Holiday re-celebration and a Thank You note

Life is too short, so why not to post this mouth-watering, delectable, yummy cake and drink festive recipes twice?

Remember my  Upside down Upple (Apple) Tatin cake recipe? I wrote about it a while ago and sure enough and to my big surprise, this recipe got a lot of attention here. On my travels to Israel and France I’ve been asked to make it over and over for family and friends after they saw the post.

And now, another cool LifeStyle website based in the U.K “found” my cake and drink recipes, loved it and posted them on their site, calling my Kahlua drink a Halloween drink recipe. I don’t celebrate Halloween but you know what? my brain is so happy now I’m almost speechless.

Thank you monstersandcritics.com for the lovely shutout.

Thinking about my Kahlua Cocktail recipe, it is festive – it has one of my most favorite liquor, Kahlua (actually it’s the only liquor I like). It has heavy cream and cinnamon for a touch of spice. I love the texture, the color and of course the taste. It sure is a festive drink for any occasion.

delicious halloween kahlua cocktailMy Kahlua Cocktail recipe

delicious upside down apple cake

But first, and this should go on top, I must apologize for not posting new recipes for a while because of life. Life simply takes over lately that I hardly got any time left to rest my head on a pillow or the edge of my newly tufted sofa. You know how it is, for us October is a month of anniversaries and birthday parties, deadlines at work, school volunteer, re-decorating and re-arranging furniture around the house, winterizing and “festivizing” it for the holidays  – all good – and that makes me very happy but really short on time. Yet, this post is a very good reason for me to get in touch with you and my beloved food blog, the creative and fun outlet that makes me feel at home. To celebrate, again, with you all, my recipes and my life in my new kitchen (I know – photos will come soon).

I thank again all those who follow, read, comment, link to my Sense of Hummus home. I couldn’t be happier.

 I am going now to prepare this yummy Kahlua cocktail again. I have all the reasons to feel festive.

HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON TO YOU ALL.

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Crunchy apples and grilled artichoke salad

I’m a sucker for anything crunchy in my salad, especially apples. tart green apples and I love them in any size and shape. So does my over-size lion pooch – who will gladly eat firm green apples full time over his dry cereal, if i only let him. I’m not a night eater but if I go to bed on an empty stomach I know the growling sound will wake me up around midnight, demanding a fair share the others had before – food. I’d get up and go downstairs, grab a nice firm green apple, peel it, slice it (very quietly so not to wake up anyone) and eat it with satisfaction. While calming my hungry stomach I’d look down with my mouth full and notice two huge round eyes staring at me, begging in the dark, and a happy wagging little tail. My pooch. He’s a sucker for green apples as much as I am.

I remember as a child I went to family weddings with my parents, we would sit around a beautiful table setting and the first thing I noticed was the variety of salads, but one in particular was apples and celery in a mayonnaise dressing. The dressing was too heavy for my taste so I fished out the apple slices, wipe them clean with paper napkins and ate. I did it every time.

Apples are satisfying and delicious, a first fruit choice in my list to incorporate into my cooking. Inspired by my childhood I made this apple salad with a twist – instead of celery and the usual ingredients, I used grilled artichokes instead, nuts, fresh parsley in a light lemon/mayonnaise dressing. I’m not a big fan of creamy dressing so this salad is textured and gets extra punch with nut crunch and lemon. Beautiful.

delicious apple and grilled artichoke saladAmong the ingredients I used of course:

delicious apples & grilled artichoke salad

crunchy apples and pecans

delicious apple & artichoke salad in lemon/mayo dressing

Lemon from my lemon tree. You don’t have to have a tree really. But to me having a lemon tree is a luxury 😉grilled artichoke hearts and apple salad

So friends, shall we?

Ingredients:

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2 tart apples (peeled & cored)
1 cup sliced artichoke hearts (sold frozen in almost any supermarket) (thawed, unless you use fresh)
1/2 c. walnuts or pecans
3 whooping tbsp light mayonnaise
handful parsley
1 tsp crushed caraway seeds
3 tbsp lemon juice
zest of one lemon
kosher salt and black pepper to taste
3 tbsp olive oil

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Rinse the thawed artichoke hearts, dry them well with paper towel and sautee in olive oil, low/medium heat until edges are crispy. Shake the pan every once in a while. If the artichokes are dry to begin with they will brown nicely. Remove from pan and set aside to cool.  In a large bowl combine the spices, mayonnaise, 2 tbsp lemon juice and zest. Whisk well to combine. Adjust taste to your liking. Set aside. In the meantime, chop the parsley and add it to the dressing bowl, slice the apples (I like medium/thick slices) and add to the bowl as well along with chopped nuts and the cooled artichokes. Gently fold and toss everything until well coated. Chill for at least half an hour before serving to intensify flavors. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.

While I prepared this salad to go with my Moroccan chicken, the conversation with my hungry 10 yr old who was watching me went something like this:

my lovely: “..mom what are you making?”
me: “salad.”
my lovely: “mom. what kind? wait!! are these apples?!!” (pointing, like she didn’t know)
me: “yes”
my lovely: “mom! are you gonna put that in the food??” (she gave me the look like i just gave birth to an elephant)
me: “yes”.
my lovely: (in a clear voice) “well I am not eating!!”.
me:  “good. more for us”.

Bon appetite

Delicious dairy free apple and fig tart

 

 

It feels warm and sweet.

 

It smells amazing.

 

It’s shiny and pops with color.

 

It melts in your mouth with first bite.

 

It’s my super delicious apple and fig tatin. I make it like i mean it.

 

delicious apple and fig tart

 

I’m a sucker for anything French. And when I say french i mean delicious and decadent desserts. When i was in France this year the weather was cool. Long sleeves kept me warm, flat shoes made me comfortable and delicious fruit tatin, almost every couple of hours while exploring, kept me more than happy.

 

So I’m hooked. And for this Thanksgiving holiday I’ve decided to splurge on a French tatin dessert instead of a traditional cake. Yeah, why would you do what everybody else does? be original and cook something your own. Not that I’m cooking crazy in my kitchen for Thanksgiving which as much as I like this holiday I prefer to be invited, but my daughter makes me cook turkey every year. So I decided to spoil everybody and make my french inspired dessert only this time it’s a filling of fruit over an open top, which makes it more of a tart than a tart tatin, but my inspiration come from the French…you get the idea.alt="delicious apple and fig tart" />

 

I could make the crust myself but prefer to use my non dairy puff pastry that i always keep in my freezer. Quick and easy. You don’t even have to roll the dough just lay it flat. Fresh apples and black dried figs are not only the perfect marriage on a crust, but the contrasting colors only add to the exhilarating experience. It’s fiberlicious and unlike cake, slices are thin and loaded with fruit. The lack of butter in this recipe came from the idea that i simply didn’t think it was missing.  The apricot glaze adds a tasty bling to the final results and last time when I served this dessert to my guests, they were over the moon. Literally. Few minutes later there was nothing left. Nothing I tell you.

 

delicious apple and fig tart

 

So, shall we:

 

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2 sheets puff pastry, thawed and chilled
4 large green apples
3/4 c. light brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
4 whole cloves
pinch of kosher salt
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 pound black dried figs
4 tbsp tap water
1/4 c. apricot jam + t tbsp tap water (mixed in)
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delicious apple and fig tart

 

Pre-heat oven to 400º.
Peel, core and slice apples to medium thick. Place in a large bowl with lemon juice and half of the sugar. Set a side for 15 minutes. Over medium heat in a large skillet melt the remaining sugar, add water, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.  Stir gently. Add apple slices and lemon juice mix. Stir and cook on low for a few minutes until mixture turns light caramel color and is bubbly. You don’t want deep color, it will turn bitter, so keep an eye. Remove from heat. Let the mixture cool a little so you won’t burn yourself when arranging the apples on the crust. In the meantime, on a floured baking sheet big enough to fit the pastry unfold the sheets flat. With sharp knife score rectangles to guide you for portion size. Mine was about 2.5″x4.5″ each. No science here, just cut to smaller sections. Now, Carefully arrange apple slices on each piece of pastry however you like it and leave a small corner of each crust without apples, to accommodate one fig. I used a fork to fish out the apple slices from the pan. Brush edges of pastry and fruits with the syrup that’s been left in the pan (without the cloves). Bake 25 min, or until crust is rich golden brown. Remove and set aside.

 

Warm up apricot jam with tap water to melt. Brush apples and figs with the glaze. If there is any left, brush pastry edges. Serve warm with your favorite hot drink. I prefer hot mint tea using fresh leaves. Combination – Speechless.

 

fun fact about baking in high altitude

 

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO YOU ALL