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Apple Galette

dsc_2000We’re having some major yard and deck work done at our house. It’s taken some time already, and will take even more time to complete. So often, I just want to fast forward in life. Fast forward to the yard being complete and seeing beautiful grass instead of mud as we sit on our deck and watch the sunset. Fast forward to REAL fall temps when the leaves have turned brilliant shades of red and gold. In the past I’ve wanted to fast forward to graduation, to marriage, to moving, to so many things.

Although it’s fun (sometimes daunting) to cast visions for the future, I think there is great joy to be found in the here and now that can easily be missed. In the “our yard’s a mess” stage it’s tempting to compare ourselves to others and focus only on what is to come rather than opening our eyes to what currently is. I think Lin-Manuel Miranda says it best: “Look around, look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now!” Life is fleeting and ought not to be missed. Embrace the transition of the season you might currently be in, knowing that it brings enough in itself to be valued.

The temperatures might still be warm, but before fast forwarding and wishing away each day to a cooler one, embrace the now. And the now is: apple season! Bring on the apple pie, apple crisp, apple butter, and apple galette!

dsc_1936An apple wha? What? According to good ol’ Mirriam-Webster, a galette is “a flat round cake of pastry often topped with fruit.” If a tart and a pie had a child, I think it would be a galette. The dough is like a pie crust, but you eat it more like a tart, with the fruit beautifully exposed. You could even use store-bought dough, but this dough recipe is super simple and I just know you can make it from scratch. You got this! Plus, in this recipe there is cinnamon in the dough to give it even more autumnal goodness. I don’t think you can buy that.

First, make the dough and roll it out. Then, lay the apples in a beautiful arrangement on the dough.

dsc_1861Next, fold the dough loosely over the apples to give it a rustic look. Pinch together dough as needed to eliminate any major creases or holes.

dsc_1864Top the galette with the cinnamon sugar mixture and bake for about 45 minutes.

dsc_1886That’s it! Sweet, cinnamony galette. Make this recipe while apples are best this time of year and while you’re savoring the goodness in each day!

Apple Galette
Prep Time: 25 min. Dough Cool Time: 1 hour + 15 min. Bake Time: 45 min.

Ingredients:

For the Crust:

2 cups flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine kosher salt
12 tablespoons (1.5 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
1 tablespoon cinnamon
4-5 tablespoons ice water

For the Apples:

5 apples (gala or honeycrisp, although I’m sure others would work) peeled, cored, sliced lengthwise into half moons
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, diced
1 egg, beaten

Preparation:

First prepare the crust. In a food processor, mix together the flour, salt, and cinnamon. Add the diced butter and pulse 10-12 times. Slowly add the ice water one tablespoon at a time until the dough just begins to come together. Remove dough from the food processor, gather into a round, and pat into a 6″ round disc. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for one hour.

Preheat oven to 400°. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Remove dough from the refrigerator and roll it on a well-floured surface to a large round, about 15″ diameter and 1/2″ thick. Transfer dough onto prepared baking sheet (tip: for easy transfer, use spatulas underneath to help lift the dough).

Starting about 2″ in from the edge of the dough, arrange apples in a circular pattern, overlapping a bit as you work (see picture above). Fold dough edges gently over the apples and pinch to seal any holes or creases that might allow liquid to escape. Place entire baking sheet with galette back in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and pumpkin pie spice. Remove galette from the refrigerator. Brush beaten egg around the crust of the galette. Sprinkle the sugar all over the galette, tucking some sugar under the folded crust as well. Top the apples with the butter pieces. Bake for 45 minutes until crust is golden and apples are bubbling. Remove from oven and transfer galette to a wire rack to cool completely before cutting. Serve warm alongside whipped cream or ice cream.

Eggplant Fries

DSC_2103If you were to ask me to name my favorite food when I was about eight years old, the answer would probably be fried eggplant. I was pretty dang good at making it on my own around that age. My parents would help with the knife skills of course, but I’d be the one with the egg and the breadcrumbs and the pats of butter ready to go. I’ve always been my dad’s sous chef. Still today, when I see eggplant parmesan on an Italian menu, it’s hard for me not to order it. I love it.

My parents had a surplus of eggplants in their garden this year, and one was so round and plump that they lovingly named it “Big Bob.” Here is Big Bob with his eggplant family. I almost want to draw stick figure hands and feet and smiles on all of them.

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Photo Credit: My wonderful father

I had the pleasure of adopting Big Bob and turning him into something delicious. These eggplant fries are a lighter alternative to the traditional eggplant parmesan, and they’re fun to eat because you can dunk them in any sauce. We like ranch with ours. Whether you are looking for a lighter appetizer or side, searching for vegetarian recipes, or just have a surplus of eggplants to eat, we hope these eggplant fries rise to the occasion.

RIP Big Bob.

Eggplant Fries
Prep Time: 25 min. Cook Time: 25 min.

Ingredients:

1 medium eggplant
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1.5 teaspoons onion powder
1.5 teaspoons garlic powder
2 cups panko
1 cup parmesan cheese
3 eggs, beaten
Olive oil

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 425°. Place a nonstick (or lightly oiled) wire rack atop a baking sheet and set aside.

Using a sharp knife, carefully cut off the top and bottom ends of the eggplant. Slice eggplant lengthwise into 3/4″ thick pieces, then cut each of those into 3/4″ thick sticks.

Set up three separate bowls, large enough to fit each piece of eggplant in.

Bowl 1: Flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, mixed

Bowl 2: Eggs, beaten

Bowl 3: Panko and parmesan cheese, mixed

Coat each eggplant stick one at a time first in the flour, then in the egg, then in the panko, and place on the wire rack. Lightly drizzle olive oil over all the eggplant sticks. Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow eggplant to cool before serving. Serve with ranch, BBQ, or ketchup.

Strawberry Oatmeal Bars

DSC_1777The school year is in full swing here in St. Louis. Actually, it’s been in full swing for a while! Teachers in some districts went back as early as August 3rd! According to my books, when school starts, fall starts. Yes, I know it’s still a zillion degrees outside, but I still associate back to school season with fall, so I’m just going to pretend it’s happening. Bring on the fall baking, pumpkin beer, college football, and cool weather! Most of the buildings I work in are super nicely air conditioned, so I tend to bring along sweaters and long sleeves. However, at the end of the day I am quickly reminded of those zillion degree temps as soon as I step outside and am smacked in the face with St. Louis humidity. Sigh, I guess I’ll hold off on breaking out the boots for another few weeks.

If you’re like me, the hankering for an after school snack still exists when you’re an adult. These delicious snack bars are super easy to make and a perfect way to satisfy that afternoon craving. You can replace the preserves in the middle with any flavor that you like. There are still a few good peach crops left this year, so that might be a nice way to say goodbye to summer flavors. Strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, rhubarb, peach, and apple all work, so go with your favorite jam!

Happy back to school to all students, teachers, parents, staff, and anyone else who works in education! It’s going to be a great year. Oh, and sorry it’s been forever since I’ve posted. I’m sure you can tell whenever I’m back to work due to the decreased number of blog posts. More deliciousness coming your way sooner rather than later.

Strawberry Oatmeal Bars
Recipe Adapted From: Ree Drummond
Prep Time: 20 min. Cook Time: 45 min.

Ingredients:

2 cups flour
2 cups oats
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sticks butter, cut into small pieces
1 jar (17 oz.) strawberry preserves
1 cup sliced strawberries + 1 tablespoon sugar

Preparation:

In a small bowl, combine sliced strawberries and one tablespoon of sugar. Stir to coat strawberries with sugar and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter a 9 x 13″ glass pan. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Add the pieces of butter to the mixture and use your hands to work the butter through the mixture until most of the mixture is moist from the butter, with some dry crumbs remaining.

Dump half the mixture into the buttered pan and press so that crumbs stick together. Next, spread the preserves in an even layer on top of the first layer. You might need to use your fingers here, depending on the thickness of your preserves. Be sure to get the edges, too! Dump the other half of the mixture on the preserves, spread evenly, and lightly press.

Arrange sugary strawberries on top of the bars. Bake for 45-50 minutes until the bars are just starting to turn golden brown. Remove from oven and cool completely before slicing.

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