Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sweet Melissa Sunday Apple Orchard Crumble and an Elegant; Easy Appetizer

Sweet Melissa Sunday was a surprise contemplation as to whether a person can truly distinguish between a mixture of 3 or 4 types of apples. How much difference can a person truly taste? I understand texture; some apples turn to mush when baked, others hold their shape but are either sweet or tart. Sugar; granulated, light or dark brown, can correct any sense of sweetness but I was truly perplexed over the assortment of apples. The stores did not carry the same assortment asked for in the recipe so I called Mom (the best resource I know). She had a whole new assortment of apples different from the recipe and different from what I could this avenue backfired. I went to the store, thought about throwing a dart to choose but decided on reading little write-ups under each apple. This is what I chose: Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, and Braeburn. The combination "was" delicious!I made the crisp earlier in the week, thinking the perfect individual pictures would be taken the next day. The next day, the crisp was taken in little Tupperware containers for a lunch treat, eaten as dessert for dinner and no pictures were taken. This big GOOF was discovered while typing this morning. Half the fun is using cute dishes, darn it.
Speaking of dishes, do you ever feel like you are a human dish washing machine? We cook/bake but we also spend just as much time washing and cleaning our mess for the next round? Many of us have dishwashers but I still end up washing dishes by hand along the way.
The Apple Orchard Pecan Crumble for Sweet Melissa Sunday was chosen by Cristine of Cristine Cooks and the hardest part of the whole recipe (besides contemplating apples) was peeling and cutting the apples up for the recipe. That's it! The recipe was a breeze. My baking time was shortened by 10 minutes but this could have something to do more with the size of my baking dish.

I added a little nutmeg along with the cinnamon, sugar, and flour.
Oh, I love this part because I learned something new about texture and what everyone enjoys. I combined walnuts and pecans, used a little more then called for, AND left the nuts in large chunks instead of putting them in my nut chopper. Big difference in texture and we loved it!
Before we knew it, the crumble was ready for the oven.

An hour and ten minutes later, the Apple Orchard Pecan Crumble was sitting on the counter rack, cooling. Melissa was so right about the kitchen smelling incredible. What a great Fall dessert! For the recipe, go to Cooking with Cristine =) or purchase the Sweet Melissa Baking Book. To see how the rest of the Sweet Melissa baking gang did click on Sweet Melissa Sunday.
This weekend was also about putting together a house warming basket for hubby's 2 daughters. The oldest daughter bought a home and the two girls are now living together, sharing responsibilities and creating new memories! I remember my first apartment and how sparse the apartment was but it didn't matter. I was playing house and it felt Great! I still have some of the things from my first place and each item means the world to me, like my old waffle iron (supplied by Grandma and Grandpa).

I made an appetizer that is so pretty (would make the BEST Valentine appetizer), tastes delicious, and is not hard to make. In fact, hubby has been asking me to make this for the longest time and I kept getting sidetracked with other recipes; go figure!
The appetizer is called Tomatoes Gervais. Simply put, the beefsteak tomatoes (you can use any size really) are peeled, stuffed with whipped cream cheese, half-and -half and your favorite mixture of fresh herbs and drizzled with a fresh vinaigrette. The recipe originally was found years ago in the Grand Diplome Cooking Course, Volume 1.

Tomatoes Gervais
4 large, or 8 medium, tomatoes
salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces of cream cheese
3 - 4 Tablespoons light cream (half-and-half)
2 Tablespoons chopped chives (shallots can also be used)
1/2 cup vinaigrette dressing (recipe follows)
bunch of watercress for garnish (I did not use this time)
Note: If fresh chives are not available, use finely chopped scallions or watercress stalks and add 1 teaspoon thyme, marjoram or basil to the vinaigrette dressing.
Directions: Peel the tomatoes by placing them in a bowl and covering them with boiling water for 10 seconds. Drain and cover them with cold water. The skin can now be removed easily.
Cut a slice from the bottom (not stalk end) of each tomato, reserving the slices. Holding the tomato in the hollow of your palm, scoop out the seeds with the handle of a teaspoon, using bowl of spoon to detach the core. Drain seeded tomatoes and season the insides lightly with salt.
Soften cheese using a mixer with a wire whip. Add enough cream to make a smooth light mixture, season well with salt and freshly ground pepper and add half of the chives or scallions.
With a teaspoon, fill tomatoes with cheese mixture, piling it up well, replacing slices on a slant, and arrange them on a platter. Spoon over a little of the vinaigrette dressing, reserving some to be added just before serving. Cover and chill for up to 2 hours. Just before serving, garnish with watercress and sprinkle remaining chives or scallions over tomatoes.
Vinaigrette Dressing
1 Tablespoon vinegar (any of the following types: red or white wine, cider or tarragon)
3 Tablespoons of a good olive oil
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
chopped fresh herbs (thyme, marjoram, basil, or parsley - optional)
Directions: Mix the vinegar with seasonings and gradually add the oil, whisking until the dressing thickens slightly. Taste it for the correct seasoning - add more salt if the dressing is sharp yet oily.
Fresh herbs are an excellent addition as is a pinch of sugar, according to taste.


Nina said...

your crumble looks absolutely delicious!

Susan said...

Your crumble looks great and the appetizer is a winner too!

Flourchild said...

Love the crumble, nice dish too!

lakegirl16 said...

I love your baking dish! What a cute housewarming basket! I love putting things like that together!

k.a.r.e.n said...

Great double header! Love your crumble & tomatoes.

Jen T. said...

That red dish is beautiful! I thought the same thing about the apples, so I just used Granny Smiths and Golden Delicious and called it good :-) And congratulations to the girls on moving into a house, what a big accomplishment!

Eliana said...

Your crumble looks fantastic Shandy. Great job.

Tracey said...

I totally hear you on the dishes - we have a dishwasher but I wind up washing a ton of dishes by hand too. It's the main reason I don't bake as much as I'd like to! Your crumble looks wonderful! I really enjoyed this recipe too.

Sonia said...

Well done Shandy..

margot said...

Your crumble looks delicious and I love your baking dish! I used the same varieties of apples you did, plus golden delicious. While it probably wasn't necessary, it was fun choosing different varieties.

Jeannette said...

yummy looking crumble!! and tomatoes!

Stephanie said...

that red dish is so cute, perfect for such a wonderfully autumny dessert. looks great!