Savory Sweet Apple Cheddar Biscuits

Jack and I went apple picking 2 weekends ago, and picked about 30 pounds of apples. And you know what, not one bit of pie was made! I hate admitting that, because well, that was the whole reason we went picking in the first place! Instead, we made caramel apples, which turned out terribly, ate apples as snacks, made homemade apple butter, and made Apple Cheddar Biscuits, using my all time favorite, Cabot Hunter's Sharp Cheddar Cheese.

Apple Cheddar scones have been popping up on a few blogs that I follow, but personally, I hate the stickiness of scone dough, and would rather not break out my rolling pin if ever possible. Therefore, I set out to make drop biscuits. The recipe I found here, was a terrific idea, but in actuality, I had to make a couple changes based on the outcome of the dough. Overall though, I enjoyed these biscuits a lot because of the sweet and savoriness. I love the tang from the onions, and the faint sweet taste of the apples. The cheese was not overwhelming at all, even though I added an extra quarter cup. I suggest you do the same if you are a cheese lover! These are a perfect fall treat, and great accompaniment to salads and fall soups!

Apple Cheddar Biscuits
adapted from "What's Cooking TV?"

1 cups flour- I added at least 1/2cup more after my first batch
4 tsp. Magic Baking Powder
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup cold butter
1 cups shredded P'tit Québec Cheddar Cheese- I used Hunter's Sharp Cabot, and added an additional 1/4c
1 cups grated peeled apples (about 1 large)- Use a baking apple as you do not want sweet flavored apples overtaking the savory flavors
2 green onions, chopped
3/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 425ºF. Mix flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in large bowl. Cut in butter with pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in cheese, apples and onions. Add milk; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. (Do not overmix.)
Drop 1/4 cupfuls of dough onto greased or parchment paper-covered baking sheet
Bake 15 min. or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks; cool slightly. Serve warm.

I learned quite a bit from using this recipe. After I had put together all of the ingredients according to instructions, I thought that the batter looked much too runny, but I trusted that it was okay. My first batch of biscuits turned out to be more like pancakes. I added the additional flour after this point, and the remaining biscuits baked up splendidly.


Ravishing (Daikon) Radish

The farmer's markets are full of lovely winter root veggies, including turnips, squash, carrots, and radishes of all varieties. One specific farmer brings a plethora of radish varieties to the shoppers, and I love picking up a new variety every week. As this was our last week with our CSA, we had to turn the the farmer's market to be our sole source of produce until it is over next week. We had been frequenting the market for supplemental veggies for our share, but now we really rely on it.

Last week I was able to pick up two different types of radishes- a lovely black radish which is super spicy, and daikon radish- a white variety that looks very similar to a parsnip or white carrot. Daikon radishes are terrific raw, served with hummus or salsa, but when cooking with them, they are typically showcased in Asian dishes. While I do love some Asian foods, I wanted to use the daikon in a less rice vinegary, sesame oil using way. I turned to this recipe, which was pretty simplistic, but very tasty. The end result seemed less like radishes and more like breakfast potatoes. Regardless, it's a good way to take a regular old radish, and make it ravishing!

Spicy Daikon Radish
2 tbsp veggie oil (I used olive oil)
1 green chili chopped- take out seeds and white membrane-y part
1 lb daikon radish peeled and shredded
Sugar and Salt to taste

1. Place oil in pan over high heat. When oil is hot, add the chili for 1 minute and stir continuously
2. Add radish and stir for 2-3 minutes, then cover. Turn the heat to low and cook for 15 minutes, while stirring occasionally
3. Add salt and sugar to taste (less than 1 tsp each)
4. Turn the heat back to medium high, while still stirring occasionally. This will take roughly 10 more minutes. Cook the daikon until it is dry. The daikon will turn golden brown.


Lovely Leeks

Leeks are a new vegetable that have been in my recent recipe repitoire. I never had leeks before this year, and I certainly fell in love with them. I totally understand why they are so expensive at a grocery store, but for now, I am super excited that they are in season and pretty cheap at farmers markets. We have even been so fortunate as to have these treats in our CSA for the past few weeks.

I have made quite a few recipes involving them- potato leek soup, potato, pear, and leek soup, and some form of a ratouille. I really wanted to find something that showcased leeks though as I had quite a few on hand, and needed to use them before they went bad. I googled leeks, and found a recipe for a leek quiche, which sounded perfect! Jack was so kind as to make the quiche crust, while I prepared the filling, and then later rolled the crust. I adapted this recipe quite a bit, and will indicate where I made changes. Overall though, this recipe was a real winner as it was tasty, and easy to put together for a weeknight dinner. I would imagine that you could substitute any veggie for the leeks, but try it with leeks first as they are terrific!

Leek Quiche

2 tbsp. butter
4 leeks, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
3 eggs
1 1/2 c. light cream- I used heavy cream because that's what I had on hand.
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp. minced parsley
24 mini pie crusts (store bought)- I, well Jack, made homemade quiche crust. We made 1-9 inch crust and baked for same amount of time.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In heavy saute pan, melt butter and add chopped leeks. Saute 5 minutes stirring constantly, do not let brown.
Season with salt and pepper to taste and pour into pastry shells.
Beat eggs, mustard, cream and chopped parsley. Pour over leeks and sprinkle cheese on top.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until the tops are golden.


Homemade Fra Diavolo, Anniversary Cake, and the Winner!

This past week has been quite crazy! Moving, unpacking, adjusting to a longer commute, finally getting cable and Internet, and adjusting to a newer, bigger and better kitchen! Normally, it would not be such a hard adjustment, but I really don't know what to do with the extra space, anddd the extra sensitive fire alarm, which went off twice last night in two separate locations within the house.

Anyway, I digress. Last night I decided to try to use up some of our last tomatoes from the garden, before using our million other vegetables in the refrigerator. I wanted to make one of Jack's favorite Italian dishes, Shrimp Fra Diavolo. I tweaked with the recipe a little bit based on my ingredients on hand, my desire to economize my frozen shrimp stock, and, as usual, time. Last night I also wanted to finally make an anniversary cake for Jack and I, so I needed to make sure that I had the time to make both dinner and dessert

So the shrimp fra diavolo was really tasty, but I was little surprised by the way it looked. It did not turn out like a typical restaurant style pasta dish, rather, because I used fresh tomatoes instead of canned, it had a more homemade look to it. Regardless, it tasted very good, and will definitely be made again.

But here's the real reason for the post. I need to announce the winner of the $35 gift card from CSN. While I would love to put a picture of the Random.org number generator result, I am not totally sure as to how to do a print screen on my mac. Therefore, you'll have to trust me in saying that comment number 2 has won! I will send along contact information for the gift card. Congratulations!

Here is the recipe for the fra diavolo, enjoy with summer's last tomatoes!

Shrimp Fra Diavolo
adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

1 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined- I used 1/2lb
1 teaspoon salt, plus additional as needed
1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes- I used a little more as Jack likes his fra diavolo spicy
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1 to 2 tablespoons
1 medium onion, sliced
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes- I used about 2lbs of fresh heirloom tomatoes
1 cup dry white wine
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
3 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
3 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves

Toss the shrimp in a medium bowl with 1 teaspoon of salt and red pepper flakes. Heat the 3 tablespoons oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and saute for about a minute, toss, and continue cooking until just cooked through, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the shrimp to a large plate; set aside. Add the onion to the same skillet, adding 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil to the pan, if necessary, and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juices, wine, garlic, and oregano. Simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, about 10 minutes. Return the shrimp and any accumulated juices to the tomato mixture; toss to coat, and cook for about a minute so the flavors meld together. Stir in the parsley and basil. Season with more salt, to taste, and serve.


Yay Yay Give-A-Way!

So my blog has been a little less than loved this past week as Jack and I finally moved to a new place in Boston, and have been veryyyy occupied with packing, lifting, moving, unpacking, and trying to find a new home for all of our things. Moving is tough, especially when your company isn't doing it for you, but with the help of my parents, we got through the tough parts. Thanks Mom and Dad! During this crazy time, I was contacted by CSN to offer a giveaway to all of my readers! So exciting, especially for me when I realized they offer everything from a single ol' Bar Stool to Dutch Ovens, to pans, to well, everything else in the world! They have so many lovely websites with anything a girl (or boy!) could possibly want, which is especially handy when having just moved and broken a few glasses along the way...

So while you are waiting for me to post about all of the new recipes I christened my new apartment with (Ginger Chocolate Chip Cookies thanks to Joy the Baker) or all of the last minute recipes I made at the old place (Cranberry muffins that may as well have been hockey pucks!), entertain yourself with a great giveaway- a $35 gift card to any CSN website!

Here's how to win!
1. Become a follower on my blog
2. Leave me a comment letting me know you stopped by
3. Check out CSN and all of their stores to see what fun things they have to offer
4. Post about this giveaway in your blog and tell your friends!

I will randomly pick a winner on Saturday, when I finally have my Internet installed. Good Luck!