Categories
Crockpot Main Dish Soup

‘Peas’ your tastebuds with a spicy crockpot soup

Crockpot Spicy Black-Eyed Peas
Spicy black-eyed peas are a great way to warm up on a cold day and are even better with some fresh cornbread on the side.

There is enough debate about black-eyed peas that there’s actually an article about them on the Library of Congress website.

It starts out very simply, asking, “Are black-eyed peas really peas?”

The answer is simple: “No.”

The article then goes into a very technical, scientific explanation of how peas, beans and legumes are classified and named. It’s great reading if you want to take a nap.

But I suppose no matter what their official classification, their presence in our house every New Year’s Day is a constant, as they are supposed to create good luck in the coming year.

Obviously, with all the craziness over the past year, I must have not cooked them quite right in 2021, so I’m hoping this year’s recipe was a better one.

I decided to go with a spicy version of black-eyed peas this year, mostly because I had some jalapeno peppers languishing in my crisper drawer already. You can leave those out and just add another bell pepper and cut out the cayenne if you want to try this recipe and you’re not much of a spice person, but if you like a little heat, you’re really going to like this one.

This recipe from Trisha Haas comes from the blog “Salty Side Dish.” You can find the original post at https://www.saltysidedish.com/slow-cooker-black-eyed-peas/. I added extra spices in my version.

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Crockpot Spicy Black-Eyed Peas

Spicy black-eyed peas are a great way to warm up on a cold day and are even better with some fresh cornbread on the side.
Course Main Course
Keyword bacon, bell pepper, black-eyed peas, cayenne, crockpot, cumin, garlic, ham, jalapeno, oregano, slow cooker, soup, spicy, yellow onion

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces dry black-eyed peas
  • 3 beef bouillon cubes
  • 1 small yellow onion diced
  • 4 to 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 bell pepper diced (any color)
  • 1-2 jalapeno peppers diced (remove the seeds for less kick)
  • 1 cup ham chopped
  • 6 slices bacon chopped
  • 3 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Add the beef bouillon cubes to about 1 cup of hot water. Smash the cubes before adding them to a large crockpot along with five more cups of water, and then add all of the rest of the ingredients, as well. You do not have to do anything to prep the peas. Just dump them in.
  • Give the mixture a good stir and then cook on high for six hours or until the peas are cooked through.
  • This is fantastic served with fresh cornbread.

The photos on the recipe’s website show a mushier-looking soup without a lot of broth. I had a decent amount of broth with mine, so it’s really more about what you prefer with yours if you let it cook down even longer to really get the liquid thinned out. Personally, I love having broth with soups like this so I have something to soak up with my cornbread.

This was so, so easy, since it was as simple as just dumping everything in the crockpot. It literally took no cooking skills whatsoever, which I appreciate sometimes.

Now, with our bellies warmed, supposedly Joey and I are covered for 2022 and all the luck life can bring us. I’m not sure if it worked, but I have some leftovers in my freezer just in case we need a boost in the coming weeks.

This piece first appeared in print on Jan. 13, 2022.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Appetizer Main Dish Snack

Don’t let delicious sandwiches slide by you

Turkey cheese sliders are easy and cheap to make with a package of Hawaiian rolls.

Being the good aunt that I am, when my niece came to spend the night with us this past week, I made sure to have a bag of chocolate mini donuts ready for breakfast.

When my sister and brother-in-law came to pick her up, I asked her if she wanted me to send the leftovers with her, and of course, she happily took them home.

Joey just shook his head.

“You’re such a pusher,” he said.

That’s when I held up the package of Hawaiian dinner rolls my mother had somehow weaseled us into taking back to our house on a recent visit.

“I learned from the best.”

So, what’s there to do with leftover Hawaiian rolls? Well, you could work yourself into a carb-induced food coma, or you can do what we did and make some delicious turkey and cheese sliders.

The recipe I used came from the blog “The Novice Chef.” You can find the original post at https://thenovicechefblog.com/cheesy-turkey-sliders/. I changed the ingredients and removed the sugar, figuring I’ve had enough sweets over the past couple months.

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Turkey Cheese Sliders

Turkey cheese sliders are easy and cheap to make with a package of Hawaiian rolls.
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Keyword baked, butter, cheese, deli turkey, dijon mustard, garlic, Hawaiian rolls, onion powder, sandwich, sliders, spinach, Worcestershire

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound deli turkey
  • 12 Hawaiian rolls
  • 6 to 8 slices cheese I used pepperjack
  • about 1/2 cup fresh spinach
  • 4 tablespoons butter melted
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • garlic salt and pepper to taste
  • sesame seeds to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a nine-by-nine-inch pan (or whatever size you have that can fit the entire package of Hawaiian rolls in it) by spraying it with cooking spray.
  • Leave the rolls all connected, and using bread knife, cut the Hawaiian rolls in half to create a top and bottom.
  • Place the bottom part into the prepared pan. Place the turkey evenly over the rolls, add the cheese, and then finish off with a layer of spinach leaves. Place the top layer of buns on top, and poke just a few holes in the buns with a sharp knife.
  • In a small bowl, combine the butter, garlic, dijon, onion powder, Worcestershire, garlic salt and pepper, and pour it evenly over top of the rolls, spreading it out with a spoon, if necessary to evenly coat the rolls.
  • Sprinkle the sesame seeds on top. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 14 minutes.
  • Remove the foil and bake for another two minutes or until the tops brown.
  • Cut the sliders apart and serve immediately.

These were excellent. Joey and I ate them on New Year’s Eve while we played a board game, and it was the perfect, low-key night.

We recreated the recipe a couple days later (my mom actually gave us two packages of rolls) with deli-sliced pastrami, and it was excellent that way, too. I’m going to keep track of this one for when we’ll inevitably have folks over for the NFL playoffs and the Super Bowl. It would be great for the snack table.

And now we know what to do with leftover Hawaiian rolls. As far as mini donuts, find yourself a willing 4-year-old.

This piece first appeared in print on Jan. 6, 2022.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Dessert

New recipe experiment keeps Georgia on my mind

Gozinaki is a traditional Christmas and New Year’s treat from the country of Georgia. It is made with only walnuts, honey and sugar, resulting in a unique, nutty flavor.

During its 2020 election coverage, ABC News accidentally used images of voters from the country of Georgia, misidentifying them as people from Atlanta.

This caused a lot of posts online, with some people mocking the news outlet and a few posting that they didn’t even know there was a Georgia outside of the U.S.

In our family, we actually discuss Georgia the country way more often than the state, mostly because my sister-in-law’s husband is a Georgian—as in the eastern European kind.

My brother-in-law is really just a full Texan with a bit of a different accent now, but he does like to wax poetic about the food and culture of his home country.

So, as I was preparing to make treats for our family Christmas this year, it occurred to me that Georgia must have some special Christmas treats. As I researched, I discovered quite a few traditional dishes that looked way too difficult for me to accomplish, but then I stumbled on something that looked do-able: a walnut candy called gozinaki (pronounced go-zin-AH-key).

The recipe is deceptively simple with just three ingredients. The process of actually making it turned out to be pretty difficult, but the end result was a salty, only slightly sweet goodie for our Christmas table.

I tried the a recipe from the website “Georgian Recipes.” You can find the original post at https://georgianrecipes.net/2014/01/04/gozinaki-with-walnuts/. I didn’t change the ingredients, but I did convert items to U.S. Standard measurements and added a bit to the instructions to try to help you avoid some of the problems I had.

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Gozinaki

Gozinaki is a traditional Christmas and New Year's treat from the country of Georgia. It is made with only walnuts, honey and sugar, resulting in a unique, nutty flavor.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Georgian
Keyword brown sugar, Christmas, honey, New Year’s, walnuts

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds shelled walnuts
  • 12 heaping tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Instructions

  • In a large, dry skillet, roast the walnuts over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until they’re warm and fragrant.
  • Remove the walnuts from the pan and chop them roughly.
  • Add the honey to your skillet and heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, for about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add the sugar and keep stirring until the mixture thickens (this took quite awhile for me—maybe 15 more minutes).
  • Pour in the walnuts, and stir until they are coated evenly.
  • Set up an area of your counter with a large piece of waxed paper.
  • Wet a wooden cutting board with water (wipe off any excess), and transfer about one cup of the walnut mixture to the board. With your hands (wet them first) or a metal spoon, press the mixture together firmly while shaping it into a rectangle shape.
  • Once the mixture is well compacted and shaped, take a sharp knife and cut the mixture into pieces (I did mine about two-inches long). Traditionally, it’s cut into diamond shapes, but cut it however you want for serving. (It will very likely fall apart a bit. Don’t let it frustrate you.)
  • Carefully transfer the cut pieces with a spatula to your waxed paper so they can set up.
  • Toss any pieces that came apart back into the pan and repeat until you have all of the gozinaki formed and cut.
  • Leave the gozinaki on your countertop until it’s fully set, and you can pick it up without it falling apart. (I left mine over night.) Store in an airtight container.

At our Christmas get-together, I put my plate of gozinaki on the treat table in the basement. I was upstairs when my sister- and brother-in-law arrived and went down to put presents under the tree. Not two minutes later, my brother-in-law bounded up the stairs, mouth full, and gave me a huge hug.

So if you’re wondering, this is a pretty good recipe, and I did manage to nail the flavor of traditional gozinaki.

Roasting the walnuts releases some of their oils and makes them have a deep, nutty flavor, and the use of honey and only a little sugar means that this is not overly sweet. The texture remains chewy, too. It was unlike any kind of Christmas treat I’ve ever had, but it is definitely worth trying.

Georgians also eat gozinaki around New Year’s, too, so you might want to mix up a batch as 2022 comes around the corner. It’ll be a treat and a geography lesson, all in one.

This piece first appeared in print on Dec. 30, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Main Dish Soup

Soup recipe lets me tell counter leftovers ‘see you tater’

Potato poblano corn chowder is creamy and filling, especially with the addition of shredded chicken and extra potatoes.

They’ve just been staring at me.

Four potatoes have been sitting on my kitchen counter since Thanksgiving, and as the days passed, they literally were growing some eyes to look at me with.

So I knew I needed to make something to use them up, and with the weather finally hitting a dreaded cold snap, I decided to pull out a chowder recipe I’ve been meaning to try.

Of course, I had to do some tweaking, including making it a bit heartier by adding chicken and increasing the spices and vegetables, too.

If you’re looking for a vegetarian recipe, just leave out the chicken, use some vegetable broth and throw in even more potatoes. It’ll still be delicious.

The recipe I tried, by Ivy Manning, appeared in “Fine Cooking” magazine in 2018. You can find it on their website at https://www.finecooking.com/recipe/potato-poblano-corn-chowder.

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Potato Poblano Corn Chowder

Potato poblano corn chowder is creamy and filling, especially with the addition of shredded chicken and extra potatoes.
Course Main Course
Keyword baked potatoes, broth, carrots, celery, chicken, chowder, coriander, corn, cumin, mashed potatoes, poblano peppers, soup, yellow onion

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 2 poblano peppers diced
  • 2 carrots peeled and diced
  • 2 ribs celery diced
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups milk I used skim
  • 2 medium-sized potatoes diced
  • 2 cups cooked shredded chicken
  • 2 cups corn kernels I used frozen
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Cayenne pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Melt the butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, peppers, carrots and celery and saute until the vegetables are soft.
  • Add the coriander, cumin, thyme, salt and pepper and flour, and stir to combine. Saute for a couple minutes to cook out the flour taste. Stir in the tomato paste, and then add the broth, milk, potatoes, chicken and corn to the pot.
  • Bring the mixture to a low boil, and then turn the heat down to low and simmer, with a lid on the pot, for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are fork tender.
  • Stir in the lemon juice and cayenne pepper and then serve immediately.

Add as much or as little cayenne as you want to this to control the spice level. Poblano peppers tend to be on the milder side, but if you’re nervous, make sure you remove the ribs and seeds when you dice them up, too.

This had a creamy taste and was a good belly warmer. I actually ended up doubling the recipe so I could store the leftovers as quick weeknight dinners in our freezer.

I was glad to finally get some of my counter space back just in time for all my holiday baking. But I have a feeling that when I’m staring down a mountain of treat containers over the next few weeks, I’ll really miss those potatoes.

This piece first appeared in print on Dec. 23, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Crockpot Main Dish

Pantry clean out calls for finally using my noodle

Crockpot lasagna is easy to put together and creates a great, hot dinner without standing over the stove for hours.

After weeks of opening my pantry and sighing deeply at the mess and disorganization, I finally pulled every last item out this past weekend.

Joey came into the kitchen to find boxes, bags and containers on every countertop.

“Today’s the day, huh?” he said, and then he wisely made himself scarce.

He knows better than to get in the middle of my crazy when I’m trying to organize.

As I dug through the pile, I discovered several things. One: At some point, I purchased corn starch, forgot I purchased corn starch and purchased corn starch again. Two: I have way more cupcake liners than I thought I did. And three: For some reason, I spent some time in the past collecting half-full boxes of lasagna noodles.

I’m not really sure what to do with my wealth of cornstarch, and the cupcake liners are now tucked away in a much better location, so I turned my attention to the lasagna noodles, but since I’d already spent a bunch of time cleaning, I decided I needed an easy recipe to try.

The one I found fit the bill: a crockpot lasagna.

The recipe I tried comes from the blog “Big Oven.” You can find the original post at https://www.bigoven.com/recipe/easy-crockpot-lasagna/229584.

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Crockpot Lasagna

Crockpot lasagna is easy to put together and creates a great, hot dinner without standing over the stove for hours.
Course Main Course
Keyword crockpot, easy dinner, mozarella cheese, parmesan cheese, pasta sauce, ricotta cheese, slow cooker

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 small yellow onion diced
  • 6 to 8 cloves garlic minced
  • 3-4 cups mozzarella cheese divided
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese I used low-fat
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 cup fresh spinach cut into ribbons
  • 24 ounces spaghetti sauce
  • 6 to 9 uncooked lasagna noodles I used a combo of regular and oven-ready

Instructions

  • In a large skillet over medium heat, brown and crumble the ground beef, along with the onions.
  • While the beef and onions cook, add 2 cups of the mozzarella, the ricotta, parmesan, egg, parsley and spinach in a bowl and mix well. Set aside.
  • Once the beef is cooked through, drain off as much fat as you can, and add the minced garlic, sauteing for a few minutes.
  • Add the pasta sauce and 1/2 cup of water to the skillet. (To really help clean out the jar, pour the water into the jar after you dump the sauce in the pan, and swish it around before adding it to the pan, too.) Add any seasonings you want to spice up your pasta sauce. (I added oregano, basil, parsley, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to mine.) Cook the sauce for a few minutes to let it all heat through.
  • In a large crockpot, add about one cup of the sauce to the bottom. Layer in as many noodles as you can fit in a single layer (break them, if necessary).
  • Spread half of the cheese mixture on top.
  • Add about two cups of sauce and add another layer of noodles.
  • Finish out by spreading the second half of the cheese mixture on and topping with the remaining sauce.
  • Cook on low for four to five hours or until your noodles are cooked through.
  • About 10 minutes before serving, top with the rest of your mozzarella and cover to let the cheese melt.
  • (I ended up putting this together the night before we wanted to eat it and refrigerated it in my crockpot. I plugged it in and cooked it on high for four hours, since it started out cold, and it cooked up great.)

This was pretty darn good, made for great leftovers, and it took way less time than a traditional lasagna. You could easily kick this up a notch with fancier sauces or subbing in half the ground beef with sausage, too.

And now I’m down to just one partial box of lasagna, which fits my newly organized aesthetic much better. I still sigh when I open my pantry, but it’s a sigh of happiness now.

This piece first appeared in print on Dec. 16, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Air Fryer Appetizer Side Dish Snack

Air fryer rangoon can keep you from ‘wonton’ eating

Making crab rangoon is an easy process, and they’re a bit healthier when you make them in an air fryer rather than dunking them in oil.

An article on the website “Atlas Obscura” called “What the Heck Is Crab Rangoon Anyway?” lays out the history of the crispy little Chinese restaurant staple.

The article notes that while crab rangoon are not from China, they’re an invention by Chinese-Americans, who began serving Chinese dishes to Americans of other backgrounds when they came to the United States.

Apparently, the boom of Chinese restaurants in the States was due to a racist policy restricting Chinese immigrants, who were able to use a loophole for “merchant visas” if they owned a restaurant.

“Chinese food was the first Asian cuisine to take hold in the United States; it was unlike the more Eurocentric restaurant scene at the time, and that made it exciting to some Americans,” the article notes.

But as can be expected, some ingredients immigrants were used to in China weren’t available in the U.S., forcing them to get creative with new dishes and allowing items like crab rangoon—those crispy cream cheese and crab filled delicacies—to become a reality.

I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love crab rangoon. My love for the side dish came to a head this week when I found a package of wonton wrappers for sale at my local grocery store. The stars aligned, and I decided it was time to give them a try. Plus, I decided it was time to another recipe using my air fryer, which let me make these normally fat-filled little bundles in a much healthier way.

The recipe I used is from the Kansas-City-based blog “Stay Snatched.” You can find the original post at https://www.staysnatched.com/air-fryer-crispy-crab-rangoon/. I changed the cooking time/temperature in my version, because my first batch were a bit over crispy. You may need to adjust for your own air fryer.

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Air-Fryer Crab Rangoon

Making crab rangoon is an easy process, and they're a bit healthier when you make them in an air fryer rather than dunking them in oil.
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Chinese
Keyword air fryer, crab rangoon, cream cheese, garlic, wonton wrappers, Worcestershire

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 6 ounces lump crab meat drained
  • 2 green onions cut into small pieces (I left these out)
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • about 21 wonton wrappers
  • cooking spray

Instructions

  • Combine the cream cheese, crab meat, onions, garlic, Worcestershire and salt and pepper in a bowl.
  • To assemble, lay a wonton wrapper on your countertop. Using a pastry brush or your fingers, lightly brush water around the outside edges of the wrapper.
  • Place a heaping teaspoon of the filling in the middle of the wrapper. Bring two opposite corners up to meet in the middle, and then bring the other two opposite corners to meet them, pressing slightly to seal all of the seams of the wonton and pushing any air out. The wonton should look like a little bundle.
  • Place the wontons in the basket of your air fryer and spray lightly with cooking spray.
  • Fry at 350 degrees for eight minutes, turning the wontons halfway through for even cooking.
  • Serve immediately.

I adjusted my recipe to have a bit more cream cheese than the original. For me, I like the light flavor of crab along with the creaminess of the cheese. But the nice thing about this recipe is you can literally adjust any of these ingredients however you want to meet your personal tastes.

I also love that these are not deep fried, and it’s easy to substitute in fat-free cream cheese if you really want to make these a healthier treat.

I adore a good crab rangoon, and now that I know I have some cool Chinese immigrants who wouldn’t let jerks get the better of them to thank for this appetizer, I think I might like them even more.

This piece first appeared in print on Dec. 9, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Dessert

I could go ‘almond’ and on about this cherry pie

This cherry almond crumble pie uses canned pie filling, which makes it easy, tasty and beautiful.

Joey looked at me this afternoon and declared he’s officially done with turkey.

After taking home some leftovers from my parents’ house on Thanksgiving and having our own leftovers from hosting that weekend—and making both a roasted bird as well as one on the smoker—we have quite the collection of Tupperware boxes in our fridge.

The good news for Joey is most of the leftover meat will be combined with the broth we made from our turkey carcasses for some turkey noodle soup and go in our freezer for another day.

Just like the turkey inundation in our house, I know I’ve also been giving you a dessert inundation over the past several weeks. If you’re tired of tarts and pies, just hang in there—I’ll definitely think of something else for next week.

But if you’re like me and love all things sweet, this is another great dessert. Plus, it’s super easy to make, even if you’re not much of a baker.

This comes from the blog “Singing Through the Rain.” You can find the original post at https://singingthroughtherain.net/2013/12/easy-crumble-cherry-pie.html. I added extra almond extract and sliced almonds to my version.

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Cherry Almond Crumble Pie

This cherry almond crumble pie uses canned pie filling, which makes it easy, tasty and beautiful.
Course Dessert
Keyword almond extract, cherry pie, easy, pie filling, sliced almonds

Ingredients

  • 1 nine-inch pie crust
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1/2 cup cold butter cubed
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 21 ounces cherry pie filling
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Arrange your crust into a pie pan and crimp the edges.
  • In a bowl, combine the flour, extract, butter and sugar, cutting with a pastry cutter or fork until the ingredients are well-combined and in small crumbles.
  • Pour the cherry pie filling into the prepared crust and sprinkle the crumble evenly over the top. Top with the sliced almonds.
  • Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

This pie was delicious and was really pretty without any effort whatsoever. The almond flavor was a fantastic combination with the cherries, and the addition of the crunchy nuts on top were yummy, too.

Luckily, I ended up sending my in laws home with quite a bit of pie, since they had much of the family staying with them through the weekend after Thanksgiving to help them eat it, so I haven’t heard Joey declare that he’s done with pie quite yet.

Of course, if I decide to make yet another one for next week, I’m guessing I’ll hear about it. Sounds like it’s time for me to get creative while keeping my pie tins in the cabinet.

This piece first appeared in print on Dec. 2, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Dessert

‘Oui’ are in love with this French apple tart

A French apple tart is a very simple dessert with a lot of wow factor from its pretty appearance.

I said when I bought my tart pans that everyone was just going to have to deal with my experimentation, and here it is again. Don’t worry, though, because this recipe is also tailor made to become a pie.

Some fantastic friends of ours held a fun “Friendsgiving” get together last weekend. We were able to hang out with them along with both old and new friends and share a potluck meal.

I signed up to bring dessert, because I had my eye on a new tart recipe, and of course, as always, my friends needed to be my guinea pigs.

And this tart was definitely a show-stopper. It’s gorgeous and easy at the same time, which makes for the perfect combination.

The recipe I tried comes from https://mandyjackson.com/2018/12/07/french-apple-tart/. I used apple jelly instead of apricot jam in my version, substituted bourbon for rum and added just a sprinkle of cinnamon in my version.

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French Apple Tart

A French apple tart is a very simple dessert with a lot of wow factor from its pretty appearance.
Course Dessert
Keyword apple, apple butter, apple jelly, apple pie, bourbon, brown sugar, cinnamon, Granny Smith apples

Ingredients

  • 1 nine-inch pie crust
  • 1 1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter cubed
  • 1/4 cup apple jelly
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon or use water
  • a liberal sprinkling of cinnamon

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Roll out the pie dough to about a quarter-inch thick and place into a eight- to 10-inch tart pan, pressing it along the sides so that it fills the crevices. Trim any excess crust, and place the whole pan in the freezer while slicing apples. (If you don’t have a tart pan, use a pie pan or springform pan instead.)
  • Peel the apples, cut them in half, and core them. Slice the apples thinly—about one-quarter inch—and arrange in the prepared crust in a spiral, overlapping the slices a bit as you go. Once you’re finished, use any remaining slices to fill in gaps and make it look nice.
  • Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the top of the pie. (It will seem like too much, but it will cook down into the apples; don’t worry.) Dot the top of the tart with the cubed butter.
  • Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the tart is lightly browned and the apples are fork tender.
  • Let the tart cool for about 15 minutes or so.
  • In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the apple jelly and bourbon, along with a healthy sprinkling of cinnamon. Microwave it for just a few seconds—about 20—to get it just a bit warm, and whisk it well to combine the jelly and liquid.
  • Using a pastry brush, brush the mixture over the top of the tart.
  • When it’s cool enough to handle, remove the tart from the pan and serve right away or refrigerate in an airtight container.

We really enjoyed this tart. It was very simple but delicious. Plus, it looked awesome on the dessert table.

The other nice thing about making a tart is if you normally don’t like trying to flute your pie crust to make it pretty, you don’t have to with a tart pan. It takes care of the prettifying for you.

With pie season fully upon us, I’m sure this won’t be close to my last pastry until the end of the year. And I know it won’t be the final time I’ll be around the table with some great folks, having good conversation and sharing delicious foods. That’s what makes this the best time of the year.

This piece first appeared in print on Nov. 25, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Dessert

Don’t let supply chain issues make you snap

This cranberry orange tart is made with fresh fruit and is surrounded by a spicy gingersnap crust. The flavors are perfect for the holidays.

In 1973, late-night host Johnny Carson made a joke about a supposed toilet paper shortage during his opening monologue.

That joke, along with some press releases from a member of Congress, led to an actual toilet paper shortage as people cleaned stores out and the empty shelves reinforced the rumor.

Right now, it seems supply chain problems are causing some of those same issues. I can’t possibly be the only person this year who spent good money on some name-brand pureed pumpkin when the generic brand was out just in case there wasn’t some on the shelves before Thanksgiving.

And another victim of current shortages is one I wouldn’t have been able to predict: gingersnaps.

Now, I have no official data to back up my claim that there’s a shortage of gingersnaps out there, but I can tell you I ended up at four different local stores before I finally found some for this week’s recipe. They’re out there. You just have to do a little sleuthing to find them.

But I will tell you that this week’s recipe is not only a dessert tailor-made for the holidays, but it’s worth driving all around town to find the ingredients.

The recipe I tried comes from the blog “All Purpose Flour Child” by Taylor Harbin. You can find her original post at http://www.allpurposeflourchild.com/blog/cranberry-orange-curd-gingersnap-tart. I added extra cinnamon in my version.

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Cranberry Orange Gingersnap Tart

This cranberry orange tart is made with fresh fruit and is surrounded by a spicy gingersnap crust. The flavors are perfect for the holidays.
Course Dessert
Keyword Christmas, cinnamon, cranberry, fresh fruit, gingersnaps, orange, tart, Thanksgiving

Ingredients

Crust Ingredients

  • 12 ounces gingersnap cookies
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon molasses

Filling Ingredients

  • 12 ounces whole fresh cranberries
  • 1/4 cup freshly-squeezed orange juice
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • zest of 1 large orange
  • 4 tablespoons butter

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Place the gingersnaps in a food processor and process until they are in fine crumbs. Pulse in the cinnamon and salt. In a small, microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter in the microwave. Stir in the molasses until it’s smooth, and then add the mixture to the food processor. Pulse until everything is well combined.
  • Dump the crust mixture into a 12-inch tart pan (you can substitute a deep pie pan or a springform pan). Press the mixture with the bottom of a glass or measuring cup to spread it evenly, making sure to press it up the sides of the pan.
  • Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the crust is golden. Set it aside.
  • For the filling, combine the cranberries with 1/4 cup water and the orange juice in a saucepan. Cover the mixture and let it cook for about 15 minutes or until the cranberries are soft.
  • Position a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and drain the cranberries into it, pressing to get the puree into the bowl and leaving the berry skins in the strainer. Once you’re finished, return the puree to the saucepan.
  • In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture is a pale yellow.
  • Add a little of the hot cranberry puree into the egg mixture and stir to temper the eggs, and then dump all of it into the saucepan over medium heat.
  • Whisk constantly until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter and orange zest. Continue stirring until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth.
  • Pour the filling into the prepared crust and smooth it out. Chill it in the refrigerator until it’s set (30 minutes to an hour), and serve.

This is a gorgeous dessert, and the orange and cranberry are a perfect combination with the warm spices in the crust. The filling has a bit of a tartness to it, which is an especially nice flavor profile when there are tons of sweets around.

And if you’re in a bind, you can totally substitute in some vanilla wafers or graham crackers for this crust—as long as they don’t fall victim to shortages, too.

But at least it’s just cookies we’re having trouble getting ahold of. The last thing we need right before having people over for the holidays is a toilet paper shortage.

This piece first appeared in print on Nov. 18, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Dessert

‘Choc’ this recipe up to a new pan purchase

A bittersweet chocolate pumpkin tart is a great holiday recipe, along with having deep, rich flavor that makes small pieces the default serving size.

After years of saying I was going to do it, I finally took the plunge last week: I bought a tart pan.

If you remember, I made miniature tarts earlier this year, aided by a cookie cutter and a cupcake tin, and that really pushed me towards making my ultimate purchase.

I’ve been staring at the tart pans in our local kitchen store for months, trying to decide if I really needed one as much as I thought I did.

In the end, I bought two different sizes. Go big or go home, I guess.

So, with my new purchase, it will be no surprise that I made a tart for this week, and not only was it the perfect flavor combination for Thanksgiving, but it was delicious, too.

The recipe I tried comes from the blog “Love & Olive Oil” by Lindsay Landis. You can find the original post at https://www.loveandoliveoil.com/2015/11/bittersweet-chocolate-pumpkin-tart.html. I just changed the spices a little bit for my version.

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Bittersweet Chocolate Pumpkin Tart

A bittersweet chocolate pumpkin tart is a great holiday recipe, along with having deep, rich flavor that makes small pieces the default serving size.
Course Dessert
Keyword bittersweet chocolate, cinnamon, cloves, fall, ginger, nutmeg, pecans, pumpkin, tart, Thanksgiving, vanilla wafers

Ingredients

Crust Ingredients

  • 8 ounces vanilla wafer cookies
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter melted

Filling Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup milk I used skim
  • 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup pureed pumpkin
  • 1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 heaping teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 heaping teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon or vanilla

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  • For the crust, add the cookies and pecans into a food processor and process until the mixture is in small crumbs. Add the sugar, cinnamon, salt and butter, and pulse until the butter is evenly distributed.
  • Pour the crust mixture into a nine-inch tart pan and press with the bottom of a glass or measuring cup to evenly coat the bottom and up the sides. Make sure the crust mixture is firmly pressed together.
  • Put the pan onto a baking sheet and bake the crust for about 10 minutes or until it’s set. Remove the pan the oven and set it aside to cool.
  • Turn the oven down to 250 degrees.
  • Heat a saucepan over low heat, and add the milk and cream. Stir regularly to keep it from scorching on the bottom, and once the milk just starts to bubble a little around the edges of the pan, remove it from the heat and stir in the chocolate, continuing to stir until the chocolate is completely melted.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg, and stir until it’s well combined.
  • Add about one-fourth cup of the chocolate mixture into the pumpkin mixture to temper the eggs. Add the rest of the chocolate mixture, stirring well. Finish it out by adding the bourbon or vanilla extract and stirring again.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared crust and bake on the baking sheet for 30 to 35 minutes or until the tart is just barely jiggly in the middle. Remove the tart from the oven and let it cool completely before serving.
  • Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

This was intensely rich and not overly sweet. I used a 62 percent cacao chocolate for my version, and I really liked the darker chocolate flavor. The pumpkin is definitely there but not the dominant flavor. I would recommend cutting this in smaller slices. You don’t need a lot of it to feel satisfied.

If you don’t have a tart pan, you could easily substitute in a springform pan or just use a pie pan, too.

I must say, though, I really liked my pretty scalloped edges on my tart. It made me feel like a real baker, despite this being a fairly easy recipe overall.

I’m not sure what kitchen store product will be the next I’ll be pining after, but for now, my friends, family and coworkers better be excited for some new tart experiments.

This piece first appeared in print on Nov. 11, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.