Tag Archives: almonds

Nut-stuffed Baked Apples (vegan-izable, gluten free)

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Last weekend, I went to the market and bought a bag full of Granny Smith apples to make today’s recipe. Then I went to the library and finally jumped on the Nigel Slater bandwagon, checking out a copy of Ripe. I’ve been seeing references to Slater around the blogosphere (Lottie+Doof seems to be particularly, and charmingly, in love with him), and when I noticed that he authored a good many of the recipes I was bookmarking over on BBC food, well…it just seemed like a sign.

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Despite what that last paragraph may have you thinking, this post is actually not about something I baked from Ripe. Nope, on Saturday afternoon I first got busy in the kitchen. Then I sat down to peruse my new literary/culinary find while the heavenly smells of apples baking slowly filled the air around me. For those of you unfamiliar, Ripe is a cookbook devoted to fruit (plus a nut or two). Each chapter is devoted to a different fruit, and the chapters proceed alphabetically. Meaning that I was reading about apples and smelling them at the same time. When the apples came out of the oven, I paused reading long enough to snap a few photos, then switched over to reading about apples while eating one. And the very first recipe I turned to when I sat back down at the table with my baked apple? Why, one for baked apples, of course. As food experiences go, it was bordering on the profound.

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My version of baked apples was conceived as an attempt to make a “healthy” alternative to the apple pie my father bakes on special occasions, something suitable for more regular consumption. I skip the pastry crust and leave the apples whole, coring them and stuffing with a spiced blend of almonds and walnuts. For those of you used to seeing apples spiced with cinnamon, the choice of cloves may seem a little odd. It’s taken straight from the recipe Dad uses, out of his classic 1970’s era copy of Cookery the Australian Way, and should be tried at least once. If you aren’t sold, you can go back to cinnamon. But I bet you won’t want to go back.

P.S. Ripe so far looks absolutely amazing and I am just itching to try some of the recipes. Perhaps this weekend I’ll buy another bagful of apples to experiment with.

Nut stuffed baked apples
makes 8 apples

Ingredients
8 Granny Smith or other tart cooking apples
3 tbsp coconut oil (for a vegan version) or butter
1/2 c. raw almonds
1/4 c. walnuts
1/4 tsp. cloves

Method

1. Using a small paring knife, cut a cone out of the top of each apple, then cut out the core and seeds, leaving a small hole all the way through:

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2. Start oven pre-heating to 400F. Place 1/4 c. almonds in a food processor fitted with the S-blade. Process to a fine meal, then add the remaining 1/4 c. almonds and 1/4 c. walnuts. Pulse 4-5 times, coarsely chopping the just added nuts.

3. In a small, microwave safe bowl, microwave the coconut oil/butter for 20-40 seconds, until melted. Stir in the cloves. Add the nuts to the oil/butter and clove mixture, and stir until evenly incorporated.

4. Arrange the apples in a baking dish. You can also place each apple in a muffin tin, or get fancy and use individual little ramekins. Spoon the nut mixture into the hollowed out cores of the apples.

5. Bake for 20-40 minutes, depending on the size of the apples and the desired level of softness. We generally like them super soft and will bake for around 35 minutes, but I’ve had large apples need a little longer. Remove apples from oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Cauliflower rice pilaf

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Yes, more cauliflower rice! Sorry, we are just loving it too much lately. The produce market I like to go to has had great deals on cauliflower lately, and there are so many great ways to prepare it, so expect another post or two on the topic.
Continue reading Cauliflower rice pilaf

Recipe: Peach and blackberry tart (gluten, grain, and sugar free)

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Stone fruit and berries are, far and away, two of my favorite summer foods. For a few brief months, I feast on peaches, nectarines, apricots, and plums on a near daily basis. I really don’t hold back, because I know that soon enough, fall will roll around, the quality will decline, and the prices will go through the roof. I feel there’s almost a greater payoff to seasonal eating with fruit than with vegetables–yes, a “fresh” tomato in December is a pretty sad specimen, but try a December peach…that you’ve just paid $3/lb for. Forget it.
 
Mostly we have been eating fruit raw, in whole pieces or perhaps chopped up into a bowl of fruit salad. But sometimes it’s nice to get a little fancier, without loading up on sugar. This tart is for those occasions. The ingredients list is short and the crust is a breeze to prepare. The result is a rustic tart oozing with fruit juices and flavors. Enjoy!
 
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Peach and Blackberry Tart
 
Ingredients
 
Crust:
1 3/4 c. raw almonds
1/4 c. coconut cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch of salt
 
Filling:
5 medium peaches
6 oz. blackberries
 
Method
 
1. Prepare filling: Slice peaches and place in a saucepan over low-medium heat and cook uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Peaches should be releasing juice and softening. Add the blackberries and continue to cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat.
 
2. Start oven preheating to 350F and grease a 9″ tart pan (I use one similar to this model from Wilton).
 
3. In a food processor, pulse the almonds for ~30 seconds, until they reach the consistency of a very coarse meal. Add the coconut cream and vanilla extract, mix in processor until well combined. The dough should be sticky but not wet.
 
4. Press the dough into the tart pan, beginning at the center and working up the sides. Bake the crust, unfilled, for 20 minutes.
Tip: Place the tart pan on a baking sheet to prevent any spills from messing up the bottom of your oven.
 
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5. Using a slotted spoon so that juices drain back into the saucepan, spoon filling into crust. You can take the time to arrange the peaches nicely, but the tart will taste just as nice if you’re feeling impatient and want to just throw them in.
 
6. Bake for 15 minutes. While the tart is baking, reduce the reserved fruit juices: place back on low-medium heat and allow to cook, uncovered, until liquid has reached a thick, syrupy consistency. Remove from heat.
 
7. Remove tart from oven and spoon the fruit juice reduction over the top. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.
 
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Recipe: Almond Biscuits with sun-dried tomato and basil (Gluten free, paleo)

We’ve been experimenting with gluten free eating lately, and I was craving a savory treat. I created these little drop biscuits to serve with a late brunch, to make sure the meal carried us through to dinner.
 
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Continue reading Recipe: Almond Biscuits with sun-dried tomato and basil (Gluten free, paleo)