Mom’s Apple Crisp

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It’s 4th of July! And nothing says ‘Merica like an apple crisp recipe from a mom who taught you to cook and spends her days playing jazz and volunteering at her church. My mom is the reason I cook. When we were young, every night for dinner we had a choice between doing dishes or helping mom cook. My siblings chose cleaning for the lower time commitment aspect, and I chose cooking because it was more fun. My siblings are smart, but no one in the family can boil water better than I can.

This recipe is one of my mom’s favorites. It’s delicious, crowd-pleasing, easy, and can be made ahead and frozen for later. I’m pretty sure my mom always has a rotating frozen apple crisp in her freezer. The only thing you really need to know about this recipe before we get started is that it’s really addicting. Really. And you will, somehow, justify eating this with each meal including as your morning breakfast (it’s apples!). You’ve been warned, now let’s get cooking!

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Moms are the BEST cooking buddies! And yes, you do need this Apple Peeler – Corer from Williams – Sonoma to make this recipe much easier to make

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Apples galore!

Ingredients
1 1/2c flour
1 1/2c sugar
1tsp salt
1tsp cinnamon
2tsp nutmeg
2 sticks COLD butter
3-4lbs apples (fuji or gala)

Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees

In a large bowl, sift or fork-mix together flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cut butter into small squares. Crumbling the butter in your fingers into the dry ingredients  until it resembles a crumbly texture (see photo below).

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Yup, you actually do need to measure

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Make sure to mix your dry ingredients before adding your butter

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Here’s the right consistency for your crumble top

Use apple peeler-corer (I like this one from Williams Sonoma) to peel and core apples. Cut up apple into 1/3 or 1/4 pieces and place them into a large, 16 3/4″ x 10 1/2 glass rectangular bake, piling the apples in until rounded (see photo below).  Smoosh the crumble topping on top of apples (see photo below). Place the glass baker on a cookie sheet. This helps catch any drippings when you put it in the oven.

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Make sure your apples are nice and piled up – they cook down about 1/3 in the oven

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Smoosh the toppings down on your apples so it’s nice and compact before baking

At this point, you can wrap in aluminum foil and freeze for an easy make-ahead meal. I swear, my mom always has this in her freezer for a last-minute dessert!

Bake in 375 degree oven for 50-60 minutes, letting cool before serving. I serve this with vanilla ice cream and (shhhh) I also eat this as breakfast!

Ta-Da! ‘Merican apple crisp!

Osso Buco, aka What I’m Making for the Game of Thrones Opener

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Osso Buco Meal

Ok. You guys. The Game of Thrones final season starts April 14th. Every year, we throw a GOT premier party (nerd alert!) with a meat-centered meal. In fact, here’s my post from 4 years ago for the fourth season premiere. The GOT premier meals are big production and a lot of fun, but a lot of work. This year, being a mom to a 5 month-old, I’m setting out to make it easy(ish).

First off, I will say that the reason this is easy(ish) is that the recipe for osso buco is in no way mine. Rather, I used a recipe hack by leveraging a Williams Sonoma braising sauce. I added my own side elements, threw together a surprise appetizer that takes almost no extra effort, and pulled together an entire meal. This recipe, therefore, is for the full meal pictured below. This meal that goes great with friends, an epic show, and an entryway light that plays the GOT theme song (see, NERD ALERT!!).

Let’s get a’ meating!

Special tool needed: either a cast-iron pot like Staub or Le Creuset OR a pressure cooker

Ingredients:
Canola or vegetable oil
2 large beef osso buco beef shanks bone in*
Williams Sonoma Osso Buco braising sauce
1 cup polenta
Butter
More butter
16 oz pre-sliced mushrooms
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 shallot, sliced into rings
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
Toasted bread for bone marrow

* Traditional osso buco calls for veal shanks, but I prefer beef as it’s larger and you’ll get the bone marrow appetizer if you use beef

Makes enough for 5 friends, including you

Osso Buco Directions:

Preheat oven (if cooking in a cast iron pot) to 375 degrees. Following the instructions on the WS braising sauce, in a large cast iron pot (or pan, if pressure cooking), add 2tbs of canola or vegetable oil on medium high. When oil is shimmering, sear all sides of the osso buco until browned and a little crispy. In the cast iron or pressure cooker, put meat on bottom, then add in WS braising sauce and 2 cups water. The WS instructions don’t say to add water, but I found that the sauce was too cooked-down and a little dry by the end without added water. If using a pressure cooker, cook six hours. If cooking in a cast iron, cook for 2-3 hours, reducing to 200 degrees for the last 30 minutes. Bam. Osso buco done.

Quick Polenta Directions:

The ratio for polenta is 3 parts water to 1 part polenta to a lot of butter. Some people add Parmesan cheese, which is a perfect idea, but I never have any lying around. Feel free to add if you’re feeling sassy.

Boil 3 cups of water and 2tsp salt. Add 1 cup polenta, reduce heat. Cook for about 7 minutes, stirring slowly. Add 2tbs or more of butter and more salt as needed.

Sautéed Vegetables Directions:

In a medium heat pan, add 1tbs olive oil, 1tbs butter. When hot, add mushrooms and stir until dark brown. Add asparagus, shallot and the sliced garlic (not the minced). Sauté for 3 more minutes.

Plate & finish bone marrow

Start with polenta, top with osso buco and lots of sauce. Sautéed vegetables go on the side. Super quickly, in the veggie pan, heat up 1tbs butter, pinch of salt, and minced garlic. Take out the bone from the osso buco- inside is your surprise bone marrow! Slather bread with the butter garlic sauce and top with marrow.

Ta-da! You’ve impressed your friends without spending a ton of effort and time, which leaves you nice and relaxed to watch your favorite (omg, dragons!) show!