Thursday, October 28, 2010

No Tricks.....Just Treats

Ah, of our favorite times of year. A carpet of colorful, crunchy leaves on the ground, a nip in the air, jack-o-lanterns, costumes and CHOCOLATE!

It's a perfect time to introduce our first give-away on Life's Short....Eat Cookies! Leave a comment below and we'll choose one at random on Halloween night to receive a chocolate treat from Lisa's Cookie Shop. The winner will be notified by email, so be sure to leave an email address.

These are the choices - which would you choose?

Chocolate-Dipped Crunchy Peanut Bars

Chocolate-Dipped Shortbread

Good luck and Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Apple Picking and a Delicious Result

Apple picking is as much a Fall tradition in our house as Halloween and Thanksgiving - we wouldn't dare end the season without a trip or two to the orchard to pick apples, sample homemade cider and gorge ourselves on apple cider donuts.

This past week-end, we visited a small orchard just steps from our house and picked as many apples as we could carry out of there, all the while discussing what we'd make with them once we got them home.

This Spiced Apple Compote with Currants is our first apple recipe of the season. It's delicious, comforting, versatile and incredibly easy to make - my five year old daughter and I did this one together.

Its great as a side dish with pork chops or cutlets, delicious served over waffles or french toast and satisfying over ice cream or toasted pound cake. It smells and tastes just like Fall......

Spiced Apple Compote with Currants

1 cup water
1 cup apple cider (I used a local hard cider for this)
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split in half - seeds scraped out
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg (I used whole nutmeg & grated w/microplane)
Pinch salt
8 large apples (I used Golden Delicious & Macintosh), peeled, cored and diced

In a large saucepan, combine water, apple cider, sugar, vanilla bean and seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt - bring to a boil. Boil gently until sugar is dissolved and mixtures thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.

Add diced apples and return to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, stirring occasionally until apples are tender and mixture thickens - about 20 minutes.

In a small bowl, spoon out about 2 tbsp. of the liquid from the pot and combine with 1 tsp. cornstarch. Add this mixture back into the pot and stir in to combine thoroughly. Let mixture simmer for about 5 more minutes. Take off the heat, remove vanilla pod and add currants.

Serve warm, at room temperature or cold. Note: mixture will thicken as it cools.