Braised Red Cabbage With Apples

Braised Red Cabbage With Apples.

Elfie and momWinter  wouldn’t be Winter without a big pot of Braised Red Cabbage with Apples!  This is a family recipe that has been handed down by my mom and my grandmother. As you know by following this blog, we are big vegetable fans. Harry and I aren’t vegetarians but a diet rich in vegetables and fruits is just plain healthy.  Red cabbage is regular visitor on the German table, so it’s my pleasure to share my mother’s recipe with you.

PS: Shhh…..Elfie’s Mom always put fried bacon in this recipe! Maybe Bacon is the secret to living to 84!

 

TwoFoodNuts Braised Red Cabbage with Apples:

  • 1 medium red cabbage
  • 2 large or 4 small apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of apple cider vinegar (mom would have used red wine vinegar)
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 2 Tbsp of olive oil (optional, but it gives richness to the finished dish)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Braised Red cabbage with applesYou’ll need a dutch oven to prepare this recipe.  We don’t make it in a slow cooker,  but you can certainly use one.  The recipe makes a large batch that’s perfect for a big crowd or for freezing.

Begin by quartering the cabbage. Remove the big white core.  Now finely slice the quarters. As you slice one of the cabbage quarters, layer on one sliced apple and a tiny bit of salt and pepper. (go easy here so its not too salty).

Red cabbage

Once you have all the cabbage and apples layered, pour the other ingredients into the pot.  Now, let the stove top or the slow cooker do all the work!

Cook’s Tip:  If using a slow cooker, cook on low all day and turn up to high with the lid off for about an hour to reduce the excess moisture.

I cook the cabbage on medium-low for about 2 hours covered. Then remove the lid for the remainder of the cooking time. You want the excess moisture to cook away, leaving the cabbage in a light glaze.  The dish is finished when the cabbage is tender and the apples have dissolved. Taste for salt and pepper. That’s it!

Look at that color!  Here we served the Braised Red Cabbage and Apples along side quality smoked sausages with hot mustard and fluffy mashed potatoes and finally our creamed Kohlrabi and Carrots.  It’s equally good with our German Rouladen.

Guten Apettit!

red cabbage Next time you go shopping, look for this much under-used vegetable and you may just find a new side dish in our braised red cabbage!

 

 

 

Baby Its Cold Outside Shepherd’s Pie!

Comfort Food Shepherd’s Pie

Boy, this one is really “Old School”!  Everybody likes comfort food and in order to be really comforting it has to be simple to make. Before we built our new house, we lived in a little cabin here on the property. The kitchen was an after-thought, so making big fancy meals didn’t work. We spent a lot of time outdoors in those days as we tried to tame the jungle that was our little country property. After a long day of raking leaves, or shoveling snow we’d be exhausted but starving. This humble little supper was a favorite then and now.

 

TwoFoodNuts Sheppard's Pie

Here’s our TwoFoodNuts Shepherd’s Pie recipe:

Serves 4

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 can peas and carrots or (1 & 1/2 cups frozen)
  • 1 package Beef gravy Mix, (we like Knorr or International Gravy Mix)
  • 1 & 1/2 cups cold water
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 3 Russett Potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 Tbsp salt for boiling the potatoes
  • 1/4 cup soft butter for mashing

Peel and cube the Potatoes. Boil in a pot of salted water until very soft. Drain well and mash with 1/4 cup butter.

sheppard's pie filling

Fry the ground beef until well browned. Add the onion and fry until it is just transparent.  Add the peas and carrots, sprinkle the gravy mix in and add the water. (If using frozen peas and carrots you need to microwave for 3 minutes or so).

Gravy mix

Bring the meat filling to a boil and once the gravy is thickened, place the meat into a 2 quart casserole dish. Scoop the warm mashed potatoes on top and using the open side of the spoon, make a nice pattern on top.  Bake at 350F for about 30 minutes since everything is hot when assembled.

 

TwoFoodNuts Sheppard's Pie

The top should be lightly brown and the gravy will bubble up when its done!

Sheppard's Pie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So after a hard day, this is your reward! What do you think? Would you stick around to eat with us?

Cran-Apple Sauce

Kick Up The Turkey This Year!

Who does not love the tart, sweet taste of Cranberry Sauce with Turkey or Pork?   We foraged so many apples this year that we thought they should be incorporated in our annual Cranberry Sauce making.  This year was an amazing year for apples.  Since we live in the country, we have old trees right here in the yard but the road sides were abundant with “Free Food” too.

homemade cran-apple sauceWe love not knowing what we’re going to get when we forage.  Some apples were sweet and crisp, some were so very tart, others were a bit mealy.  No matter, by mixing up the apples we created so many wonderful treats. Our Cran-Apple Sauce is just one of them.

Look at that color!

We used the sweeter apples that we foraged for this recipe.  If you can get Honey Crisp, or Royal Gala they will compliment the Cranberries wonderfully. We do not make a super sweet Cran-Apple Sauce. We like it to be tart.

peeling apples

TwoFoodNuts Cran-Apple Sauce:

  • 3 cups cranberries (they can be fresh or frozen)
  • 3 cups apples, peeled, cored and cut into cubes the size of the Cranberries
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • juice of half a lemon

cran-apple mixPlace everything into a large saucepan.   Heat to a boil and then turn the heat to medium.  Cook the mixture until the berries burst and the sauce thickens. Pour into sterile jars and hand tighten the lids.

filling canning jarsYour work here is done!

Cook’s Tip: It’s vital to sterilize canning jars before filling.  Wash jars and lids well in hot soapy water or clean in dishwasher.  Next, fill each jar with 1/2 inch of water and place in Microwave for 5 minutes on full power right before filling.  Lids should be placed into a bowl and pour boiling water over them for 5 minutes before sealing the jars.  Keep in fridge to be food safe and use within 3 months.  Not a problem at our house.

sterilizing canning carsDiscover new ways to use our Cran-Apple Sauce by serving with your next bacon and cheese sandwich or better yet, spread it on the filling of a Paninni with Ham and Swiss cheese.  Your next grilled Pork chop will love being accompanied by this sauce too! Even your crackers and cheese will never be the same with the addition of a little Cran-Apple Sauce!

TwoFoodNuts Cran-apple Sauce

 

Curried Squash and Apple Soup.

Squash Is A Favorite Of TwoFoodNuts

This summer we discovered some new varieties and methods of preparing all the  squash we got our hands on.  We cooked with Zucchini flowers, Patty Pan, Globe Squash stared in our Summer Ratatouille, and Zucchini Carbonara.We also roasted Delicata with pumpkin seeds and cranberries in early October.  The Abundance of Winter Squash is a blessing as we turn to making hearty soups to warm the soul during the cooler weather.  One of our favorites is Curried Butternut Squash and Apple.  How do you beat the creaminess of the squash combined with the sweet/tart flavor of crisp apples?  You just know these two ingredients will work well since they both come to harvest together.

curried squash soup

Curried  Butternut Squash and Apple soup was one of the first soups that our son Justin perfected.  He makes a mean Roasted Red Pepper Soup as well.  If  you don’t like curry you can still make the soup but perhaps you’ll use a bit of cinnamon and allspice instead. We feel the soup really benefits from the zing of spice, so be creative and try it your way.

TwoFoodNuts Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup.

  • 1 medium Butternut Squash peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 4 small or 2 large apples, peeled and roughly cut
  • 1 Small onion roughly cut
  • 3 tables spoon Olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 10 sprigs of Thyme

Peel and cut up the Apples, Squash and onion. Spread on a baking sheet lined with Parchment Paper. drizzle with oil, add salt and pepper to taste.  Place Thyme sprigs over the top and bake at 400F for 45 minutes to an hour. The Squash should be fork tender and slightly caramelized.

roasting squash and apples

squash, apples, onions

In a Dutch oven or large pot place:

6 cups of water

1 Knorr stock package (Use Chicken or Vegetable stock depending on if you are going vegetarian).

2 Tbsp mild curry

2 bay leaves

1 large or 2 small garlic cloves minced

1/4 tsp grated nutmeg

1/2 red thai chili seeded and minced (optional)stick blender

Add the roasted vegetables to the soup base and simmer for 30 min. Remove the Bay leaves and puree with a stick blender or place in a regular blender.

making soup

Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of cranberries, pecans and a fresh Thyme sprig!   Indulge!

curried squash soup

We hope you love this hearty and a bit spicy soup. Please remember to share the recipe with your friends and family. Leave us a comment if you have a moment.

Cabbage Rolls with Secret Sauce

Farm Style Cabbage Rolls.

What’s  Fall without a great big batch of Cabbage rolls?  Each year we whip up a big pan of these hearty Cabbage Rolls and eat till we burst.  We use an old recipe that was first published in the Palmer Rapids cook book. It’s a culmination of recipes from all the ladies in the town. This one certainly stood out as one of the very best and it’s a Family Tradition at our house.  Elfie’s aunt Iona, then her mom and now the TwoFoodNuts have adopted and adjusted the recipe to make the Best Darn Cabbage Roll Recipe Ever!

Farm style Cabbage Rolls

One of the best things about food like this is you can make a ton of it and it tastes as good or better when it’s been frozen. So, one mess and many meals is a great solution to busy lives.  Besides just because life gets crazy doesn’t mean we can’t eat well.  We serve our cabbage rolls with a chunk of crusty bread slathered in fresh butter.  You really don’t need anything else!

TwoFoodNuts Cabbage Roll Filling:

  • 1 large Savoy Cabbage (this is the curly Cabbage rather than the smooth type)
  • 1 Pound ground Beef
  • 1 Pound ground Pork
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 1 and 1/2 cup minute rice or other instant rice
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tsp Sirrachi Sauce (optional)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of the Secret Sauce
  • Bacon slices sufficient to cover the entire top of the Cabbage Rolls.

Two Food Nuts Secret Sauce:

  • 1 large can Tomato Juice
  • 1  680 ml can of Spaghetti Sauce (this is about 24 oz or 3 cups ) Harry uses Hunts Extra Spicy
  • 1 bottle Pasata (this is pureed tomatoes)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • Juice of 1 large lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 red chili, seeded and minced (Optional but oh so good).

Cooks Tip:   This is a big job, but being organized is the best method. We remove the cabbage leaves first, then make the sauce, and finally assemble the filling.  Now you have all the parts of the recipe ready to go.  The actually rolling takes very little time.

Using a very sharp knife, cut around the core of the Cabbage. Place the Cabbage into the microwave for 5 minutes. Peel off the softened leaves and reserve. Repeat this process until you have 18 leaves.  Cut the heavy rib off on each piece of Cabbage to make it easier to roll.

remove rib

Make the sauce and set aside.  Then, in a large bowl, place all the filling ingredients and mix well.  Once all is incorporated, its time to Rock and Roll!  Set the oven to 350F

 

filling the cabbage leavesPlace the filling at the core end of the Cabbage leaf and roll away from yourself to encase the filling.

folding the cabbage leavesNow fold the sides towards the middle and continue to roll into a tight packet. No need to use tooth picks, just place the roll with the seam side down in the roasting pan. Continue until all Cabbage Rolls are in the pan.

cabbage rollPour the Secret Sauce over the Cabbage Rolls and lay the bacon evenly over the entire roasting pan.  It will seem like too much sauce, but the rice is raw and will absorb a great deal of the liquid. By the time the Cabbage Rolls are fully cooked there will be just enough sauce to serve. (If you are short on sauce, just add a bit of water).

Cover with a lid or 2 layers of tin foil.  Place the pan in the center of the oven and cook for 2 -3 hours or until the cabbage is very tender and the sauce is somewhat reduced. The bacon will not be crisp but the fat will all be rendered out making the sauce very rich tasting. The bacon also imparts a slightly smokey taste to the Cabbage Rolls. You can discard it once the cabbage rolls are cooked, but we eat it.

Oven Ready Cabbage rolls

We are so pleased to share this family recipe with you. We hope you’ll give it a try. We know you’ll be delighted with the outcome. Pick a rainy day and Rock and Roll!

 

Farm style Cabbage Rolls

A Delicata Situation

Discovering Winter Squash

At the Farmer’s Market we picked up a squash that was advertised as Potato Squash. The funny thing is it’s actually named Delicata Squash, a much prettier name. When we were ready to cook we needed to research whether it was a winter or summer squash and how to prepare it . Google to the rescue!  In minutes it was being dressed for dinner! This humble squash could be the star of your Thanksgiving dinner. The pumpkin seeds and cranberries are sure to compliment the Turkey!

DelicataSince most squash benefits from roasting with some sort of fat we opted to prepare it to match the flavors of the Honey Mustard Chicken thighs we had on hand for dinner. We’re happy to report that we think this is a hit! The flavor was not unlike a potato, so now we understand the nickname. We’re certainly going to serve this to company!

If you haven’t given this humble little squash a try, perhaps this recipe will change your mind. We think even the kids will like the taste due to the gentle flavor and the addition of honey to the recipe.

TwoFoodNuts Delicata Squash:

½ Squash per person is a serving.

Per piece of squash use

  • 2 tsp soft butter
  • 1 tablespoon Honey
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Sprinkling of Pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries

Split the squash lengthwise. Remove the seeds with a teaspoon. Arrange in a baking dish

Delicata SquashMix the appropriate amount of honey and cider vinegar in a bowl depending on the number of squash you are cooking. Salt and pepper the squash, dollop the butter along the squash and spoon a bit of the honey and vinegar mixture on top of each piece. Finish with the pumpkin seeds and cranberries.

Delicata SeasoningBake in a hot oven, 400F for 20-30 minutes depending on the size of the squash. It should be well browned and the tip of a knife should pierce the flesh. Cooking times will vary.  We served it with Nigel Slater’s Sticky Chicken Thighs recipe. Give it a try!

Potato SquashDon’t be afraid to try new things. You will increase your cooking skills and thrill your family all at the same time. Your guests will be delighted to try something new as well!  Happy Fall!

Plum Pie

It’s As Easy As Pie!

We’ve been serving up a lot of veggies in the recent weeks, so maybe we should treat you to a wonderful dessert. This post was written a week ago while we were still at the cottage but its not too late to give Plum Pie a try!

Plum pie 101 It’s the time of year when Damson plums are in season so why not bake up a sweet juicy pie using them.  The cinnamon in the pie makes the whole house smell welcoming!  Since Harry’s the prep guy at our house, he had the job of pitting the plums and cutting them for the pie.

TwoFoodNuts Pie Filling:

  • 800 grams or 1 3/4 lb damson plums- pitted and cut into quarters
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp cold butter cut into 1/2 pieces
  • 1 egg beaten for glazing the crust
  • 1 full pie crust and 1/2 a crust for the decorations.

Cook’s Tip: Make clean-up really fast when rolling pastry.  Wipe the counter top with a wet paper towel and then lay cling film over it in two slightly overlapping rows.  I find two rows of cling film gives you enough surface areas to roll out a large pie crust. The water helps the cling film to stick to the counter and all the flour stays on top of the cling film.  Once the pastry is rolled out, just gather up the cling film. There’s no flour stuck to your counter!

Rolling Pie CrustNext line the pie plate with the pastry.

IMG_2529Notice I use the rolling pin to lift the pastry so it doesn’t tear. Let it roll over the pie plate.

Baker's TipPlace the plums in a large bowl and add the sugar, flour, and cinnamon.  Stir well to cover the plums. Pour the filling into the pie shell and dot with the butter.  Fold the pie crust so it covers the outer inch and a half of the filling. Brush with the beaten egg using a pastry brush.

Damson Plum PieDecorate the pie by using cookie cutters to cut out pretty shapes from the pastry and add them to the edge. Brush the completed pie crust with a bit more egg wash and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 1 hour and 15 min but even up to 1 hour and 30 min at 375 F.

Damson Plum PieThe finished pie is jewel-colored from the juicy plums. The crust is light and flaky.

It’s time to get out the whipping cream and make some friends!  Enjoy the TwoFoodNuts version of Plum Pie, we know we will.

Elfie the FoodNut

 

So Many Veggies, So Little Time!

A Week Of Healthy Eating!

We’ve come back home after 4 and a half months at the cottage, and aside from condiments, the fridge was bare. It was such a rainy day that we decided we might as well be visiting a few favorite places to grab some fresh food.  When you think of farm-fresh produce around here you think of Linton’s Farm Market. That’s were we ended up today.

Linton's Farm MarketDespite the down pour we filled our market basket with everything from Apples to Zuchinni! It’s going to get very interesting around here in the next few days.

Market BasketYour TwoFoodNuts Meal forecast for this week!

We’d say this bountiful trip to Linton’s will be followed by a chance of Curry Squash & Apple Soup and a downpour of Roasted Root Vegetables in Balsamic with a flurry of German Potato pancakes.  Expect to see a Plum Pie in the evening with a clearing trend that ushers in Iona’s Wax Beans In Cream to round out the forecast.

DSC01107.JPG

We’re certainly going to be healthy when this week is over. What’s your favorite Farmer’s Market?  Use the handy form to comment.

 

Our First Pop-up!

Our First Pop-up Was A Success!

Pop- up by definition: Denoting a store or other business that opens quickly in a temporary location and is intended to operate for only a short period of time.

TwoFoodnuts pop-upOn Friday we packed the car with everything needed to cook for the owner of Silgrey Resort We planned on making lunch for Mike using the fruits of his garden.  He was very generous with his produce earlier in the week when we had just met him.  We wanted to show our appreciation for the beautiful Zucchini Flowers  he gave us by cooking for him.

filled zucchini flowersWe arrived at the resort about 11:30 with everything necessary to Pop-up. Harry and I got started by cooking a wonderful farmer’s sausage to accompany the Summer Ratatouille. You’ll remember we made it last week for the first time after our visit to the local farmer’s market.  Next the chopping of the veggies began. Its Harry’s specialty.  Nobody preps food like Harry! I  like to do a lot of the actual cooking but his skilled prep makes the whole thing come together so professionally. TwoFoodNuts pop-upEven Mike lent a hand with the stirring. He told us he had been so inspired by our walk through the garden earlier in the week that he had harvested and prepared one of his own spaghetti squash for dinner the night before. Lets not mention here that he and his wife ate like a family of 4 because it was so delicious! Its just between us Mike.

Mike cooks RatatouilleWithin no time our lunch came together.  Today we had the most varied Summer Ratatouille yet.  Mike’s garden provided us with Tomatoes, Globe Squash, Swiss Chard (stems and leaves), Green Beans and we supplemented that with Sweet Peppers, Pearl Potatoes, Patty Pan Squash, a Hot Red Chili and Double Smoked Bacon.  What doesn’t benefit from the addition of Bacon?

TwoFoodnuts ratatouilleWell, it looks like we’ve come to the point in the festivities where we get to indulge, taste, eat, savor and delight in the spontaneous cooking experience of the pop-up!

Dinner's readyWe wish you could be here to try this wholesome lunch made mainly of right-from-the-garden vegetables with a bit of quality Farmer Sausage and topped with fresh Feta.

To make this a meat free dish don’t use bacon and do not add a side of sausage. This dish has great flavor as a vegetarian meal!

Two Food Nuts Summer ratatouilleA great big thanks to Mike of Silgrey Resort for providing such an amazing setting for our very first pop-up!  Lets do this again real soon!

We concluded the meal with a dessert of Muffin Guts, but you’ll have to wait to find out what that is in a few days. We can’t give it all away right now.  Just so you know, Mike loved it!   So don’t be scared when you see us post it.