Friday, September 30, 2016

King Arthur Flour's September BAKEALONG Challenge

Inside-Out Pumpkin Muffins

King Arthur Flour's September Bakealong challenge was fun and I learned something in the process!

The neatest thing about any recipe I find is learning something new, a skill, an ingredient, or even a different way of manipulating ingredients to obtain the same result...or even better!  This is one reason I wanted to accept these challenges, because I knew that there would be some challenges that may challenge me!  I'm no expert, but I've learned a few things along the way and always happy to learn more to share with you!

In this recipe, I learned about boiled cider, of which I shared prior to this post and I wanted to let you know how absolutely delicious this ingredient is.  These muffins are great and the pumpkin flavor really stands out.  So, here is the recipe for you to make yourself, if you don't have boiled cider, or care to boil your own apple cider, you can  purchase boiled cider from King Arthur Flour's website here.  I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did!

Till next time!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Boiled Cider: a new OLD pantry staple

The September King Arthur Flour's bakealong challenge has an ingredient that got my interest piqued.  I have never heard of boiled cider, absolutely love apple cider, but boiling it down to a thick syrup?  No, have not heard of it....until now.  In the challenge recipe this month, there are alternatives to this ingredient (such as molasses, brown sugar, etc), but says that boiled cider is really the preferred choice, and that you had to buy it from them, you can't just boil apple cider......  Oh, yeah you can, I did some research.

The best recipe and description of boiled cider that I could find was from Rebecca, over at her blog: "Foodie with Family", she has a great recipe and some background about it.  Yes, you can buy it, but it wouldn't be true to myself if I did that, without some investigating.

OK, so what is boiled cider and what do you use boiled cider for? Well in the bakealong with King Arthur Flour, you add a quarter cup of this syrup to the batter for a more heightened pumpkin flavor, you can add this syrup to apple pie filling to bring about a stronger apple flavor.  Tasting it, I can see it as a syrup over pancakes, ice cream, and Rebecca at Foodie with Family, also suggests over ice with seltzer water.  It's a syrup, so use your imagination!

According to Ark of Taste in the USA they report about it and Cider jelly as a ..."relatively little known except as a cultural artifact, and certainly underappreciated."  I have to agree!  Yes, it takes a few hours to accomplish from boiling apple cider, but the results are dripping with flavor and benefits!   Give it a try!

Here's how:

In a stainless steel, non-reactive stew pot, stock pot, what ever, I used one gallon jug of apple cider.

1 gal Apple Cider
other ingredients to each is own:
Cinnamon, ginger, vanilla bean, allspice, etc.    I didn't do it this time.

Boil down to 1/7th of it's original amount.*

*My husband is a scientist and gave me the exact measurment in meters.......I with a glazed-over-face, I got a popsicle stick from my craft stash and measured the before amount in the pot and divided up the eights on the ruler and did it that way and made my mark there as well.  It took about 2 hours on medium heat on the stove for the total reduction, and OH how the house smelled!!

Some time later, you have a nice thickening apple syrup!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Cast-Iron Potatoes

Obsessed is the word I'd use to describe how I feel about my cast iron skillets.  I have 3 right now, an 8", 12" and the square grilling skillet.  All three have never disappointed me or my family.  (However, I do have to admit that the grilling pan is harder to clean.)

Clearly, you can cook anything in a cast iron skillet and I have found some great recipes that I would not have thought of.  Pie for one!  Macaroni and cheese for two.  Both are absolutely delicious.

We grilled some steaks the other day and I was in charge of the sides.  It was just the two of us, so I could add onions. HA!
The nice thing about cast iron, is that it keeps the heat even throughout the pan surface even after you turn off the burner.  The caramelization that happens to the potatoes is great.  I just sliced the potatoes rather thin along with the onions.  For the oil, I used vegetable oil in the pan and added some unsalted butter, just a tablespoon or so, for flavor.  The seasonings are simple, pepper, kosher salt and garlic powder.