Massive fail in the picture department here.

I made two recipes to help get rid of my glut of apples, but neglected to take photos — because they disappeared so quickly. It was my own doing: Because I had enough baked goods around to swell myself to 300 pounds I made sure to get most of these out the door as soon as possible!

The first was an Apple Bundt Cake, care of the October 2008 issue of Canadian House and Home. It turned out pretty much exactly like the photo and was a snap to assemble. The boyfriend’s Dad was on his own for four days, so I sent it his way so he’d have something to eat other than canned soup and frozen pizza. The reviews were excellent.

The second recipe was from Baking Bites: Apple Pie Cookies! As advertised, these were soft and chewy. I substituted butterscotch chips for the pecans (it’s the kind of mood I was in), which made for a sweeter cookie, but that made it even more of a treat! These would be great with caramel bits, if you can find them.

Check out these treats and enjoy!


Overwhelmed by apples

Apples: Homely, but delicious

Apples: Homely, but delicious

My boyfriend’s parents live on an acreage in Langley and happen to have a couple of apple trees on their property . . . lucky for me!

Because he’s lovely, K. picked a bushel (or what seems like a bushel) of apples from the trees, which would likely qualify as organic because they’ve never been sprayed. They’re not all the prettiest specimens and are of questionable heritage, but they are delicious!

Which means apple recipes are on the way for the next little while.

I doubled the recipe when I made Apple Cup Pies just over a week ago, and ended up with enough dough left over for a single-crust pie. Because I wasn’t sure how big a pie I’d be able to make, I decided to make a more rustic pie — a galette, if you will. I surfed around to find roughly what I wanted and came upon Mark Bittman’s Free-Form Apple or Pear Tart on Bitten from October 10, 2008. Almost exactly a year ago — it was meant to be.  I used my leftover dough and his idea for apple preparation and cooking, expanded a bit and came up with this recipe.

It turned out better than I’d expected, likely due in part to the lovely apples and the delicious dough.

Apple Galette

Apple Galette

Here’s a rough recipe.

Apple Galetteadapted from Mark Bittman’s Bitten blog

Dough from this recipe at Eggs on Sunday

4 medium apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

2 T brown sugar

1 T butter, cut up into small pieces

1. Preheat oven to 400 F.

2. Toss cut apples with cinnamon and nutmeg and set aside. Roll out pie dough until 10 to 12 inches in diameter and place on large baking sheet. Arrange apples in a rough circle in the middle of the dough, leaving a couple of inches of clearance on the sides. Fold dough over, sprinkle apples with brown sugar and dot with butter.

3. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes (I needed about 28) or until crust is brown and flaky and apples are tender.

Adorable apple cup pies

Apple Cup Pies

Apple Cup Pies

Fall is one of my favourite times of year for many reasons, but the main one is this: Apples.

B.C. grows so many wonderful varieties of apples, it’s difficult to believe that Washington even bothers to send theirs up here! The crisp, fresh, sweet, tart flavour of an apple fresh from the farmer’s market just screams fall to me.

One of the best places for apples, in my opinion, is right here on the Lower Mainland. The owners and sole workers at Silverhill Orchard in Mission, Sonja and Raymond Barker, grow their apples organically in protective crop tunnels and use no sprays. The flavour is amazing.

My boyfriend and I paid a visit there last year for my birthday and managed to hit their last “Complimentary Apple Fritter Day” in November. Sonja makes the fritter before your eyes while you sip a warm beverage and browse the small shop’s apples and apple products.

Last Sunday at the Coquitlam Farmer’s Market, I grabbed eight of Silverhill’s apples and decided that since I was heading to my boyfriend’s parents’ place I’d make something seasonal and desserty. Good thing I came across this recipe for Apple Cup Pies on Eggs on Sunday via this post on Cook & Eat. Whew. It was a convoluted way to get there, but was I ever glad I did!

Other than being adorable, these pies were delicious. I doubled the recipe, and had a bunch of pie dough left over, but just the right amount of filling. Curious! These got rave reviews from the soon-to-be in-laws!

Check out Apple Cup Pies at Eggs on Sunday.

Salsa Verde

Salsa Verde

It’s been too long!

This is what happens when I try to keep any kind of journal or record. I start off with the best of intentions, but I tend to drift off from time to time. So from now on I’m making a promise to myself (seeing as I am likely the only person reading this!) to post once a week to start.

Here’s the thing. I’ve been cooking quite a bit, actually. I have a huge backlog of recipes that I’ve cut out of magazines or newspapers, bookmarked or copied on to my hard drive (not to mention the cookbooks!) so I’ve been trying to work through as much as possible, trying something new at least once a week.

This week, my experiment came out of ingredients, not a recipe I’d clipped.

A photographer at work had been on assignment at the UBC farm, and was not allowed to leave until he took some produce with him. Luckily, he’s a nice guy and I benefited from his great assignment. That’s how I ended up with a bag of tomatillos and jalapenos!

I’d never tried to make anything with tomatillos before because, frankly, I was intimidated. I figured that this was an opportunity to try my hand at making some salsa verde with nothing to lose!

I found a few recipes that worked with what I had and I adapted for the amount of produce I ended up with. The result was not particularly spicy — I have a low threshold for spice so this was likely a good thing — but very flavourful and excellent with scrambled eggs wrapped in a warm flour tortilla. If you want more heat, add another jalapeno, or include the seeds and membranes from the two in the recipe.

Here’s the recipe for salsa verde.

Salsa VerdeAdapted from Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless and Simply Recipes

6 ounces husked, rinsed, and halved tomatillos
1 medium clove of garlic, peeled‚
2 small jalapenos, stemmed and roughly chopped
1/3 cup (loosely packed) roughly chopped cilantro
1/4 medium white onion, finely chopped
30 mL water
1 tsp lime juice

1. Place tomatillo halves on baking sheet, cut side down. Broil until browned and they begin to soften, about 7 minutes. Remove the tomatillos to the work bowl of a blender or food processor. Let cool to room temperature.

2. Add garlic, chiles, cilantro, water, lime juice and onions to the bowl and pulse until coarsely pureed. Pour salsa into a small dish and thin out with more water if necessary. Taste and season with salt.

On the road: Terrace

We’ve been back from northern B.C. for about a week now, so I’m obviously not doing great at staying caught up on my posts. Either way, I wanted to make sure I included a mention of a great little restaurant A. and I stopped at in Terrace.

Our first night there we’d planned to visit an Indian restaurant on the outskirts of town called Harayana’s, located in the Kalum Motel. Unfortunately, the woman who makes all of the food was at a family wedding in India, so they were closed.

Those who recommended it to us said the food is spectacular, but the service is very slow, so order a drink and expect to wait. If I’m in town again, it’s the first place I plan to try.

Instead, we ate crap at the hotel restaurant.

The good eats came the next day for lunch, when we met one of A.’s clients at a Mexican place we’d heard about: Don Diegos.

The restaurant is in a cheery yellow building on Kalum Street which, thankfully, had air-conditioning! It was in the mid-30s and unbearably hot outside when we dined there.

The menu is written on a board on the wall and changes with each meal. I ordered a chicken quesadilla for $12. It came relatively quickly with a nicely dressed salad and a small cup containing a mixture of chickpeas, flat-leaf parsley, bell peppers and onion in some kind of vinaigrette.

The quesadilla was tasty, with a tongue-tingling kick from hot peppers. A. had a quiche that she enjoyed and her client also had the quesadilla.

A. also had a lemon tart for dessert, which was delicious with its puckery filling and cornmeal crust. The whipped cream on top balanced it perfectly. Word is they make all of their desserts at Don Diegos fresh every morning. It sure tastes that way!

5522 Highway 16

Don Diegos
3212 Kalum St.

Crab and Shrimp Quesadilla

Crab and Shrimp Quesadilla

I’m currently halfway through a trip through sweltering northern B.C. with a friend of mine, A., who is on a business trip.

We began in the Lower Mainland, heading to Vancouver Island via Nanaimo, where we drove north to catch the ferry from Port Hardy to Prince Rupert. We arrived late in Prince Rupert on Saturday night and spent all day Sunday and half of Monday in the fishing town.

Before I left, I tried to look up restaurant recommendations for each of the major towns we’d be stopping in: Prince Rupert, Terrace, Smithers and Prince George. I was not very successful. So, I thought I’d make a few recommendations of my own, starting in Prince Rupert.

There were a couple of places that we heard about, but were unable to visit, mostly because of bad timing — they were closed when we wanted to go there. By the way, Monday is not a great day to try and eat (lunch at least) in Prince Rupert. Three places we tried were closed. Also, don’t try to hit up dinner after 9 p.m., unless you’re going to a hotel restaurant.

The place we spent most of our time was Charley’s Lounge in the Crest Hotel. First: Beautiful view. The deck, which has glass under the railing, overlooks the ocean and nearby islands. On a sunny day it, or possibly the Chances casino next door, is the place to be.

On the Monday night, we had a late dinner in the lounge after finding that our first choice, Rain, was closed at 9 p.m. A. had been there before and sung the praises of a $17.95 surf and turf. Some locals also recommended the food there. The seafood festival was on at Charley’s and it was open late, so we indulged in a half crab that came with garlic butter, corn on the cob, veggies (zucchini) and either rice pilaf or a combination of mashed yams and potatoes. It was a lot of food for $18.95, and very tasty. The crab was sweet and fresh, the garlic butter rich and delicious and the sides solid. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a photo — the aftermath was pretty messy!

The next day we went for lunch again after finding that our first choice — the Cow Bay Cafe, which A. had been to before and raved about –was closed on Mondays, along with our second choice, a sushi restaurant called Opa. Lunch was off the same seafood menu: a crab and shrimp quesadilla with a side salad. The quesadilla was delicious, with that same sweet crab and good-sized shrimp. Peppers added some kick and a bit of crunch. I admit, I asked for no cilantro because it has no place outside of fresh salsa, in my opinion. I have a photo of this that I will upload when I return home.

Next up, Terrace.

Charley’s Lounge in the Crest Hotel
222 First Ave. West
Prince Rupert

Rain Dining Lounge
737 Second Ave. West
Prince Rupert

Cow Bay Cafe
205 Cow Bay Rd.
Prince Rupert

Opa Japanese Sushi Bar
34 Cow Bay Rd.
Prince Rupert

Baking in the car

I haven’t tried this, but I had to post it because it’s such an awesome idea: Using a hot car as an oven.

Check out the method on Baking Bites.

I’ve had to park my car outside for the past month or so as I worked on the drywall in our garage, so any time I get in the car it’s like an oven! I’ll have to try this before we finish painting and the car is safely indoors again.