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Apple Fritter Rings




It's autumn and we are enjoying apples every-which-way these days.  Once a year we have apple fritters...this year they became apple ring fritters.  I used a mandolin slicer to get thin (1/3 inch) slices and a dollar store apple corer to remove the core.

Apple Ring Fritters
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 large tart apples
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup sugar 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Blend flour, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl.
  2. Beat eggs and add milk; pour into flour mixture, stirring until smooth. 
  3. Peel, core and cut apples into thin slices.
  4. In an electric skillet or a heavy frying pan, heat oil to 375°. 
  5. Dip apple rings into batter to coat and place into hot oil.
  6. Fry several at a time until golden...turning over to cook on both sides. 
  7. Drain on paper towels. 
  8. Combine sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over hot fritters.  Or, serve warm with syrup.
Yield: about 18 - 24 fritters

And just for the fun of it...I tried apple ring pancakes using the very same method.

  • Peel the apples. 
  • Remove core. *If you do not have a corer, slice first and then use a biscuit cutter to cut out center circle.
  • Slice thinly.
  • Dip each apple slice into your favorite pancake batter. (I added 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon to the batter).
  • Transfer the apple slices to greased and pre-heated skillet. 
  • Cook on medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes, and then flip. 
  • Cook until golden brown.
  • Drizzle with syrup and enjoy!
 Both the fritters and the pancakes were great.  My pick?  The fritters, of course!

Apple Sweet Rolls



I'm using my favourite sweet roll dough for this apple filled sweet roll recipe. 
I find that the sweetened condensed milk in this dough helps to stabilize the dough and keep it from shrinking down after it has been baked.  

The dough is tender and soft. 


Don't let apple season pass without making up a batch of these delicious rolls to share with family and friends. 

Sweet Roll Yeast Dough:
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup very soft butter
  • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 1/2 - 7 cups flour
Apple Filling
  • 6 cups peeled, quartered and sliced apples (be sure to use apples that keep their shape after being cooked)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar (taste after the apples have cooked and decide then if you want to add more sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons  minute tapioca
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon  
  1. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your kitchen machine, place warm water and yeast and allow to proof about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the eggs,  soft butter, sweetened condensed milk, and salt.  Stir in the flour until stirring becomes too difficult and then turn out onto a floured surface and add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time  until it is smooth and elastic.  Alternately, use the dough hook according to your dough machine instructions.
  3. Turn into a large greased bowl, turning to moisten with fat and cover with  plastic wrap and a tea towel.  Allow to rise until double in bulk, about an hour.  While the dough rises, prepare the apple filling. 
  4. Melt butter in a large saucepan and add apples. 
  5. Add sugar and tapioca and stir to combine.  Cook over medium-high heat until the apples are just tender and the sauce has thickened.
  6. Remove from heat and bring to room temperature.  
  7. Roll dough into a 12 X 36 inch wide rectangle, transfer apple filling to the dough, spreading fairly evenly.
  8. Roll up jelly roll style and divide into 36 rolls in three 9 X 13 parchment paper lined pans.
  9. Cover with tea towels and allow to rise another hour.
  10. Bake at 350 about 20 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.  Cool 10 minutes while making glaze. Drizzle with glaze and serve.  



Apple Roses Cheesecake - Gluten Free


These roses are popular on Pinterest, and I found them intriguing and beautiful - so I decided to try them myself.
 I made the above dessert twice this Valentine's week-end - once for a potluck and once for my kids.
I don't think these roses need be limited to Valentine's Day. Any special occasion would welcome them - Mother's Day, bridal showers, birthdays.
Though the roses are not difficult to make, they are a bit time consuming -  however, the comments I got more than compensated me for my effort.

Since there are numerous sites giving step by step instructions, I'll just offer some tips that may be helpful if you haven't done these before.

1. Cut the apple in half, cutting away the core and ends, then with cut side down , slice the half-apple as thin as possible -- That first slice that is all peel is great to roll up as a deep color center for the rose, or bud,  after the pulp is easily scraped away (after microwaving)

2. Slices are microwaved in liquid (1 cup water, 1/2 cup sugar, juice of 1/2 lemon)  until they are just at the soft  stage - doesn't take long - I did one apple at a time, in my microwave took 2 1/2 minutes) You just want to 'limp' the slices, not cook completely.  Drain them on toweling after they are microwaved, and allow to cool slightly before forming your rose petals.

3. When creating your roses, roll up the center, then add petals , placing the middle of each apple slice to cover the ends of the previous slice, wrap and then finger roll the red top edge of the slice over to resemble a rose petal. Make the roses different sizes and make some buds.

4. I formed all the roses and set them up on doubled toweling to drain off the excess moisture. Because of the sugar in the water they were microwaved in,  the petals stick together nicely.

5. I used a green apple in an attempt to add leaves - but I wish the color stayed more vibrant - I'm wondering if green food color in the cooking water would intensify the green peel.

6. I made a fruit glaze to drizzle over the apples once placed on the dessert to make them shiny.

7. Use the reddest apples you can find  - I used Red Prince apples, they worked wonderfully well.

8.  I placed the roses randomly over the top - but then found that cutting the dessert was not easily done without ruining the roses -- so I think next time I might arrange the roses in such a way that when the dessert is cut into pieces there would be a rose arrangement on each piece.

9. These roses keep amazingly well ... I thought they would have to be done the same day served - but after a few days in the fridge they are still perfectly fine!

10. For an 8" x 10" pan I needed 4 medium apples for the roses. (the photo shown above was made in a larger pan for our pot luck , 9" x 12" and for that I needed 6 apples and made 1 1/2 times the recipe for the base and the filling)

Note- I haven't tried it but I see no reason the apple slices could not be 'softened' in simmering water/sugar solution on the stove top, if you prefer not to use the microwave. It may even work better since the temperature would be uniform.

While you could put these roses on your own choice of a variety of desserts,  the following is the dessert shown in the photo.

Apple Roses Cheesecake 

The base is a hazelnut crumb base
  • 1/3 cup hazelnut flour 
  • 1/2 cup gluten free  flour - I used Julie's Mix 
  • 1/4 cup sugar 
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum 
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  1. Mix together dry ingredients then work in the butter until well mixed. Press evenly into a baking pan -  8"x10"
  2. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. 
The filling is the easiest baked cream cheese filling I have ever made and seems fool-proof - no cracks , sets well and is delicious. 
  • 1 pkg. cream cheese (8 oz) 
  • 2/3 cup sugar 
  • 2 cups sour cream 
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  1. Beat cream cheese with sugar until smooth 
  2. Add sour cream and flavorings. Blend well. 
  3. Pour over pre-baked base. 
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes 
  5. Cool 
Fruit Glaze 
  • 1/3 cup fruit juice (I used the juice from a can of peaches)  
  • 2 rounded tablespoons of sugar 
  • juice of 1/2 lemon 
  • 1 tsp cornstarch 
  1. Cook juice, sugar and cornstarch until it thickens - if too thick add a little water
  2. Add lemon juice
When cheesecake is cool, arrange the roses over the top, pressing only slightly into the filling. Drizzle glaze sparingly over the top of the roses. Chill for at least two hours before serving.
Can be made a day ahead. 



Salsa

Since there's an abundance of tomatoes and peppers out there right now, I thought I would share my salsa recipe. It's a recipe I got from my sister Kathy about twenty years ago and is a staple at our home. I cook up a large batch in fall and we enjoy it year-round.  This is a zippy salsa; if you prefer yours on the mild side, remove all the seeds and ribs from inside the jalapeno peppers.

 

Salsa
  • 10 cups tomatoes (peeled, chopped and drained)
  • 8 small jalapeno peppers chopped (remove seeds for less heat) 
  • 3 cups chopped onions
  • 1 cup chopped green peppers 
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 1/3 cups vinegar 
  • 1 can 12 oz. can tomato paste 
  • 1 tsp. cumin 
  • 1 Tablespoon red pepper flakes 
  • 3 Tablespoons pickling salt 
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  1. Combine all ingredients and simmer for 1 hour.
  2. Ladle into jars; tighten lids and process for 20 minutes in hot water bath.
*Optional : Stir in 1/3 cup cornstarch diluted in cold water and simmer for several minutes to thicken salsa before filling jars.



*This also makes a wonderful, tasty fresh salsa.  Place chopped veggies in a large bowl.  Mix vinegar, tomato paste, herbs and seasonings and add to chopped vegetables. Stir to combine.  Keeps well in the refrigerator for a week.


Cabbage Rolls (Holubtsi)



This recipe takes me back to my Mom's kitchen and early years of marriage when I wanted to make something fancy. We called them Galopse ( a variation of the Polish name for them, while others call them by the Ukranian, Holuptsi). Although we don't have these that often any more, (mainly because we have so much to choose from today) I still do enjoy that "comfort food" flavor. It's a good make-ahead meal because they are always good re-heated. Cabbage rolls are great for pot-lucks and very economical. This recipe makes 12-18 rolls. Sometimes I form a few meatballs for those who don't care for the cabbage.

Ingredients:

Rolls / Filling:
  • 1 head Savoy cabbage
  • 1- 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 grated onion
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups cooked rice
Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • ½ chopped onion
  • ½ chopped pepper, any color
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 4 cups water (approx)
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube (or 2 teaspoons better than bouillon)
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste (according to taste)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 can tomato soup (optional) 
  • 1 bay leaf
Method:
  1. Place cabbage in a large pot of boiling water and peel off leaves as they become soft. Set aside. If you are using regular cabbage, cut around the core before placing it in the water.
  2. In a large frying pan, cook onion and pepper in a small amount of oil until tender. 
  3. Mix flour and half of the water in a sealed container until well blended and add to onion/peppers. While cooking, add the rest of the water and stir until smooth and bubbly. Add bouillon and tomato paste. For more sauce, mix more flour and water and add another bouillon cube for flavor. Adjust amounts according to desired consistency and add salt and pepper according to taste.
  4. Mix raw meat, salt, pepper, onion, sour cream and cooked rice. Place a few tablespoons of meat mixtureonto each leaf, fold ends and roll up. Place close together in roaster.
  5. Pour sauce over cabbage rolls, tuck in bay leaf and bake at 350° F for 1 1/2 hours. 
  6. Once cooked, remove rolls to serving plate. If there is not enough gravy, add a can of tomato soup to the liquids in the roaster and bring to boil. With the soup you can also adjust flavors by adding some milk or cream.

Harvest Brown Bread

Tucked into the bread section of my Mennonite Treasury Cookbook is a stained and worn piece of paper with the recipe for our family favorite brown bread. I got it from a friend in the late seventies and is simply known as Ruth P's brown bread. I often wonder what happened to Ruth, one of those people who was part of my life for a time and who I haven't heard from in twenty years. But I think of her whenever I bake her bread and hope things have gone well for her and her family.


  • 2 Tablespoons fast rising yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 1 large tablespoon honey
  • 4 cups warm water
  • 2 cups rye flour
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 cups white flour (plus 1-2 additional cups in step 5).
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  1. Prepare yeast mixture by dissolving sugar in lukewarm water...add yeast and let stand ten minutes.
  2. In large bowl, dissolve salt and honey in warm water...add yeast mixture.
  3. Mix together the three types of flour. Add flour slowly to mixture in bowl and beat well.
  4. Add oil and sunflower seeds.
  5. Knead in enough white flour to make dough smooth and elastic.
  6. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place until light. 
  7. Punch down and form loaves. Let rise until doubled in bulk.
  8. Bake at 375°F for 30 minutes.
  9. Yield 4 medium loaves

    *When using instant yeast, add to flour in step three and omit step 1, proofing yeast in sugar water.)


I gave you the recipe as it is written, but since I always use my Bosch machine to mix bread, my methods and amounts differ slightly. I usually do one-and-a-half times the recipe, and make a few little loaves for the grandkids.

Summer Fruit Pies



Although several great recipes for pies have been posted already, I will add some more pictures and ideas so that we have more to glean from. Below I have the general pie pastry recipe for 1 double crust pie. This will fit a regular or a deep dish pie plate.

BASIC PASTRY ( for double crust pie)
  • 1 2/3 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2/3 cup shortening or lard
  • 4 tablespoons cold water
Method:
  1. Combine flour, salt and shortening in medium sized mixing bowl.
  2.  Cut shortening into flour with pastry blender until pieces are the size of large peas. 
  3. Sprinkle with water and stir with fork, in circular motion, until there are no more lose crumbs.
  4. Press together with hands and shape into a ball. Divide in half. 
  5. Turn out on floured surface, pat and shape with hands into circular shape then roll out a little larger than your pie plate. Roll onto rolling pin and unroll into pie plate. Bottom crust should come up higher than edge of pan

FRUIT FILLING – (deep) double crust
  • Brush unbaked bottom crust with slightly beaten egg whites, to keep from getting soggy. Fill with fresh or frozen fruit. (approx 6 cups) Sprinkle with mixture of sugar and flour that is WELL MIXED. (Amounts will vary depending on tartness of fruit and taste preference) I just shake or tap the pan so sugar disperses a bit.
  • Cover with second crust. Fold top crust over and under bottom crust, so that you can pinch the two layers together as you flute them.
  • Brush with beaten egg white and cut small slits. Bake at 400 F for 15 min. Turn down to 350 F and bake for another 50 min. or until juice bubbles out through slits.


Filling Suggestions:
  • blueberries - sprinkle with some lemon rind, mix ½ cup sugar and 4 Tbsp flour
  •  peaches and nectarines – mix  ½ cup sugar, 3 Tbsp flour and 3 Tbsp tapioca
  • blackberries – sprinkle with lemon rind, mix ¾ cup sugar, 4 Tbsp flour and 4 Tbsp tapioca
  •  apples – mix ½ cup brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 2 tbsp flour
FREEZING PIES:

If you want to make up some fruit pies in the summer while the fruit is handy and get the work over and done with, I would suggest multiplying the recipe:
  • 1 pound (1 pkg) of shortening or lard, 
  • 5 ½ cups flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt 
  • 1 egg, 3/4 cup water, 1 Tbsp vinegar 
Divide the pastry into three or four balls and divide each ball again, so that you can make 3 large double crust pies or 4 small double crust pies to fit 9-inch foil pie plates.

Don’t forget to brush the bottom crust with an egg wash and then again the top.
Because the foil pie plates are smaller, use a little less fruit (4 – 5 cups) and a little less sugar mix if you want them slightly on the tart side.

Freeze pies first to freeze the egg wash on top, then transfer into plastic bags, or do the top egg wash just before baking. Note: a frozen foil plated pie will easily transfer into a glass pie plate later.

Extra Tips:
* Don’t knead pastry, rather handle as little as possible.
* If the pastry tears as you transfer it, don’t re-roll, rather patch and seal with egg wash later.
* Don’t add more liquids because it will give a tougher crust.
* Baked pie keeps up to 5 days in the fridge and can be re-heated. Pie can also be frozen raw and baked later.

Schaubel Zup (Green Bean Soup)

My mom made a soup like this when I was growing up, but it wasn't one of my favorites. Recently I decided to revisit this green bean soup and found that it’s actually better than I remember. The broth, with a little sweet cream in it, reminds me of the Zuppa Toscana soup at Olive Garden. How much better can it get? Here is the recipe – a combination of ideas of how my Mom made it and a recipe in the Mennonite Treasury.

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb smoked ham hock
  • ½ dried red hot pepper
  • 10 black pepper kernels
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 - 3 carrots, chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 6 cups chopped (frozen or fresh) green beans
  • summer savory
  • 1 bouillon cube (chicken or beef) if needed, for extra flavor


  1. Cover ham bone with about 8 cups water in large pot. Tie spices into cheesecloth and add to pot. 
  2. Bring to boil, take off scum, and simmer about 1 hour. 
  3. Take out ham bone. Add vegetables and cook another hour. 
  4.  While vegetables are cooking and after ham has cooled somewhat, remove ham from bone, chop into bite size pieces and return to pot. 
  5. About ½ hour before it’s done, add a handful of summer savory, tied together for easy removal. If you can’t get summer savory, use a tiny sprinkle of thyme. Adjust flavors with bouillon if needed.
  6.  Add ½ cup sweet cream or sour cream, before serving. Enjoy a trip down memory lane.
To make this soup with farmer sausage, simply cook  peeled and chopped sausage along with vegetables for an hour. You can also pre-cook the onion, then add water, sausage and vegetables. Use bouillon cube and summer savory for flavor.

Quick Blueberry Streusel (Platz)

It's blueberry season, or soon will be, for those of us living in this part of the country. As a child I reluctantly used to go picking in the summer to make some spending money, but now I find it very relaxing to get out there among the rows and rows of berries. Especially with some good company, to eat, enjoy the sun and anticipate the desserts that will come.
This delicious crumb cake is the easiest and quickest you will ever make, with the base and crumb topping made of the same mix.

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter (room temperature)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg beaten with fork in meas. cup, then filled to 1 cup with buttermilk
  • 2 cups blueberries
Method:
  1. Mix butter into flour and sugar with pastry blender until well blended and crumbly. 
  2. Set 1 1/4 cups aside for topping. 
  3. To the first, bigger part of the mix, add baking powder and soda, then stir in combined egg and buttermilk 
  4. Spread into greased or parchment paper lined 9 x 13 pan. Sprinkle with 2 cups blueberries and reserved crumb mixture. Squeeze to make crumb clusters as you drop them by handfuls.
  5. Bake in upper part of oven (important)  at 375F for 35 - 45 min. Cool or serve warm with ice cream.

Blueberry Oat Bars



It's summer time and today I'm happy to share with you a blueberry bar that can't be resisted.  I tasted this last year at Berry Bounty Farms which is a family owned and operated berry stand, just a few kilometers down the road on Chilliwack Central.  They also love to use our MGCC recipes.
This is one stop you can't miss.  Check it out and you will be greeted by a friendly smile, a fresh glass of raspberry juice and a sample of baked goodies.

Blueberry Oat Bars
  • 4 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 5 teaspoons corn starch
  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp almond flavor
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease a 9x13 inch pan.
  3. Bring blueberries and orange juice to a boil in a sauce pan.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer about 10 minutes.  
  5. Whisk in cornstarch and boil, stirring until thickened, about 1 minute.
  6. Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate or cool up to 30 minutes.
  7. Beat butter and sugar in a medium bowl until smooth and fluffy. 
  8. Add almond extract.
  9. Mix in flour, baking powder and oats until mixture is crumbly.  
  10. Reserve 1 cup crumb mixture for topping.
  11. Pat remaining crumb mixture into cake pan.
  12. Spread cooled blueberry topping evenly over crust.
  13. Sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture.
  14. Bake 30-40 minutes until lightly browned.