Tag Archives: Apple Annie’s

Slow Cooker Apple Butter

17 Nov

Jars of Apple Butter

Since I haven’t had much success with making jams and jellies, I’m glad to have had success with making apple butter.  Mid-October, my family made a trip to Apple Annie’s Orchard to pick apples.  At that time, what they had for harvest was lots of Granny Smith and some Rome Beauty.  So, we got around 8 pounds to bring home.  We won’t really eat Granny Smith plain, but, with a little added sugar, we like them prepared in things.  Now, mine never turns out as pretty as other pictures that I have seen, but it works out well enough for us!

I used 6 1/2 pounds of the apples we picked, a mix of Granny Smith and Rome Beauty varieties, and used my peeler/corer/slicer  to prepare all the apples, then used a hand chopper to chop them into smaller pieces.  This filled up my 6 quart slow cooker pretty much to the top.  Then, I added sugar and spices, skipping the salt and vanilla extract, according to this recipe for Slow Cooker Apple Butter:

– 1 cup granulated sugar
– 1 cup light brown sugar
– 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
– 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
– 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Normally, I wouldn’t add sugar, but with as many Granny Smith apples as I had, it needed the sugar to balance out the tart.  I cooked it on low overnight, about 10 hours.  In the morning, I removed the lid and used my hand mixer to smooth out the apples in the slow cooker.  I left the lid off and continued to cook it on low for another 2 hours, until it had gotten a thicker consistency.

We love to eat this on toast and waffles, plus it’s a nice addition to a peanut butter sandwich instead of the grape jelly I buy at the store.  It’s a wonderful fall treat!  The prep takes some time and effort, but then you can let it cook all day while you work on other things.

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers

29 Aug

 

I’m not going to lie – I’m bad at breading and frying things.  I’ve tried it on a few different occasions, and I did okay, but not great.  Plus, I don’t like dealing with all the oil after frying.  So, I searched for alternative ways to make jalapeno poppers with all the jalapenos I had .  And, that search let me to Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers.  You just can’t go wrong with bacon.  These are really pretty easy to put together, too, the worst part is scooping out the seeds and insides of the peppers.  I used turkey bacon because it’s really about the only kind of bacon we eat in my house these days, but these would be great with pork bacon too.  I preferred the turkey bacon also because there is usually less grease, making less chance of grease dripping in my oven.  You can also see in my picture above that I have a tray on my baking sheet.  That is actually a grill cooking tray, but it was perfect to sit on my baking sheet to allow any bacon grease to drip through.  An alternative to this would be to put a baking rack on the baking sheet, or line the baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.  Also, make sure the baking sheet has sides to catch the grease.  Grease fires are no good!

 

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers
Based on recipe here

What you need:

Jalapeno peppers, about a dozen
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 pound bacon, pork or turkey
Toothpicks

How to make it:

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

If you have them, put on gloves while handling the jalapeno peppers.  Slice each pepper in half lengthwise, and scoop out the insides and seeds.  Scoop cream cheese into each pepper half.  Wrap each pepper in a half or whole piece of bacon, depending on the size of your peppers and bacon.  Use a toothpick to help hold the bacon in place around the pepper.  Place on a baking sheet with sides that has a baking rack, foil, or parchment paper inside to absorb the grease.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until bacon is crispy.

Note: Instead of the oven, you could also grill these.

Local Farm Finds: 8/10/2012

11 Aug

Friday, I decided it was time for another local farm adventure!  I had originally planned to go to Sunizona Family Farms to pick up a FarmBox, but since they now have a delivery to the Bisbee Food Co-op on Wednesdays, I decided to wait.  But, on one of my previous trips, we had noticed a pinto bean farm, so I decided to still go over and check it out, plus head to Apple Annie’s again for veggies and apples.  I went with my friends, Jen and Verity, and Verity’s little guy (he’s 1 and was great the whole trip!).  Thanks to Jen for driving!

So, the first stop was the Bonita Bean Company.  They process beans from growers in the southeastern part of Arizona.  They have pinto beans in 3, 10, 25, and 50 pound bags.  They also have a 9 bean mix, pinto, cranberry, light red kidney, yellow, black, small red, pink, navy and great northern beans, in 1.25, 10, and 50 pound bags.  Very friendly and helpful staff there, and I decided on the 10 pound burlap bag of pinto beans and the 1.25 lb 9 bean mix.  My total came to $12.50, $10 for the pinto beans, $2.50 for the 9 bean mix.  Verity also bought a recipe book with lots of ideas for beans, so I should be able to make good use of all the beans.  I think my first attempt will be refried beans, and we’ll see what else from there.

After the bean company, we headed back through Willcox to find a place to eat lunch.  We decided on a cute place named Big Texas Bar-B-Que.  Part of their dining car is in a train car, as the restaurant is near the railroad tracks in town.  They have a big smoker where they smoke their own barbecue, which we could smell immediately when we got out of the car to head inside.  I had the Texas Brisket Sandwich with french fries, both of which were very good.  I recommend a stop in there if you are over that way.  Edited to add in more pictures, thank you to Jen!

Front of Big Texas Bar-B-Que in Willcox, AZ

Big Texas Bar-B-Que, rear view of train car dining area and the entrance

 

 

Texas Brisket Sandwich and Fries. Delicious!

The Brisket Stuffed Baked Potato. Quite possibly the largest potato I’ve seen!

 

 

Next we traveled to Apple Annie’s Produce and Pumpkins, then Apple Annie’s Orchard.  They have a lot of produce available now already picked or you go out and pick.  I got 1/2 dozen corn, a 5.01 lb cantaloupe, a 4.82 lb cantaloupe, 5.08 lbs of assorted squash, 2.13 lbs of cucumbers, 0.2 lbs of jalapenos, 0.82 lbs of okra, and 1.81 lbs of Gala apples for a total of $21.62.  I also got some homemade fudge, which was buy 4 for $11.99, get 2 free.  Delicious!

Here is the produce:

I may head up that way again next month when more apples will be in season.  Then, I can make apple crisp, maybe make some apple juice in my juice extractor, apple sauce, and apple butter.  Yum!

Peach Crisp

10 Aug

 

The Apple Crisp recipe I have is one of my very favorite desserts.  So, since I had plenty of peaches from my trip to Apple Annie’s, I decided that a Peach Crisp might be something to try.  And, I was right, it was very delicious!

A hint on peeling peaches that I used for this recipe and also for the Peach Freezer Jam:  Place peaches in boiling water for a few minutes, then remove and place in ice water.  Then, the peels should slide off easily, to be ready for slicing or chopping.

 

Peach Crisp

What you need:

Filling:
4 cups peeled, pitted, and sliced peaches
1 Tablespoon flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 Tablespoons water or lemon juice

Topping:
1/3 cup margarine or butter (cold, not melted)
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup quick oatmeal
Note: I sometimes like more crumble on top, so I will double the topping ingredients.

How to make it:

Combine the ingredients for the filling and place in a 8×8 or 7×11 baking pan.

Cream together the butter and flour for the topping.  Mix in the brown sugar and oatmeal and form “crumbs” with your fingers. Spread over the apple mixture.

Bake at 325 F for 30-40 minutes.  Let cool slightly, and serve warm. Or it tastes great cold from the fridge the next day too…if it lasts that long!

Peach Freezer Jam

9 Aug

 

I have attempted to make jam before, and failed miserably.  It was too sweet and didn’t set right.  That was well over a year ago, so I decided it was time to attempt it again.  I recently bought some canning supplies from a friend, so I was feeling better prepared, but I wasn’t able to get to the store for lids yet, so I decided on freezer jam using the Ball plastic freezer jars.  I also felt the peaches were sweet enough, so I found a no sugar needed recipe and made sure I had no sugar needed pectin.

Here is the recipe I used: Peach Freezer Jam

It was a pretty easy, straightforward method, and it turned out decent.  It was still runnier than it should have been, so I will need to adjust the pectin for the next time.  I’ve read that in time I will learn better the pectin amount, and I need a little more work, but much better than the last time I attempted jam!

Freezing Sweet Corn

7 Aug

You may remember about a month ago, I shared a burlap sack with 5 dozen ears of sweet corn from Apple Annie’s Produce &  Pumpkins with a friend.

 

So, what did I do with 2 1/2 dozen ears of corn?  First, I removed all the husks and scrubbed the ears with a vegetable brush to remove any remaining silk.  Then, I blanched the corn.  If you aren’t familiar with blanching, this site explains why blanching is needed and what times you need for blanching.  For corn, you will want to boil it for 3-7 minutes, if you will be cutting the corn from the cob, 6-10 minutes if you will be freezing it still on the cob.  After the boiling, you put it in ice water to stop it from cooking any farther.  Once cool, you can cut the corn from the cob for packaging or package the whole cobs (or, in my case, I did some whole and some half cobs).

 

I used the first of this for dinner 2 nights ago.  I let it thaw, sprayed with olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper, then wrapped in aluminum foil.  I cooked it on the grill along with some burgers, and it turned out really good.  Not exactly like fresh, but still really good.  I’m pleased with the corn and that the process worked.  Now, we can have grilled corn all through winter, since we can still grill here in AZ almost all year!

Lots of Produce!

22 Jul

This week, since I wasn’t going to be able to pick up a basket from Bountiful Baskets (I was doing a community car seat check at the same time), I didn’t participate this week.  So, I decided to once again pick up a FarmBox at Sunizona Family Farms again this week.  Instead of a standard box, I chose to get a Custom Box.  This means, that I went through their Web Store of items they currently have available to build my own box.  I selected 1 package Baby Heirloom Lettuce, 1 bunch Carrots, 1 Cucumber – Seedless, 1 head Purple-tinted Broccoli, 2 bunches Radish, 1 Squash – Patty Pan, 1 Big Ol’ Beef Tomato, 1 loaf Bread – Sprouted Khorasan Plus, and 1 1.5 lb bag Peaches – Sierra Rich.  My total was $28.25.  Here is how it all looked (also shown is a zucchini they gave me when I got there):

I was again happy with all that I got.  The peaches were not grown on their farm, but are from an orchard near them, Briggs & Eggers,  that is organic as well.  They are AMAZING peaches!  Very fresh and juicy.  The bread is again very good, this bread has added seeds and grains on top (hence, the Plus in the name), similar to the 9 grain bread that I usually get from Bountiful Baskets.  My husband immediately came home and used the bread to make a grilled cheese sandwich, also with the Big Ol’ Beef tomato.  I’m looking for a recipe to use the patty pan squash.  I’ve never had it, but I’m sure it’s similar to other squash.  Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll be able to drive over this upcoming week, but I’m hoping to the week after.

After we were done at the farm, we headed to Willcox on the other side of I-10 to go to an orchard.  I had wanted to go to Briggs & Eggers, but we had already been in the car enough that I decided on Apple Annie’s, which also has some other goodies (homemade fudge!).  Right now, it’s peach harvest time, so we went through the orchard with a bucket and picked peaches right off the trees.  I ended up with about 9 lbs of peaches, which cost $14.

 

I will make a Peach Crisp and hopefully, some Peach Fruit Leather.  If I don’t get to make the fruit leather, I will probably freeze the peaches and make the fruit leather another time.  I haven’t had a chance to try one yet, but they look delicious.

Then, after getting all of that, I stopped in at Safeway and got even more produce!  They had 2 lb containers of blueberries for $5 again, plus lots of other produce on sale, along with my Just 4 U personalized deals, including a 20% off produce one time use coupon.  I spent $15.84, and here is what I got:

 

It is 1.41 lb broccoli crowns, 2.54 lb red seedless grapes, 1.39 lb black plums, 4 limes, 2 bunches radishes, 2.98 lb Gala apples, 1 head iceberg lettuce, 2 2-lb bags of baby carrots, and 2 lb blueberries.  Can you tell we like radishes in my house?  Well, I’m not a big fan, but my husband and 2 daughters are.  My youngest was excited to see plums, and half a bag of baby carrots is already gone between her and my older daughter munching on them.  Now, I would have preferred more of this to be organic since I’m trying to purchase more organic, but right now, my budget isn’t allowing it.  However, I’m still getting more produce in the house and snacking on this, not chips or other junk, so we’re getting there.  Baby steps, right?

Eggplant Bruschetta

14 Jul

I had a medium-sized eggplant from Bountiful Baskets and a small eggplant from my trip to Apple Annie’s yesterday, and I was searching for a way to make it.  I finally decided on a little  twist on bruschetta.  Most bruschettas that I have had, the tomato, basil, and mozzarella are cold, but I decided to make this hot and with the cheese melted.  It turned out really well!

Eggplant Bruschetta

What you need:

1 medium eggplant
Olive oil
Salt
3 tomatoes
2 tablespoons fresh basil, minced
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

How to make it:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Cut the tops and ends off of eggplant and slice.  Line a baking sheet with foil, and lay eggplant slices out in a single layer on the baking sheet.  Brush or spray both sides of the eggplant with olive oil and season with salt to taste.  Bake in the preheated oven for 10 – 15 minutes.  Note: You could also grill the eggplant instead of roasting in the oven.

Meanwhile, chop tomatoes, removing seeds.  Mix together in a small bowl with the basil.

Remove eggplant from oven and turn oven to broil.   On each piece, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, then top each piece with some of the tomato mixture.  Finally, put mozzarella on each one.

Place eggplant on the pan 6 inches from the broiler, and heat about 5-7 minutes until cheese is melted and slightly browned.

Exploring Local Farms

13 Jul

Recently, I’ve had a strong desire to help support farms in my area.  I know that farming anywhere is hard, but in the dry climate of Arizona, I’m sure it’s even harder.  I already have bought from a very local farm and from our Farmer’s Market, but knew that there were more farms in our county that I wanted to see what they had to offer.  Today, a friend and I set out into the “country”.

Our first stop was Sunizona Family Farms.  They grow a variety of vegetables, some fruits, and micro-greens that are certified organic, and what they call veganically grown.  They use no animal products for growing, only plant-based materials.  They provide their produce mostly to the state of Arizona, available in Whole Foods and AJ’s Fine Foods, some farmer’s markets, and also through their FarmBox program.  The FarmBox program is a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, a way to get their product out to people.  This is what I signed up for and drove out to the farm for today.  They have pick up locations in Phoenix or Tucson, plus pick up at their farm.  I opted to pick up at the farm so I could see that farm and to see what it would take to get a delivery to my city.

We were greeted by Janice, who got my box for me, and then also took us on a tour of the farm.  It was great to see where and how the food I’m eating is grown.  This time, I got the small standard box for $22, plus extra carrots for $2.50 and a loaf of Spouted Khorasan bread for $5.50.  I also got to sample some thumbprint cookies.  They also have a large box for $30 or an option to make a custom box of items available in their web store, with a $22 minimum total.  They also have a variety of bakery items as well, breads, cookies, pies, hamburger buns, dinner rolls, and pizza crust.  Here is a picture of all that I got:

I got beets, a red pepper, tomatoes (1 is missing because my husband had to try one as soon as I got home), chives, white onions, lettuce, cabbage, basil, and collard greens (which apparently didn’t make it into the picture).  You can also see the thumbprint cookies, the bread, and the carrots.  It all looks amazing, and I can’t wait to cook with and eat all of it.  I will definitely be going back, but probably every other week because it is a bit of a drive.  I also think that I will do a custom FarmBox instead, and pick what I want from the store, which I think is a great option to have.  I like that the program is flexible like that, I can pick up different locations, put a hold on my subscription, change my subscription, or add-on extra things each time I get a box.

We stopped for lunch, then headed to Apple Annie’s Produce and Pumpkins.  I have been to Apple Annie’s about once a year during their harvest season for the last few years.  They have the produce and pumpkins part that we visited today, plus an orchard nearby.  Both locations have produce they pick or you can go out and pick your own produce.  Today, I did a mix of their picked produce and you pick produce.  Here is what I got:

Green beans, eggplant, tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapenos, zucchini, and okra.  All of this cost $6.89!  I was pretty impressed with that price.

I also got 5 dozen ears of sweet corn for $26.99 to share with my friend.

They also had cantaloupe, watermelon, black eye peas, yellow squash, green chiles, and cucumbers available.  We had thought about stopping at the orchard as they have peaches available right now, but we’d been lucky in missing most of the rain storms in the area today and didn’t want to push our luck anymore.  I have a couple other farms I want to check out, and hopefully will get to soon.

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