Friday: baked apples

Baked apples are one of those comfort foods here in our house. Always good on those cold winter nights or for a breakfast treat when you have a long lazy morning.

Take four medium sized tart apples and core them from the top and then the bottom. Running a very sharp paring knife around them slowly from the top and bottom will do the trick.
Put them in a small pie plate which has been smeared with butter to grease it.

Then mix up:

1/2 cup of rolled oats
1/3 cup of brown sugar
1/2 stick of butter
1 tsp cinnamon or a little more if you like
1 tsp ginger
and a lot of freshly grated nutmeg

Take this mixture and stuff it into the holes you made in the apples. It's ok if the crumbles fall around the pan as they will bake right along with it all. If you are wanting something more sweet you can always:

drizzle a 1/4 cup of maple syrup over this to finish it off.

Bake the apples at 350F for an hour or until a fork pierces the side of the apple easily.
Top with a little cream, a small scoop of ice cream or whipped cream. We even just pour a little milk over the top when we are out of the other fancy milk products!


Thursday : Sweet potato frikadellen

The German frikadellen hasn't been seen messing about with sweet potatoes to my knowledge, however, it's a delightful twist on a traditional favorite.

I can't take the credit for this one, as Rainer is the frikadellen king in this house. Hmmm, he is the only king in this house actually ... but I digress. I love a good vegetable plate and he never fails to please me. So dear Grace, if you are needing a bit of Germany and can't get out of France and want to spare the pigs, try this one. You need a little more time, but it's worth it!

Sweet Potato Frikadellen (served with steamed cabbage and carrots with a side of salad)

Bake up three medium sized sweet potatoes (or find them leftover from the night before)

Mash them with:

1 egg
2 chopped pepperoncini
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 tsp cumin or more if you want
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
a small handful of oatmeal

Form them into the little patties and dust them with breadcrumbs. They should be moist enough to have the breadcrumbs stick on their own.

Fry them slowly in olive oil over a medium heat - watching them closely so you don't burn them and then drain them on paper towels. It should make enough for you and a friend or two!


Wednesday: Super Smoothie

Dear Grace, I know you are a fan of smoothies. When you were a little girl we made them with yogurt and your favorite fruits then we froze them into popsicles, remember? When you got a little older you wanted to add some other ingredients. At one point in high school you were not interested in cooking and wanted to just liquify all your meals to drink them. We told you that was gross, but let you try it out. (Remember, when I get old, I don't want you to do that for meJust let me starve, ok?) Or better yet, serve me this as it has become our favorite morning and sometimes lunchtime meal on the go.

Super Smoothie:

Get yourself a blender in France dear - it's your favorite kitchen appliance..

Take 1/4 pound silken tofu
Half a cup of organic sweet frozen cherries or strawberries or blueberries or combine them
2 cups of unsweetened soymilk or more to thin it out
A banana if you want it thicker

Whir it up in the blender, stopping to make sure it's all blended up. Put it into your to go cup and make sure you take it with you...


Tuesday : Penne with artichokes

Something easy, fast and always good the next day too!

A 12 oz. box of rice penne pasta, cooked as directions require. Of course you can use any penne pasta, but I love rice penne.

In a large frying pan heat up:

1/3 cup virgin olive oil
Stir in:
4 crushed cloves of garlic (it's a lot, but it's good)

Stir in and cook until almost caramelized:
2 thinly sliced onions - you can use sweet onions or standard yellows, but the sweet are a little nicer

Add these, thinly sliced:
1 pound of mushrooms (baby portabello or white)
cook until browned around the edges

Finally add and heat through:
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1 cup quartered artichoke hearts

Add any additional olive oil as needed -- then toss in the penne pasta, sea salt to taste and lots of fresh ground pepper and heat through.

Serve with some freshly grated parmesan cheese - if you wish and some green ripe olives. It's a hit.


Monday: Pear and Cranberry crumble

Sometimes the best thing in life is fruit, simply baked and topped with some available crunch.

Made on Sunday to enjoy on Monday. Hello! I am glad you came by ...

Pear and Cranberry crumble
4 or 5 large very ripe pears
3 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup homemade cranberry sauce
2 flax seed or other crunchy type granola bars crushed up
light cream for the top

Peel and slice the pears. Smear 1 tablespoon of butter around a 7 inch pie plate. Arrange the pear slices around the plate. Spoon the cranberry sauce on top in a nice pattern. Cut up the remaining butter into dots and place on top. Finally sprinkle the crushed granola bars over the top of the fruit. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes at 350F and serve warm with a splash of cream over all.