Sunday, October 18, 2015

Apple Strudel

Yummy note: Every fall, I love to hit an apple orchard and pick apples. I don't know what it is, but the apples you pick directly from the trees seems much more different than if you would just pick them up at the store. Earlier this fall, I found a small local orchard and we ended up picking a bushel or so. The apples were lots of varieties and sizes and tasted amazing, but, Oh so many apples left... what to do with them before they spoil. Let's see we've had a steady supply of applesauce, apple pie, apple crisp, apple cobbler, apple pork chops, and others, you get the idea. I was thinking maybe we can make an apple butter since I haven't made that before, but then when I got this month's Secret Recipe Club assignment blog, The Avid Appetite - this Apple Strudel looked perfect. I am always a sucker for the little strudels in the doughnut case, so I could only imagine how these might taste if I can make it at home and eat them fresh and warm from the oven. I've never made a strudel before, so it was worth a shot, especially when Rachel from The Avid Appetite said it was only like 5 minutes worth of prep time, now that sounds like a winner. 

Apple Strudel

1 egg
1 tbsp water
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp flour (plus a little extra for rolling out dough)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 large apples, or 4 small apples- peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
1 sheet of puff pastry (1/2 of a 17.3-ounce package), thawed

* optional - 2 tbsp dried cranberries, powdered sugar (for dusting or to make a simple glaze of water and powdered sugar) 

Thaw a sheet of puff pastry. Then preheat oven to 375 degrees. Peel, core, and thinly slice your apples. Mix the apple slices, sugar, flour, and cinnamon together in a mixing bowl. Next, prepare to roll our your puff pastry sheet on a floured surfaced. The pastry should be rolled out to about 16 x 12 inches. Next, place the apple mixture on the bottom half of the pastry only. Note - leave a small border around the edges with no apple mixture and then start to roll up the pastry very carefully without ripping the dough and keeping the apples tucked inside. Once it is rolled up, tuck in the ends and place on a greased baking sheet. To finish, cut small slits on top of the pastry and brush the top with the beaten egg and water mixture. Bake for about 35 minutes and then allow to cool slightly before enjoying. Top with sprinkled powdered sugar or make a simple glaze of powdered sugar and water.

A few months ago, Rachel featured my taco pizza in the Secret Recipe Club, so it was great to return the favor this month! Don't forget to check out a few of these other recipes from The Avid Appetite like this hearty but quick meal- Italian goulash, or some seasonal pumpkin butter, or wait, these cupcakes that could go with some fall tailgating - Irish car bomb cupcakes.

Friday, October 2, 2015

How to Freeze Fresh Green Beans

Yummy note: Every summer, I always forget, how do I freeze fresh green beans again?? Between trying to grown them in our gardens and buying them at the farmer's market, I always seem to overdo the amount I have and don't want them to go to waste. So instead of eating them for like 4 days straight, I try and freeze a batch for later to enjoy. So this isn't really a recipe, but it is more of a how-to, and I always seem to have to look it up in my cookbook each summer. So I figured I should just archive it here so I have it for reference.

How to Freeze Fresh Green Beans 

fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into pieces

First, trim the ends of your green beans and cut the beans into smaller pieces, if desired. The general rule of thumb I've heard about having enough water to boil, is to have roughly 1 gallon of water to 1 pound of fresh green beans. So adjust accordingly, and then bring that large pot of water to boil. Then working in batches, drop the green beans into the boiling water. Blanch the smaller pieces of green beans for about 2 minutes or for larger cut beans closer to 3-4 minutes. Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with ice water to have off to the side. Once green beans have reached your desired time, carefully remove the green beans from the boiling water and place into the ice water bath. Another tip I've heard is that they are to spend as much time in the cold water for as long as they have spent in the boiling water. Once green beans have cooled, prepare them for freezing, by using either freezer-safe containers or freezer bags.  

Trim the ends of the green beans and cut into smaller pieces, if desired. 
In smaller batches add green beans to boiling water. 
This process, also called blanching, preps your food for freezing. 
After blanching, drop beans into the ice water bath.

When preparing green beans from the frozen state, saute in a pan with a little bit of water for about 3-5 minutes or until they are tender crisp and done to your likeness.