Friday, September 7, 2018

Recipe: Apple Betty Bites

I feel as summer gives way to fall, there is a monthly order to my food. September is for apples and candy corn! It's a natural progression! Next month, I will consume more pumpkin and pumpkin spice than any one human should be allowed.

I know, you're rolling your eyes. But, I bet you have an order for preferred special delights. 

Momma, known as "Granny" to our son, recently moved to Tennessee to share our home, which makes for cooking magic! Yesterday, we celebrated the arrival of autumn in name only, because it's still 93-freaking degrees, and mixed up some snack bites using her favorite apple, the Granny Smith. 

APPLE BETTY BITES
(or Apple Pie Bites or Granny's Granny Smith Bites)

1 1/2 cups Old Fashioned Oats (...not quick-cooking)
3/4 cup Nut Butter (We used creamy peanut butter.)
3/4 to 1 cup Granny Smith Apple, grated
1/2 cup Nuts, finely chopped (We chose walnuts, because the other option was almonds)
1/2 cup Flax Seed (We used the whole seed instead of ground, because ground tends to suck the moisture right of nut butters.)
1/3-ish cup Louisiana Honey (Momma brought some with her.)
2 tablespoons Chia Seeds (...because I love the little "pop" when you bite into them.)
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract (I imagine freshly scraped vanilla seeds would taste amazing!)
1/2 - 3/4-ish teaspoon Cinnamon, to taste

  • Shred or grate the apple using a box grater. One apple didn't warrant me pulling out the food processor. Know what I mean?
  • Using a spatula or a mixer, stir all ingredients together until completely combined.
  • Your choice, cover and chill for, at least, 30 minutes -OR- skip to next step...
  • Using a 1" scoop is much faster and less messy than rolling each 1" ball between your hands. As you scoop, release onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet and transfer to either the fridge or freezer.
  • Once chilled or frozen, store in airtight container, separating each layer of bites with parchment.
  • Yes, parchment paper was invented by God.
  • Great to pop into your mouth when you need a little something or a little energy!

Tips:

  • Use your choice of nut butter, keeping in mind some butters are drier than others requiring more honey.
  • Speaking of honey... to make these little bites plant-based, use Agave! We did not have enough Agave for this recipe; thus, the honey from Louisiana.
  • You could totally dust the top of the bites with cinnamon prior to chilling or freezing!
Go play with your food! Then, let me know how your bites turned out or how you changed up the recipe!
---"Sam"

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Pumpkin Mac & Cheese

Indulgent? You betcha!

Easy? Yes! You'll wonder why you waited so long to ditch the box of mac-n-cheese.


This is one of those base recipes to be customized to most any upgrade you can dream up... like this seasonal variation!


PUMPKIN Mac & Cheese


1-2 cups Dry Pasta, cooked (My fave is Cavatappi!)

2 tablespoons Butter or Olive Oil
2 tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
1-2 teaspoons Black Pepper
(optional: Ground Nutmeg)
Fresh Rosemary leaves, finely chopped 
2/3 to 1 cup Milk (evaporated, cow or nut)
1 cup-ish grated Gruyere Cheese, (I use a simple box grater. Cheese grates easier when cold.)
2/3 cup to 1 cup of 100% Pumpkin
Bread Crumbs or Panko

  • Prepare dry pasta according to package -- to al dente! While pasta cooks...
  • In large skillet, melt butter over medium heat.
  • When melted, whisk in an equal amount of all purpose flour. 
  • While whisking, add your black pepper and nutmeg (my preference). Don't walk away. This could scorch quickly.
  • Add milk while whisking; reduce heat to allow sauce to thicken. It's ready when it coats the back of a spoon!
  • At this point, add your grated cheese and rosemary and watch the melted magic happen! Taste it! Does it need more? 
  • You've just created your cheesy sauce!
  • Stir a little measurement of pumpkin into your sauce. Taste it. Does it need more? If so, add it!
  • Toss in your cooked pasta.
  • Now, you have a choice: Serve from the skillet --OR-- Pour into a casserole dish, top with bread crumbs and bake until bubbly. 

TIPS:
(1) Try Gouda Cheese instead of the Gruyere.
(2) I don't add extra salt to the pasta or the sauce, because cheese is pretty salty.
(3) Add spices, like black pepper and nutmeg, to the flour in the skillet. Spices tend to distribute better at this point.
(4) You can cook down your own pumpkin or use 100% pumpkin from a can.

LOOK AT YOU! You're a mac-n-cheese chef! Go play with your food!