While there are fewer farmers at our winter market, many good choices are still available. Pick up some organic Braeburn apples for Apple Crisp version 1.2 and buy some leeks from Happy Boys Farm to use in the recipe of the week. Remember that the market will be closed Friday, December 24th and December 31st, as the facility will function on a holiday schedule.
Apple Crisp 1.0 had, I admit, some annoying dry spots of flour. Version 1.1, with oats, was an improvement. Version 1.2 is courtesy of a superb home cook in Michigan. Melting the butter before mixing the "crisp" ingredients makes it all work. I combined the learnings from all three, brought it to work twice this week and watched it disappear. Preheat the oven to 350°. Toast 2/3 cup walnuts for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool and chop coarsely. Lightly butter a 9" X 13" glass baking dish. Peel, core and slice 8 to 9 Braeburns (better than Granny Smith or Pippin, I think) and place in the baking dish. Sprinkle with a little sugar and cinnamon and maybe a little brandy. For the crisp, melt 1 stick butter (I use Earth Balance butter substitute and it tastes fine). Mix in 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup flour, 2 cups oats, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground ginger and 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg. Stir in the walnuts.
Spread the topping evenly over the apples and bake for about 45 minutes or until brown and the apples are tender. This is a good one to prepare ahead, then cook during dinner so you can serve it warm.
If you have time to cook breakfast or brunch over the holidays, the following recipe is highly recommended. I include the changes I make to lighten up the fat and cholesterol content a little with no adverse effect whatsoever on the result.
I know you'll like it.
- 3 large eggs (equivalent 3/4 cup egg substitute)
- 2 Tbsp crème fraîche (I used non-fat sour cream)
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 2 oz smoked salmon (about 1/4 cup) slivered (leftover salmon works too but tastes different)
- 2 Tbsp butter (or Earth Balance substitute)
- 1 leek, rinsed, dried and chopped including some of the green part
- 1/4 tsp caraway seeds
- 3 Tbsp goat cheese, crumbled
Preheat broiler. Beat eggs and mix in salmon, crème fraîche, and pepper. Melt the butter in a 10" ovenproof skillet until the foaming stops. Sauté the leeks and carraway seeds until tender. Remove 1/2 of the leeks with a slotted spoon and reserve. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet and cook until the bottom is set but the top still runny -- about 3 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle the reserved leeks and goat cheese on top. Broil 1 to 2 minutes until the cheese is just starting to melt.