+Anne Coleman

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Apple Cakey Pie Thing Gooey Goodness

Apple Cakey Pie Thing Gooey Goodness

A couple weeks ago I came across a cake on a site (thanks to Mark Boxshus, A.K.A. Boscoe the Cookie Doctor) and thought it looked awesome, but there was no way it would work. I also thought it would be awesome with a topping like the one we use for Nana's Apple Cake.







I had no idea how this monster of a thing would turn out so I tried it. I tweaked it here and there and made it several times before I was happy with it. Just the photos alone on Facebook and Instagram stirred people.

When I posted to Instagram I called it: "Apple cakey pie thing gooey goodness" and SoVeryDomestic remarked, "That should really be the official name." So, I obliged and here we are. 




The first time I made it several of the kids said it was the best apple pie they ever had. It's not quite a pie, though, so we called it "pie cake". The inside seems to be almost not fully done, but it is - we struggled to find the right words for the consistency and realized it's almost like the texture you get when you let ice cram melt on your crumb-topped pie. It's really wonderful.



Apple Cakey Pie Thing Gooey Goodness

Apple Cakey Pie Thing Gooey Goodness
Serves 10-12
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:

Crust and topping:

2 sticks butter (1 cup) cut into small pieces
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Filling:

12 small or 8 large Granny Smith apples - peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Cake:

1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

1. Combine crust and topping ingredients: Stir together flour, sugar and cinnamon - rub into butter until crumbly. Set aside 1/3 of this and press the rest into a 10-inch springform pan. Cover the bottom and press part way up the sides - about 1/2 an inch up.

2. Combine apples and brown sugar with cinnamon. Toss well to coat. Pour into crust. This should come up to the top and possibly slightly over.

3. Stir together cake ingredients: Melt butter and stir in sugar and vanilla. Add milk and egg and blend well. Stir in flour and baking powder. Pour over top of apples and tap to help it cover over the apples well.

4. Crumble the rest of the topping across the cake and set on a baking sheet.

5. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until browned on top and bubbly at the edge.

6. Let cool well (about an hour) and run a knife around the edge. Slice now if you wish or remove ring and cut into 10-12 pieces.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Apple Season

Bag of Apples
Apples from friends are the best!

It's no surprise to anyone I know that fall is my favorite time of year. There are so many reasons why, but one of the biggest is that it's prime time for apples. I have my favorites there, as well; Granny Smith or Pink Lady for eating, and a mix of Granny Smith and Macintosh for baking and cooking. Just this month I was introduced to SweeTango apples and fell in love with those, too.

I also get into the kitchen more in autumn, with apples ripe for the picking, pumpkins abound and meats being smoked for preserving ... it just makes me want to cook - and eat! This year (and at least one year past) I had a friend who picked apples from another friend's tree and dropped off what felt like about 40 pounds of apples. It was one packed bag. One look in that bag and I knew I'd be in the kitchen for days creating wonderful things.


Processing Apples
Processing apples for applesauce.

The first thing we did was process a bunch for applesauce  - I think we ended up with a gallon! It's so easy, just peel, core and chop, add a little water, sugar and cinnamon to taste and cook until mushy. I run mine through a food mill, but you can also put them in a food processor and pulse until it's the consistency you like. Mine doesn't last so long here, so I simply refrigerate until it's eaten up. You can surely can it and here are some great directions for that: Canning Applesauce.


Making Applesauce
Apples ready to cook into applesauce.

The next thing I did was process apples for pie filling, which is then put in the freezer to use at a later date. With a 60 hour work week and 7 kids, I need all the time I can get and freezing foods helps me so much in that department.

Freezer Pie Filling
Apple Pie Filling ready for the freezer.

This is very simple. Start with your favorite pie apple - I like Granny Smith or a mixture of Granny Smith and Macintosh - about 5 or 6 large apples will make an 8-inch pie. I used 15 - 20 medium apples and had enough for 3 pies. These apples were tart, so I added a little more sugar than usual to them, some cinnamon and a bit of flour to help thicken as they bake and also to help soak up some of the juices that are inevitable from thawing frozen apples. I tossed every thing with my hands and then divided it into labeled bags (label them before you fill them to make that step easier) - about 3 cups of filling per bag. Into the freezer they went and when I need one I'll remove it ahead of time and let thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Voila!

Freezer Apple Pie Filling
Thawed filling in pie crust.


You can cook this and cool before freezing or cook once thawed (see directions). You can also thaw and dump into crusts and bake! I've found just about any way works. This is perfect for nights when I really want a pie but don't want to do all that peeling. You can also make pie dough ahead of time, shape into discs and freeze as well until you need it!

Apple Pie Filling for the Freezer
Makes 1 pie

Ingredients:

5 or 6 large apples such as Granny Smith or a mixture of apples
1/2 to 3/4 cup brown sugar as needed for sweetness
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice - optional

Directions:

1. Label a gallon-size freezer bag for Apple Pie Filling and date. Set aside.
2. Peel and core apples and sliced to desired thickness - we like thin apples here.
3. Place slices in a large bowl and add sugar, cinnamon, flour and lemon juice if using - mix with hands until well combined.
4. Pour into a freezer bag and remove excess air. Freeze and use within 6 months.
5. You can also cook the filling at this time and freeze once cooled.
6. Once thawed, cook the filling until apples are tender and sauce is thickened. Cool, add to pie crusts and bake as usual.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Butternut Squash and Ricotta Pizza


Butternut Squash and Ricotta Pizza

I do so love this pizza ... I mean, I could eat one by myself, and not one slice,  the whole thing! There's a beautiful play of flavors here; sweet roasted butternut squash and onion, garlicky ricotta, tangy Parmesan all on a chewy crust, it's just the best bite.

Butternut Squash and Ricotta Pizza

Look for squash that are dull skinned, heavy for their size with an intact and firm, dry stem. They should have a deep color and the skin should not be easily scratched or nicked. Once you have the right squash, you're ready to go!

Butternut Squash and Ricotta Pizza
Makes 1 pizza - serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

1 pound butternut squash, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 medium sweet onion, such as Vidalia, sliced 1/4-inch thick
3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons salt, divided
1 pound refrigerated pizza dough

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Lay squash and onion slices on a baking sheet and drizzle with 2 Tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt.
3. Roast for 25 minutes or until squash is tender and onions have started to brown. Remove from oven and turn heat to 450 degrees F.
4. Roll dough into a rough oval approximately 15 inches long and 12 inches wide.
5. Brush dough with 1 Tablespoon olive oil and top with squash and onion pieces.
6. Stir together ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, Italian seasoning, garlic and 1 teaspoon salt. Blend well.
7. Drop cheese blend in dollops across squash and onions.
8. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheeses are lightly melted.


My recipe was originally posted at Spoonful.com: http://spoonful.com/recipes/butternut-squash-and-ricotta-pizza

Monday, September 22, 2014

Emeril's Italian Table at Sands Bethlehem Review and Giveaway

Emeril's Italian Table
This is the entrance from the hotel side of the restaurant. It's quite stunning!
Saturday night I had the pleasure of dining at yet another of Emeril Lagasse's restaurants here in Bethlehem, Pa and once again it was a wonderful experience. Dave and I seem to only be getting out together when I get these opportunities and I jump at each one. I think we're getting a little spoiled, but I know neither of us minds.

Emeril's Italian Table is decidedly less "fancy" than Emeril's Chop House, and I'm certain it's meant to be that way. The decor is more rustic and the wait staff is more laid back making the experience casual and relaxing. The menu is full of classic Italian dishes and the choices are limited making it very easy to choose from. 

Our choices are outlined in the photos below and I can assure you each bite was wonderful.


*Please note: I was given a gift certificate directly from Sands Bethlehem specifically for  the purpose of reviewing the restaurant and I was more than happy to oblige. Please note that  the benefit of having my meal paid for does not in any way influence my review. 

On to the review. 
Each restaurant is scaled according to the type of restaurant it is. In other words, I  wouldn't use the same gravity of point for a fast food restaurant as I would for fine dining.  That's comparing apples and oranges. Scaling is 1 for Poor and 5 for Excellent so the total  Perfect Score for any restaurant would be 25.  

Parking- 5 There isn't any other score possible for this because there is valet parking at  all of The Sand's should you so choose to make use of it. Even so, there is ample parking  near the event center and everything is tied together inside so walking to the restaurant is  simple

Ambiance- 4 The only reason I'm docking 1 for this is the fact that my table, and the seat I was in specifically, was directly next to a serving station. There were moments when the wait staff was directly behind me (about 1 foot) getting silverware, glasses and the like. Other than that the atmosphere was very calm and relaxing. The lighting was ample and the fixtures were beautiful. Table distance from one to the next was also very comfortable. 

Food- 5 I don't think any of Emeril's restaurants would get anything but a 5 from me. The food was perfect, seasoned well, served at the right temperature and the serving sizes were just right. I know Dave liked his Veal Parmesan enough to go back and I've heard from others that that specific dish is always a winner.

Service- 5 Knowledgeable staff, prompt service, drinks refilled as needed and everything cleared and taken away or packaged for us to take home as asked. Everyone was friendly and upbeat, as well. 

Pricing- 5 As always, the pricing was commensurate with the quality and quantity of food. We ate very well and spent just under $75 for the two of us including starters, salad, entrées and dessert. We went away very full and very happy.

Check out these links below and keep reading below the photos for your chance to win a meal at Emeril's Italian Restaurant for yourself!


Emeril's Italian Table at the Sands Bethlehem Casino Resort
See the menu HERE for yourself. 
Follow Emeril's Italian Table on 

Visit the Sands Bethlehem Casino Resort site for more fabulous restaurants and shops, as well.



Emeril's Italian Table
Very rustic looking menus.

Emeril's Italian Table
Fresh, still warm bread with honey paprika butter and sweet cream butter.



Emeril's Italian Table
The Chef's Antipasti Sampler with marinated artichoke hearts, Castelvetrano olives, Gorgonzola Dolce cheese, Taleggio cheese, Parmigiano Reggiano, Salami Calabrese, Prosciutto di Parma, Soppressata and a lovely apricot mostarda served with fried pizza dough. This is the perfect starter and we even took some home. You can choose your own as well and make up a different platter each time.



Emeril's Italian Table
The Caesar Salad. David has become quite fond of these at Emeril's restaurants!


Emeril's Italian Table
I had the Chicken Marsala which was beautifully tender and served with a Kennet Square mushroom sauce and rapini. 



Emeril's Italian Table
Dave chose the Veal Parmesan and said he'd come back again just for this!

Emeril's Italian Table
Perfect ending - three mini house made cannoli filled with orange flavored cream. Just the right size and absolutely delizioso!
Now, for your chance to WIN $150 in Gift Certificates to Emeril's Italian Table at Sands Bethlehem Casino Resort see the Rafflecopter widget below and GOOD LUCK!  This means you must live nearby or be planning to visit in  order to use the certificate. U.S. Residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, August 18, 2014

Chicken Cannelloni

Chicken Cannelloni
Chicken Cannelloni

 Cannelloni is a lovely stuffed pasta dish very popular in Italian cuisine. Usually pasta sheets, cannelloni shells or manicotti shells are used. I improvised and used egg roll wrappers instead. Egg roll wrappers are a pasta, but a very thin and delicate one, which just adds to the appeal of this dish. Egg roll wrappers are also far easier to stuff and roll than cooked pasta shells, which can be slippery and messy and often split or fall apart when stuffing. The whole process goes far smoother when time is of the essence - which is always around here.

I love a good Béchamel sauce and usually make my own, but for a quicker and easier solution I've used jarred Alfredo sauce. Use a deep dish for this so the pasta will cook well and not be chewy or underdone. 

Almost better than dinner was dessert ... one of our favorite biscottis, Blueberry - White Morsels Biscotti - click for the recipe! 

Blueberry Biscotti
Blueberry Biscotti

Chicken Cannelloni
Makes 12 - Serves 6

Ingredients:

12 egg roll wrappers - 5" squares
16 oz ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1 teaspoon Kosher salt or 1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon dried basil - crushed
1 clove garlic - minced
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 lb cooked chicken breast - finely chopped
1 cup finely shredded Fontina, Provolone or Italian blend cheese - divided
1 jar (16 oz) Alfredo sauce or 2 cups homemade Béchamel

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

1. Combine ricotta, egg, Parmesan, basil, garlic, salt and pepper. Whisk together well.
2. Fold in chicken and 1/2 cup of Fontina (or other) cheese. Set filling aside.
3. Grease a 9x13 deep baking pan with olive oil. Spread 1/2 cup of Alfredo or Béchamel sauce across the bottom of the pan.
4. Lay out an egg roll wrapper and keep the rest covered with a damp towel so they won't dry out. Place 1/4 to 1/3 cup of filling in the center of the wrapper and roll wrapper tightly around it. The rolls should be about an inch and a half in diameter. Lay, seam side down, in pan on top of sauce. Stuff and roll remaining wrappers and set in the pan in the same way.
5. Top rolls with remaining sauce, covering each completely. Sprinkle the other 1/2 cup of Fontina over the cannelloni.
6. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes until bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.



*Notes:
Liquid needs to be exact with egg roll wrappers. Too much liquid will cause them to fall apart and too little will cause the edges to be dry and crisp.
Spinach can be added once it is cooked and drained very well - about a cup for this size recipe should do it.
I used 50% fat free Alfredo sauce and 2 egg whites instead of 1 egg to help cut back the fat in this recipe.
**Originally posted at Family.com: http://family.go.com/food/recipe-788409-chicken-cannelloni--t/