Monday, September 29, 2014

French Apple Custard Cake

Here is the other recipe Luke made with me a couple of weeks ago that was just wonderful. French Apple Custard Cake.  I was hooked just at the sounds of Custard and Cake combined.  The cake is delicious, moist and has a custard like consistency, thus its name. This one is just in time for apple season around here, and after having eaten it, I realized I will have to make this again very soon while fresh apples are in abundance. Luke got the recipe from a magazine and wrote it down a while back, but didn't remember what magazine, thus I don't have the credit to whom it goes to.  I have looked it up on the Internet, and it seems that it is a "known" recipe; I found several recipes published, most of them very much the same, so take your pick on who to give the original credit to on this one, cook it up and enjoy.

French Apple Custard Cake

1 1/2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, cut into 8 wedges and sliced 1/8 of an inch thick (see the picture below)
1 Tablespoon Calvados (Apple Brandy) : we just used an ordinary inexpensive Brandy that I had on hand for cooking and baking.
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup + 2 Tablespoons All Purpose flour
1 cup + 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar (we used organic, unbleached, non-gmo sugar)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg plus 2 egg yolks
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
powdered sugar for dusting the cake (organic unbleached as mentioned above)


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Heat apples in a non stick pan until translucent and slightly browned.  We didn't use any butter or liquid when we did this.  Add Brandy and lemon juice and let rest for 15 minutes.
  3. Whisk 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder and salt together in a bowl.
  4. Whisk 1 egg, oil, milk and vanilla in a separate bowl.
  5. Pour dry ingredients into wet and mix until well combined.
  6. Transfer 1 cup of the batter into a separate bowl and set aside.
  7. Add egg yolks to the remaining batter and wisk until well combined.
  8. Transfer batter into a 9 inch spring form pan lined with parchment, or prepared with a natural shortening and floured (My spring form pan is out of commission, so we ended up using 2 eight inch cake pans, which, which made for two cakes that were not quite as rich in height or volume, and yet worked well, but I do believe the spring form pan is the best way to go).
  9. Lay apple slices evenly onto cake.
  10. Whisk remaining 2 tablespoons flour into reserved batter.
  11. Spread this batter over the apples and batter in the pan.
  12. Sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of granulated sugar evenly over the batter.
  13. Bake 70-75 minutes in a spring form pan or 40-50 minutes if using 2  8 inch cake pans; until cake is set, top is lightly browned, and a tooth pick comes out clean when inserted.
  14. Let cool, and remove from pan.
  15. Dust with powdered sugar
  16. Enjoy!
Crisp Granny Smith Apples work nicely for this recipe.


And slice

Heat apples in a non-stick pan until slightly translucent, and we like them slightly caramelized.

Add Apple Brandy and Lemon Juice and allow to rest 15 minutes.

Mix together batter as instructed above.  This batter is a little different than what you might be used to, and you will want to follow the instructions carefully.  It is not difficult however, so don't let the extra step or two intimidate you; it is this process that gives the extra custardy texture.   Once mixed, you will 
transfer one cup of the batter and set aside in a separate bowl.

Lay the brandy soaked apple slices over the cake batter.

Cover batter evenly with slices.

Mix remaining cup of batter with the egg yolks and whisk together well.
Pour this batter over the top of the apples.  Sprinkle the remaining Tablespoon of sugar over the top of the batter.  When it is baked, the sugar forms a nice crust over the top.

Bake at 325 degrees for 40- 50 minutes if using two cake pans, and 60 -70  minutes if using a spring form pan.  Cake is done when it is set, and a tooth pick comes out clean.

Thursday, September 25, 2014


Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;
They shall not be ashamed,
But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.
Psalm 127:3-5

That is one of my favorite scriptures and I speak it often. I have found it to be fully true in our lives. I speak it to my children,  (my heritage and my rewards), because I take such joy in the blessing that they are to me… and their children also.  Their children are a reward, a heritage and a delight.
I went to Florida this week to visit those rewards, and partake of that wonderful heritage.
It went by very quickly… too quickly. My  daughters and son in laws blessed me very much It is always hard to go home... but always nice to go home to Steve… that is a reward also.

These 3 Musketeers are a hilarious, happy trio.  Three little boys, double cousins; so delightful.

We had lots of beach time this visit.   I never get tired of that.

 I'm flying home today after a lovely week in Florida.  I have 5 hours between flights…. perfect time to catch up on blogging.  Its quite a challenge these days to book a flight that doesn't have several hours in between flights, or doesn't leave at 6:00 A.M.  In this case I was able to get a flight that left later in the morning.  I was glad no one had to get up at 3:00 to get to the airport.  I had the sweetest send off from my girls and grandsons and now during a lay over in Atlanta,  I have a few extra hours to catch up on a few things on my computer.  

Hope you have the joy of your rewards this week everyone.  Thanks for all of your comments,
they are always appreciated

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Homemade Ketchup From Garden to Table

How do you spell Ketchup… that is my question to you. Is it Catsup or Ketchup? Even my spell checker didn't correct me on either of those (and believe me my spell checker isn't shy).  Perhaps it is one of those "You say "Potato" and I say "Po-taw-toe" things; different parts of the country say it and spell it differently?  If you know the answer to that please let me know…. and while you are at it, could you tell me where the name Catsup/Ketchup came from.  I'm sorry that I haven't done any research on it; but I did enjoy making up a wonderful batch of Ketchup with Luke this week.  He is great at making sauces and condiments, and this tasted so good when he made the first batch I said… "we gotta do it again; I'll help and take pictures".  So we did.  I was surprised at how easy it was to make a tasty Ketchup.  I have purchased Ketchup from the health food store, and didn't care for it, because it was bland and didn't taste like what I was used to.  I'm glad to learn how to make it, because I don't like the excess gmo sugars, high fructose corn syrup and who knows what else is in the "old favorite" brands.

After we had made up our Ketchup, Luke made hamburger and fries for us; all homemade, from the buns, to the french fries, to the mayonnaise. Believe me Steve and I were trying to figure out how to fund Luke's restaurant it was delicious…. and what a perfect setting for the ketchup final pics.   

Homemade Ketchup from Garden to Table
6 lbs fresh plum tomatoes
1/2 of 1 medium sized shallot or onion, diced
1 bay leaf
1 pinch of ground clove (about1/8 teaspoon)
3 Tablespoons Paprika
1/2 tsp fresh ginger, julienned (you could also use a pinch of dried ginger instead)
16 ounces Apple Cider Vinegar (or 2 cups)
1 cup organic unbleached No GMO Sugar, Sucanat or any sweetener you prefer. Don't be afraid to taste test for sweet preference.
1 Tablespoons Himilayan salt

  1. Rinse and chop tomatoes with skins on. 
  2. Place into a large stock pot.
  3. Add bay leaf, spices and fresh ginger.
  4. Cook on medium heat for 40 minutes.
  5. Pour into a sieve type strainer, pressing tomato mixture through until all is well strained.  You will want to do this very thoroughly, and may feel as if you are kneading bread.  Keep pressing through until there appears to be only skin and seeds left.  Be sure to scrape the pulp off from under the sieve with a rubber spatula.
  6. Put tomato sauce back on the burner, add sugar and vinegar and cook down for another two hours, or until sauce has thickened to desired consistency.  This is a little like making apple butter.
  7. You can store in jars in the refrigerator, or water bath can according to altitude instructions in your area.
  8. Makes 1 quart
Rinse and chop 6 lbs of Plum tomatoes with skins on.

Add onions...
ginger, and other spices

Simmer on medium heat about 40 minutes.

Strain out seeds and skins.

Press skin and seeds thoroughly into the sieve to get all the juice and pulp out of it.

Put the strained juice and pulp back into the stock pot.  Add sugar and vinegar cook another two hours, or until it has thickened to your desired consistency.
Don't let the strong vinegar smell worry you, it cooks down also, and tastes just right when finished.
Makes 1 quart


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Home Journal

The last few weeks have been an up and down sort of thing around here; with fighting off a virus of some sort, to trying to clean up garden veggies (which I haven't really made a dent in), to enjoying Luke, to planning a trip to Florida to visit our girls and grandchildren.  I was able to can 9 quarts of tomatoes, and Steve helped freeze 24 quart bags of Chilies, and 5 quarts of corn.  That will probably be it for us for the year in terms of preserving food. I may yet cook up a few things for the freezer, as there is still quite a bit of eggplant, chilies and tomatoes in the garden.
We celebrated Luke's 32nd birthday a little over a week ago and went out to eat at the "Elephant Bar", which is one of our  favorite restaurants.  We had a great time.  September is loaded with birthdays  in our family, and to those of my very precious family members who we were/are not able to celebrate with yet… Happy Birthday… we're looking forward to catching up soon!

Luke and I have been doing some cooking in the kitchen together, and having a great time. I asked him if I could post some of his cooking and recipes; and  I was delighted to get to make some homemade ketchup with him this week, as well as a delicious French Apple Custard cake, all of which I will post about soon.  

We are feeling that Colorado weather at work, with all of its extremes; we had 35 degrees  one day last week, and in the 90's this week, all of which has kept us between sweaters and warm socks, to flip flops and shorts within a very short period of time.  As I mentioned earlier, we have had that crazy virus that has caused us to cough for more than 2 weeks. Perhaps the extreme changes in weather contribute.  So I  have pulled out all of our favorite remedies (and a few more that we have added to our list) and we are taking every last thing in triplicate. I am thinking to be healthy and strong and  have my immune system well defended by the time I go traveling. 
Now for those of you who have read this far, and have been wondering what in the world is  the picture I have on my header?  I will tell you at last.  It is a Pinocchio Eggplant. Well at least that is what Luke and Steve and I have called it.  It grew this way.  Isn't it strange?  Luke bought it at one of the Farm stores this week.  It is indeed a marvel. I would like to make up some sort of headline for it, because it seems to deserve it… but I am too foggy headed it will have to do as is…until another time.
  Hope you all are staying well, and enjoying some lovely Fall days.
Have a great week everyone.

Saturday, September 13, 2014


Calabacitas means little squash or Zucchini.  This dish is really a casserole containing Zucchini or Mexican squash, fresh corn, chilies, onions, tortilla chips and cheese.  It is a wonderful side dish, but is so satisfying, it can be served with tortillas or biscuits as a main dish.  With all these veggies in season right now, and most of them in my garden, I've been craving it all week.  I ended up making 2 batches for the mere fact that the first batch got eaten before I finished my pictures. Ha.  It is named for the squash in the dish, but is probably as much of a corn and chili casserole as it is a squash casserole.  It is topped with cheese, finely crushed tortilla chips and yes, more cheese.  I must confess, cheese and crust; these are the things that make veggies so delicious to me ( I do wish I didn't feel that way).  If you wished to make this Trim Healthy Mama friendly, or low carb, simply leave off the tortilla chips and reduce or leave out the corn.
I like making this in a cast iron skillet.  It works out perfectly, because you begin by frying the bacon in the cast iron skillet, and your whole dish ends up there, so there is very little clean up afterwards.

Begin by frying the bacon nice and crisp.  Take the bacon out and cool on a paper towel.  Leave 2 Tablespoons of bacon grease at the bottom of the skillet.

Cut up the squash into chunks (I leave the skins on).

Place them into the pan on top of the bacon grease.

Shuck and prepare corn.

Cut the fresh corn off of the cob.

Add corn to squash.

Clean, core, de-seed and chop fresh chilies.

Sprinkle on top of the corn.

Chop the onion.

 Sprinkle onto of the chilies.

Chop or crumble the bacon.

Add to onions.

Looks good already doesn't it?

Place on burner and turn to medium high heat.  Stir mixture as it cooks.

Saute for 5-10 minutes, or until veggies are beginning to brown and squash is just beginning to look cooked.

Remove from heat.  Add 2/3 of the cheese. and lightly stir it into the vegetables.

Top with crumbled tortilla chips.

Add remaining cheese evenly over the top of crumbled tortilla chips. Cover with aluminum foil and place in oven.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

It should be nice and melty.

Top with green onions.

Dish it up and Enjoy.


2 medium small Calabacita squashes or Zucchinis
4 medium cobs of corn/corn cut off of cob (you could also use 2-3 cups of frozen corn).
2 medium sized fresh green chills,  cored, seeded and diced (you could also use roasted or canned green chilies).
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 pieces of bacon, fried and crumbled (I use an uncured organic bacon)
2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar or montery jack cheese
1 1/2 cups finely crushed tortilla chips
2 green onions, chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook bacon in skillet until nicely crispy.  
  3. Drain bacon on paper towel.
  4. Leave about 2 Tablespoons of bacon grease in skillet.
  5. Add vegetables one after the other and top with bacon. 
  6. Place skillet on stove top.  Stir and saute 5-10 minutes, or until squash and corn are just beginning to look cooked.  I don't like it to be over cooked, it tastes best when it is slightly crunchy.
  7. Now top with 3/4 of the cheese, stirring into the vegetables as you add.
  8. Top with crushed corn chips and more cheese. 
  9. Place into preheated oven and bake 15- 20 minutes.
  10. Sprinkle with green onions.
  11. Serve and Enjoy.

Have a nice weekend everyone.
Blessings, Pam