When I said I was going to post on this subject, several people said,
"Don't Post That!"
"Don't give away this secret. You could make a business out of this.", "I'd be happy to buy this. You could make a lot of money.", "Delicious! Make this professionally. I'd sell this at my shop!", "Don't just give it away … except to me, of course."
Only one person said, "Do it!" She strongly believes in the Abundance Mindset, that there are sufficient resources and success to share with others. I'm simply delighted when something I make or create brings joy, and passing it onward is a true win-win. Others might just say, "The more you give, the more you receive." Any and all of these scenarios work for me!
Besides, what I have is really no secret. If you grew up on the East Coast of the United States, you might even have your own. Though, those from elsewhere, especially from other countries, could be unfamiliar with it, and may even find it — as did friends and acquaintances here in South Africa — exotic.
Today, A is for Apple Butter
For those to whom this is new, according to Wikipedia, Apple Butter dates back to colonial America. As I know it from visits to Pennsylvania Dutch country, I would hazard to guess it (or something similar) was brought over to America by the Germans (the Deutsch).
Contrary to what its name suggests, apple butter does not contain butter. "Butter" refers to the thick, smooth, buttery texture.
According to all who have tasted mine, I've concocted a great recipe here. Great chefs of the world will, no doubt, turn their noses up. I'm a believer in K.I.S.S. and as long as it doesn't impact taste or texture, I WILL cut corners to Keep It Simply Simple!
Easiest, Awesome-est Apple Butter (Slow Cooker Style)
- 6 pounds (3 kilos) apples* – peeled, cored and cut into chunks
- 1 cup (200 g) sugar
- 1 cup (220 g) light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (or you can also use 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1. Place the apples in a slow cooker.
2. Add the two sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom (or cloves) and salt.
3. Cook on low for about 10 hours (or longer, if you want to sleep in), stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thick and evenly dark brown.
4. Stir in vanilla.
5. Continue cooking uncovered (to thicken) on low for another 2 hours (or so, this is NOT a recipe that requires precision).
6. Puree the apple butter with a stick blender or regular stationary blender until consistently smooth.
7. Spoon into sterile containers.
8. or, spread and eat immediately!
9. Refrigerate for up to two weeks or freeze.
I hope you enjoy, and please pass it forward if you do.
It's taken several days longer than promised, but here's the recipe for my Gingered Carrot Soup — simple ingredients, reasonably simple process. So far, it's been a hit with friends in Hamburg, Germany; Vienna, Austria; and now in Kamberg Valley, South Africa. Please give it a go with your friends and family and let me know if it's also a hit where you are. People have commented how nicely subtle and creamy it is, but with an extra "wow factor" from the ginger.
CORINNE'S GINGERED CARROT SOUP
- 2 Tbls vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup minced onion
- 1/4 cup minced peeled fresh ginger
- 3 cups (or more) chicken stock or chicken or vegetable broth
- 4 cups sliced peeled carrots (about 1 1/2 pounds or 700 grams)
- 1 cup orange juice (approx. 3 or 4 oranges)
- 1/2 cup "Half and Half" (half light cream and half milk — of course the higher the cream content, the more fat, the creamier, the yummier, and fattening-er).
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- several sprigs of fresh cilantro (coriander)
- Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Add minced onion and minced ginger.
- Sauté until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. (do not let the onion and ginger over brown)
- Add chicken stock and sliced carrots.
- Cover and simmer until carrots are tender, about 30 minutes. (though I admit, I've been known to get too involved in surfing the net and leaving this for much longer).
- Working in batches, puree mixture in blender or processor. (If you have a "stick mixer", puree the whole mixture right in your saucepan).
- Return soup to saucepan.
- Mix in orange juice, then Half and Half.
- Cook over low heat 5 minutes.
- Mix in ground cinnamon.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Let simmer until ready to serve (if it's too thick to your liking, thin with a bit of stock)
- Ladle soup into bowls, top with springs of fresh cilantro, and serve!
- Since I can't do all the outdoor things I need to do, I can actually write this very, very overdue blog posting, and
- with all this rain (102 mm in November according to Nils, my precise German engineer), our porcini are starting to pop up all over the place!!
And here we have …
- 1-1/2 cups roughly cut Porcini mushrooms*
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped (we're garlic lovers and aren't socializing today, so we used 3)
- 1/3 cup good quality olive oil
- 2 cups of fusilli (corkscrew) pasta (approx. 230 grams or 8 oz)
- Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- Fresh grated Parmesan
- Brush clean your porcini with a paper towel or soft mushroom brush, cut off tough parts of the stem, and cut out any yellow spore sections under the cap (only found if the porcini are very large). Note: never wash your mushrooms in water, it will "water down" the taste and destroy the texture. The "great chefs" will probably tell you not to use the stems, but I don't believe in wasting such precious delectables.
- Roughly chop one large onion and 2 garlic cloves.
- Heat water to a rolling boil.
- Add pasta to water and cook according to instructions on your package (unless you make your own pasta and if so, you get my respect big time!)
- Heat pan and add olive oil (or if using a non-stick coated or ceramic pan, add oil first and then heat).
- When oil is hot, add onion and garlic.
- Stir and heat until onions "glisten" and the garlic turns golden.
- Add porcini and saute and turn for another 2 minutes or so.
- Add salt and ground pepper to taste.
- Spoon "sauce" over your pasta.
- Grate fresh parmesan on top.
- Enjoy this simple pleasure of life.
Last Saturday, we got invited to our first official braai. For those of you who are not conversant with South African English, a braai (pronounced like "pie" except with a "br" in front) is a barbeque or a grill. The word is actually Afrikaans and can be a verb ("I'm going to braai some sausages tonight") or a noun ("We're having a braai at the weekend").