Category Archives: Apples

Apple Tart

Well, there is nothing like a hurricane to give you an incentive to cook something. For those of you who have somehow not heard, the East Coast is experiencing a bit of bad weather. Many students across the Northeast are rejoicing tonight as schools and universities have announced closures for the second day in a row. Since most of my friends and I have strategically avoided Friday classes, this has given us a much-need five day weekend to catch up on sleep and homework–or, in my case, cooking. I just really hope this clears up so kids can go trick-or-treating on Halloween!

About a week ago, I went apple and pumpkin picking with my friends West and Amanda.

Surveying our options

I love pretty much everything about fall, but the one thing I love most is escaping the city for a day and going apple and/or pumpkin picking. This is incredibly ironic as the thought of camping gives me hives. But picking my own produce? Totally down with that. West grew up on a farm, and I like to think that Amanda and I amused him with our extreme excitement at all things nature-related. Like most city-folk who venture to a farm, Amanda and I came home with roughly 6½-lbs of apples each. I haven’t had a chance to make anything with them until now, however, as assignments have kept me out of the kitchen. Nothing like a hurricane to return one’s cooking-mojo.

This is my go-to apple galette/tart recipe. I’ve been making it for nearly eight years, and no other recipe has been able to trump it. The crust is flaky and quickly assembled. The filling is easily adaptable to what one has on hand. The tart itself is not very sweet–making it the perfect vehicle for some coffee or vanilla ice cream. So, if you still have power and are stuck indoors during a hurricane with a ton of apples, I suggest betaking your stir-crazy self to the kitchen. Happy eating, and I hope everyone in the Northeast stays safe and dry!

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Cinnamon Apple Banana Bread

They say necessity is the mother of invention, and this recipe is proof of that statement’s veracity. I always have fruit, and I most definitely always have bananas. It’s one of those habits that I picked up from my mother. Actually, that last bit is more the result of my father’s insistence on making sure we all got our “daily dose of potassium,” but the point is that I always have fruit. One person can only eat so much fruit, however, and I constantly wind up with a couple of pieces that I cannot consume before they get too ripe to eat.

Having too much fruit, however, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It gives me ample excuse to make fruit-filled pancakes, smoothies, and desserts. My favorite way to use up ripe fruit, however, is by making banana bread. I use my mother’s recipe and have wonderful memories of making loaves of banana bread with her when my dad bought way too many bananas.

When I realized that I had two very ripe bananas earlier this week, my instinct was to make some banana bread. Here’s the problem: my mom’s recipe calls for three bananas. Solution? Add an apple. I didn’t want to lose the banana flavor, however, so I decided to roast my bananas to intensify it. I also cooked the apple pieces for a few minutes so that they wouldn’t release too much water while baking and create a soggy loaf. Working off of my mother’s recipe, I noticed that the substitution of the apple for a banana made the batter a bit too thick. Solution? Add Greek yogurt. The result was an incredibly moist (Horrid word. I know. Apologies) treat that made for a pretty awesome breakfast solution this week.

Maybe it’s not such a bad thing to lack ingredients after all. Happy eating!

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Fennel and Apple Salad

Continuing on my Spanish food kick, the second dish from dinner the other night (and hands down my favorite part of the meal) was a salad that I first had during Sam’s and my trip to Jaleo. Sam had told me about it before we went and insisted that we order the dish. As previously mentioned, I love fennel in pretty much any form. Hand me a bulb and I will eat it raw. This salad, followed closely by some delicious roasted onions, were my favorite tapas/dishes of the night (and that’s a difficult title to win at Jaleo).

The flavors in this salad are fantastic. The heartiness of the walnut and the apple were the perfect tint of winter which, combined with the fennel and chives that reminded me of early spring, made for the perfect “transition salad” between seasons. Ideally, you should probably slice your fennel and perhaps your apple on a mandolin. Being a poor law student, I don’t have one of those. That being said, slicing both really thinly with an extremely sharp knife did the trick for me. This also kept pretty well in the fridge and made for a great side salad at lunch the next day. Also, be sure to slice your apple last, as that will preserve it’s color.

On another note: my friend Sam is off to Italy for four months of culinary school and an internship. If you’d like to keep up with travels and culinary adventures, be sure to check out her blog at travelingwithmymouthfull.wordpress.com. Happy eating!

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Restaurant Review: Pie Sisters

Picture property of Pie Sisters

So, as many of you know, cupcakes have been a “thing” in D.C. for quite some time. A whole slew of highly successful little bakeshops popped up following the unbelievable success of Georgetown Cupcake (think DC Cupcakes on TLC). Well, it seems as though another set of sisters is trying to start a whole new craze in the District but, instead of pillowy cupcakes, they are using personal pies to lure in customers!

Pie Sisters features a variety of sweet and savory cupcakes, and I’ve been dying to check this place out ever since I heard that it was opening. Located at the end of the Key Bridge in Georgetown, Pie Sisters boasts quite the array of pies. They have a number of cream pies (banana, coconut, chocolate, vanilla), plus your standard fruit pies (cherry, apple pecan praline, pumpkin, lemon meringue, key lime, etc.) in “cuppie” and large sizes. You can either get a small, “cuppie” pie (size of a cupcake) or a slice from a bigger sweet pie. They also offer 7- and 9-inch whole pies if you order 24 hours in advance. I was really impressed by their pies. They were not too sweet and had a great, flaky crust. I plan on picking up a few in the coming weeks as treat for my friends at school!

"Cuppies"--Picture property of Pie Sisters

While their sweet pies were delicious (I tried the apple, and my friend Jocelyn tried the coconut cream), what I really adored was their chicken pot pie. They only had two savory pies when Joss and I went (a chili pie and a chicken pot pie), but we both adore chicken pot pie and each had to get a cuppie. Personally, I wanted the chicken pot pie to be a wee bit bigger (mostly because it was so delicious!), but I’m also certain I wouldn’t have had room for dessert otherwise. That being said, you probably need 2 pies for a substantial meal. Actually, what would be amazing is if they started to offer a side salad to accompany your savory pie…just a thought.

My fellow taste tester, Jocelyn!

Anyway, Pie Sisters is pretty great. Jocelyn and I absolutely loved the ambiance and kind of wanted to move into the place. I mean, what’s better than exposed brick, fresh flowers, and shelves full of warm pie?!

Sorry for the blurry pics. I relied on my camera phone, and, well, let's just say my phone isn't "smart."

It was also really refreshing to see two of the sisters at the shop, baking pies and making sure that everyone was being helped. And the staff working the counter was cheerful and personable. So, if you are ever in the area, be sure to stop by Pie Sisters! This is one trend that I am more than happy to support.

Also, if anyone is feeling generous, I would like a ginormous clock for my apartment next year. K. Awesome. Thanks.

**Please note that our reviews are not sponsored. We just blog about places we’ve tried and things we love.**


Revamped Thanksgiving Staples

Recently, I’ve had a few people ask me, “Megan, do you have any good Thanksgiving recipes?”  Well, boy do I.  I have lots of terrific, tried, tested, and approved recipes for Thanksgiving, and I would love to share them with you.

Now, years back, when we used to live in DC, we would drive to Ohio for Thanksgiving and spend it with our families.  As guests, we usually didn’t do much cooking, but one year, I asked if I could try my hand at preparing the turkey.  My mother-in-law was kind enough to allow me to do so, and I was able to test Martha Stewart’s recipe for a brined turkey that I had been dying to try.  It was my first time fixing a turkey, and I was nervous—especially since generations of family members were doubting my techniques—but in the end, it was a total success.  The bird was moist and flavorful with a crispy skin.  What more could you ask for?

Once we moved to New York, however, Thanksgiving changed.  Instead of returning to Ohio to be with our families, we fix a feast here and invite friends over.  It has been a lot of fun, and it has allowed me to be as OCD about Thanksgiving dinner as I want to.  You see, I grew up not loving Thanksgiving.  I mean, I loved the family togetherness, but I’m not a mashed-potato-lover, and yams covered in marshmallows don’t get me excited.  In fact, the only food I really looked forward to on Turkey Day was the pie.

But once I got full control of the menu, I was able to revamp it and reinvent the “perfect Thanksgiving dinner.”  I stay true to the basics—turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberries, etc.—but prepare them in a more modern, if you will, fashion.

Below is a list of links to my favorite recipes.  These are recipes that will, no doubt, be on my Thanksgiving table this year.  I hope they make it on yours as well!

Brandon's lovely "tablescape"

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