Monday, October 10, 2011

Apple Pie & Sweet Potato Risotto

Whew!  After that last post, we need some happy happy fun time!

I had a great weekend.  It was cold and very fall-like, but I got to spend a lot of time with friends, chill out, celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving for the first time, and COOK.  Lots of good things!

On Sunday I hit up the Farmer's Market with Stacey.  The Market only runs 'till the last weekend in October, so I intend to get in as much time as I possibly can before it's gone for the winter!

It was a slouchey-knitted hat kind of morning (luckily too - 'cause that meant I didn't need to style my hair).  Ha!  Yay for lazy-hat-wearing-weather! ;)

I picked up a BUNCH of apples while we were there, A) because I LOVE apples, and B) because I decided to make apple pie for the first time!  I also got some locally made apple cider too that I can not get enough of.  It's so delicious, and under "ingredients" on the carton it just says "apples".  And that's the way it should be. 

Once I got all of my goodies home, I started a' cookin'!
I pulled my recipe... (from the How it All Vegan cookbook of course - my favorite!) all of my lovely apples unpacked and ready to go... then peeled & cored them, and chopped them up. 

Like my fuzzy slippers?  Haha!  It was so darn cold in my house since I couldn't figure out how to turn the heat on all weekend.  No, I don't know how to use a thermostat... I've lived in temperature-regulated apartments all my life!  These "house" things are new to me!

 Apples ready to be boiled!  

 The recipe is ridiculously simple, but really amazing.  You'll have to get the cookbook for the full recipe, but it's basically cinnamon, apples, raisins, and the sweetener is maple syrup.  Really simple, but really amazing!  Oh, and some cornstarch to thicken with some of the leftover 'apple water' too.  

 How totally gorgeous is THAT???  I know - I rock.  Ha!  The only thing I didn't make was the pie crust though - I still don't have any patience for that.  But I will soon I promise - it's really a big part of making pies, and I want to do it.  
A very steamy shot.  Again, showing how cold it was in the house!

After popping my super awesome (and almost healthy!) Farmer's Market Apple Pie into the oven, I got started on my Sweet Potato Risotto.  

First off - I've never made risotto before.  I guess it was a weekend of firsts for cooking!  Anyway - I've always been terribly intimidated by it.  I've heard that it's tedious work, a lot of room for error, and just a pain in the beedonk. 

But it turns out - it was easy peasy!  
I mean, sure it takes some time, patience, and a lot of stirring, but it's not like that is hard.  I was thrilled with the way it came out and I'm TOTALLY going to make it again.  This recipe is delicious, and I'm sure it would be great with any kind of vegetable.  

Sweet Potato Risotto 
from Real Simple (photo by Kan Kanbayashi)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
kosher salt and black pepper
2 small sweet potatoes (about 1 pound), cut into 1/4-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (2 ounces) - optional!  I made mine vegan, and just omitted this, and it still turned out delicious!
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 3 to 5 minutes.
Add the sweet potatoes and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute.
Add the rice and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring frequently, until absorbed.
Measure 3½ cups of water. Add ¾ cup at a time and cook, stirring occasionally and waiting until each addition is absorbed before adding the next. It should take 25 to 30 minutes for all the water to be absorbed.
Stir in the Parmesan and oregano.

This is how mine looked in the early stages of the recipe... lookin' good!
I also made my favorite Vegan Gravy recipe (which you can find here), so needless to say the house smelled AMAZING with everything cooking.  Another reason why I love this time of year!  
I got to have my first celebration of Canadian Thanksgiving this year with my friend Anna, and a big group of folks.  I was just thrilled to get to celebrate my favorite holiday twice in one year!  Woohoo!  

Anna made a traditional Canadian dish called Poutine.  
It's basically just french fries, covered with cheese curds (she just used mozzarella cheese), and brown gravy. 
If you haven't seen Hannah Hart doing the My Drunk Kitchen cooking of this awesomely indulgent recipe, you absolutely have to:

 Yeah, how amazing does THAT look?  Anyplace where a traditional recipe comes with potatoes, cheese & gravy is A-OK in my book.  Canada ROCKS!

Anna was sweet enough to give me my own little bowl with my vegan gravy too.  It was absolutely delicious! 

After we spent the afternoon stuffing ourselves silly, I came home, took a nice hot bath (although not a very long one since I think I had a reaction to the bath salts I used, and it ended in a fit of coughs!), talked to my mom for a little while, and John since he's been in Chicago this weekend, then snuggled under a blanket with Fudge (the cat), watched about 4 episodes of "Firefly" (which I'm in LOVE with by the way), and enjoyed a nice quiet evening.  

Sigh, I wish it had been longer! 
Hope you all had a great weekend too!

1 comment:

Kendra said...

LOVE the hat, LOVE the basket filled with delicious beverages, and LOVE what you are cooking these days!