Day 362–Brussels Sprouts with Apple

Brussels Sprouts

 

I know Brussels sprouts are supposed to be gross-out territory for a lot of children, but Ellie has always been a big fan of those cute, little cabbages. We typically roast them or saute them with bacon pieces, both ways are far better than the boiled-to-death treatment of frozen sprouts from the 1970s. This Christmas Eve, we featured sprouts in a new way–roasted with apples, onions, and lemon juice. They were incredibly good provided a much-needed change of pace in our sprout menu! You can adjust the amounts here depending on your family size and whether these are a main dish or side dish (this would make a fabulous vegan main dish). We served 6 as a side dish and there were barely any sprouts left over.

 

If you can find fresh Brussels sprouts, definitely go that route. The flavor and texture is far superior to frozen. Brussels Sprouts are typically found in the late fall and early winter. If you can’t find local, fresh sprouts, then use flash frozen sprouts in a bag, not the kind that come in a square box with lots of added water. Water is not a sprouts best friend. And whatever you do, don’t skimp on the lemon zest and juice. It really makes this dish special!

 

Brussels Sprouts with Apple (serves 6 as a side)

 

  • 2 lbs. fresh Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in 1/2 lengthwise
  • 2 large apples (I used Granny Smith), peeled, cored and cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (see note below).
  2. Put the prepared sprouts, apple and onion into a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Pour olive oil over vegetables in bowl and toss to coat all.
  4. Pour vegetable/apple mixture onto a rimmed baking sheet (line sheet with foil for easy clean up).
  5. Roast vegetables in the oven for about 50 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprouts and onion should start to brown.
  6. Remove from oven and pour all into a serving bowl. Add zest and lemon juice and toss well.
  7. Serve immediately.

 

Note: You can roast this mix at a higher temperature (400 degrees) for a shorter period of time. Since I was roasting these while heating our seafood casserole, I roasted them longer at a lower temperature. Either works just fine.

 

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Day 311–Pork Roast with Apples, Cider and Thyme

Onions, apples and cranberry make a nice base for this slow cooker roast!

Last week my friend Sarah commented on a dish she made involving pork roast and apple cider. Hmmmmm, sounded pretty good to me, so I decided to take a try myself and use the leftovers for our football tailgating lunch. This slow cooker roast takes advantage of our fresh, local apples and apple cider. I also added some dried cranberries, which were tasty. We served it with our delish purple potatoes!

Pork Roast with Apples, Cider and Thyme

  • 1 pork roast or Boston Butt
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 2 granny smith or fuji apples
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup organic, dried cranberries
  • 3 cups fresh apple cider
  • Olive oil
  1. Peel onions and slice thin. Put in bowl of a slow cooker.
  2. Peel and core apples. Slice thin and add to bowl of the slow cooker.
  3. Sprinkle dried cranberries and thyme over onions and apples.
  4. In a heavy skillet, heat olive oil on medium high heat. Brown pork on all sides.
  5. Place pork roast on top of onion/apple mixture. Pour cider over all, cover and cook on low for 7 hours or on hi for 4.
  6. Serve pork sliced or pulled with apples on top!

 

Day 299–Sweet Potato/Apple Hash

The softer, orange-fleshed variety of sweet po...

Orange sweet potatoes are abundant here in North Carolina and they are packed with nutrients and vitamins!

I have a super abundance of sweet potatoes right now, mostly because I keep getting them in my Produce Box and I was too busy to mess around with them. Thankfully, they keep well for weeks, so I could park them to the side and wait until I had more time. Most of the recipes I have for sweet potatoes involve long cooking times or messing about with pots of water–neither of which was possible until this week. But this weekend, I created a recipe that is super easy, quick, healthy, and used ingredients I already had around the house. We served this with a beef roast from our Farmhand Foods meat box and it was really good–savory and a teensy bit sweet, too!

Sweet Potato/Apple Hash

  • 3 large sweet potatoes
  • 3 large apples
  • 1 sweet onion
  • 3-4 tbsp. olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/8 c. pure maple syrup
  1. Peel the sweet potatoes and dice by cutting into planks, then matchsticks, then cutting across the matchsticks for a small dice. Set aside.
  2. Core, peel and dice the apple so that the apple and the sweet potato pieces are about the same size. Set aside.
  3. Peel and dice the onion. Set aside.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan to medium high heat. Add the sweet potato and a pinch of salt. Saute for 2-3 minutes until potatoes start to soften.
  5. Add the onion and continue to saute for another 2-3 minutes until onion is translucent.
  6. Add the apple, salt and pepper to taste and additional olive oil if needed. Saute for about 8 minutes or until sweet potatoes are soft.
  7. Drizzle with maple syrup, correct for seasoning and serve!

Day 293–Sauteed Cabbage and Apples

Various apples

Apples combined with cabbage? Yummy and soul satisfying!

I am simply loco for apples and pumpkins this time of year. I think Trader Joes has about 20,000 new pumpkin flavored foods this fall and I’ll probably try about 5,000 of those before December. Yum.

In spite of our late freeze this year, which took a major toll on our NC apple crops, we’re still finding delicious, local apples at our farmer’s markets. The prices are higher, but they are so delicious that I’m willing to splurge on apples to eat in hand and to use in recipes, but making apple butter or canning apples probably won’t happen this year.

We made this recipe a couple of weeks ago when we received a lovely head of green cabbage in our Produce Box. Not only is this dish a  delicious way to enjoy local cabbage, but it also is very economical and deeply satisfying. Unlike some vegetable dishes, this seems to taste even better warmed up later, so make plenty! We served this with pan seared pork chops from Mae Farm in Louisburg, NC and it made for a simple, but incredibly good meal! You could also serve this as a main course with some crusty bread and have a terrific rustic winter meal! If you want a vegetarian version, omit the bacon and use 3 tbsp. of olive oil and replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock.

Sautéed Cabbage and Apples

  • 8 slices thick cut bacon, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 medium head green cabbage, cored and coarsely chopped
  • 3 large apples (granny smith or gala), peeled, cored and sliced thick
  • 1/2 c. chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander seed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, cook bacon pieces over medium heat and stir often to keep them from sticking. Cook until browned, but not too crisp (about 6-7 minutes).
  2. Remove bacon from pot and set aside. Reduce drippings to about 3 tbsp.
  3. Add onion and carrots to the pot and cook over medium/high heat about 4 minutes until onion is translucent.
  4. Add apple cider vinegar and scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen any brown bits.
  5. Add the cabbage and stir to combine. Cook about 10 minutes until cabbage softens. Add apples, stock and coriander. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes. Check frequently to make sure the cabbage is not sticking. Add a bit of water or more stock if needed.
  6. Add bacon back into the pot and cook an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat and serve!

Day 292–Bad, Bad Blogger and Apple Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

I am a bad, bad blogger. Up until this point I’ve been pretty good at posting several times a week if not every day. But the last two weeks have been absolute craziness, with parts of my world taking over and wreaking havoc on everything else. I believe I have survived the worst of that and now I’m back and (hopefully) on a more sane schedule. At least, I certainly hope so because that was one wild ride!

I haven’t had much of a chance to cook anything recently, but this dish of apple stuffed sweet potatoes was a winner. It has all the great hallmarks of fall–sweet potato, pumpkin pie spice, apples and maple syrup. This would make a great side dish or a light meal in itself. We have an abundance of sweet potatoes at our farmers markets and apples are available here although not in our usual quantities.

So here is to restarts and a better work/life balance for the rest of the fall! Enjoy!

Apple Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

  • 3 medium-sized sweet potatoes
  • 2 medium apples like granny smith or galas
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup real maple syrup

 

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Poke sweet potatoes all over with a fork and roast in the oven until soft (about an hour depending on how large your potatoes are). Remove from oven and reduce heat to 350.
  3. While potatoes cool a bit, peel/core and chop the apples into 1/2″ chunks.
  4. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add butter and melt. Add apples. Cook apples for about 2 minutes.
  5. Add brown sugar and spice to the apples and stir. Add more butter if you need it. Reduce heat to low and cook until apples are soft. Set aside.
  6. When potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut skins and scoop potato flesh into a medium-sized bowl. Add apple mixture and mix together until combined.
  7. Spoon mixture back into the potato skin shells. Top with chopped pecans, put on a baking sheet and bake for another 15 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and drizzle with maple syrup.
  9. Serve!

Day 265–Crock Pot Applesauce

I’m not sure who invented the crock pot, but I love them. I mean, I enjoy getting in the kitchen and cooking, but there is something magic about putting ingredients in a crock pot in the morning and coming home from work to find something wonderful…and finished! And while I find stirring risotto to be soothing, standing around cooking apples doesn’t have the same appeal to me. Not sure why, but there it is.

So I am loving this crock pot applesauce recipe that came with my Produce Box this week. I’m not a huge fan of cold applesauce, but I do love it warm. And mix it in with some steel cut oatmeal and I feel like I’m wearing a warm, fuzzy Snuggy all morning long. Except people aren’t rolling their eyes at me. I think it would be great with the Maple Oatmeal Bread from Sugar Dish Me also (note to self: stop dreaming about this bread and make it already).

You can alter the sugar and spices (I added clove to mine) to suit your taste. This recipe makes about 8 cups of sauce–enough to eat now and freeze some for another day!

Crock Pot Applesauce

  • 4 pounds of apples, cored and sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  1. Put sliced apples (I leave the skins on–more fiber is never bad, right?) in a large bowl.
  2. Sprinkle lemon juice over the apples.
  3. Mix sugar and spices together in a small bowl and sprinkle over apples. Using a spoon or your very clean hands, toss the apples and the spiced sugar together until coated well.
  4. Put all in your crock pot. Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3 hours.
  5. Mash with a potato masher for chunky sauce or use an immersion blender (careful–sauce is hot!) to blend all together.
  6. Store in refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze in freezer bags to enjoy up to 1 year later.