Saturday, October 31, 2015

Ricotta Cheese Apple Pie with Apricot Glaze

Hello, everybody!! The Fresh Pioneer is back with a delicious, high protein dessert that tastes good, too! 
I love cheese. I love aged, fresh, hard, soft, home made, store bought. I love Stilton, Gouda, Brie, Cheddar, Paremesan, Mozzerella. I love herbed chevre most of all, and we make our own! Just a few days ago, I made herbed goat cheese and with a pint of goat milk got about 8 oz of delicious fresh cheese for our French bread. 
Anyway, I also love pie. Some people put cheddar on their apple pie but I've never gotten into that. I do eat cheddar and apples together, and blue cheese and pears. But sweet-cheese combo has never been my favorite.
But a friend told me about this ricotta pie that has a lot of protein and not much sugar. I thought it would be a good break from the Nutella and fried apple pies we've had around here.

So, you'll need:
3 c. thinly sliced apples
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
2 eggs
1 c. ricotta cheese
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. heavy cream
1/8 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. grated lemon peel
1/4 cup apricot jam
Pastry to line deep 9" pie pan
Mix the ricotta, lemon, sugar, heavy cream, salt together until completely smooth. 
Pour into pie shell.
Layer on the apple, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg mix. I actually left off the sugar from the apple mix because these were Fuji apples, which are very sweet naturally. I think with Granny Smith, I'd add the sugar back, but it was perfectly sweet without it.
Layer until the top of the pie is covered with apples.
Put the 1/4 cup apricot jam in a bowl with 4 TBS water. Heat/ microwave for several minutes until blended. I used a no sugar added apricot jam we made this summer from leftover apricots and it was delicious. You can get no sugar added apricot jam at the grocery store.
So, the pie is ready to go in for 400F for ten minutes. Then reduce the oven 350F and bake for 45 minutes. Before I put the pie in, I had second thoughts about that apricot, wondering if the cinnamon and apricot would go well together. A facebook friend commented that she makes a Jacques Pepin (he of the debone a chicken post!) pie with apples, cinnamon and apricot and it was delicious. So, I felt a little better about whether it was going to be a pie fail. 
 After it was done, I was afraid to take a bite.... but it was DELICIOUS. Like a cheese danish, but not as sweet.
 I was afraid it would spill over and it did a little bit, but I had a pan underneath the pies.
 Also, I added almond slivers to the top of one, just to add some crunch. Everyone said this was their favorite, so we may make it this way from now on!

That's all for now. Happy Halloween!!!
Be sure to run by Amazon and pick up my historical Christian novel, Purple like the West for FREEEEEE. Also, All The Blue of Heaven is .99 this week! Until next time!

Friday, October 30, 2015

The End of an Era -- Evans Fine Foods

Last weekend was my daughter's Parents and Family Weekend at college. So my husband and I spent Friday and Saturday with her. On Saturday morning we took her and some of our longtime friends to one of our favorite restaurants that we ate at while we were in graduate school.

Evans Fine Foods has been in Decatur, Georgia, since 1946.

I can't count how many bacon and cheese omelets I've eaten there! In fact, it's the place I first met my then-boyfriend's parents who became my in-laws.

Our friends, who live in the area, had heard a rumor that the place was closing. Sadly, our waiter confirmed it. (And I just saw this article today that shares the fact of the closing as well as the restaurant's history.) I was so sad to hear the news. I snapped this shot on the way out the door to remember by.

Since we now live an hour outside Atlanta, I hadn't eaten there in years. But Evans will always be a part of my history. In fact, I hope I'll hear that some group has come to the rescue and will keep the place open.

Do you have any restaurants that hold special meaning to you?

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Peanut Butter Fudge Brownies by The Yank

Jeter: Not the ball player, the cute black Doodle with a reddish beard! He'll finally sit for a picture!!!! He's 2 and a half, and it's taken this long!

Two words: Crowd pleaser.

That's the real name for these bad boys and EASY is my name for them. Take a brownie mix.... Make as directed on box, oil, eggs, water....

Spread in greased pan. (I double the batch/boxes so I use my big 15 X 11" pan)

Take 1 cup peanut butter. Drop by spoonfuls over the batter.

Swirl in with butter knife.

Bake about 30 minutes for 13 X 9 pan, 34 minutes for 15 X 11 double batch pan.

Let cool. Cut.

Make people happy!

Oh my stars, this is easy, everyone loves it, and did I mention easy????  We went to North Carolina for the weekend..... and we took pumpkins and gourds and squash and us!!!!! So fun!

Travel pics:
Pennsylvania, isn't that gorgeous? This was from the Tioga Dam rest stop.

Annie, 3 years old, making cupcakes for the big Halloween party with Grammy!

My sugar maple.... Things are changing up here!

Kitties!!!!! Only one is staying here, the orange one. Adorable. I love his little mittens! The other two kitties are going to live with my sister-in-law and I hope they behave themselves!!!!

And that's it from upstate where today high winds and heavy rain brought interesting conditions to farm! Can you say "SOGGY????"

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Honey Mustard Pork with Apples

I really owe everyone at the Yankee Belle a debt of gratitude.

Were it not for the pressure to come up with recipes to share, I'd probably settle for eating a bowl of cereal most nights.

I'm particularly fond of this one.

Alas, posting a picture of a cereal box isn't really a Yankee Belle Cafe-worthy post, is it?

So, while I'm still on my honey mustard kick, I was intrigued to try mixing it with with apple cider, a honey crisp apple, and some pork.

My husband was having his Wednesday standby - pork with peppers. Instead of looking for something completely different, I made some extra boneless pork chops (simmered in the oven in a pan of water). Then I simmered a sliced up honeycrisp apple.

When the apple was mostly soft, I added in a dollop of honey mustard and a splash of apple cider. I shredded the cooked pork cutlets into the mix, simmered a few more minutes and served alongside the sweet potato I'd thrown in the oven.

I may have finally reached the limit of things I can add honey mustard sauce to, but at least I ended on a tasty one. The mustard blended nicely with the pork and was a tangy counterpart to the cider and apples.

As I was eating, it occurred to me it would make a tasty casserole too.
Layer the mashed sweet potatoes on the bottom of a baking dish, then a layer of shredded pork and apples. It tasted really good all blended together.

Dessert - apple pie shortbread cookies and warm cider. Not bad for a weeknight.

PS - it tasted even better when I had the leftovers for lunch the next day.

If there's food, Fenway is guaranteed to be there.