Sunday, September 26, 2010

apple cake

as i mentioned in the previous post, i am currently swimming in apples (figuratively of course).  what i've really been craving is a simple apple cake.  not too fancy.  not to sweet.  just a simple apple cake.

i first tried to modify this one, using spelt and rice milk with lemon instead of buttermilk.  i should have learned from my lemon cake debacle that these types of cake do not take kindly to over modification.  it turned out oddly bread-like, and also kind of gummy and gluey, despite baking for almost an hour.  undeterred, i decided to try adding apples to a spelt cake i knew worked.  ta da!  success!

i am totally not a professional baker nor a food scientist, but it seems like spelt works better in recipes where you cream the butter and sugar together (like with cookies) instead of adding melted butter to make a batter.  i wonder why that is?

apple spelt cake
adapted from king arthur flour

2 apples, cored and chopped
1 T butter
1 T brown sugar

1/3 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk (i used rice milk)
1 1/2 cups spelt
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp salt

preheat oven to 350. 

butter 8x8 baking dish.

melt 1 T of butter in a saute pan.  add apples and brown sugar and cook until the apples have softened slightly.  you do not want to make apple sauce, just partially cook the apples.  after the apples have cooked, remove from heat.

cream together butter and brown sugar.  add the eggs one at a time and beat until the mixture is fluffy.

add milk.  

add flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and cardamom, mix well.

fold in cooled apple mixture.

pour into buttered baking dish and bake for 30-35 minutes, testing for after 25.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

how about them apples?

last weekend a friend and i went apple picking and, as predicted, picked waaay too many apples.  note to self:  1/2 bushel = 63 apples = too many!

to make matters worse, i can't actually eat raw apples (i have oral allergy syndrome), so i've been trying to find ways to work them into baked recipes.  so far i've had mixed results.  i made an apple "cake" which was more like a gluey bread (yuck), and this apple cobbler which was fantastic!

apple cobbler with spelt crust

4 apples (i used macoun and cortland), cored (i left the peels on)
1 tablespoon spelt flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted

(this delicious crust is based on this one)
1 1/4 cups spelt flour (i used white)
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 oz cold butter (i prefer salted)
3-4 tablespoons ice water

preheat oven to 375.
butter a baking dish (i used an oval dish, but an 8x8 or 9x9 pan would work as well)

for the filling,
cut the apples into medium sized chunks, roughly 1/4 to 1/2 inch cubes
stir in the melted butter, then the sugar and the flour.  mix well.  place apple mixture into the prepared baking dish.

for the crust,
add the flour and salt to a bowl, mix well.
cut the butter into small pieces and add to the flour.
using a pastry cutter, work the butter into the flour until it looks like a coarse meal.
gradually add the water, mixing until the dough forms a ball.

turn the dough out onto a floured surface and form into a disc.  cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.

after the dough has "rested", take it out of the refrigerator and remove the plastic.  place on a floured surface and roll out until it is about 1/4 thick.  carefully lift the dough from the counter and drape over the apples.  tuck in the edges and make sure there are vents for steam to escape.

bake for about 45 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the fruit juices are bubbling to the surface.

Monday, September 20, 2010


i'm house (and dog) sitting this week so i have the perfect opportunity to try some dishes that have been kicking around in my head for awhile.

even though most of the leaves on the trees are still green, fall has started to arrive in new england.  personally, i couldn't be more excited.  i love fall.  it is, hands down, my favorite season.  of course i love the explosion of color that is about to happen, but mostly i love the cool crisp days that feel like a reward for surviving yet another hot and humid summer.

i love the return of fall foods, the wild assortment of winter squashes, the apples (more on those later....) and the deep and earthy flavors that we associate with this time of year.

a few days ago i received a fantastic package from beth at spelt right baking.  inside were loaves of their lovely breads and bagels.  i'm a huge fan of their frozen pizza dough, so i was really excited to try their other products!

so, what to do when you've got fall flavors on the brain and some lovely spelt bread?  bread stuffing of course!  this is the traditional stuffing at our thanksgiving table (we add sausage to make it even better).  as you can see, it is from a well-loved betty crocker cookbook that has seen better days.  the binding has split, so one half is cape cod dip to pot roast and the other is corn-stuffed pork chops to mustard kohlrabi.  bread stuffing is happily located in the second half, in the poultry section.

spelt bread stuffing (adapted from betty crocker)
makes 4 servings

1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced (i include the leaves)
3T butter (plus 1T for topping)
poultry seasoning

6-8 slices spelt bread, cubed and toasted
3/4-1 cup chicken broth

salt and pepper to taste

preheat oven to 400

melt 3T of butter in a large skillet.  add the onion, celery and poultry seasoning and cook until the onions are translucent.

add the spelt cubes to a large bowl, then add the melted butter mixture.  stir to combine.

add the chicken broth and stir to combine.

add stuffing mixture to a buttered baking dish and dot the top with bits of butter.  cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.  remove foil and continue to bake until the top is golden and crispy.

Friday, September 17, 2010

do you want spelt with that?

recently i was in a car with a friend who was eating some fast food onions rings.  since i can't eat wheat (or soy, corn, or preservatives), fast food is usually completely off my radar.  but as the car filled with the (oddly) intoxicating scent of fried onion rings, i became filled with an emotion i can only describe as a mixture of sadness, anger and longing.

most of the time i succeed at keeping a pretty positive outlook on all this food allergy/intolerance crap.  i keep telling myself that i feel better now that i've eliminated so many possible offenders from my diet.  the truth is that i do physically feel better than i have in years.  but it is also true that it hasn't always been easy.  i miss the easy camaraderie of eating out with friends.  of grabbing a slice of pizza and a beer just because.  more than anything, i miss participating.  

part of what keeps me coming back to this little blog is that it makes social the inherently solitary pursuit of puttering around the kitchen fussing over new ingredients.

so, from my kitchen to yours,

spelt onion rings (makes roughly 16 rings)

1/2 large sweet onion
1/3 cup white spelt flour
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup spelt bread crumbs (i used leftover spelt toast)

red pepper flakes

preheat oven to 400
line baking sheet with parchment

slice onion into 1/4-1/2 inch rounds and separate into rings

set out three shallow pans or plates. 
add flour to one pan, eggs to the next and breadcrumbs to the third

(i added seasoning to both the flour and the breadcrumbs)

dip the onion rings into the flour, then the egg and lastly the breadcrumbs
place on the parchment lined baking sheet

bake for 15-20 minutes, turning once

serve with corn-syrup free ketchup!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

spelthouse cookies

as you may have gathered from my previous posts, i'm not a big fan of super duper whole grain foods. don't get me wrong, i like to eat (mostly) healthy foods, but i just don't think that everything needs to be made with 100% whole grains.

take chocolate chip cookies, for example. sometimes it is best not to muck around (too much)with a classic.

spelthouse cookies (very slightly adapted from the tollhouse classic)

2 1/4 cups white spelt flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (corn-free)
2 eggs
2 cups chocolate chips

preheat oven to 375

beat softened butter, both sugars and the vanilla in a medium bowl until creamy.

add the eggs and beat until well incorporated.

add the spelt flour, baking soda and salt. stir to combine.

stir in the chocolate chips.

using a small scoop or spoon, portion out roughly 12 cookies per baking sheet.

bake for 8-11 minutes.

place on cooling rack until you can't stand it anymore and must have a cookie!!  (ahem)

makes roughly 60 cookies.

martha martha martha!

i'm out of town but wanted to put in a quick post about this posting on the everyday food blog at martha stewart dot com.  

as you can see by my recent calzone obsession, spelt right pizza dough has become a staple in my kitchen.

the crazy thing is that if you click on the pizza dough link near the end of the post- it brings you to hey spelty!


(thanks beth!)

Friday, September 3, 2010

spelt ≠ farro (or does it?)

i'm currently chained to my printer (long story), so instead of cooking i'm wandering aimlessly though the interwebs.

i came across a really interesting article in the new york times about the differences between spelt and farro.  like many people i had mistakenly thought they were the same thing.

now i know.

yesterday i posted the above article explaining how spelt and farro were not the same thing.  it turns out that there is a lot more confusion about this whole topic than i was expecting.  a speltie (in the know) forwarded me some information that she had received from a spelt farmer in washington.

it turns out that "farro" is an umbrella term for three types of grain, einkorn (Triticum monoccocum), emmer (Triticum diccocum) and spelt (Triticum spelta). 

further internet searching explains that in italy (where the term farro comes from), that there are three sizes of farro, piccolo (einkorn), medio (emmer), and grande (spelt). 

it seems as if the most common "farro" sold is farro medio (aka emmer), but that confusion and mislabelling abound.

i guess the moral of the story is that spelt = farro.  sometimes.