for the last couple months, i've been on a chocolate chip cookie kick. i don't know if it's the simplicity of a chocolate chip cookie, the minimal time commitment, the deliciousness, or a combination of the three, but something keeps drawing me to them. and while i declared cook's illustrated's browned butter and alton brown's the chewy versions to be my favorites, i'm always drawn to new recipes.
we haven't "entertained" much since baby winn was born in june. not only do we not have the time, but our living room typically contains no less than four space hogging baby gadgets at a time (in current use: pack & play, bouncer, floor mat, and swing), which leaves little room for actual, adult conversation. which is why in mid-september jason declared we needed to have a party.
everybody knows pork chops and applesauce are a classic combination. do kids still watch the brady bunch? i am a child of the '80s and remember very vividly coming home from school and watching it on tbs, back when all shows on tbs started 5 minutes late, like at 1:05 instead of 1:00, what was up with that?? or do today's kids watch who's the boss?, full house, growing pains, and the other shows from tgif back in the '90s?
a week and a half ago, the three of us picked more apples than we could ever eat. after turning about 20 pounds into unsweetened applesauce for the baby, whipping up a batch of my favorite apple chicken chili, i still had a few pounds left (and still have a few stragglers now in my crisper drawer). sure, i could have canned apple pie filling, made apple pie, made a crumble (which i actually did and forgot to post, so check it out here, just be sure not to cook it too long & burn your pecans), or eaten my new favorite salad a few more times, but i wanted something different. i remember ripping this out of a magazine at some point in the last couple years and was lucky enough to actually find it in my mess of "bookmarked" recipes. speaking of bookmarked recipes...does your google reader look like mine? it's chock full of way more recipes that i'll ever be able to make in a lifetime let alone the next year or two. one of these days i need to sort through it...right after my digital photo files are organized, my photo books are done, my clothes are sorted by season and color, and the dozens of other organizational projects are done. it never ends, does it?
in my quest to drop the extra 25 or so pounds i am carrying since i got married and had a baby, i have been on a search for easy and healthy breakfasts and lunches. this quinoa salad is perfect, since it can be both of those or a mid-afternoon snack. i made a batch of this one sunday evening and ate it multiple ways through the next week. i played around with the temperature - some days eating it straight from the refrigerator and others taking the chill off with a quick spin in the microwave - and found i liked it best warm, with a little extra sweetness from a drizzle of real maple syrup. it's both delicious and filling.
i ate this salad six times in two weeks. six. it is that good. and it wasn't just me that loved it, jason said it's one of the best salads he's ever had. in my opinion, the goat cheese makes it, but if you aren't a fan - i'm talking to you, mom - then skip it. we had ours with fresh honey crisp apples we picked ourselves, but any firm, sweet apple will do.
remember last month when i said i needed to put a bit more effort into my secret recipe club posts? with a new goal of choosing a recipe that's unpredictable, i had a hard time choosing between the keenan cookbook's asian pork chops and these rainbow cookies. ultimately, the pork chops won. although i have a feeling the rainbow cookies will be making an appearance around christmas time. both jason and i love almond, especially when paired with raspberry jam, so i can only imagine how perfect those cookies would be.
as promised, here's what i did with all those cans of apple pie filling: slab pie. the idea is so obnoxiously simple, it's another why didn't i think of that recipes. if you can even call it a recipe.
here's the basic idea. take your favorite double crusted pie dough. instead of lining a round pie pan with it, line a 9x13" or 11x14" pan with it. fill with your favorite pie filling, top with the other crust, and bake for an hour. and then serve pie to a crowd. my version is an apple slab pie, made with homemade canned apple pie filling, but i bet a peach version would be just as tasty.
last year, just like the last couple years before, we picked way more apples than i knew what to do with. after homemade apple sauce, apple crisp, a pancake or two, multiple pots of apple chicken chili, and eating apples straight up or dipped in caramel or peanut butter, i was still left with pounds of apples without a plan.