Baking · International Incident Party

Falling on my Head

Honey Apple Cobbler

International Incident Party time!  This is one of those months that really flew by, to the point that I’m typing this while my cobbler finishes baking.  Between the birthdays, the hurricanes, the flooding, and the allergies time just kept slipping by.   Luckily cobbler is one of those recipes that come together in no time, especially when I knew from the beginning that I wanted to use apples.  Apples are everywhere in Virginia this time of year and every year I wind up with at least 15lbs of the crisp delicious fruits.  While i was able to go apple picking the past few years, that has not happened this year, so I had to rely on the local market to get my Virginia apples.  This year I switched things up and got Cortland Apples, instead of my normal super tart Pink Ladies.  So far I have tested two new apple recipes and hopefully have enough apples to do two more.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups Cortland apples, quartered and then halved
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp honey (blueberry!)
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 6 tbsp butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
  • dash salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425
  2. Combine the apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, honey, cloves, and butter in a large casserole dish.  Bake for 10minutes.
  3. In a large bowl mix the flour, white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.  Cut in the softened butter .  Spoon the mixture over the cooked apples.  Bake for 30minutes, or until sauce is bubbling and the topping has browned.

Nothing like a delicious dessert that comes together in well under an hour, and also smells incredible.  This cobbler really highlights the essence of fall, nothing like the smell of cinnamon apples to know that fall really has arrived.

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International Incident Party

Take You Over

Mexican Style Quiche

International Incident Party

Greetings from the state that Mother Nature is trying to destroy, first an earthquake and now a Hurricane.  I’m not sure why we have been blessed enough to have two events in one week, but so far my house is standing and my power is on!

I was fortunate to travel to Mexico many years ago with my Girl Scout troop, and have fond memories of many of the dishes.  When coming up with ideas I went thru a number of the more basic ideas, such a huevos rancheros or a breakfast quesadilla.  I had done my first quiche a few months ago, for the Simple and in Season challenge, and for some reason I thought it would be fun to try a Mexican twist.  This is easily one of those dishes that can be changed and adjusted based on personal taste, as written it has a slight kick but nothing too powerful.

Ingredients:

  • 5 corn tortillas, burrito size
  • 1 cup corn off-the-cob
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 green chiles, diced & deseeded (optional)
  • 1 cup red onion, diced
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 and light grease a 9in pie pan.  Lay the tortillas in the pan, going up the sides and slightly overlapping.  Rip as needed.  Bake for 15minutes, until start to brown.
  2. Meanwhile cut up the vegetables.  Mix the eggs with the milk and set-aside.  Take the shell out of the oven and add the vegetables in layers before pour the egg mixture over top.  Bake for 35 minutes.
  3. Remove the quiche from oven, add the cheese, then return to oven and bake for a final 15minutes.  Use a toothpick to make sure the center of the dish is full cooked. Serve with Sour Cream and/or salsa and Enjoy!

One of my favorite things about quiches is that they are great hot or cool, so a great make ahead dish when expecting early company: human or hurricane.

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Asian · International Incident Party · Vegan

Try Again

Sichuan Stir-Fry

The past month has been a month of changes and upheavals, and things are seeming to settle down to a new rhythm.  Currently the leader of IIP, the amazing Jeroxie, is going through a similar situation and I have faith that eventually she and her family will find a new rhythm.

When Joe and I first started dating I had to make some changes to my recipes, essentially eliminating any and all spice from the recipes.  This recipe marks a real milestone in that Joe found it to be lacking in the spice department, and was requesting more chili sauce.  I am now looking forward at moving from moderately spicy Chinese to oh so spicy Thai food and upgrading my peppers.  While we will never be able to eat at a real Thai Restaurant (silly peanut allergies), I’m looking forward to being able to try homemade versions of various Thai Basil dishes and maybe even some modified noodles dishes.

This dish is a fusion, taking some of my favorite elements of Asian cooking and tossing them all together in a delicious sauce.  The base of my recipe is my Sichuan Eggplant recipe which can be found here!  I then decided to add broccoli to the dish as well as some red cabbage in order to give the dish a crunchy texture.   Right after adding the sauce I also added the rice and created a “well” in the center of the wok.  I cracked an eye into the hole and then scrambled it, similar to how you would do a fried rice dish.  once the rice was cooked it was time to enjoy!

Dessert · International Incident Party

I Know of Thee

Very Berry Terrine

When I saw the theme for this month’s International Incident Party I was a little confused.  What in the world is a terrine?!? I had never heard of such a thing and a quick search of the internet did not really alleviate the confusion.  Suddenly I was seeing pictures of very strange and interesting meat dishes that resemble the wet food dishes I serve my puppies.  I’ll be honest, I thought about passing on this month.  After all, I’m a vegetarian so how in the world can I do a “French forcedmeat dish?” Then I saw a fruit terrine done by SusanV and realized that I could easily do something like that and so I signed on up.

After gaining confidence that I could in fact do a vegetarian friendly terrine I started brainstorming ideas until it came down to two ideas.  This battle can basically be summed up by chocolate vs. fruit.  In the end the temperature settled it for me and I decided to go with the more summer-esque fruit style terrine.  The basic inspiration for this dish is my insanely unhealthy obsession with cheesecake and my strong need to avoid using an oven.  I decided to use Nilla Wafers instead of graham crackers in order to please a certain someone.

Ingredients: (serves 8-10)

  • 12 oz. low fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp caramel syrup (or vanilla extract)
  • 2 cups cool whip (or homemade whipping cream)
  • 1 cup raspberries, diced
  • 1 cup strawberries, diced
  • 1 cup crushed vanilla wafers
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 20 whole wafers

Directions:

  1. Line a loaf pan with wax paper, leaving enough over the sides to cover the top.
  2. In a medium bowl mix together the cream cheese and the sugar.  The stir in the caramel syrup before slowly folding in the cool whip.  Split the mixture in to two smaller bowls.  Fold the raspberries in to one bowl and the strawberries in to the second bowl.
  3. In the same original bowl used to mix the cream cheese and sugar, blend the crushed vanilla wafers with the melted butter.  Press the mixture into the bottom of the loaf pan before going half way up the sides with the remaining mixture.  Slowly and gently pour the raspberry cream cheese mixture into the bottom of the loaf pan.  Smooth out the top then add the strawberry mixtures.  Take the whole vanilla wafers and press them along the side of the pan, between the wax paper and the strawberry mixture.  Use the remaining wafers to line the top.
  4. Fold the excess wax paper over the top of the loaf pan and use pie weights to keep the wax paper pressed down.  Place into the freezer and keep in there for at least 6hrs.  Remove to refrigerator to thaw for 2hrs before serving.  The terrine can remain in the fridge for up to three days however it won’t last that long.

Other fruits can easily be substituted based on taste and what is available in your market.  If using moist fruits such as watermelon, pineapples, or peaches leave out the extract otherwise the mixture won’t keep its shape as well.
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Creole/Cajun · International Incident Party

Leaving is worse

Vegetarian Gumbo

Good evening!  It is once again time for another International Incident Party hosted by the lovely jeroxie 😀 I was thrilled when I saw this month’s theme of GUMBO.  I have been trying to be more adventurous in my cooking and cajun/creole dishes most certainly fall in that category.  I have attempted etouffe and jumbalaya in the past, but in both of those cases my dish was more in the spirit of.  This time I set out to do something as traditional as possible, minus the andouille sausage of course.  I was orginally hoping to make my own vegetarian sausage but realized that was way out of my skill level, so had to settle with doing everything else from scratch and using tofurkey sausage.  However I didn’t want to go heavy on the soy based products so I decided to add some beans, figuring they would add the right texture/taste to the dish.  I am rather impressed with what I came up with, even more so in the fact that this dish is also vegan!

Ingredients: (serves 6-8)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 can (16oz) black or red beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp Cajun Seasonings (I used Emeril’s Essence)
  • 1 lb tofurkey sausage

Directions:

  1. In a large dutch oven melt the butter over medium heat.  Once the butter has melted whisk in the flour, allow to cook until the mixture has turned a very rich brown color, darker than peanut butter for the best results.
  2. Meanwhile in a large saute pan heat up the olive oil.  Add the garlic, onion, celery, and green pepper.  Cook for 5 minutes, until the garlic begins to turn golden and the vegetables are tender.
  3. Once the flour mixture has turned brown stir in the water and vegetable stock, then add the tomatoes, beans, and cooked vegetable.  Cover and simmer for 30minutes.  Add the seasonings, recover and cook an additional 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile dry brown the sausage in a small pan.  Cut into bit size pieces and add to the gumbo.  Allow the mixture to simmer for a final 30minutes.  Serve over brown rice!

I think this dish might be one of the few dishes were celery is acceptable, normally I leave that out but since I was resolved to be as traditional as possible I sucked it up and kept it in.  I’m sure most locals would still turn their noses up at my vegan gumbo but it is insanely dishes and really is a rib sticking dish.

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Baking · Dessert · International Incident Party

What’s up Doc

Carrot Cake Cake Popscarrotcakecakepuffs

Another month another IIP party hosted by the fabulous Jeroxie,  This month the theme was rather challenging: Cake Pops.  I have seen many cake pops and I’m a HUGE fan of Bakerella but up until this challenge I had neither eaten or baked a Cake Pop.  I first thought about going the mold method, and explored my local Michaels to see if any of their forms fit my need.  While I saw plenty of rather wicked looking molds none of them seemed “right” for some reason.  So I went back to the Queen of Cake Pops: Bakerella   and checked out her method and decided that was the one for me.  In High School one of the fundraisers that was done a few times a year by various groups were the lollipop drives.  The lollipops in questions were HUGE, easily the size of 5 dum-dums and were some of the strangest flavors.  I decided I wanted mine to taste like my favorite flavor, carrot cake!  For the cake portion I used a modified Martha Stewart recipe, the original can be found on her website.

Ingredients: (cake)

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons caramel syrup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 pound carrots, shredded

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 and pregrease a sheet pan.  
2. Whisk together the dry ingredients and set aside.  In a large bowl beat the butter and sugar together, then add the eggs one a time.  Add the vanilla, water, and carrots mix well and then begin sifting in the dry ingredients.  Be careful to not over mix.
3.  Pour into the sheet pan and then bake for 30minutes, or until a tooth pick comes out clean.  Allow cake to cool completely and then break it into a large bowl.  Use a fork (or hands) to break the cake into crumbs, the finer the better!  (This is also a great step for kids to help out on, nothing like being destructive for a good cause!)

Ingredients (icing)
8 oz cream cheese, cold
1/2 cup butter, soft
1/2 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
1 tbsp vanilla extract

1 lb chocolate wafers for melting (I used Wilson’s Vanilla Pastel Wafers)

Directions:

1.  Put all the ingredients into a food processor and mix well.  Stir into the cake crumbs until well mixed. 
2.  Form the cake balls using your hand, each one should be about 3 tbsp. Insert the popsicle stick,   place on a wax-covered cookie sheet, cover in saran wrap and return to fridge for at least 1 hr.
3.  Before taking the cake pops out of the fridge melt the chocolate wafers in a double boiler.  Dip the pops in the chocolate one at time, covering them in a thin layer of the chocolate before returning to the cookie sheet.  Place the balls in the freezer for 15minutes then ENJOY!


For those in a rush a box cake would work just as well, however I do strongly suggest using a homemade icing so that it doesn’t get too sweet.  I brought some of these into work and it was great watching the expressions on my coworkers faces as they realized the lollipops were actually cake filled 😀