Tag Archive for fall

Apple Clafoutis

This is it, guys. It’s really fall.

Here on the West Coast, we had a beautiful October, filled to the brim with sunny, crisp days and stunning foliage. It’s one of those times when you’re so grateful for where you live.

When Michael was younger, there would always be a Pro-D day at the end of October, and we’d spend it at the Pumpkin Patch–picking out the perfect pumpkin to eat or to carve up, going on hay rides, eating mini donuts and buying apples and other fresh, seasonal produce.

Apple Clafoutis

Sadly, Mr. Teenager is no longer into it, but I dragged him out to Abbotsford anyway a couple weeks back to Tave’s, which is an apple farm. They have pumpkins, apples, apple cider, and lots of fun activities for the littles, like a corn maze, pony rides, and a petting zoo (nothing makes me happier than petting goats).

We came home, natch, with a pumpkin, some apples, and some freshly-pressed apple cider.

There are so many things you can do with apples, both sweet and savoury, but I wanted to do something little less traditional than say, a cobbler or a pie. I decided to try making an apple clafoutis.

Clafoutis is a French dessert. Basically, you take any kind of fruit you like (cherries are most traditional), and throw them into the bottom of the pan. Hard-core French won’t even pit them. Then, you make a really simple batter–it’s a lot like a pancake or crepe batter–just flour, sugar, eggs and milk, and pour it on top of your fruit, and then bake at a high temp.

The end result is much bigger than the sum of its humble parts. The batter creates a kind of custardy filling that is infused with the fruit. And the fruit–juicy, delicious and warm–is fan-freaking-tastic.

In an ideal world, you’d want to bake this off at the last moment and serve it warm to the table with a dusting of powdered sugar or maybe a nice cold scoop of ice cream.

Here, I’ve swapped out the cherries for apples, but before putting them to bed in a warm blanket of batter in the oven, the apples are sautéed in cider, a little booze, cinnamon and butter, to glaze them and bring out their natural sweetness and juiciness.

Apple Clafoutis: what fall desserts dream of being.

Clafoutis Apple

Apple Clafoutis

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 c butter
  • 1/4 cup apple cider or juice
  • 4 sturdy apples, peeled, cored, and sliced (granny smiths are good)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp liquor (rum would be great, any whisky, or amaretto)
  • 1/2-1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup condensed milk
  • 1/2 c butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Method:

  1. In a cast iron frying pan over medium heat, melt the 1/4 cup butter. Toss in the apples, apple cider, sugar and cinnamon and toss well. Allow to cook down about 5 minutes until the sauce has thickened and is coating the apples with a glaze. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, in a blender, add the eggs, milk, vanilla, flour, sugar and salt. Blitz it until it is smooth, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  4. Arrange the apples in a single layer on the bottom of the pan, and then pour the clafoutis batter overtop in an even layer. Cook for 25-30 minutes, or until it’s set in the middle. It’s okay if it’s still a bit jiggly.
  5. Remove from oven and dust with cinnamon and powdered sugar, and serve warm.

Quinoa, Black Bean, Butternut Chili

I tend to cook with the seasons. That means I like to eat ingredients when they are seasonally available; which means fresh greens and fruit in the summer, heartier winter vegetables in the winter.

a, Black Bean, Butternut Chili

It’s been a long, hot summer here in Vancouver, with very little rain. It’s only just over the last few days that we’ve started to feel a change in the weather, and have been happy to see some badly-needed rain.

One of the things I love most about living here is our beautiful, warm falls. You can pretty much count on there being beautiful weather well into October.

So while Starbucks may be already pimping out the PSL, I’m going to try to enjoy the last bit of summer for a while.

However, I am turning to warmer recipes these days, now that it’s cooled down enough for me to turn on my oven. I’m loving my French Enamel cookware (I am lucky enough to now own TWO Staub Cocottes), which are busy these days making up pots of beans and soups and stews.

Even before I was a vegetarian, I made my chili without meat. I just don’t think it needs it, simply put. Chili, made with beans, especially, is so meaty and full of protein already. It really fills you up.

The spin on this one includes one of my favorite fall ingredients: butternut squash. It also includes and extra dose of protein in the form of quinoa.

It’s a little sweet, a little spicy, very warming and oh-so-filling. You can make this in your French Enamelware, or in your slow cooker.

Vegan Chili

Quinoa, Black Bean, Butternut Chili

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 c vegetable stock
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 smallish butternut squash
  • 1 large (14-oz) can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 c uncooked quinoa
  • 1/4 c chopped cilantro

Method:

  1. Heat your dutch oven over medium heat, and add a couple tablespoons of oil. Dice up the onion and add it to the pot. Season and stir well. Allow onions to sweat out for 5-10 minutes, until soft.
  2. While the onions are cooking, cut the butternut squash in half, and peel. Scoop out the seeds, then cut into 1″ dice.
  3. Finely dice the garlic and add it, stirring, just until fragrant. Now add all the spices and stir well so that they coat the onions and garlic.
  4. Now add the squash, and stir well. Cook for 5 minutes or so more, allowing the edges to soften and pick up some colour.
  5. Now add everything else, stir well, and taste for seasoning. Allow to simmer, partially covered, on top of the stove for about 20-30 minutes, until the squash is soft and everything is thick and comes together.
  6. Before serving, taste and see if it needs more salt or heat. Stir in most of the cilantro, reserving a few leaves for garnish. Garnish with a sprinkling of cilantro, and slices of avocado, if you wish.

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