Day 9 of 14 days of apple and nothing gets me in the mood for a holiday party more than the smell of hot mulled cider brewing on the stove. It’s super easy to make and can also be made in a crock-pot, for that intoxicating, all-day smell. Yum. Purchase high quality apple cider if you can find it. If you don’t have the time or inclination to make this from scratch, Martinelli’s has cider spices in a tea bag that you can purchase. I won’t tell.
Hot Mulled Cider
1 half-gallon of apple cider
2-3 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp whole allspice berries
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 of 1 orange (with skin)
4 whole cloves
1 Tbsp. light brown sugar
Cinnamon sticks for garnish
1. Insert whole cloves into the skin of the orange. Place all ingredients in a large stockpot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered, for at least 10 minutes. If you have time, allow to simmer at the lowest possible setting for an hour or more (making sure that the liquid is not evaporating very much). It will make your house smell divine.
2. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve before serving. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.
Day 8 of 14 Days of Apple and it’s time for celebration, because this is my 100th post! Celebrations call for cupcakes, right? The other day, I stumbled across this cupcake cookbook in the children’s section of the library. Published in 2005, it came out long before the current cupcake craze and before the more famous Hello, Cupcake!: Irresistibly Playful Creations Anyone Can Make. I always like an underdog, so I am happy to feature this book with its beautiful photographs and varied recipes.
These cupcakes are divine. They absolutely melt in your mouth. Although the recipe called for grating the apple, I purposely diced the apple finely so that there would be little apple chunks and I don’t regret that decision at all. I like having the little bursts of apple flavor. What really bursts through though is the cinnamon-sugar flavor – the “streusel” itself. By the way, “streusel” is German for “sprinkled topping.” I like the fact this “sprinkled topping” of butter, cinnamon and sugar, makes it unnecessary to make icing.
Apple Streusel Cinnamon Swirl Cupcakes Makes 12 cupcakes
Swirl & Topping
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup grated, peeled apple (1 large apple)
2 Tbsp cinnamon-sugar (from above)
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs 1 cup1/2 cup canola or corn oil (see comments)
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
Method (rewritten by me)
1. Preheat oven to 350˚F and line a dozen cupcake tin cups with paper liners.
2. Using an apple peeler/corer/slicer (or by hand), peel, core and slice one apple and then dice into small bits. In a medium bowl, toss the apple with 2 Tbsp of the cinnamon-sugar. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Make a small well in the center and the eggs, oil and vanilla. Mix until just blended and smooth. Stir in the apple/sugar mixture, as well as any apple juice that was released.
4. Drop 2 Tbsp of batter into each muffin cup. Spoon 1/2 tsp of cinnamon-sugar on top of the batter. Drop another scant 2 Tbsp of batter on top. Then brush or dollop melted butter on top of the batter in each cup. Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon-sugar on top of each cup of batter.
5. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cupcake comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes. Then carefully remove cupcakes from tin to cool completely. You can do this picking them out individually (careful not to burn yourself) or flipping them out by inverting them onto a wire rack and inverting them again.
Day 6 of 14 Days of Apple and I bought an apple peeler/corer/slicer today. Yes! It turns a whole apple into peeled, perfectly uniform thin slices in a snap. I’m going to make apple tarts every day now.
It’s available on Amazon:
Tonight, I’m hosting a dinner party for some friends and when I was at the grocery store yesterday, I saw they had fresh, organic, free-range turkeys. I decided to cook an early Thanksgiving dinner since I won’t be cooking the full meal later this month. I thought it would be fun to create a cran-apple compote – or chutney – or relish – or sauce. Does anyone know the difference?
This recipe is so easy because you bake it in the oven rather than simmer it on the stove. There was no mess and no risk of burning it. The other day, I left something simmering and reducing on the stove and came back from an extensive Twitter session to find a kitchen full of smoke and a dead saucepan. This recipe is super easy and open to interpretation, so feel free to play with it. Add raisins for a more texture or cinnamon for another flavor accent. Most of all, have fun.
Stay tuned for more posts from my pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving dinner.
Apple Cranberry Sauce Serves 6
3 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, sliced
2 cups fresh cranberries
A few squeezes of fresh lemon juice
5-6 large orange zest pieces
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup orange juice
1. Lay all of the ingredients in a baking pan. Cover and bake in a pre-heated 350˚F oven for about 1 hour. Remove and let cool. Pour off excess liquid when transferring to a bowl. Stir to mix and crush ingredients further. Cool completely. Serve chilled.
Day 5 of 14 Days of Apple brings us to the latte. Mmmm. The Pumpkin Pie Spice Latte was such a success last month, I thought I’d try to replicate the fall fun with apple. While you could just buy various syrups to accomplish the result below, I like to make things from scratch, so I’ve created an apple syrup here with ingredients you probably have on hand. Simply make the syrup, steam some milk and add it all to espresso.
I am no espresso expert, but I recently discovered an espresso maker while cleaning out a basement closet, so I’ve started experimenting. I can’t get the milk steamer to work, though, so for this recipe, I make warmed, frothed milk on the stove top. If anyone has any advice, please pass it along. Basically, when I try to work the steamer, there is a clicking noise instead of steam. My other great discovery since finding the machine were these Illy espresso “pods” that take the guess work out of making the perfect cup of espresso. Just pop the pod in and press “go.” They’re available at Amazon:
Apple Pie Spiced Latte Makes 1 latte
1 cup apple juice
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/8 tsp cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
1 cup whole milk
1 shot of espresso
1-2 Tbsp whipped cream (optional)
1. In a small sauce pan over medium-high heat, bring the apple juice to a boil and reduce by half, about 5 minutes. Add sugar and stir to dissolve. Bring back to a boil and allow to reduce further and thicken. Add cinnamon and nutmeg and stir to blend. When syrup clings to the back of a spoon and there are about 2 Tbsp of liquid left, remove from heat and pour into a Pyrex measuring cup to cool. Remember, boiling sugar is extremely hot, so be careful. I put my syrup into the freezer to cool faster, but that may not be necessary. Just bring it to room temperature at your own pace.
2. Now, make the espresso in an espresso machine (or strong coffee with a French press would be good too). If you’re lucky enough to have an espresso machine as well as a milk steamer, you can use that to steam the milk, but I can’t get my milk steamer to work, so here’s how I do it: Heat the milk very gently in a medium saucepan. When it is getting warm, add the cooled syrup (both tablespoons of it), and whisk it in rapidly. While you are whisking, you’ll be adding enough air to the milk mixture to make it frothy. Once everything is warm, mixed and frothy, pour it over the espresso in a tall cup and enjoy. Top with whipped cream and sprinkle on a bit more cinnamon for that special touch.
It’s day 4 of 14 Days of Apple and I have been mulling over (get it?) creating a savory apple recipe. Everyone knows “pork chops and applesauce.” In essence, this dish is a variation on that theme. Apple slices are stewed in the apple-pomegranate glaze while it simmers and thickens and are served as a side dish and garnish.
I first learned about pomegranate glazes when I watched Tyler Florence’s video Pomegranate-Rosemary Roasted Turkey. This time, I wanted to change up things and incorporate apple flavor into the pomegranate glaze. I knew that apples and pomegranates would work well together because last year, I made an Apple-Pomegranate Quick Bread. Sure enough, these flavors meld perfectly and the cooked apples are the ideal accent. I served this dish with a side of roasted potatoes and Brussels sprouts.
Apple-Pomegranate Glazed Pork Tenderloin Serves 4
1.3 lb pork tenderloin
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 apple, peeled and sliced (I used Jonagold)
1/4 cup brown sugar, divided
1 cup Pomegranate juice
1/2 cup apple juice
1/4 cup honey
1. In a small sauce pan, over medium heat, melt the butter. Add half of the brown sugar and the apple slices. Toss the apple slices to coat and sautée for about 2 minutes. Add the pomegranate juice, apple juice, remaining brown sugar and honey. Stir to mix and dissolve ingredients. Bring to a boil. Let boil for 10 minutes. Remove apples and set them aside. Continue simmering for another 10 minutes or until sauce has thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Reduce heat to a low simmer.
2. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Season pork with salt and pepper on all sides. Heat oil in the grill pan. Add pork to pan and brown on all side, turning 1/4 turn every 3-4 minutes. Once browned on all sides, reduce heat to medium and spoon glaze over the pork. Continue glazing and turning every 4-5 minutes until pork has reached an internal temperature of 145˚F – 150˚F for medium rare pork. (A total cooking time of about 30 minutes). Allowing the pork to rest for 5 minutes will bring up its internal temperature another 5˚F. Transfer pork to a serving platter and slice. Garnish with the reserved apples and pomegranate quarters. Serve with roasted Brussels sprouts and potatoes.
Day 3 of 14 Days of Apple and I decided I wanted to make an apple muffin/cupcake. I was looking around at different recipes for inspiration and guidance when I found one I like at MarthaStewart.com. That recipe calls for shredded apples and something about imagining myself taking an apple to a grater made me think of shredded carrots. I still have a scar on my thumb from shredding a carrot a little too aggressively when I was 12, but that’s another story. Anyway, I decided to split the four cups of shredded apples into two cups apples, two cups carrots et voila.
Day 2 of 14 Days of StreamingApple and I’ve found another amazing recipe in this out-of-print cookbook I’ve got that was published by the Culinary Institute of America in 1999. It’s called Cooking Secrets of the CIA and used copies are available on Amazon. You may remember that during 31 Days of Pumpkin, I cooked a Pumpkin Mascarpone Cheesecake from this book. Well a quick scan for apples yielded this whimsical recipe.
We’re back, live, with another food-blogging marathon. This month, we’re streaming APPLES and we’re kicking it off with a scrumptious apple-orange-cranberry loaf. I say “we.” It’s just me – back from an exciting weekend at the Breeders’ Cup down at the Santa Anita race track near Los Angeles. Zenyatta, the filly, came from behind to beat all the boys yesterday. It was a thrill to be there for the historic event, surrounded by the stars of my favorite tv shows, no less. Somebody pinch me. It’s time to wake up and make the donuts. Or the quick bread as the case may be.
I am currently in the process of retooling for my next blog marathon, which will commence next Monday. Last month’s 31 Days of Pumpkin was a great success, so I am inspired to push on with more daily recipe postings around a theme. Tune in Monday to find out what the secret ingredient will be. If you don’t want to miss a single post, make sure to become a fan of StreamingGourmet on facebook or follow me on Twitter.
In the meantime, I want to bring your attention to my other project – StreamingGourmet, the videohosting site devoted to all things culinary. For Thanksgiving, we’ve assembled collections of the best videos from across the web in each of the important categories: Turkey, Stuffing, Sides, Apple (pie+) and Pumpkin (pie+). To embed these collections on your website, click on “embed this” in the lower left hand corner of the collection.
Day 4 of 31 days of pumpkin and we arrive at a Bundt cake. I’m psyched because I actually bought this bundt cake pan today at Mollie Stones in Sausalito. It’s nonstick, so I really wasn’t worried when it came time to invert the cake onto a plate. And then I had so much fun sifting the powdered sugar on top. Can you tell I’ve been waiting a long time to make a Bundt cake?