Saturday, October 6, 2012

It's Apple Season in the Carolina's!

This past weekend, we enjoyed time with Charleston friends in the Smokey Mountain's of North Carolina.  All 14 of us rented a house complete with guest quarters and a hot tub and enjoyed all the Smokey's had to offer.  We went white water rafting on the Nantahala River with the Adventurous Fast Rivers, and had a blast!  We had enough people for 2 boats, had many "splash fights" and got completely soaked in 50 degree water.  The boys even got out of the boat and jumped off one of the cliffs into the water!  Of course Trevor couldn't just jump, he had to do a back flip ;-) We had a great time with friends, great food and great fun.

On the way back from our trip, we decided to stop by the Stepp Orchard in Hendersonville, NC to get our fall apple fix.  Despite the talk of a small crop this year due to the early warm weather and late freeze, we were all very successful in our apple picking!  Trevor and I got just under a peck of apples for $7.  Can't beat local, cheap and fresh!  

Now that we are back home in Greenville, we have to "start getting creative" with our peck of apples, as Trevor's roommate Mike has put it.  Keep reading below to see what we did!

Enjoy and Happy Fall!
Apple Picking at Stepp Orchard!

Trevor and his new friend.

Apple Walnut Pizza with Gorgonzola, Bacon and Caramelized Onions 
Yield: 1 pizza (8 slices)

1 Trader Joe's Whole Wheat Pizza Crust
4 slices Trader Joe's Turkey Bacon
1 Tbsp EVOO
2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar (we used Fig Balsamic to give it a fruity flavor!)
1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups shredded low fat cheddar cheese
1 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese, divided into 2
1 large Apple (we used Fuji from Stepp Orchard)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2.  Heat a large non-stick pan over medium heat.  Place 4 slices of turkey bacon in pan and cook until browned on both sides.  Set aside.
3.  Heat the EVOO in a sauce pan over medium heat.  Stir in onion and fig balsamic vinegar.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 10-15 minutes until onions are caramelized.  Let cool
4.  Spray a 16" non-stick pizza pan with Pam spray
5.  Place the pizza dough on the pan.  Using your finger tips, spread the pizza dough out into a circle on the pan starting from the center. 
6.  Sprinkle the cheddar and 1/2 cup of Gorgonzola evenly over the pizza dough, leaving about 1/2" for a crust.  
7.  Cut turkey bacon into small pieces, about 1".  Spread the onions and turkey bacon evenly on top of pizza.  
8.  Arrange apples on top of pizza, and sprinkle with walnuts. Finally, sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of Gorgonzola evenly over the pizza.
9.  Bake at 425 for 20 minutes or until cheese is brown and bubbling.
10.  Serve with your favorite salad or yummy fall soup, and enjoy!

Caramelizing the onions in the fig balsmic

Completed pizza, before the oven.

We had a little Trader Joe's Sweet Potato Bisque with our pizza to complete a fall meal :-)

A few nights later, we decided to try out a recipe that I received at the Food and Nutrition Expo and Conference last year in San Diego.  The recipe was good when we first tried it last year but I have to say, that Trevor's cast iron skillet made this dish taste fabulous!  It made all the difference!  The cast iron skillet was a birthday gift to Trevor last year from Susie, and we have gotten great use out of it!  If you have a cast iron (or any oven proof skillet) definitely give this recipe a try!

Roast Pork Loin and Apples
Yield: 6 servings

12oz Extra Lean Pork Tenderloin
2 Tbsp Ground Cinnamon + 1/4 tsp 
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp Brummel and Brown Tub Margarine Spread
2 pounds apples (sliced)
3 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1 1/2 Tbsp Lemon Juice

1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2.  Rub ground cinnamon on pork tenderloin, be sure to coat completely (about 2 Tbsp)

3.  Heat large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil.

4.  Add pork and brown 4 minutes on each side.  

Simmering together for added flavor
5.  Remove pork and reduce heat.  Melt butter and add apples into pan and saute for 1 minute.

6.  Stir in maple syrup, lemon juice and 1/4 tsp cinnamon and cook for 4 minutes.

7.  Roast in oven on 425 for 12 minutes, or until the temperate of the pork reaches 145 degrees for 15 seconds.  

8.  Remove pork from pan and let stand for 5 minutes.  Serve with apples and your favorite fall side dishes (we chose roasted brussel sprouts)!

A flavorful fall favorite!

And for dessert!

My roommate, Karen, recently moved to Ethiopia to volunteer for the peace corp (check out her blog here).  My new roommate, Nicole, moved in and I was sure to bake this dish so the apartment smelled extra *yummy* when she moved in.  Thanks for the recipe Meaghan!

Maple-Walnut Apple Crisp
adapted from Cooking Light October 2000
Servings: 9
Simple, healthy ingredients!

2/3 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup Brummel and Brown Tub Margarine
6 Tbsp chopped walnuts
3 pounds sliced and cored apples (about 7-8 apples)
3 Tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2.  Combine flour, sugar, oats and 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon into a medium bowl.  
3.  Cut in tub margarine with 2 knives, or your hands until the mixture is crumbly.  Stir in walnuts.
4.  Combine apples, maple syrup and 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon into a large bowl and toss well.  
5.  Spoon apple mixtures into a 9x11 baking dish (I used a Le Creuset baking dish).  Sprinkle with crumb mixture.  
6.  Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.  Serve warm and enjoy!

Result: Trevor couldn't get enough of it. Success.

And don't forget....The Blue Moon Autumn sampler is out.  Always a great pairing with fall flavored foods!

Blue Moon Autumn Sampler

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