I live to eat and love to cook. Welcome to my life!

October 23, 2010

Are you ready for random?

Some things mom and I have learned in the last few days.....

Duck fat makes a very good toe moisturizer.

Frying clams inside makes for a very slippery kitchen floor. (flip flop removal recommended)

A bushel of cherry tomatoes can be converted in to only a couple pint jars with time, heat  and patience.

Peeling apples goes much faster with two people.

My Grandma Kenton has peeled well over 24,000 apples in her lifetime for apple pie.

An extra glass of wine helps dull the pain of having to clean up after a cooking extravaganza.

After two days of chopping dicing, peeling, slicing, browning, frying, mixing, blending, seasoning, baking, rendering and packaging we have made multiple meals for ourselves and others. And damn it we had fun doing it. :)

Between the two (three when Grandma helped me peel the apples) of us we made Duck Confit (to share for the future), Chicken & Dumpling Soup (for my Bapa), Fried Razor Clams from Washington (for dinner), Oven Dried Tomatoes (to can, for the future), Mustard Braised Rabbit (for dinner-don't judge, it is freaking fantastic) and two Apple Cranberry Crisps (one for us, one for our friends).

Last week my Dad was up in the Lockwood Valley area quail hunting with a buddy and came across an apple tree with the apples falling off, littering the ground. Not being one to ever waste anything he promptly asked the owner of the property if he could liberate them. He then instructed me that I was to make something tasty with them. Once again, Dad brought me home something tasty....I do love that man!

As I am not much of a pie crust girl (more of a tart...hee hee), I went back to one of my favorite standbys for almost any fruit. The very American Crisp. Super easy to make and so perfect with less than 10 ingredients. You can tweak it any which way to suit your tastes with different spices or flavorings, different fruit, cornmeal or oatmeal instead of flour. To be really honest, they are kind of hard to mess up as long as you have the general proportions correct. The following recipe has a great autumn feel to it, the appples are still a little crisp and the cranberries add just the right amount of tart.

Apple & Dried Cranberry Crisp
From Gourmet Magazine, 1993

1 cup dried cranberries
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup water
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into bits
9 McIntosh apples (about 3 pounds)

In a small saucepan simmer the cranberries, the cinnamon stick, and the water for 10 minutes. Drain the cranberries and remove the cinnamon stick. In a small bowl blend the flour, the brown sugar, the salt, and the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal and toss the mixture well. Peel, core, and slice the apples thin and in a buttered 9- by 13-inch glass dish toss them with the cranberries. Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture over the fruit and bake the crisp in a preheated 400°F. oven for 25 minutes, or until the apples are tender and the topping is golden.

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