October 27, 2011

The Harvest....A Celebration!


Choose a few different kinds of bread, such as baguettes, ciabatta, or Italian bread, cut into thick pieces and sliced horizontally, or pita wedges, sliced horizontally. Fill breads with assorted filling combinations, such as:

•Sliced brie, thinly sliced red onion, and salad greens with apple butter

•Sliced turkey and sliced Swiss cheese with cranberry chutney

•Grilled sliced vegetables and sliced smoked Gouda cheese, with pesto spread on 1 slice of bread and whole-grain mustard on the other

•Bacon, arugula or spinach, and tomato slices with mayonnaise flavored with curry powder, salt, and pepper

On nippy days, create a makeshift warmer using tea lights in a
bowl with a cooling rack atop to hold the cider.
 Or, use a crockery cooker or an insulated carafe.


1 gal. pasteurized apple cider or apple juice
2 16-oz. bottles pomegranate juice or
4 cups cranberry juice
1/4 cup maple syrup or packed brown sugar
6 fresh kumquats, halved, or six 3-inch thin strips of orange peel
16 inches stick cinnamon, broken
12 cardamom pods, lightly crushed to expose seeds
12 whole cloves
Thinly sliced oranges with cloves pressed in peel and/or cinnamon sticks tied with orange peel strips

 In a large Dutch oven or kettle combine cider, pomegranate or cranberry juice, and maple syrup or brown sugar. For spice bag, cut a double thickness of 100-percent-cotton cheesecloth into a 12-inch square. Place halved kumquats or orange peel, 16 inches stick cinnamon, cardamom pods, and cloves in center of cloth. Bring the corners of cloth together and tie closed with clean kitchen string. Add spice bag to cider mixture.
 Bring mixture to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove spice bag and discard. Serve cider warm or at room temperature. If desired, garnish with clove-studded orange slices and cinnamon sticks.

The star anise and combination of fresh fall fruits and dried fruits
make this country-style dessert something to talk about.
Find star anise in the spice aisle.


1/2 cup apple cider or juice
2 star anise
3/4 cup dried fruit, such as dried apricots, cut into strips; dried plums (prunes), quartered; dried tart cherries; and/or golden raisins
5 Jonathan or Granny Smith apples, peeled if desired
3 firm, ripe Bosc or red Bartlett pears, peeled if desired
1 cup fresh cranberries
2 Tbsp. maple syrup or honey
1/4 tsp. apple pie spice or ground cinnamon
1 cup regular rolled oats
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. apple pie spice or ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup coarsely chopped almonds or pecans
Sweetened Orange Whipped Cream

 For filling, heat cider and anise in a small saucepan until just simmering on the edges. Remove from heat. Add dried fruit; cover and let stand 10 minutes. Remove and discard star anise. (Do not drain fruit.)
Meanwhile, core and thinly slice the apples and pears. Place apples, pears, and cranberries in a 3-quart rectangular baking dish. Add dried fruit mixture, maple syrup, and 1/4 teaspoon apple pie spice or cinnamon; toss gently to combine. Spread evenly in the dish.
For topping, in a medium bowl stir together oats, brown sugar, flour, and 1 teaspoon apple pie spice. Cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in nuts. Sprinkle evenly over filling. Bake in a 375° oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until fruit is tender and bubbly and topping is golden. Cool on a wire rack about 30 minutes. Serve warm with Sweetened Orange Whipped Cream

Sweetened Orange Whipped Cream

In a chilled medium bowl combine

 1/2 cup whipping cream
 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
 1/2 teaspoon finely shredded orange peel
 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

 Whisk or beat with an electric mixer on low speed until soft peaks form.

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