Archive for the ‘fall’ Category

Turkey and Sweet Potato Latkes {#ThanksgivukkahPotluck}

Monday, November 4th, 2013

For the past eleven years, I’ve celebrated two winter holidays, Hanukkah and Christmas. When the boy was born, we added a third, Three Kings Day (Dia de los Reyes), in honor of my Jewish husband’s Puerto Rican heritage. Yes, it gets a little confusing. This year, though, Hanukkah is exceptionally early — falling on Thanksgiving, instead of in December. A rare occurrence — in fact it won’t happen again for over 70,000 years — it’s certainly worthy of commemorating. My mother-in-law has already ordered a Menurkey, and to get into the holiday mash-up spirit I’m joining some blogging friends in a virtual Thanksgivukkah Potluck. Read on for my recipe, and be sure to stick around to the end for links to nearly two dozen other fun holiday recipes.

I typically make latkes, the traditional fried potato pancakes, several times over the course of Hanukkah’s eight nights. The first night is always traditional Russet potato, and another time I might make sweet potato or other experimental varieties. While the first night this year is actually the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving, there’s no reason not to re-purpose some turkey leftovers into a batch of these Turkey and Sweet Potato Latkes later in the week. They’d make a great day-after brunch, in fact. They’re essentially a turkey and sweet potato hash, fried in rounds. And you know I had to top them with a cranberry apple sauce.

turkey sweet potato thanksgivukkah latkes | foodietots.com

Recipe: Turkey and Sweet Potato Latkes

Makes 8 latkes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked turkey, preferably dark meat, diced
  • 1 baked sweet potato, diced
  • 1 shallot, grated
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper
  • oil for frying (I prefer olive or peanut oil)

Instructions:

  1. Place diced sweet potato in a large bowl and mash it a little with a fork. Mix in diced turkey and shallot.
  2. Lightly beat egg in a separate bowl, then fold into turkey mixture. Season with a pinch of salt and cracked black pepper.
  3. Pour oil to coat bottom of frying pan. Heat over medium heat until shimmering. Use an oiled, shallow measuring cup to shape turkey mixture into 1/2-inch thick pancakes and gently place into frying pan. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until edges brown, then very carefully turn over with a large thin turner. Cook another 2 minutes, then remove to a paper-towel lined plate to drain excess oil.
  4. Serve warm with cranberry applesauce and/or sour cream, and additional thinly sliced shallots.

thanksgivukkah blogger potluck

Please visit these blogger friends for more Thanksgivukkah recipe inspiration — even if you don’t celebrate Hanukkah, you may find some ideas to jazz up your usual Thanksgiving menu! Have I mentioned there are doughnuts? ;)

Thanksgivukkah Tzimmes (Tsimis) Pie from Parade Magazine

Potato Latkes Topped with Turkey and Cranberry Chutney from The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen

Chocolate Cranberry Cake with Gelt Glaze from What Jew Wanna Eat

Candied Sweet Potato Latkes from Everyday Maven

Butternut Squash Puree with Honey and Smoked Paprika from The Lemon Bowl

Sweet Potato Noodle Kugel from Rhubarb and Honey

Pumpkin-glazed Cronuts from MotherWouldKnow

Flamingo’s Mulled Wine Cocktail – Hot & Cold from Flamingo Musings

Thanksgivukkah Decorating from Sucre Shop

Onion Bagel and Bacon Stuffing from Very Culinary

Sweet Potato Pie Doughnut Holes from Cooking for Luv

Challah Cranberry Doughnuts from Food is my Love Language

Challah Stuffing with Turkey Sausage, Leeks and Cherries from The Little Ferraro Kitchen

Pumpkin Cranberry Maple Kugel from Farm Fresh Feasts

Pumpkin Challah from Labna.it

Thanksgivukah Pumpkin Tsimmes from {fork & swoon}

Homemade Manischewitz-flavored Marshmallows from Cupcake Project

This post also shared at Tidy Mom’s I’m Lovin’ It Fridays.

Jack O’ Lantern Grilled Cheese #KidsCookMonday

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

This was intended to be a quick post about a healthy and fun pre-Halloween lunch, but of course my six-year-old had other plans. Oh, he was amused enough by the first sandwich, but then he asked for a second. And then he said it wasn’t scary enough. So I told him the jack o’ lantern was saying “Boo!” — to which he replied that he needed to see the word bubble to believe it. You can see how that went below…

Jack O' Lantern Grilled Cheese

First, though, the recipe — though it’s pretty simple. Whole wheat sandwich bread, a touch of pumpkin butter, and a blend of shredded cheese. A large pumpkin cookie cutter shapes the sandwich, and small cookie cutters are used to cut out the face. The cheese does ooze through while cooking, though, so the face won’t look quite so perfect when you’re done. *I* think that adds to the charm, but it depends how tough your critics are…

Recipe: Jack O’Lantern Pumpkin Grilled Cheese
Makes 4 sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • 8 slices wheat bread
  • butter
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (I used a blend of cheddar and gouda)
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin butter

Instructions:

  1. Cut bread into pumpkin shape. Use small cookie cutters to cut out a face in four of the slices.
  2. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium low heat.
  3. Spread 1/2 tablespoon pumpkin butter on the bottom slice of bread and place in pan. Cover with 1/4 cup shredded cheese and the face side of bread. Cook 1-2 minutes on each side until golden bread. Repeat with remaining slices of bread.

Note: Straight pumpkin puree can be substituted for the pumpkin butter — a good way to use up any leftover puree after baking.

And, as promised, here’s my first “Boo!”…

pumpkin grilled cheese sandwich

… but he said it had to be ON THE PUMPKIN to count. No pressure or anything.

halloween grilled cheese sandwich

Needless to say, next time he’ll be in charge of “carving” his own sandwich. ;)

Virginia Grown: Apple Picking at Stribling Orchards

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

#foodietotsapplefest

We were recently in a small market in our neighborhood picking up one or two things, when the boy picked up a shiny red apple and tossed it in the basket. I admit I felt more than a little silly telling him to put it back — but we had a bag full of fresh, local apples at home. The last time we were in the same market, I let the kids buy two of the waxy, Grown in Washington labeled apples, only to have them take a few bites and toss the rest. My kids are apple junkies, but there’s no time like fall in Virginia to appreciate the difference between supermarket fruit and fresh, local varieties. There are a number of orchards within an hour or so drive from Washington, DC, but we tend to return to Stribling Orchard just off I-66 in Markham, Va.

picking apples at stribling orchard

Stribling has a couple perks that make it the ideal apple picking destination for the 5-and-under crowd:

  • You can pick up bags, but then drive into the area of the orchard where you want to pick.
  • Sticks. Sure, the small trees have plenty of fruit within easy grabbing reach, but these cool picking sticks can be used to reach the primo fruit up high. If you have boys, you know what a powerful draw this is!
  • Bathrooms. Actual running water bathrooms — for the essential hand washing before picnicking.
  • Food. On the weekends they set up a grill offering burgers and hot dogs, and sometimes full barbecue (ribs, chicken and pulled pork). There’s also the bakery and store where you can find fresh baked cider doughnuts, pies and preserves.

apple picking sticks at stribling

Of course, it can also be quite crowded on the weekends so try to arrive early and be prepared for lines at check out and those bathrooms. Here are a couple tips gleaned from our annual apple-picking adventures.

Tips for a Happy Apple-Picking Outing:

1. Hats and sunscreen are essential. Stribling, and many other local orchards, are on top of hills which offer gorgeous views — and full sunshine.

2. Wear shoes you don’t mind getting mucky and put kids in long pants. There’s a lot of spoiling fruit on the ground and the kids will be traipsing through tall grass and other brambly undergrowth.

3. Try to find the variety you most want first. Once kids get on a roll picking, there’s no slowing them down and they may fill their bag at the first tree.

favorite find at stribling orchard farm store

apple by nikki mcclureGIVEAWAY: So you’ve gone apple picking and now you’re wondering what to do with all those apples? I’ve started an Apple Fest board over on Pinterest. Pin your favorite apple recipe, then share a link in the comments here so I can repin it to the board — or tag your pin #foodietotsapplefest & I’ll find it!

Every apple recipe posted below or tagged on Pinterest will give you one chance to win a copy of the gorgeous book Apple by Nikki McClure. You can “like” FoodieTots on Facebook and leave an additional comment below for an extra entry (or note if you’re already a fan). Contest is open to US residents only and will close at 11:59pm Eastern on September 30. Good luck, and happy apple eating!

blue skies at stribling orchard

Apple Cider Doughnuts {and Where to Pick Apples}

Friday, September 30th, 2011

L’Shana Tova to our Jewish readers out there. It’s customary to ring in the Jewish new year with apples dipped in honey — one tradition taken very seriously by my apple-addicted son. In fact, apples and honey comprised his and his friends’ entire meal last night at dinner — at least until hours later when they were reminded that dessert was reserved for those who had eaten the main course. My son went on a buying spree last weekend at Black Rock Orchard’s stand at the farmers market — where the hand-sized Empire apples were selected as lunch-box worthy, one jumbo honey crisp for that afternoon, Jonamac, Jonathan, and Macoun apples for snacking/baking, and several toddler-hand-sized Seckel pears included for the baby. Even though we’d already gotten bottles of apple cider with our milk delivery, we couldn’t pass up a small jug of honey crisp cider to consume in the park. (Playing Transformers Tag makes one thirsty, after all.)

empire apples black rock orchard

I recently bought a doughnut pan and, in the spirit of the season, decided to test it out with baked cider doughnuts. Now they were delicious, but I’m still on the fence about the use of the word “doughnut” to describe a baked item. Healthier, yes, but really I’d have to say they’re more like muffins in the shape of doughnuts. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I just wanted to warn you in case you were going into this expecting that crisp fried crust of a traditional doughnut. On the bright side, you can enjoy these every day of the week without the guilt — and they’re safer to bake with kids who aren’t old enough to safely man the deep fryer.

baked apple cider doughnuts

Recipe: Baked Apple Cider Doughnuts

Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons boiled cider*
  • 1 large free-range egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup  white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

Instructions:

*For the boiled cider: If making your own boiled cider, reduce one gallon fresh cider in a large, non-reactive pan over medium heat (it should boil gently). It took approximately 2.5 hours for mine to reduce down to a syrup-like consistency. Stir occasionally,  particularly as you near the end of the cooking time to make sure it doesn’t burn on the bottom. The cider should begin to thicken and coat your spoon, looking almost like maple syrup, when it’s done. Remove from heat to cool, then pour into a glass jar and store in the refrigerator.

For the doughnuts:

Preheat oven to 400*. Butter a six-count doughnut pan.

In the mixer bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and spices on medium speed. Add the cider and egg, continuing to mix for another minute. Scrape the sides of the bowl.

In a separate bowl, mix together the flours, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk and mix on low speed until just combined.

Spoon the batter into the doughnut pan, being sure to wipe the centers clean of any stray batter. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for several minutes, before turning them out onto a rack.

I dipped each doughnut’s bottom into fresh apple cider, than a bowl of cinnamon sugar for a little extra oomph, but you can serve plain or top however you wish. I’m thinking of a boiled cider glaze (like maple glaze) for next time. Makes 6 doughnuts.

Notes: Making boiled cider is easy and makes your house smell fabulous. I’m glad I made a small batch (1 gallon) so I have an excuse to make it again later in the season.

Where to Pick Apples in Northern Virginia: These are some of our favorite local orchards. They are true orchards, not the “fall fest” type of farms with entertainment and hay-rides, just fyi. Pack snacks (if you require more than fresh-picked apples for sustenance), water and bug spray and wear appropriate shoes for hiking around the orchard, potentially in mud given our soggy September. And always call or check the website before heading out to make sure they’re open for picking.

1. Crooked Run Orchard, Purcellville, Va. (540-338-6642). I’m not aware of any truly organic orchards in the are, but Crooked Run is a “low spray” orchard, meaning they use alternative pest control and fewer pesticides than conventional apples found in the supermarket. They typically have pumpkins and gourds available for purchase as well. 

2. Hollin Farms, Delaplane, Va. (540-592-3574). Hollin Farms has a corn maze, pumpkins and gourds and fall greens available to purchase. 

3. Stribling Orchard, Markham, Va. (540-364-3040). Stribling has a farm store and bakery on site so be prepared to bring home extra goodies. They’ve had very tempting caramel apples in the past.


View Pick-Your-Own Apples in Northern Virginia in a larger map