sugar and butter.
5. Everyone knows you're a dietitian and thinks that whatever you make has zero calories.
6. You tell your husband what you are making ahead of time and he gets excited.

Don't healthify when...
1. You're making a really complicated recipe.
2. Birthdays and holidays.
3. Your husband will be telling everyone what you made.
4. You're having a bad day and a ruined recipe will push you over the edge.
5. You're cooking with friends and good intentions could turn into accidental addition of double instead of half the butter.
6. You tell your husband what you are making ahead of time and he gets excited.

Now this particular recipe I did not healthify, because my source had already done the work for me. Here it is...the perfect way to use up those last few apples if you got a bag of seconds from the orchard.

Apple Cake
adapted from Smitten Kitchen and Teenage Gourmet

6 apples
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar

2.75 cups flour, sifted
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1.5 cups sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
2.5 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a tube pan. Peel, core and chop apples into chunks. (I cut the top and bottom off, peeled the rest, used an apple corer/slicer, then used a knife to chop.) Toss with cinnamon and sugar. Set aside.

Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a different bowl, whisk together oil, applesauce, OJ, sugar, and vanilla. Mix wet ingredients into dry, then add eggs one at a time.

Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan. Pour half of the apples over it. Pour remaining batter over the apples and arrnage remaining apples on top. Bake for about 1.5 hours (mine was almost overdone at 80 min...good thing I caught it in time) until tester comes out clean.

Sorry again for the iphone photos...

As for those stuffed jalapenos, I can't find the recipe I used anywhere. But I can tell you that they were stuffed with 1/3 less fat cream cheese, cheddar cheese, bacon, a little cayenne and then grilled. Hope that helps!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Adventures with Caramel

Due to many requests and the fact that I took some of your advice in terms of kitchen colors, I decided to put of some pictures of our new kitchen! So here it is in progress! We are going to put white brick-shaped tile as the backsplash.

Unfortunately, we are going to have to get a really short fridge.

Ryan made this window himself! It used to be a plain old wall and now its a wonderful link between the kitchen and living room.

Now here's where I need some more advice from you all. We are painting our living room gray and going with a retro/modern feel with mustard yellow accents. The question is...should we have light gray walls in our kitchen as well...or paint mustard yellow on one or two walls? Opinions?

Check out some of the fun I've had with apples and caramel recently! I carved this apple in one of my food "labs" this semester.

Last Friday I got together with some of my friends and we made caramel apples and popcorn!

First, poke in some sticks.

Next, make some caramel. I used 2 cups sugar, 1 cup water, and 3/4 light corn syrup, as recommended by Cannelle et Vanille. Warning: If you desire dark caramel, this recipe is not for you. I, on the other hand, think it's fun to see the beautiful jonagolds through the caramel.

Bring it to a boil and heat to 315 F.

Immediately dip the apples.

While they cool, you can melt some chocolate and drizzle that over.

If you have any caramel left over, make popcorn!

We girls can never have too much popcorn.

(Yes, these are iphone photos...Ryan's been taking his camera with him a lot lately. Hopefully I can commandeer it again soon!)

On a different topic, here are some of the recipes you requested. The only one I can't post right now is the stuffed jalapenos because I believe I found that in one of my cookbooks and I'm not home right now.

Fried Nutella Wontons: I didn't change anything in this one. It's really mostly just assembly. I substituted homemade raspberry jam for the coulis, though.

Baked Apple Donuts: Beware. These are dangerously addictive. Ryan and I made them disappear rather quickly between the two of us, so I would recommend a double batch.

Chocolate Chip and Brown Sugar Bundt Cake: To be honest, this was not my favorite because it was a little dry. I would recommend adding some applesauce for moistness.

Now as for the pasta, I made that one up. I did not make the pasta myself, unfortunately. I believe the sauce was a sage cream sauce based off of a Williams Sonoma recipe. When I get home I will check on that.

Thanks for reading and commenting! It's inspiring!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Student's Lament

I know. I have not blogged in almost two months. But I am not going to apologize...I have been spending a lot of time in the kitchen! Just...not cooking. Ryan and I bought a house and it needs a lot of work. So along with that, we got the marvelous task of redesigning/decorating a kitchen! Our black granite counters went in today!

I have also been spending a lot of time studying. Yes, I am a student. And that means I have exams and papers and group projects all fighting for my time. Not to mention the fact that I am trying to fit in my remaining required volunteer hours before my internship starts in January, while maintaining my roles as wife, daughter, sister, friend, accompanist, and president of the Student Dietetic Association at UK. I am grateful that I have the strength to do all of these things, but I am looking forward to the holidays when I will (hopefully!) have lots more time to cook up my new kitchen!

Here are some pictures of things I've made, but not posted about. If you take a liking to any of them, just holler and I will direct you to the recipe.

Fried Nutella Wontons

Stuffed and Grilled Jalapenos

Pappardelle Pasta with Steak and Parmesan

Bourbon Glazed Peaches with Homemade Vanilla Yogurt

Chocolate Chip and Brown Sugar Bundt Cake

Sauteed Toast and Vanilla Apples with Whipped Cream

Baked Apple Donut Holes