Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Overnight Apple Butter and Whole Wheat Bread

Pretty sure everyone knows about my obsession with making jam (got old fruit? make jam).  I'm always buying more fruit than I can consume.  Grapes go soft, bananas turn freckly and brown, apples get mealy.  Ew.  But tossing it out would be like throwing money down the drain!  All that fruit is still good for purposes of cooking down into delicious preserves!  I usually end up with a collection of old bananas that I'll peel and freeze until I have enough saved up to make a small batch of preserves.

Since I stay away from refined sugar I usually make my jams naturally sweetened.  In the case of my banana jam, no added sugar is even needed - the fruit is already sweet enough, especially once you cook it down :)  Same with this apple butter recipe, adapted from here.  My last preserves came from an ancient, frozen 10-ounce bag of Trader Joe's mixed berries that got cooked down in a pot with a little added sucanat to counter the tartness.  Keep in mind that the end result is usually barely just enough to fill a teeny 4 ounce mason jar, but it's perfect for spreading on toast or even mixing into your morning oatmeal :)

I will say this apple butter couldn't really have been easier!  What follows barely qualifies as a recipe...

4 apples, any variety, cored and cut into eighths (I used Granny Smiths, unpeeled)
A very generous sprinkling of cinnamon

Place the apples and cinnamon in a slow cooker, set to low, and cover.

After about four hours, apples will be mush.  Stir to break up and then leave lid slightly ajar, allowing steam to escape and fruit to reduce, for about one hour.

After one hour stir, replace lid and adjust setting to warm.  Allow to set up overnight if more caramelization is desired.

Mmmmm... butter.

We're still experimenting with baking whole wheat bread, but this is the best we've made so far!  Since I refuse to get into anything too labor-intensive, this recipe was perfect for us.  (The hardest part is setting aside 12-18 hours to let it proof.)  I recently picked up some white whole wheat and whole wheat pastry flours to play around with as well, so hopefully they'll be more experiments to come...

For the recipe to the delicious bread pictured above, head to Jo Cooks here

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Zucchini Lasagna for Two

Have lasagna any time!  Next time you prepare spaghetti sauce, make a double batch and freeze the leftovers to make this easy, noodle-free lasagna any night of the week.


4 cups prepared bolognese or marinara sauce (here is a basic one you can modify)
1 medium zucchini, washed and unpeeled
2 cups cottage cheese
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated or shredded
Salt and pepper, to taste

Using a mandoline slicer on the thinnest setting, slice the zucchini into thin rounds. Sprinkle rounds liberally with salt and set aside for ten minutes, then pat dry with a paper towel.

In the meantime, transfer the cottage cheese to the bowl of a food processor. Sprinkle with pepper and blend until smooth.

In the bottom of a small loaf pan, spread one fifth of the tomato sauce. Top with one quarter of the zucchini slices. Next spread over one quarter of the cottage cheese mixture. Sprinkle with one quarter of the mozzarella, then repeat layers beginning again with sauce.

Continue until ingredients run out or pan is full. Finish with the remaining mozzarella and sprinkle with Parmesan. Cook at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, then broil for 2-3 minutes to brown the cheese.

Let stand for at least ten minutes before slicing and serving. Enjoy!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Shrimp & Sofrito

An easy, low-calorie, fresh and filling recipe for winter!

3 red bell peppers
1 green bell pepper
1 poblano pepper
1 white onion
4 cloves garlic
1 pound tomatoes, any kind, fresh or frozen
1/2 a jalapeño
Dried chiles, optional
One lime, divided in half
3/4 pound fresh or frozen shrimp

Blend all ingredients up to jalapeños in a food processor.

In a large pot, drizzle a small amount of olive oil over high heat. Add the sofrito blend and sauté, until sauce reduces. Add chiles if desired for more heat. Season with salt.

When sauce has reduced to desired consistency, turn down the heat and add the shrimp. Cook until shrimp is just cooked/thawed. Squeeze in half the lime juice.

Garnish with chopped bell pepper, jalapeño, the remaining lime, and enjoy!