Posted in Food

Apple Butter

Apples with scarecrowThere are few things in this world that say “fall” like apple butter. It’s one of my favorite spreads for toast. It’s great on pork tenderloin. I use it in butternut squash soup sometimes. It’s versatile and also makes excellent gifts for friends, family, teachers, bus drivers, etc.

For this recipe I used 6 lbs of apples (3 lbs of gala and 3 lbs of red delicious). Because both of these apple types are really sweet, I used a fraction of the sugar you’d normally use if you were using more tart apples like granny smith. I also canned some of my apple butter using the water bath method so that I can gift some this holiday season.

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs of gala apples
  • 3 lbs of red delicious apples
  • 2 c. white granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 3 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 6 c. water

kitchen aid cutterI made light work of coring and peeling my apples by using the spiralizer adapter for my Kitchen Aid mixer. This tool is quite the handy helper when you’re staring at 6 lbs of apples. It also slices them really thin which helps speed up the amount of time it takes to boil the apples to tender.

apples cookingDirections: Add apples and all other ingredients to a large heavy pot. Boil until apples are tender; about 15-20 minutes. Once the apples are tender use an immersion blender to blend apple mixture to smooth texture. There may be some small apple lumps and that’s okay. Blend until it’s the texture you’re looking for. I personally like little chunks remaining. Continue simmering the apple mixture until it thickens up. If you spread a small amount of your apple butter on a chilled plate, it should hold and not run off the plate. That’s it! Your kitchen should smell amazing and you should have a healthy batch of apple butter ready for eating.

Above I provided a hyperlink for water bath canning. Can some to have apple butter available for gifts or throughout the rest of the year. I also usually put some in a fridge-safe container for immediate consumption.

final apple butter

Posted in Food

Chicken n’ Dumplins: From my heart to yours

Have you ever heard of chicken n’ dumplin’s? Not “dumplings” but “dumplins.” Its an entire meal in a bowl and it’s so good. I could make them and eat them multiple times each week, and they are so much better days after they are first made. They are an inexpensive staple in my family’s diet and one that I grew up eating all the time. I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to dumplins too. Don’t cut up frozen or refrigerated biscuits and try to pass them off to me as dumplins. Those are biscuits. BIG difference.

I come from a lineage of cooks that cook by feel and taste much like a pianist learns to play by ear. Sidebar: When my mom died a friend of our family created a cookbook for my sister and I of my mom and her mom’s (my grandma) recipes. I still have that binder of recipes and it cracks me up because most every recipe is incomplete. They include things like “Flour” not how much, not what type, just flour. Same with shortening, butter, salt, etc. It’s just like the women on my mom’s side of the family. They make food that comforts the soul. You know the foods you think about from your childhood that you crave when you’ve had a less than stellar day. There is no recipe because their food comes from their heart. Sure, there is a list of ingredients, but perhaps they thought you needed a little more sugar that day, or those biscuits needed to rise a little bit higher. Their food was meant to feed more than just the physical and I’m so glad I have their example to draw from as I feed those closest to me.

I’ve been asked repeatedly for my recipe, but I just don’t have one. The few times I attempted to put my recipe on paper I felt like I was cheating the recipient because I didn’t really know if my recipe made sense or if the process would result in my version of this dish. It’s so hard to pen a recipe for a food that is a part of who you are. Making chicken n’ dumplins is like an involuntary reaction – much like me trying to write directions on how I breathe. Impossible. So, in an effort to put a recipe out there that I know will work I created my very first video blog and I’ll walk you from beginning to end. The entire process of making my family’s version of chicken n’ dumplins.

Link: Video Blog – Chicken n’ Dumplins

What you’ll need:

2-4 hours depending on if you are boiling your own chicken or buying a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. I prefer boiling my own chicken when time allows, but I’ve done both and both are good.

A large pot, a long handled spatula, a butter knife and rolling pin.

3-4 cups of all purpose flour, 6-8 tbsp. of shortening, salt and pepper to taste, 32 oz of chicken broth, water, 1 can cream of chicken soup, 3-4 bay leaves, ice water.

I hope you make these and love them just as much as I do. If you do make them, please leave me a message and let me know what you think. Enjoy!