Fall, my favorite season, is officially here! I love seeing all the new seasonal vegetables and fruits, the cooler days and nights, and the changing leaves. In this newsletter I’ve included a handy winter squash guide to help you navigate the grocery stores. Also with this season starts meals that are generally a little more complex, flavor wise, so a mise en place primer seemed in order. And very last, I’ve included one of my favorite apple recipes, the Silver Palate’s Chunky Apple and Walnut cake; a recipe you need to make right now!
This time of year we start to see so many beautiful and weird looking squashes. Here is a great short visual post that can help you determine which type of squash you are seeing and how to cook it.
Mise En Place
Mise en place is the French term for everything in it’s place. In the kitchen that means having everything ready to go before you actually start cooking. Think TV cooking show. Everything is pre-measured and chopped, so the chef can focus on talking and teaching. But for the home cook this means you can focus on actually cooking instead of stopping all the time to measure, or chop something. This also prevents you from mis-measuring because you are distracted by say a kid, a dog or a spouse. This may sound like a waste of time, but I highly encourage you to try it.
First read thru the recipe once. Then chop all the vegetables/meat and have them in piles on your cutting board or in bowls, measure all your ingredients out ahead of time, and have a pan warming over very low heat or the stove on. Then begin cooking!
Please let me know what you think of this method once you’ve tried it a few times!
Chunky Apple Walnut Cake
(Silver Palate Cookbook recipe)
2 cups unbleached, all purpose flour
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
3 1/4 cups coarse chunks of peeled baking apples (I like granny smith)
3T Calvados, brandy or whiskey
Preheat oven to 325.
Grease a bundt pan or a 10in springform pan.
Use a fork to stir together the dry ingredients and set aside.
In large bowl beat vegetable oil and sugar until thicker, about 2-3 minutes*. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each edition.
Stir in the dry ingredients.
Toss apples and walnuts in 1 tablespoon flour to lightly coat. Then stir fruit and nuts into batter along with Calvados until pieces are evenly distributed.
Pour batter into the greased pan. Bake 1 hour 15 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean
Let cake rest in pan 10 minutes, then unmold and pour glaze over warm cake.
*I have also just whisked this together by hand so I didn’t have to pull out the mixer. The oil sugar mixture never really thickened but the cake still turned out fantastic!
Apple Cider Glaze
4T sweet butter
2T brown sugar
3T Calvados, brandy or whiskey
4T sweet cider
2T fresh orange juice
2T heavy cream
Melt butter in small saucepan and stir in both sugars. Add remaining ingredients, stir, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat slightly and cook for 4 minutes.
Side note: In the original recipe they have you pour the glaze over the warm cake. I prefer to serve the glaze on the side and I usually double it-it’s so good!