Monday, October 24, 2016

Fresh Hatch Chiles

Question: What could be more of a treat than five pounds of fresh chiles from the Hatch Chile Store in Hatch, New Mexico, delivered right to my door?

Answer: The same Hatch chiles, freshly roasted in my kitchen, of course! 

Two batches of chiles spread out on foil-covered sheet pans blistered in minutes under the broiler, a process intended to separate the tough skins from the chiles' flesh. (linkThe pungent aroma of oven-roasted chiles perfumed the entire house, encouraging tasty visions of the many semi-spicy dishes to come. 

Once cooled, peeled, destemmed and deseeded the five pounds of fresh chiles filled (in single layers) five quart-size freezer bags headed for the freezer - plus a handful of chiles held in the fridge to enjoy immediately.

So far we have enjoyed: a chile and cheese frittata, chile and cheese grits, and an apple crisp with chiles. Next up will be apple, cheese and chile scones. Hmmm, I sense a breakfast/brunch pattern this week. Some recipes to follow... whenever.

Search "chiles" on this blog and you'll find them used in recipe after recipe. Fresh chiles (poblano, jalapeno, Anaheim, etc.) are a frequent ingredient choice, some sauces call for reconstituted dried chile pods, and jars of single-chile crushed or ground spices (aleppo, ancho, cayenne, chipotle, etc.) fill other flavor-layering needs. I prefer mild-to-medium heat while RL relishes a hefty sweat-on-the-brow impact, but we both agree that we do love chiles.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Crispy Apple Crisp

Apple Crisp is such a homey dessert, a comfort-food Autumn classic ubiquitous throughout apple country. Of course variations abound, but essentially Apple Crisp refers to chopped or sliced, cinnamon-flavored apples that are baked with a streusel topping or crust.

Generations of cooks have produced tasty versions without ever opening a cookbook, but here's a streusel topping twist I found in Greg Atkinson's 2008 West Coast Cooking: pour melted butter over the topping instead of working it into the flour/oats/sugar mixture. Shazam! the streusel topping baked up nicely crispy-crunchy and the excess butter flowed to the bottom to mingle with the apple juices and create a lovely sauce. 

Apples. Sugar. Butter. Really, what's not to like? We ate half of the pan warm for an evening dessert, and the remainder warmed in the microwave at breakfast the next morning. Ahem! that doesn't account for the missing spoonfuls that somehow disappeared between dessert and breakfast.
What's your favorite apple dessert?

Apple Crisp, an Old-Fashioned Treat

Recipe based on Greg Atkinson's West Coast Cooking 

Serves 4-8

1/2 cup AP flour
1 cup rolled oats (not steel cut or instant)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 large egg, beaten
8 Tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter, melted, plus extra to coat the baking dish.

4 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored & sliced
1/2 cup sugar
1 generous Tablespoon cornstarch
1 generous teaspoon Apple Pie spice (or substitute ground cinnamon)

Optional Toppings
Heavy cream or Greek yogurt

Preheat oven to 375 F; butter an 8-inch square baking dish.

Mix the topping:
Use a food processor and pulse several times to combine the flour, oats, brown sugar & baking powder. Use a fork to gradually incorporate the beaten egg into the oatmeal mix.

Prepare the filling:
Pile the apple slices into the baking dish and toss with the sugar, cornstarch and Apple Pie spice.

Scatter the oat mixture evenly over the top of the fruit. Drizzle the melted butter evenly over the top.

Bake about 45 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown. Serve warm with optional toppings of heavy cream or Greek yogurt.

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