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Posts Tagged ‘autumn’

I love teaching during the colorful days of autumn.

Over the past week, the students in my class have been busy finding autumnal inspiration to include in their poetry.

We’ve spoken a lot about letting our senses speak through poetry.

We can see the lovely bold colors and the days getting darker.

We can feel the days getting cooler.

We can hear the leaves tumbling in the howling wind.

What about the taste of autumn?

How are they to understand the smell?

Don’t worry, I’ve got that one covered.

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Covered in puff pastry, that is!

Any excuse to get these kids in the kitchen, people.

During my prep lesson yesterday, I practiced baking these delicious caramel stuffed, pastry wrapped baked apples.

I photographed the steps in hopes of preparing a guide for my students, but once all was said and done, I realized this wasn’t the recipe for my class. 

I ended up going with a simpler baked apple recipe, but I still wanted to share this gem of a dish with all of you!

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The ingredients were pretty basic: puff pastry, caramel, brown sugar and cinnamon, an egg and apples.

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To prepare, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl.

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Create and egg wash by beating an egg and 1 Tbsp. water together.

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Slice off the top of the apple, leaving the stem intact.

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Remove the core, being sure not to go all the way through the bottom of the apple.

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Carefully get in there to get out all of the seeds.

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Peel the whole apple. I did the cutting and coring first because I didn’t want the kids working with knives on slippery apple flesh.

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See? Core removed but base intact!

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Remember that bowl of cinnamon sugar? Now’s its time to shine. Roll the apple around in the brown sugar to coat completely.

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Carefully place two caramel cubes into the hollow of the apple core. Again, be sure you don’t push too hard and pop out the bottom of the apple.

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Is your mouth watering yet?

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Next, I joined strips of puff pastry and wrapped them around my prepared apple.

By this point, I realized:

  1. Cutting, coring and peeling would be a bit too much for my kiddos.
  2. Our school kitchen wasn’t equipped with enough peelers for each student anyways.
  3. Making long snakes of puff pastry, an item which needs to be kept cool, would be difficult for my hot-handed pupils.
  4. There were simply too many steps to remember and rewrite in recipe form later in the week.

Even though I knew by this point that my students wouldn’t be making this recipe, I still wanted to finish it off.

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Create two leaves out of the puff pastry.

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Carefully place the leaves on the apple so they look like they’re coming from the stem.

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Brush the pastry with the prepared egg wash.

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Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil, being sure to leave space between the pastry and foil. Place in the refrigerator to cool for half an hour before baking.

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Bake the covered apples for about 20 minutes before removing the foil and continuing to bake until the pastry is puffed up and golden, about 20 minutes longer.

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Gosh darn it, the puff pastry idea may have been out, but those leaves were too cute not to include in my students’ version!

The flaky, crumbly, sweet and gooey qualities of these baked apples were incredible! Almost like a personal-sized apple pie, I highly recommend this recipe.

So, my practice apples turned out great but weren’t going to work for my students. You may be wondering what they did during our baking lesson today.

Well, let me give you a sneak peak into our school kitchen. I’d love to share the photos of these beamingly proud kids, but can’t, so their busy little hands will have to do.

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After watching my “demonstration,” the kids cut, cored, stuffed and decorated their apples on their own.

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When he saw my fully wrapped apple the previous day, a little boy said with amazement, “Wow, Ms. Brady, that looks like a professional cook! You should go on TV!”

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Creating their own “professional cook’s” pastry leaves was a highlight of the activity for many of the kids.

Who knows, maybe I’ll be watching them on Food Network one day!

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They were all so very proud of their apples.  PA121863

Two of our baking dishes, ready for the oven!

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Sadly, my battery died before capturing the final product, but I assure you, the apples were stunning… and tasted as good as they looked!

Baked Apples with Puff Pastry Leaves

If 8 year olds can make this dish, so can you!

Ingredients

1 tart apple

1 heaping teaspoon raisins

1 Tablespoon brown sugar

1 dash nutmeg and cinnamon

1/2 Tablespoon butter

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Puff pastry

1 egg + 1 Tablespoon water

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC.
  2. Cut off the top of the apple, being sure to keep the stem intact.
  3. Carefully remove the core of the apple. Take care not to cut all the way through the bottom.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together the raisins, brown sugar, nutmeg and dash of cinnamon.
  5. Stuff this mixture into the hollow of the apple, again, be sure not to push the stuffing through the bottom!
  6. Top the stuffing with the butter.
  7. Place the apple in a baking dish and sprinkle with cinnamon.
  8. Replace the top of the apple.
  9. Using a sharp knife, cut two leaf shapes from the puff pastry. Add the veins of the leaves by gently pressing half-way into the pastry with the back of a knife.
  10. Next, place the leaves on the apple.
  11. Whisk together the egg and water to create an egg wash. Using a pastry brush, lightly coat the pastry with the egg wash.
  12. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil, leaving room between the foil and pastry.
  13. Bake, covered, for 25 minutes.
  14. Remove the foil and continue to bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until the pastry has puffed and is golden brown.
  15. Cool before serving.

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I was so proud of the way these kids worked today. Even when two other teachers came into the kitchen and started making a racket, my students were so focused in apple baking mode that they didn’t even look up. I find this photo so funny!

If you’re a parent, I beg you, get in the kitchen and get to cookin’ with your kids. You will both leave the kitchen with happy hearts, full tummies and wonderful memories!

Happy Fall, Y’all!

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Autumn Walks

The weather this week has been unbelievable.

Autumn in Germany is usually dreary, damp, dark and dreadful.

This year, it is warm, bright, colorful and delightful.

Sebastian and I have been taking full advantage of the beautiful weather.

PA090056 Weather perfect for long walks.

Yesterday we walked into town for dinner at my favorite falafel place.

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Today I slept in until naturally waking up around 8:30.

First thing on the agenda for the day, breakfast!

PA090027 pumpkin pancakes

After a relaxing morning at home, I went to the gym for Body Balance.

Every time I walk out of that class, I feel better than I did going in.

I feel better physically, mentally and spiritually.

It’s amazing what an hour can do to you.

Add on a relaxing 15 minute sweat session in the sauna and I’m as good as gold!

Once home, I made a fantastic fresh juice.

I can’t seem to kick this cold and am hoping the extra vitamins and nutrients will help.

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purple carrots, ginger, beet root, an orange and lemon

PA090033 this combination makes a delicious and beautiful drink

Sebastian had to work tonight so we went on another walk before parting ways.

PA090060 PA090062 PA090064 I couldn’t figure out how to get the color right on this shot.           Any suggestions?

PA090068PA090070PA090071 Back at home, I made a cake for my colleague who just returned home after a month and a half away after her knee replacement.

PA090136 Keeping with the autumn inspiration, I made her a Layered Cinnamon Apple Spice Cake with Caramel Apple Sauce.

She was so pleased to see me (or was it just the cake?).

We had a nice chat and then it was back to home for me.

Dinner was Kristin’s Sautéed Asian Broccoli Tofu!

PA090148 My photos aren’t the best, but her recipe was quick and tasty.

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The kitchen is clean, the garbage and recycling are out, I’m ready to relax with a book in bed.

Wishing you beautiful weather worthy of elongated autumn walks!

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This sandwich is a dream come true.

If I could eat it every day for the rest of my life, I would.

Although I haven’t made my favorite sandwich for many months, I’ve thought about it often.

Roasted seasonal vegetables.

Freshly baked Black Olive and Rosemary Focaccia.

Garlic mayonnaise.

Gooey Swiss cheese.

What could be better?

I know, having enough for dinner and leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

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Let me walk your through the bread baking.

It could not be easier.

If you are afraid of yeast breads, start here.

Focaccia is almost fool proof.

P9149373 Proof the yeast

P9149371 Mix together the flours, salt, Italian seasoning, garlic and onion powders and olives.

P9149374 Make a well and pour in the proofed yeast.

P9149375Kneed dough until smooth then form into mini loaves.

P9149379  After rising, poke dents, drizzle with olive oil (less than I did here,) and sprinkle with the rosemary and Italian seasoning.

P9149381Bakes until golden, slice and enjoy!

Now for a few veggie shots!

 P9149377 Charred peppers just chillin’ out.

P9149397 Veggie assortment

P9149401 P9149403 The Herb Salt I use, seasoned salt is the most similar in the US.

P9149389 There really is something magical about enjoying a delicious meal completely made from scratch.

It helps to create so much more appreciation for the food I eat.

Beware though, this is a messy sandwich!

P9149398 Beautiful even as it falls apart on my plate.

Yum!

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Black Olive and Rosemary Focaccia

Makes 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • sprinkle onion powder
  • sprinkle garlic powder
  • 10 black olives, pitted and chopped
  • 1/2 Tbsp. rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning

Method

  1. Proof the yeast in a small warm bowl by mixing the yeast, sugar and water then allowing to sit 10 minutes, or until bubbly.
  2. Mix together the flours, salt, olives, onion powder and garlic powder. Create a well in the center and pour in the proofed yeast.
  3. Stir with a wooden spoon until combined then turn out onto a floured surface and kneed for a few minutes, until smooth and elastic.
  4. Form dough as desired and place on a lightly oiled baking sheet and allow to rise in a warm place for 40 minutes.
  5. Poke dents into the surface with your finger and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle crushed Italian seasonings and rosemary onto the dough.
  6. Bake at 375 F (190c) for 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown.

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Roasted Vegetables Sandwich

Makes 4 sandwiches

Ingredients

  • 1 eggplant, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 zucchini, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 red onion, sliced into rings
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • seasoned salt
  • Italian seasoning
  • 4 Tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 4 slices Swiss cheese

Method

  1. Char the whole peppers over an open flame or grill until completely black. Put into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap until cooled. Using a paper towel, rub the charred skin off of the peppers. Core and deseed.
  2. Toss all cut vegetables in the olive oil, salt and seasoning. Spread out on a baking sheet and bake in the oven at a high temperature until tender.
  3. For the spread, mix the mayo and garlic and set aside.
  4. To assemble the sandwiches, spread the mayonnaise on the fresh bread and layer the prepared vegetables. Top with cheese and enjoy either hot or cold.

Color is all around me right now. Autumn, here you come!

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If you haven’t already, please pop over to Tina’s blog to participate in her Blogger Bake Sale and help raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

If you live in Europe, please bid on the two items I’m donating, Nutella Cookies and Turtle Brownies.

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