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Apricots!

Apricots!.

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Posted by on June 3, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Apricots!

Growing up my parents had a variety of different fruit trees on their property. When I was really young, maybe three or four, they had a peach tree. The peach tree died or blew down decades ago. Since that time they have had various apple trees, apricot trees, and maybe a cherry tree (I’m not a huge fan of cherries unless they come on a cheesecake). I got to help my parents harvest and “put up” the fruits, along with their garden full of vegetables every year. Over time I have assisted in canning and freezing fruits and making butters out of the apples (yes!) and apricots (no!). This year my parents only fruit bearing tree is the apricot, and due to a very large wind storm much of the fruit ended up a rotten mess on the ground. What remained of the un-rotted windfalls and the un-fallen apricots on the tree I asked if I could have.  My mother told me to ask my father and my father, somewhat hesitantly, said yes.

Daughter Number 4 was so darn happy to get to eat fresh apricots off of the tree. She liked the slightly fuzzy outside and the tart fruit inside. She was my assistant in washing, pitting, and chopping the apricots. She was a huge help in mixing all of the ingredients together for our Apricot Crumble. Oh, and she LOVED the end result. Especially when I put some whipped topping on it. Daughter Number 3 liked it. Not overwhelmingly, but she liked it. The Hubs had apparently never tried apricots and was under the impression, as many people are, that apricots and peaches are the same. Apricots are much more tart than peaches. The Hubs said that it needed about 1 cup more sugar, but other than that he liked it. I explained to him that apricots are tart by nature and all of the sugar in the world would not turn them into peaches. I did not have the full 8 cups of apricots called for in this recipe, so I halved the recipe and made it in an 8 X 8 instead of a 9 X 13. I think that I should have only used 3 cups of apricots instead of 4. It seemed very thick to me.

All in all I deem it a success for many reasons. The first one being that it gave my 2 youngest daughters the experience of collecting the fruit. Daughter Number 3 even climbed a ladder to pick some from the tree. That was quite an adventure for her. They also got to experience cooking and eating something that we harvested. I think that’s such an important part of learning about food and cooking. To see the process from beginning to end; the blossoms on the tree, to the fruit on the tree, to the pan, and then the plate.

Also, the next time someone offers The Hubs an apricot he’ll know what to expect.

I’m looking forward to next year when we can try out a new apricot recipe!

I hope you enjoy this one…

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/apricot-crumble/detail.aspx

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 3, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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National Donut Day: Baked Mocha Donuts

As I was watching some morning news this morning (it just happened to be KTLA) I learned that it is National Donut Day! Well, I certainly was not going to sit idly by while those Los Angelino’s had all of the fun. Here in theMidwestI was going to celebrate by making donuts with my girls. I asked daughter number 4 what kind of donuts we should make and she said chocolate. I was down with that. My only personal thought was that it would have ground coffee on the top. What? Ground coffee?

Well, let me tell you something fabulous that I learned yesterday. I as in the kitchenette / break room at my office yesterday pouring myself a cup of coffee. My boss was in there with a brick of cheddar cheese and a jar of (fresh, local) honey. It sounds like the start to a bad joke, but just wait! There was something on a plate that looked like it might be ground coffee beans. As I was watching her she sliced some cheese, put a drop of the honey on top of the cheese, and then sprinkled this mystery ingredient over the top. She assured me that I should try this. I asked and she confirmed that it was indeed topped with ground coffee bean. I tried a piece. Then another and another and…I think you get it. I was pretty sure I was going to be a very energetic person with constipation if I didn’t stop. So I stopped eating eat. I did not stop thinking about it. I asked my co-workers what they thought about it and we discussed how the coffee really brought out warmth and deepened the flavor of the cheese. My boss said that some little British guy on one of the Food channels was making this cheese dish. (I think it was Jamie Oliver). Later in the day I told the Hubs about it. We started brainstorming some things that would be good topped with or paired with the ground coffee.

So, when I decided to make donuts I decided to top them with ground coffee beans. It more than worked. I’m so glad my boss turned us on to the wonders of using ground coffee as a topping. It really does bring a new dimension and level to a dish.

Baked Mocha Donuts

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup vanilla soymilk
  • 1 /2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons strong brewed coffee
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare donut pan by coating with nonstick cooking spray. In large bowl, whisk flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a medium glass bowl, microwave butter. To bowl add milk, sugar, egg, butter, coffee, and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Add milk mixture to flour mixture; whisk until blended and smooth. Fill each donut well about 3/4 full. Bake ten-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, and they spring back at your touch. Place donut pan on a rack to cool for about five minutes before removing from the pan. Add glaze or powdered sugar (or other dry topping) to cooled donuts. Makes 10 small baked donuts.

I used a cream cheese glaze on my donuts. That and the ground coffee topping really made the mocha flavor “pop”!

Cream Cheese Glaze

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar

Soften the butter and cream cheese slightly in the microwave. Whisk until smooth. Add powdered sugar slowly until you have a nice glaze. If it seems to thick add a little bit of milk to thin it down. Be careful not to make it too thin or it will run right off of the donut. Gently dip the top of the cooled donut into the glaze. Set on a rack to dry. Sprinkle lightly with ground coffee bean.

I hope you all have the opportunity to enjoy some donuts today. This is the kind of “National” day that everyone can get behind. Oh, and if you make your own and bake them, instead of buying some greasy fried donuts, you can still feel good about eating healthy. That’s what I’m telling myself for sure.

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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