Apple Bread Pudding with Salted Caramel Sauce

Apple bread pudding served warm and drizzled with salted caramel sauceWhen I got the call for a recipe that featured northwest apples, I got busy with some of the most popular ingredients around; sweet Honey Crisp apples and salted caramel sauce! Since this recipe will publish in the fall issue of Take Root magazine, I thought I'd offer up something that would be appropriate for one of those chilly fall days.

Traditional bread pudding was the base for this one but I made some changes, like adding apples and using cinnamon bread. My friends tell me that the bread pudding was good but the caramel sauce put it over the top. I'm glad to have friends who are such willing taste testers! Anyway, here goes, enjoy!

Time: 2.5 hours (1 hour to soak bread, and cooking time)
Level: Easy
Yield: Serves 12


Grilled Pork Loin in Tequila Mustard Marinade

Image of Pork Loin Roast grilled in tequila mustard marinade and served on a platter with grilled apricots and fresh basil.
Last week my kitchen took root where the family gathered and the cooking began. This time I made a pork loin roast. I've been making this marinade for chicken and decided to try it out on the pork. I'm glad to report that the family was happy with it.  You see, I write a cooking blog, but my whole family knows its way around a kitchen. Talk about pressure! My brother and I enjoyed some friendly competition (he does make a mean rack of smoked pork ribs) while our sister was out of commission with a sprained wrist. 

As is usually the case, we had more than enough food so we didn't have to cook every day. In fact, the pork roast leftovers are a perfect addition to a main dish salad on these hot summer days.  We also grilled vegetables and fruit while the grill was hot.

Oh, I do love dining al fresco!

Time: 5.5 hours (4 hours marinating time plus cooking time)
Level: Easy but requires a gas grill
Yield: Serves 12


Baked Chicken and Artichokes

Spring is finally here and the longer daylight hours entice me to stay outdoors as long as possible. This recipe will take only 20 minutes (maybe less) in prep, and the rest is oven time.

If you're anything like me, you welcome a new way to prepare skinless and boneless chicken breasts. Of course, this will work with any cut of chicken (or turkey) but I like this recipe best for breast meat because it stays moist throughout the baking process.

I've been working on a few versions of this one so my friends and loved ones are about over chicken and artichokes by now.

The first version is one I read about in Epicurious magazine and I stayed close to the original recipe with a few variations (more garlic and the addition of red pepper flakes). The second version follows.

Aside from succulent chicken and an easy recipe, clean-up is a cinch. Happy Spring!

Time: 1 hour and 20 minutes
Level: Easy
Yield: Serves 4


Fancy Apple Slaw

If you follow my Facebook or Twitter page, you might know that I picked up some apples from the farm to school  program and have been threatening to blog about them for some time. I do love the apples and the local program is blog-worthy by itself but this is a recipe blog so I'm stayng in my wheelhouse.

Unfortunately, the apple-a-day rule usually takes over and there are none left to incorporate into my recipes. This time I bought some fresh and made this to serve with a ladies lunch. Apple slaw is so easy and it takes very little time to prepare.  If you make coleslaw you probably noticed the absence of sugar. You wont need it, the apples and red pepper add all the sweetness you need. That pretty watermelon daikon added lots of color but was also peppery compliment to the slaw.

I hope you enjoy this one.

Time: 20 Minutes
Yield: 6 servings
Level: Easy


Sockeye Salmon Appetizer

CLose up image of two Sockeye salmon appetizers on a white plate garnished with dill and capers.with
What fun that Thanksgiving and the beginning of Hanukkah are converging this year! I feel so blessed to have been invited to a dinner where our backgrounds cross paths and we all get to break bread as thankful Americans.

Our hosts allowed as how this would be a traditional Thanksgiving menu but, when I was asked to bring appetizers, it seemed like I could be somewhat creative with a nod to a traditional Jewish meal of lox and bagels.

Instead of bagels (after all, this is an appetizer) I'm using small loaves of pumpernickel and rye because they are hearty, flavorful and firm -- even a thin slice doesn't require toasting.

With the bread choice solid, it was off to the Oregon Lox Company for some sockeye salmon, then to pick up some Nancy's cream cheese, another local specialty.

I've had something like this before, but never had a recipe so the day has been full of trial and error. Tasty trial and error, but still. Anyway, I think I've settled on a flavorful combo so I thought I would take a picture and share my recipe. The dill and capers are what set this apart. The shallots can be replaced with caramelized onions, but don't forget the capers. Seriously.

As I count my blessings this year, I'm wishing you the happiest of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah celebrations.    

Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 24 appetizers
Level: Easy