Apple Crisp

Classic Apple Crisp via Brittany's PantryIts that time of year when you just want to grab a sweatshirt and head outside!  I love fall and I am fortunate to live in a state where it lasts until Christmas!  We don’t have any autumn colors starting yet, but after a week of nearly 90 degree weather here (central IL) I am thrilled to finally have a high of 68 today.  WOO HOO!  I love it!  I love it!  I am sorry for the sporadic blog entries, but we are continuing to gut the main part of our house and yesterday the fireplace came down.  Needless to say, we ordered take-out last night in the interest of trying to keep sane in a very messy house.  Demolition doesn’t always leave much energy for cooking, no matter how much I love to do it.  But then…

In the middle of all the chaos, I get a text from my friend, Sara.  She wants to make an apple crisp and would I, by chance, have a good recipe for one.  By golly Sara, yes I do!  I immediately emailed her the following recipe, confident that she would love it.  My family made apple crisp all the time when I was a kid and it is one of my favorite comfort foods still today.  I love the smell that fills the house, I love the way it looks, I love it for breakfast!  It is truly a simple dessert to do, even on a weeknight.  So.  Lets get started.
Classic Apple Crisp via Brittany's Pantry This recipe is sort of pieced together.  I have made apple crisp, or any kind of crisp for that matter, without a recipe nearly my entire life.  The apple filling is super easy and when it comes to the crisp on top, I just throw ingredients together and everything turns out great.  That is the way my Mother always did it and I am a good enough cook that I can wing it.  The one bummer is that I rarely write down my recipes.  I just rely on memory to make them the same every time.  I make these grilled teryaki beef skewers and every time I make them, they turn out the same.  Even though I almost never really remember what goes in the marinade, it all seems to come together.  Unfortunately, my apple crisp never seemed to do that.  Sometimes the crisp would turn out dry and crumbly, sometimes soggy and soft.  Sometimes perfectly crunchy and toasted.  So, I decided to search for an actual recipe for the topping so that I could have it turn out perfectly every time.  Maybe I would find a recipe that contained something different that I hadn’t though of.  Anyway, my search led me to a name you might have heard me mention before.  Ina Garten.  And she did not disappoint.  Turns out, I was doing just fine on my own, I just needed more butter.  So go apple picking and whip this up.  I promise it will make you think of fall, even if it is 90 degrees outside.
Classic Apple Crisp from Brittany's PantryApple Crisp

6 c apples peeled, cored, and chopped, such as Golden Delicious-or however much it takes to fill a medium sized baking dish
1 heaping T flour
pinch of salt
1/4 c sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Gently mix all ing. together and spread evenly into a sprayed, 2 quart baking dish.
3/4 c flour
3/4 c oatmeal
1/3 c sugar
1/3 c brown sugar
pinch of salt
1 stick of cold butter, cut into cubes

Mix all topping ingredients together until butter is completely incorporated and mixture starts to stick together.  Crumble evenly over apples.  Bake at 350 for 45 to 50 minutes, or until top is golden brown and center is bubbly.  Let sit for 15 minutes after removing from the oven.  If you like, add a scoop of frozen yogurt or vanilla ice cream.  Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

Simple Soup

Simple Soup just may be the fastest and easiest meal you will ever make.  {Brittany's Pantry}Just a quick note to post this fantastic soup.  We have company this week and I made this for a light supper the other night when we were all still full from lunch, but wanted a little something.  A fresh, steaming batch of popovers and it was the perfect meal!  It takes less than 15 minutes to make, its satisfying, and the ingredients can always be on hand.  Its the perfect warm lunch on a chilly weekend or quick dinner during the week.  I got the idea when I saw Giada DeLaurentiis make something similar on the Food Network, but never looked up the recipe.  I have no idea how close this is to her original, but its what I have been making for the last several years.  Alter as you like and enjoy!

Simple Soup

2 boxes good quality chicken broth
1 small package cheese tortellini, refrigerated or frozen
1 tsp dried parsley
fresh ground black pepper

Bring all ingredients, except pasta, to a boil.  Add pasta and simmer for several minutes or until pasta floats and is cooked through.  Serves 4.
Note: Feel free to use any kind of refrigerated or frozen filled pasta.  Smaller seems to work better, but there are alot of different varieties of tortellini out there.  There are even whole wheat filled pastas which is awesome in this soup.

Roast Pork W/Mustard & Peach Glaze

Roast Pork W/Easy Mustard Peach GlazeCan  you really have too much of a good thing?

That is what I was asking myself as I tried to organize my recipes; an ongoing process that doesn’t ever seem to end.  Seriously, I could hire someone full time to keep them organized and they would never run out of work.  Admittedly, I don’t have the best system, but I can think of no other way.  Right now, I have a small recipe box that I keep in my baking cupboard that has the recipes that I don’t have memorized but that I use all the time.  Everything else, if it isn’t in a cookbook, is in a binder.  I have a stack of white, three ring binders that I use for all the recipes that I write down while watching a TV show, rip out of a magazine, print off the computer, copy from someone else and so on.  I have a binder for Appetizers/Drinks and Misc, Pasta, Main Dishes, Breads and Breakfast, Side Dishes, Cake, Desserts, Cookies Bars and Candies, Kid Food…and I think that’s it.  Each binder is then broken down into sub-categories.  All of the recipes are cut and pasted together old-school style, and then slipped into plastic sheet covers, something I have found to be handy when I am slinging food around the kitchen.  When I have a recipe I need, I just unclip that page from the binder and then return it when I am done.

The problem with this?  The sheer amount of time it takes me to sort, trim, and add the recipes when I have literally, thousands.  The only good thing about this is that I have quite a memory for recipes.  Especially if I have made it before, I can remember what the text looked like, the color the paper was that it was printed on, and where on the page it was taped.  Every once in awhile, I send Mike, my husband, through a binder looking for something specific.  He is rolling his eyes and I am telling him “It has big bold printing in all lowercase and the recipe is in the bottom left-hand corner of the page.”  However, if anyone has a faster and easier way to store misc recipes, I am all ears.  I do edit as I go, tossing recipes I see that I have no idea why I kept in the first place, or after a second look, eliminated because I would never realistically make that dish.  And so, because I have never stopped collecting recipes, my binders are in a constant state of disarray.  But hey!  What do you care!?  All my craziness weeds out the not so good foods and passes on the fantastic.  Only winners on this blog, please.  Of course, winning recipes are based soley on my judgement, but you will just have to trust me.  Me and my binders.

Speaking of winning recipes, this one we never get sick of.  I could make it once a week and still drool all over the dinner table.  Super quick, super easy, and sooo good.  Enjoy!Roast Pork W/Easy Mustard Peach Glaze Mustard and Peach Glaze

1/2 c peach or apricot jam (don’t waste your money on the nice expensive stuff for this-generic tastes just as good)
2 T dijon mustard
1 heaping tsp chopped garlic

Mix and slather on pork roast or boneless pork chops before roasting.  Outrageously good.