Sunday, September 28, 2008

Four Roses Apple Kuchen

The Four Roses in the title does not refer to the brand name of Flour, but to a well known Bourbon called, Four Roses Bourbon. Yes, it's time for another entry in Kentucky cuisine.

German immigrants to 19th -century Kentucky brought many of their culinary traditions to the Bluegrass State. This apple cake, also known as APFELKUCHEN, in German is a lovely buttery pastry that combines the best qualities of both a cake and a pie.

The recipe called for Four Roses Bourbon of Lawrenceburg, it is said to be one of the mellowest spirits distilled in the U.S., I am told that it lends a lovely distinctive flavour to this rich cake. Unfortunately, I only came home with a bottle of Woodford Reserve Bourbon from Kentucky, and the only other Bourbon in the house was Jack Daniels, and let's face it that is a Tennessee whiskey, and I am after all, blogging about Kentucky!

The recipe also called for tart apples, and under any other circumstance I would have used a Granny Smith apple as that is a tart apple, but alas, I still had Pink Ladies left over in the fruit crisper from the LCBO recipe I made last week, so Pink Ladies is what I used for this cake recipe. All in all, I'm not following the recipe that well far I used the wrong Bourbon and the wrong apple, but this cake turned out so delicious that when I offered it with vanilla ice cream or I was even willing to whip some cream laced with a little bourbon , everyone just wanted it plain and raved on how delicious it was!

What amazes me is that Kentucky is considered a ,"Bible Belt State", but they sure love to cook with their bourbon! What is going to amaze my Husband when he comes home from Kentucky on Wednesday is the fact that I have used his "GOOD" Bourbon in these recipes, and the poor man probably won't have a dram left to taste!!! A word of caution you REALLY do taste the bourbon in this cake!
As the last recipe I made from Kentucky, this too came from David Domine's book called Adventures in New Kentucky Cooking. This cake is for Rita and the guys and gals at the Richmond store that closed it's doors today, wish I was there with y'all to say good-by, enjoy the cake.
1 C softened unsalted butter
1 C granulated sugar
2 C sifted all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp.baking soda
1T vanilla
1/2 C Four Roses Bourbon
1/2 C buttermilk
8 tart apples peeled, cored and thinly sliced
2 T lemon juice
1/4 C all purpose flour
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time and continue mixing.
Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
Add to the butter mixture along with the vanilla extract, bourbon and buttermilk.
Mix only until well incorporated and free of large lumps.
The batter should be very thick and dough like. Spoon it into a spring-form that has been greased and floured and spread out.
Toss the apple slices with the lemon juice, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt in a separate bowl until well coated.
Spoon over the batter mixture in the cake pan.
Use the back of the spoon to press the apple mixture down a bit.
Bake, covered with aluminum foil, for 30 minutes.
Remove the foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes until golden brown or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. ( I have a gas oven and needed to bake it 30 minutes after I removed the foil)
Remove from the oven, cover with the foil again and allow to cool.
Dust with powdered sugar, if desired, and serve with hand-whipped cream laced with bourbon.
Toss the apple slices with the lemon juice,
4 large eggs

Monday, September 22, 2008

Squash Ravioli With Sage Butter Sauce

Another recipe from the Fall LCBO magazine. Actually this time I didn't plan on making this but was actually going to make a squash soup.However, my sister Heidi brought over Tupperwares filled with Yellow squash soup, cauliflower soup, onion soup and mushroom soup with a label that said to add cream! Let's not forget the Borscht that I made last week, do you blame me for not wanting to cut up the butternut squash and turn it onto soup!#? So instead it sat on the counter under the microwave and today after a week of sitting there it was finally "D" day or at least "R" day for Ravioli.
I made a quick trip to the grocers for some Chinese dumpling wrappers, I would have preferred round ones but alas they only had square ones. I started making the ravioli by using 2 wrappers and keeping them square, but after making a few of them this way I wanted to make them smaller and just used one sheet and folded them on the diagonal to form little triangles. You can choose to make them any way you want.

Squash Stuffing

5 T unsalted butter

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

2 C cooked and mashed butternut squash or Hubbard

1/4 C Amaretto cookie crumbs

Salt to taste

2 egg yolks (save whites for brushing the dumplings)

1/2 C Parmesan cheese grated

1/2 C fresh white bread crumbs


24 round or square wonton wrappers

egg whites


Melted butter about 1/2 C and sage leaves

2 T lemon juice

1/2 C grated Parmesan

Peel and boil squash.Melt butter with the red pepper flakes. Add squash, crumbs salt and mix well.Pure mixture and let cool. Add egg yolks, Parmesan,and bread crumbs and combine.

Lay out wrappers on tray. Spoon out mixture on centre of wrapper brush edges with the egg whites , sealing edges well. making sure to squeeze out any air bubbles. Repeat

Heat olive oil and add sage on medium heat .Don't burn, reserve as garnish.

Bring large pot of water to boil. add ravioli when they float to the top about 3 minutes take them out with a slotted spoon and lay on a oiled cookie sheet so that they don't stick.

To make sauce melt butter add more fresh sage leaves and cook for 2 minutes until butter is a golden brown color. add lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Toss in ravioli and garnish with sage leaves and extra Parmesan cheese.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Orange Ricotta Pancakes

Orange Ricotta Pancakes what a great way to start the Sunday!
Just as I was beating the egg whites, by hand, (i don't know what possessed me to beat them by hand) the phone rang and it was hubby, who is still in Kentucky but only until the first of October Yippee! I told him I was trying out some new pancake recipes to treat him with for when he gets home.
There are many Ricotta Pancake recipes out there, see which appeals to you or just try this one. Yummy with maple syrup, jam, or like my Robbie eats with...smeared with peanut butter and smothered in maple syrup.
Orange Ricotta Pancakes
1 C Ricotta cheese
1/4 C melted butter
3 large eggs separated
1 tsp vanilla sugar
1/2 C of flour
2T sugar
1 T zest of either Orange or lemon
Combine the cheese, melted butter egg yolks and vanilla sugar and put aside. Combine the flour, sugar, and zest into a separate bowl. Add the flour mixture to the cheese mixture and incorporate the ingredients. Beat the egg whites until they are stiff. Carefully combine 1/3 of the stiff egg whites with the pancake batter, keeping everything light and fluffy. Add remaining egg whites again, gently fold into the batter mixture and then spoon onto a warm griddle.
(I got 4 large pancakes and 6 smaller ones from this recipe, probably would yield 8- 12 medium sized pancakes.)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Summer Spinach Salad

These days the mornings in Ottawa are actually quite cool, as a matter of fact I turned the heat on in the car this morning!
The beauty of our weather is that by the time most folks are driving home from work , the weather is down right balmy , and everyone is taking advantage of the beautiful sunshine and driving with the windows open. So while it is still officially summer for a few more days ... why not make this beautiful spinach salad with the last remains of summer fruit. But please, don't spoil it with some bottled dressing , it only takes afew minutes to make some home-made raspberry vinegrette.
Raspberry Vinegrette
1/2C vegetable oil
1/2 C raspberry wine vinegar
2 tsp. dijon mustard
1 tsp. honey or sugar
1/4 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. ground pepper

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Chicken Braised with Apples and Cider

Our Ontario LCBO, puts out a quarterly Food and Drink magazine. It is a beautiful magazine that couples great food with accompanying drinks that not only compliment the food,but gives you the consumer, a fool proof method of purchasing something new , ( wine or spirits) and knowing it will go well with the food. Or forget the booze, ( but why would you!) and just enjoy the wonderful recipes that are offered in the magazine.
I had chicken breasts bone -in , defrosting in the fridge, and just happened to flip through the magazine when I came across this recipe and as luck would have it I had 6 Pink Lady apples in my fruit bowl. The recipe calls for a whole chicken and a casserole that fits the chicken snugly, to keep all the juices in. Here is the recipe as in the Autumn 2008 LCBO magazine.

1 tsp. cracked fennel
1 tsp. cracked coriander
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme (I had dried)
1 tsp. cracked black pepper

1 4 lb. whole chicken
1 T. vegetable oil
2 T. butter
2 Pink Lady or Royal Gala apples peeled and diced
1 C apple cider
1T. cider vinegar
1/2 C whipping cream
1 T. lemon juice
2T. chopped chervil
Salt/pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 300 F

Combine fennel, coriander, thyme and black pepper. Reserve 1 tsp. spice mixture and season chicken all over , wit remaining mixture. ( I rubbed it into 4 chicken breasts)

Heat oil and butter in an oven proof casserole over medium-high heat. Brown chi ken until golden. Remove from heat and wipe the pan clean.

Add butter and apples to pan and saute for 2 minutes or until tinged with gold. Pour in the apple cider and cider vinegar and remaining spice mixture and bring to boil for 1 minute

Return chicken to casserole, cover and bake for 1 hour. Remove lid and bake another 15 minutes until juices run clear.

Remove chicken and apples. Add cream to sauce and bring to boil. Boil for about 2 minutes or until sauce thickens. Add lemon juices reserved apples and chervil and simmer for 1 more minute. Cut chicken (if you made a whole one) pour sauce over it and surround with apples.

Note. You might want to double the sauce as it was a huge hit!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Meatless Beet Soup

My sister brought over some beautiful baby beets that she purchased from the ByWard Market. In my household and in the Ukrainian cuisine Borscht is a a staple and national dish. There are numerous adaptions to what people claim to be borscht, and to be honest every time I make it I too take liberties with ingredients. But the one constant is that it is made with beets.

My borscht turned into a very hearty soup, as my sister also included a zip lock bag full of cleaned and diced vegetables. It was a difficult week for me as I had a recall notice to a mammogram that I had done a week earlier. Even though I put on a brave front I was a little freaked, as I was diagnosed with breast cancer a year earlier, and went through treatment all winter and spring, I couldn't believe it was possibly happening again. Anyways , I digress, I just didn't want you to think that I was too lazy to cut my own vegetables, my sister was just being thoughtful and helpful as she knew I had other things on my mind.

Back to the borscht , as mentioned it can be made various ways, with meat, without, with cabbage, or potatoes or mushroom dumplings ( like I included) with sour cream,or without, as a clear broth or full of winter vegetables or summer vegetables. I think you get the picture that , you can really improvise with this soup. It can also be eaten hot or cold and still tastes great.

My MIL used to take out a bowl of soup , let it cool mix the sour cream into it and then return it all to the pot . This would turn the red soup into a lovely pinkie rose color. I prefer to keep my soup au natural, and let everyone decide how they would like to garnish their own soup.
When preparing the beets, you also have a choice as to whether you prefer to boil or roast the beets or just peel them as they are. roasting the beets adds a nice flavour and boiling them provides you with an additional beet broth. These methods also make peeling the skins easier without loosing much of the flesh. You can do this a day ahead, or when in a time pinch you can just peel the beets and add them to the diced vegetables at the same time. The recipe I am giving you calls for boiling the beets.
2 pounds beets
1 carrot
1 parsnip
1 turnip
2 celery stalks
2 med. onion (i had leeks)
1 bay leaf
3-4 pepper corns
3 dried boletus or 1/2 lb. chopped mushrooms sauteed (optional) but i will include them in the directions
1 tsp. sour salt or lemon juice sour salt is a crystalized citric acid
salt/pepper to taste
fresh chopped dill
sour cream to garnish
If using mushrooms... soak boletus over night,cook in a little water until tender cool and chop, and reserve liquid for later use . If using fresh mushrooms saute and set aside to be added to soup after vegetables are tender. If preparing beets ahead, scrub and cover with water and cook until tender over low heat about 1 hour. Cool and peel, strain liquid and reserve for later use. (wear rubber gloves when peeling beets or you'll have purple hands).
Peel and cut up other vegetables. Add bay leaf, peppercorns, and boletus or mushrooms to vegetables.
Cover with enough water and cook until tender.
Add reserved beet juice to vegetables. If you did not boil beets ahead and just included them in the vegetable preparation, you may want to add some tomato juice at this point for added liquid.
Shred beets in food processor and add to soup. Simmer gently.
add mushroom liquid (if you prepared the boletus) citric acid or lemon juice, salt and pepper and bring to a gentle boil, then turn heat to low.
Taste, the flavour should be TART, mellow and full , adjust all seasonings including the tartness.
Garnish with mushroom dumplings (vushka)3-4 in soup plate, sour cream and dill. Enjoy!
The mushroom dumplings are optional, the soup is excellent without them as a garnish, usually we do not include them, but it just happened that I had some frozen.
Boletus can also be replaced with dried Porcini mushrooms.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Kentucky Appetizers

Much to my surprise Kentucky does have an enviable culinary history , rich with pioneer, native American, African American and mountain folk influences.

Country hams, fresh fish, regional produce and FINE BOURBONS form the basis for a rich and tasty heritage in the kitchen.

I promised you some Kentucky recipes and here are some that I have tried, with you guessed it ...BOURBON as a common theme/additive in most of the recipes. I've started with some appetizers. Future recipes unless otherwise stated, come from a lovely book that I purchased in Somerset Kentucky called, "Adventures in New Kentucky Cooking" by David Domine. To my new friends at the Dawahare Store in Somerset, this menu is for you. Enjoy

Smocked Salmon Patties and Bourbon Dill Sauce

3c fresh salmon,poached, flaked and cooked.

1 smoked salmon chopped

1c fresh bread crumbs

1/4c mayonnaise

1 large egg beaten

2 medium shallots diced

2T. chopped capers

1 tsp. kosher salt

1tsp. fresh ground pepper

1c flour for dredging

1/4c canola oil for frying

Poach fresh salmon by placing a large fillet in a pan of cool salted water and then heating it over medium heat until bubbles start to form around the edge. Turn off heat and let sit for 30 minutes. Remove from liquid and cool.Use a fork to flake fish apart. (don't worry if it isn't cooked through, since it will be fried anyway.) Add reaming ingredients and gently mix. Chill for about 1 hour. Shape into rounds, dredge in flour and fry until golden brown.


1c sour cream or thick yogurt

1/2c mayonnaise

3T. bourbon

2T fresh dill chopped

1/2tsp kosher salt

1tsp white pepper

Combine all the ingredients and mix well. Chill for 1 hour and serve with warm salmon patties.

In recent years. some local tobacco farmers have turned to aquaculture with fortunate results for Bluegrass gastronomy.


4C canned butter beans or lima beans

2tsp. salt

1tsp.ground cumin

3T. fresh lemon juice


6T extra virgin olive oil

6 large cloves garlic, minced

1/2tsp.white pepper

1/4c chopped fresh parsley

Drain canned beans and transfer to a food processor. (If dried beans are used follow package instructions.) Add the remaining ingredients and puree until smooth.Transfer to a bowl and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with extra EVOO (optional) and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Or garnish with fresh radish slices or banana pepper rings. Serve with toast slices of sour mash bread.

Butter beans grace many a dinner table in the south and in the hills of eastern Kentucky they were often cooked to a soft mush and served with corm bread. This updated recipe yields a garlicky Bluegrass versing of the traditional Middle Eastern chick-pea humus. If you used lima beans they have a slightly different flavour than butter beans but nevertheless a good substitution.

An Apple Pancake Made With Yeast

Sunday,September 7,2008
Yeast Apple Pancakes
It's already September and I'm wondering where the time has gone. While it is still officially summer , signs of autumn are becoming very evident.Apples are abundant all year long, but when you can buy them by the bushel and hear their crispness when you bite into one you know for sure that ,"fall" is just around the corner. So when I saw a display of apples , I couldn't resist.
Apple pancakes were definitely on the menu this morning, but I was looking for something different. One of my goals this year was to "master" working with yeast and although my mother made lovely German apple pancakes, I also remember her making them with a yeast dough. So with a little improvisation (as she didn't write down all her recipes) I think I came pretty close.
Yeast Apple Pancakes
1c. warm milk
1pkg. yeast
1tsp. sugar
1/4c sugar
2 eggs
2c. flour
1tsp. vanilla
1T. oil
2 tart apples peeled and sliced thinly
splash of rum or grand marnier(optional)
Warm milk and add to the yeast and teaspoon of sugar and let the mixture proof.(about 10 minutes)
Beat eggs with 1/4 cup of sugar and add to yeast mixture after it has bubbled and risen.Mix.
Fold in the remaining ingredients, cover with a dish towels and place in a warm place for about 30 -45 minutes.(it will rise and grow).
Place on medium heat griddle and fry up as usual, turning pancakes when you see them start to bubble.
All in all a little extra work and waiting period , but a lovely alternative to your usual pancake.