Friday, October 3, 2008

Recipe for Country Apple Tart

I woke up this morning and it was so cool in the house...fall is really in the air today! When the weather turns cool like this it makes me want to bake, and I couldn't wait to get in the kitchen, but I didn't have a lot of time so I threw together this rustic version of apple pie. It takes little effort to make and only one pound of apples and will serve 6-8 dinner guests easily. Top it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream if you wish, or accompany it with a glass of very cold Sauternes or Muscat. Here it is:

Country Apple Tart

1 1/2 cups flour, chilled
1/2 cup butter cold
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon sugar

1 pound apples, cored, peeled, and thinly sliced
2 tablespoon butter diced
1/4 cup walnuts
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons honey

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Have all pastry ingredients very cold. (This is extremely important!)
  • Place flour, salt and butter in food processor bowl. Pulse until texture of rice.
  • Add the oil and water and pulse just until dough starts to come together.
  • Turn out onto plastic wrap and quickly form into disk; wrap tightly and return to refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, combine apples, butter, walnuts, cinnamon, and honey in a large bowl; stir to combine. Set aside.
  • On parchment paper, roll out chilled dough into a 12-inch circle. (Trim edges to neaten.)
  • Spoon apple mixture onto center of disk and spread evenly to within 1 1/2 inches of edge.
  • Fold edges toward center.
  • Sprinkle all with 1 tablespoon sugar.
  • Slide parchment paper with tart onto a sheet pan and place in hot oven for 40 minutes or until crust is golden and apples are tender and bubbling.
Bon Appétit!
Chef Debbie

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

9 Fail-Proof Tips for Eating Healthy at Social Gatherings

I love reading Zen Habits every day and, since we are on the very cusp of the holiday season, I thought it would be a good idea to share these ideas from today's Zen Habits blog post.

We are already filling in our calendar with all the parties that are coming up, and we're also dreading the extra pounds the holidays bring. Planning ahead (for me) is the key. Setting limits once I get there doesn't work at all. I love the wine and the food and so I think that my game plan this year will be to eat before I go to each party. Party foods tend to be very high in calories, so I'll fill up on a healthy meal first, then it won't be so difficult to stay away from the party fixins', or just try a single bite here and there.

Do you have a game plan that has worked for you in the past? If not, maybe you'll find a tip here that will work for you!

  1. Eat before you go. This was by far the most popular tip, and probably the most useful. Fill up on healthy foods at home.
  2. Place limits. Try a 2 plate limit, and a 2 drink limit.
  3. Plan ahead. Find out the menu ahead of time and make healthy choices, before you go.
  4. Drink lots of water and eat fruits and veggies. You can eat as many veggies as you want without consuming many calories. Just avoid dipping sauces and dressings.
  5. Have a big salad before the main course. Again, avoid too much dressing, and go for the lighter dressings.
  6. Log what you eat, so you’ll be more aware of it.
  7. Avoid alcohol. It’s just empty calories. You can have fun without alcohol — I do it all the time.
  8. Bring your own. If it’s a potluck-style gathering, cook something healthy and bring it with you.
  9. Just try to eat healthy most of the week, and relax when you are at social gatherings. This is one of my favorite tips. :) You don’t need to eat healthy all the time. This is the tip I usually follow, but you’ve got to come up with other strategies when you’re going to social gatherings almost every night of the week.

Bon Appétit!
Chef Debbie