Cranberry Apple Chutney

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I love cranberries, and Thanksgiving just wouldn’t be the same without homemade cranberry sauce. It is so easy to make, and can be prepared ahead and parked in the refrigerator for several days. Usually, I make a cranberry-orange sauce. And usually, I remember to take it out of the refrigerator before dessert 🙂 This year, we changed things up just a bit, using some of the local apples we received in our Produce Box to make a spicy chutney instead. This chutney is sweet,savory and spicy all at the same time. It will pair well with turkey, but I’m betting it will also really rock a pork loin roast (note to self: get a pork loin roast!). I think it will also be fabulous on a turkey burger or on a sandwich. Endless possibilities!

Cranberry Apple Chutney (makes about 4 cups)

  • 12 ounces fresh, organic cranberries
  • 2 large tart apples (like granny smith), cored, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup organic raisins
  • 1 cup pure cane sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup packed, organic brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  1. Heat the cane sugar and water in a large saucepan to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes.
  2. Add all other ingredients except the nuts, stir well and return to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer the sauce for about 25 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Sauce should be thick and jammy when done.
  5. Add the chopped pecans and serve warm or cold. You can store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
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Pear and Goat Cheese Salad

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We don’t get a huge selection of autumn fruits here in NC. Once grape season is over, we have apples and that’s mostly it until strawberries make their appearance in April. Not that I don’t like apples, but it’s nice to have something different. So I was very happy when Asian pears showed up on our Produce Box menu for this week! I had never eaten Asian pears, which are a bit crisper than Bosc pears and not as cloyingly sweet. These pears though, they have a visual marketing problem. Asian pears look like brown apples, so even if I had seen them at the market, I probably wouldn’t have purchased them. And that is too bad because they are delicious, refreshing and healthy.

We used one of our awesome pears to make this fresh, fall salad of organic, local lettuce, kale, dried organic cranberries, and goat cheese. It was delicious, and a nice break from all the squash we’ve been eating!

Pear and Goat Cheese Salad (makes two servings)

  • 1/2 head of organic, bibb lettuce, washed and chopped
  • 1/2 bunch of organic, red kale, washed, trimmed of stems and chopped
  • 1 organic pear, washed, cored and sliced thin
  • 1/4 cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • 2 organic radishes, trimmed and sliced very thin
  • 1/2 cup dried, organic cranberries
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup candied pecan halves (you could also use toasted pecans)
  • Dressing of your choice
  1. Toss together the lettuce and kale and divide among two serving plates.
  2. Top each plate of greens with equal amounts of pear, cucumber, radish and cranberries.
  3. Divide the goat cheese and sprinkle over the plates.
  4. Top each plate with pecans and serve immediately with dressing on the side.

 

Apple and Kale Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

20131010-083842.jpgNorth Carolina, where I live, is the king of sweet potatoes. While it is a challenge to find organic sweet potatoes, I’ve found several farmers who carry them. Potatoes are delicious and nutritious (especially sweet potatoes!), but farmers often use carcinogenic fungicides and sprout inhibitors that penetrate beyond the skin of the potato and into the flesh. So no amount of washing or peeling is going to eliminate them. These babies are definitely worth buying organic, if at all possible.

This sweet potato dish is one of my “go to” recipes for a busy fall weeknight. It has all the great hallmarks of fall–sweet potato, pumpkin pie spice, apples and maple syrup. This would make a great side dish or a light meal in itself. We have an abundance of sweet potatoes at our farmers markets and apples are back in full force, so this recipe takes advantage of all that is fresh and delicious.

Apple Stuffed Sweet Potatoes (makes 3 servings)

  • 3 medium-sized sweet potatoes
  • 2 medium apples like granny smith or galas
  • 1 small bunch of kale
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or more, if you like!)
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 3 tablespoons real maple syrup
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Poke sweet potatoes all over with a fork and roast in the oven until soft (about an hour depending on how large your potatoes are). Remove from oven and reduce heat to 350.
  3. While potatoes cool a bit, peel/core and chop the apples into 1/2″ chunks.
  4. Wash and trim the stems from the kale. Chop into bit sized pieces.
  5. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add butter and melt. Add apples. Cook apples for about 2 minutes.
  6. Add the kale and cook until wilted–about 4 minutes.
  7. Add spice to the apples and stir. Add more butter if you need it. Reduce heat to low and cook until apples are soft. Set aside.
  8. When potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut skins and scoop potato flesh into a medium-sized bowl. Add apple mixture and mix together until combined.
  9. Spoon mixture back into the potato skin shells. Top with chopped pecans, put on a baking sheet and bake for another 15 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven and drizzle with maple syrup.
  11. Serve!

NOTE: You will have extra filling left over. This makes a great leftover lunch the next day! Pair it with some cooked quinoa and you have a complete second meal.

Sausage with Braised Cabbage and Apples

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This meal is like having your own little Octoberfest on a plate! Fresh, local cabbage, apples and smoked sausage braised together until you have fall deliciousness that is tart, sweet and a little floral. No more of that stinky cabbage of years past–this is fresh and flavorful. I made extra just so I could take some for lunch!

You can use any kind of smoked, link sausage in this dish. We actually used a combination of smoked jalapeño sausage and smoked Polish sausage from Mae Farm. Their sausage is so good I could just inhale it. We used three kinds of apples as well–one tart, one more floral and one sweet. Our favorite is the crisp and tart Dixie Red, a sassy heirloom variety apple found here in North Carolina. Mr. Godwin of Godwin Farms helped me pick out a blend of apples that would go well with both the cabbage and the sausage, howgreatisthat?

Sausage with Braised Cabbage and Apples (makes 6 servings)

  • 1 1/2 pounds pasture raised smoked, link sausage, cut into 2-3″ lengths
  • 1 large organic onion, peeled and sliced
  • 4 large apples, mixed variety, peeled, cored and sliced into 1/4″ thick slices
  • 1 medium head of fresh, green cabbage, washed, cored and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • Kosher salt and ground, black pepper, to taste
  1. In a large skillet or Dutch oven, brown the sausage over medium heat, rendering some of the fat. This will take about 10 minutes.
  2. Remove the sausage and set aside. Leave about 2 tablespoons of drippings in the pan.
  3. Return the skillet to medium heat and add the onions. Sauté the onions for about 5 minutes or until soft and translucent.
  4. Add the apple slices to the onions and stir well. Cook about 2 minutes.
  5. Add the cabbage, sausage, cider, salt, pepper and coriander to the pan or pot. Reduce heat to low, cover and allow everything to cook down, about 45 minutes. Stir often. If pan juices begin to dry, add some water to the pan.
  6. Serve hot.

SautĂ©ed Cabbage and Apples

Apples are an all-American success story-each ...

We had our first day of actual, chilly weather today. Really, it was just morning chilliness, but still, it made a believer of me that fall is actually coming! Last year, we had a late freeze that took about 80% of our state’s apple crop. It was a sad fall. North Carolina apples were tricky to find and pricey, so we didn’t cook with them much and I definitely didn’t can any apple butter. Dishes like this one made the most of our apples, by using them as part of a larger dish.

Not only is this dish a delicious way to enjoy local cabbage and apples, but it also is very economical and deeply satisfying. Unlike some vegetable dishes, this seems to taste even better warmed up later, so make plenty! We are making it again this week with some local smoked sausage for an early Octoberfest supper. You could also serve this as a main course by itself with some crusty bread and have a terrific rustic winter meal! If you want a vegetarian version, omit the bacon and use 3 tbsp. of olive oil and replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock.

Sautéed Cabbage and Apples

  • 8 slices thick cut bacon, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 medium head green cabbage, cored and coarsely chopped
  • 3 large apples (granny smith or gala), peeled, cored and sliced thick
  • 1/2 c. chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander seed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, cook bacon pieces over medium heat and stir often to keep them from sticking. Cook until browned, but not too crisp (about 6-7 minutes).
  2. Remove bacon from pot and set aside. Reduce drippings to about 3 tbsp.
  3. Add onion and carrots to the pot and cook over medium/high heat about 4 minutes until onion is translucent.
  4. Add apple cider vinegar and scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen any brown bits.</li
  5. Add the cabbage and stir to combine. Cook about 10 minutes until cabbage softens. Add apples, stock and coriander. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes. Check frequently to make sure the cabbage is not sticking. Add a bit of water or more stock if needed.
  6. Add bacon back into the pot and cook an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat and serve!
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