I've had this box of apples in my garage since December. Every year I buy Idaho food (to support the FFA) available from kids at our High School. I usually buy potatoes or apples and usually only a bag. This year SM was given a box of big, beautiful potatoes from the Nampa FFA, and I bought a ginormous box of apples from the Kuna FFA. So I've made all kinds of things with these treasures stored in our garage.
I had no idea how big a 50 pound box of apples really was: After many great dishes with apples in the past 2 months, I still have about 80 left. So here's another fun little Idaho apple recipe. It's really nice to have Idaho fruit when it's 8 degrees outside, however, my guess is I'll still have plenty of Apples in May! For today, though, Mini Idaho Apple Pies:
Ingredients: Idaho Pie Crust,
About 4 apples, peeled and cut into tiny pieces
2 Tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons honey
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. While the pie crust is chillin', make the apple filling. Toss apples in a bowl with flour, cinnamon, salt and honey. Stir to combine and set aside. Roll out crust to 1/4" or less. Cut into 3" squares and then cut diagonally in half.
Press triangle of crust into sprayed mini-muffin pan.
Leave a little edge of crust above the pan.
Fill with a scoop of apple filling. Bake for 15-18 minutes.
Serve with a "tiny little scoop of ice cream" (SM 8:30pm)
This is an idea I first saw on Pinterest, the first one with a Bisquick crust, and the second encased in egg roll wrappers. Of course I had to adjust it to make it Idaho-style, and make with whole foods. So here it is: The Eating Idaho Mini Chicken pot pie. Enjoy!
Ingredients: Idaho pie crust
olive oil (or non-stick olive oil spray)
carrots, sliced small (2or3 carrots)
onions, diced (I used 1/2 an onion)
garlic, minced (1 used 4 cloves)
chicken breast, cut into small pieces (I used one breast)
tarragon, 1 tsp (dried from last summer, right??)
salt & pepper
chicken broth (I used about 1 cup)
corn starch (I used 1 tsp)
corn (most recipes also use peas, but SM doesn't like them)
Preheat oven to 375. Make Idaho Pie Crust. While it's chilin' in the fridge, make the filling:
Spray deep fry pan with non-stick spray, or 1 Tbs of oil. Add carrots and onions and cook until soft (4-5 minutes.) Add the garlic and cook until you can smell it (1-2 min.)
Add chicken, tarragon, salt & pepper, cook until no longer white. Add mix of broth and corn starch and corn (and peas if you are into that sort of thing) and then cook until bubbly and thick. Add parm and stir in.
Press crust into mini cupcake pan, leaving a little edge around the top to hold filling in. Add a large scoop of filling. Bake 15min or more until crust is set and just starting to brown.
I asked SM what he'd serve them with, and he said NOTHING. I took that as a good sign!
What does deep discussion of family, politics, and religion over great Idaho food mean? Pretty much everything you aren't supposed to talk about in polite company, and another field trip of the Idaho Foodies. This time: The Orchard House, in Caldwell. This charming, warm, little place with grown up food was perfect for today's very foggy, grey day.
Walking into The Orchard house this morning felt a little like stepping into a friend's cabin: real wood walls and furniture, dark leather, and wall decor made of antique fruit labels made me think of the perfect come in from the cold place to have your brunch and coffee. The efficient rectangular room with about 4 booths, 6 tables, and a leather bench with family-style seating down one wall was decorated with wine bottles in buckets on windowsills surrounded by white Christmas lights. Of course, the emphasis on local food and wine made me feel even more at home, from the Idaho Wine display to the glass case of pies baked with local fruit near the entrance.
This little cafe/cabin kitchen is open all day (7am -9pm) and appropriately located across from an orchard. When we asked owner Sherri McCoy about local ingredients, she immediately started talking about summer, explaining that local farmers bring what they have and they "make stuff with it". She explained that summer also leads to greater customer traffic when fruit comes on. "We get bushels of fruit: I have freezers all over the valley, and we serve local fruit all year long. One year we only went two weeks with out peaches," she said. "We ran out of (frozen local) peaches just two weeks before the new ones came on." McCoy calls it less a foodie destination: "We are just a place with good food. Some people drop in coming from California visiting friends or relatives in Idaho, some come in to 'Check it off their list' [of places that "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" has filmed.] Some people eat two meals per day here."
Orchard's chef, McCoy's son-in-law Rubio Izaguirre, doesn't have any formal culinary training but you'd never know that from the food we ate. My Orchard House Breakfast of bacon and eggs, toast and hash browns was exactly what I needed for the cold morning. If When I visit next, though, I'll be having the Orchard potatoes, which looked beautiful with Sarah's omelette. As usual we ate off each other's plates, and Amy's Portobello eggs were also very, very tasty.
On our way out the door we took time to browse through the selection of local jams, wines and other products framing the glass case of Idaho fruit-inspired desserts. After careful consideration, I took home a piece of apricot peach pie that I shared with SM. I figured since he wasn't along for our field trip, he deserved a taste of my take-home treat. His opinion: Very Good! Mine:Tastes like summer in Idaho.
I've been inspired many times by this lady, but last week when I read her recipe for Lighter German Apple Pancakes from Worth the Whisk, I was REALLY inspired. Inspired to learn more about German Pancakes, inspired to make something warm and yummy for breakfast (average low of ZERO lately,) and inspired to adapt it to a (nearly) All Idaho version.
My investigation started with my Cook's Illustrated cookbook, which explained that the batter is basically the same as a popover. That led me next to Rhulman's blog about these popovers that use steam to puff up, which explains the lack of baking powder in the recipes. My search for German pancake recipes often led to results for Dutch Babies; in fact a Wikipedia search for German pancake will redirect the reader to the page for Dutch Baby. The most helpful part in the entry is last sentence, which explains the origin of the word Dutch as "...a corruption of the German autonymdeutsch."
I found several references to a general recipe for Dutch Baby/German pancakes as 1/3 cup flour and 1/3 cup liquid per egg. Which relates to Rhulman's crepe ratio of 1 part egg 1 part milk 1/2 part flour by weight. Rhulman says to bake a popover at 425, but Alton Brown says 375. Worth the whisk's original recipe has 3 eggs per 1/2 cup flour, where Alton Brown calls for 2. Alton calls for all-purpose, because of the gluten content, but Patti suggests wheat flour for a healthier version. Cook's Illustrated calls for cream, which makes a heavier, creamier version: directly opposite of Patti's which is skim milk for that healthier touch. Obviously there are options.
I found that more eggs produced a denser, puffier pancake, where less made a crispier pancake, nicely browned and caramelized almost more like a crepe. SM prefered the cake-ier one, I prefered the crisper. We both preferred a denser layer of apples and the taste of Idaho honey in the mix. Thanks to SM, who ate these three times over two days and carefully analyzed the differences with me. This is the recipe I finally decided was the best for us both, but there is certainly some room to experiment!
2 T butter
2-3 apples, peeled and sliced (I have a big box of Idaho Fuji: sweet)
2 T honey (Mine was from Emmett)
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 c wheat flour (Canyon Bounty from Nampa)
1/2 t salt
1/2 c milk
optional: lemon wedge
Preheat the oven to 425. In oven safe fry pan, saute apples in butter. Add spices and honey and continue to saute, about 5 minutes. Salt lightly. Remove from heat. Spread apples into a somewhat flat layer.
To blender, add flour, salt, milk & eggs. Blend 30 seconds. Pour on top of apples and place in oven.
Bake 15 - 18 minutes until puffy and beginning to brown. Remove from oven and invert onto serving plate OR cut into wedges and turn them over individually if you aren't that brave.
Stay with traditional and serve with powdered sugar and lemon.
Treat it like a regular pancake, and serve a slice with butter and maple syrup (but if you do, use a good quality real maple syrup from an East Coast family farm. You won't be sad that you did this!)
To stay true to Idaho: Serve drizzled with Idaho Caramel sauce. Yes, this negates all of the hard work of Patti's Lighter version. But it's oh-so-good. Just plan to run an extra few miles this week.
Weekends this time of year are set aside expressly for football. Lots of football.
Playoff football means I'd rather be watching than cooking, which means I need fast recipes, or at least those that take care of themselves while I park on the couch.
So I tried a test run of this recipe earlier in the week. I was going for the low-cook-all-day-pulled-chicken and I came home from work to a crockpot containing rubbery blackened chicken breasts covered with charred bbq sauce and a tremendous mess to clean up. Even though I left it on low. Not a good start.
I tried again this morning with a small appetizer type crock pot, shorter cooking time and a watchful eye (during commercials of course.) This is another place when my digital thermometer is priceless. I love mine the way some women love a Coach purse or alligator shoes.
As my mother's daughter and an avid reader of barfblog.com, I am fully aware of food borne illness and various scary bacteria that are most likely killed at certain temperatures. As good as my thermometer is at verifying that food is completely cooked, it is GREAT for not over cooking and I was shocked when today's chicken was done in less than 2 hours. If you are making this while you watch, I'd suggest using a meat thermometer every 30 minutes - and more often as it gets closer - to keep a close eye.
This BBQ chicken slider is a great football-watching meal and can be made with completely Idaho ingredients:
butter (I used about 1T)
onion, diced (I used about 1/2 a small onion)
garlic, minced (sbout 2 cloves)
chicken breasts (I used one large)
good BBQ Sauce (hopefully one that's made in Idaho, such as Chivers's)
little hamburger buns
Saute onion and garlic in butter, 5 min or so until it looks translucent and smells good. Transfer to bottom of crock pot. Add chicken breasts on top. Cover with bbq sauce and add a little water (1-2 Tablespoons.) Cook on low or high depending on how fast you'd like it done (I had mine on High.)
Once chicken registers 165 throughout the breast, remove from crock pot (leave sauce/drippings) and either: a) pull apart with two forks or b) put it in your kitchenaid mixer with the paddle attachment and run it for a few minutes (I just learned about this last week but I don't remember where I saw the idea...) Forks take longer and upper arm strength, your mixer is fast but will cool the chicken down FAST and produce more dirty dishes. Your choice.
Put shredded chicken back into the crock pot and stir into remaining BBQ sauce/juice mixture. Add more sauce and salt/pepper to your liking.
Serve on little buns with shredded cheese (SM added Idaho pickles) and enjoy.
Use leftover shredded chicken to make Idaho Shredded Chicken Nachos.
This is a recipe that I've heard a lot about. Some friends of ours have spoken for years, almost reverently, about the "Thanksgiving Hash" that comes the day after the Thanksgiving meal. The stories about the hash abound, and special plans are made way in advance to ensure enough leftovers exist to make it happen. According to legend, it can contain any leftovers that sound good, including the cranberry if you want to live on the wild side.
This year I decided to try it. And I'm glad I did. It was wonderful - like Thanksgiving dinner itself - but WAY easier. And of course, it can be all-Idaho. Ours included the turkey, the dressing, mashed potatoes and some extra green-bean casserole that SM's brother left with us. In the future, I'd definitely add sweet potatoes as well.
Put all leftovers in a crock pot. Cook 4 or 5 hours until hot through, stirring occasionally.
Put a scoop on a plate, drizzle with gravy. Add a roll if you want. Eat.
SM really liked it (he finished it ALL, after I had my one scoop) which is not what I expected from a guy who couldn't let his food touch on the plate for the first 18 years of his life. We will absolutely do this again.