Tag Archives: fruit

Butterscotch Apple Pie


Nothing says “holiday classic” like old-fashioned apple pie. I must admit, this was my second attempt ever at baking apple pie from scratch. Although it may seem intimidating, baking a pie is easy if you follow the instructions exactly. That’s the most important part of baking — so you can never skip a step.

This recipe, adapted from Gourmet Holiday, is the perfect accompaniment to any holiday dinner party.  The best part: it only takes 45 minutes of active time, so you can spend the majority of your evening entertaining and relaxing. Also, don’t forget to wear a cute apron (mine came all the way from Sardinia) so that flour doesn’t end up on your new holiday dress.

Butterscotch Apple Pie

Serves 8

You will need:

3 tbsp all-purpose flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp grated nutmeg

1/8 tsp salt

2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar

2 1/2 lb mixed tart and sweet apples (about 7), peeled, cut into 6 wedges and cored

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Double recipe All-Butter Pastry Dough

1 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into bits

1 large egg beaten with 1 Tbsp warm water

1 Tbsp granulated sugar

Extra equipment:

small pumpkin or leaf-shape cookie cutters (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 425° with a baking sheet placed on middle rack.

2. Whisk together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt, then whisk in brown sugar, breaking up any lumps. Gently toss apples with sugar mixture, lemon juice, and vanilla and let stand 5 to 15 minutes to macerate fruit.

3. Roll out 1 piece of dough on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 13-inch round. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Roll out remaining dough into a 13-inch round.

3. Transfer filling to shell. Dot with butter, then cover with pastry round. Trim edges, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang (reserve scraps). Press edges together to seal, then fold under. Lightly brush top crust with some of egg wash, then cut 3 (1-inch-long) vents.

4. Roll out dough scraps about 1/8 inch thick and cut out pumpkin or leaf shapes. Arrange decoratively on top of pie, pressing gently to help adhere. Lightly brush top crust and cutouts with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.

5. Bake pie on hot baking sheet 20 minutes. Reduce oven to 375°F and bake until crust is golden and filling is bubbling, 40 to 45 minutes more. Cool to warm, 2 to 3 hours.





Gingery Green Smoothie

Smoothies are the perfect breakfast or anytime snack. Loaded with nutrition, smoothies can be totally customized and prepared with little effort.

This smoothie, in particular, is one of my favorites because if its gingery zing and refreshing flavor. I also added spinach for extra nutrients (and I love the fresh green color!)

I like to use a mixture of frozen bananas with other fresh ingredients, so crushed ice is not needed (it makes smoothies watery). By using freshly frozen chopped bananas, I never waste fresh fruit and always have a great smoothie base on hand.

Gingery Green Smoothie

1 frozen chopped banana (buy fresh banana, chop, and put in the freezer)

1 cup baby spinach leaves

1 heaping tbsp chopped ginger

1 medium gala or fuji apple, cored and chopped (I like to leave the skin for flavor)

1 cup of almond milk (depends on your consistency preference; add more if needed)

2 tbsp almond butter

1 tbsp chia seeds (optional)

Using a blender, combine all ingredients until completely smooth. Enjoy!


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Global Inspiration: Mango Salsa in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is not necessarily a memorable place for food (as noted here). The culture is simple and on the conservative side, with respect to the Caribbean locations; however, the beautiful country boasts an extensive variety of fresh, local fruits.

I was inspired by the plentiful mangos to create a mango salsa to compliment freshly caught sea bass (typical fish in Costa Rica). The salsa is easy to make and even goes famously alongside tortilla chips and fresh guacamole.

Mango Salsa

1 ripe mango

1 cucumber

1 red pepper, diced

1 small red onion, diced

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

4 limes, juiced

Sea Salt

Fresh Cracked Pepper

1. Peel and chop mango, set aside

2. Peel and chop cucumber in large chunks; place in a colander and drizzle with sea salt. Set aside for 10 minutes (this drains excess water)

3. Combine mango, cucumber, red pepper, red onion, lime juice, cilantro, sea salt, and cracked pepper. Set aside and chill for at least 30 minutes prior to serving with sea bass or fish or your choice.

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Blueberry Cobbler

Need a quick and easy dessert for your next dinner gathering (or, you really just want an excuse to bake)? Of course, you nod your head yes…because what is a memorable dinner without its dessert companion. Bring on the blueberries.

I picked up a few pints of blueberries at the farmer’s market last weekend, and couldn’t wait to check out Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home Blueberry Cobbler. This cookbook offers a comforting family style menu, so the ingredients are simple and most likely already in your kitchen.


1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 cup buttermilk


4 pints (8 cups) blueberries

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

Cinnamon Sugar

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or to taste


1. Preheat oven to 350°

2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside.

3. Put the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle and mix on low speed to combine, then beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until the mixture is light and creamy, scraping down the sides as necessary. Beat in the eggs one at a time until fully incorporated. Add the dry ingredients in 3 batches, alternating with the buttermilk in 2 batches. Scrape down the sides and mix again to be certain that all the ingredients are combined. 

4. Put the blueberries in a large bowl and toss with the sugar, flour, and zest. Spread in an 11-inch square baking dish or a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Spoon mounds of the batter over the berries, leaving space between the mounds. Combine the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the batter.

5. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the juices are bubbling and the topping is golden brown and cooked through. If the top becomes too brown before it is cooked, lay a piece of aluminum foil over the top of the cobbler. Let the cobbler stand for at least 10 minutes before serving. (Any leftover cobbler can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.) 

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