In the Kitchen with Sigona's featuring Apples

In the Kitchen with Sigona’s Featuring Apples

Grated, sliced, diced or dried, apples are a source of fiber, minerals, vitamins, natural enzymes (which help with digestion) and powerful antioxidant polyphenols & flavonoids. We’ve all heard it before, but it’s absolutely true: children who eat breakfast perform better in school. In fact, according to the National Institute of Health, children commit fewer errors on psychological tests when they eat breakfast compared to days they don’t.

Sausage Stuffed & Baked Apples

Suitable for any meal from breakfast to dinner. Pork with sautéed apples or applesauce is a classic combination. This dish turns it inside out, baking the ground pork inside the apple. You can add celery seeds, fennel seed, raisins or ground spices to enhance the flavors.

What you need:

  • Apples, cleaned and cored (such as Granny Smith, Empire or Rome Beauty)
  • Ground sausage
  • Chopped onion
  • Add celery seeds, fennel seed, raisins or ground spices to enhance the flavors, optional

Directions: Brown sausage over moderate heat in a sauté pan, breaking it up with wooden spoon. Stir in onion and cook until softened. Spoon into hollowed apples and bake at 350ºF until apple is soft, about 20 minutes.

Pork chops with apples and sage

Pork and apples is a classic combination and is even more comforting when served with roasted potatoes or sweet potatoes. Recipe courtesy of Polina Antonova, chef and owner of Caliblini Personal Chef Service.

Photo courtesy of Polina Antonova of Caliblini Personal Chef Service.

Ingredients:

  • 2 TBL Sigona’s Fresh Press olive oil
  • 6 boneless pork chops
  • salt, pepper
  • 3 apples, quartered and cored (such as Gala or Empire apples)
  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 12 sage leaves, thinly sliced + more to garnish
  • 1/2 cup apple cider (such as Gizdich Ranch apple cider)

Directions: Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper and brown on both sides. Remove to a plate. Add apples and cook, turning, to caramelize on all sides. Remove to a plate.

Add onions and cook, stirring, until soft and beginning to turn golden, about 10 minutes. Add sliced sage leaves, cook 1 minute more. Add apple cider; scrape the sides of the pan to deglaze. Cook the sauce to reduce by one half. Add pork chops back to the pan; top with apples, cover, reduce the heat and simmer 20 minutes. Serve with roasted potatoes or sweet potatoes, garnished with sage leaves.

Clafoutis with Apples and Almond

Recipe courtesy of Polina Antonova, chef and owner of Caliblini Personal Chef Service. Polina says, “I have developed this recipe on request from a nutritionist friend. She handed me a clafoutis recipe from her kids’ cookbook and asked whether it can be made into a low-gluten, low carb healthy version. Clafoutis is a baked custardlike dessert, and here I have replaced the flour with

almond meal and sugar with honey. Serves 8

Photo courtesy of Polina Antonova of Caliblini Personal Chef Service.

Cook’s Note: Honey is more difficult then sugar to blend smoothly into the batter. Warming up the jar of honey in a pot of  hot water makes the honey more fluid, easier to pour and blend.

Ingredients:

  • Butter for greasing the baking dish
  • 3 medium apples, quartered and cored (such as Gala or MacIntosh)
  • 3 TBL butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup light cream
  • 1/3 cup almond meal (such as Bob’s Red Mill)

Preheat the oven to 375F degrees. Grease a round baking dish with butter. Melt butter in a small pan. In a bowl, beat together melted butter, eggs, honey, cream, and almond meal.

Arrange quartered apples in an attractive pattern in the baking dish and pour batter over them.

Bake 40-45 minutes, until set in the center. Let cool and serve.

Keep it Simple

  • It doesn’t get any easier or much better than crisp, sliced apples served alongside some wonderful cheese. Apples will complement most cheese, but pair particularly well with aged cheddar, Roquefort or creamy, rich Camembert.
  • I also like to create a quick dish using thinly sliced apples. I use a mandolin to slice them very thin, then I give them a squirt of lime juice and fan them on a nice plate. After they’re fanned out, I very lightly drizzle them with pure maple syrup and sprinkle on a light topping of poppy seeds.
  • Make a great, simple (and Lite for Life approved!) snack using apples consists of an apple and a serving of Fage Total 0% yogurt as a protein.

Apple Almond Tartlets

Apple tarts seem to go perfectly with cool nights and the rustle of fallen leaves. This recipe makes one large tart, or, as I had it this time, 6 3-inch and 2 4-inch tartlets. Recipe courtesy of Polina Antonova, chef and owner of Caliblini Personal Chef Service.

Photo courtesy of Polina Antonova of Caliblini Personal Chef Service.

For the dough:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 stick (8tsp / 1/2cup) cold unsalted butter
  • 4 tsp ice water

For the almond cream:

  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2/3 stick (5tsp) unsalted butter at room temperature, sliced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white

For the apples:

  • 5 small apples (such as Pippin or Winesap), cored, thinly sliced, brushed with lemon juice to prevent them from turning brown

For the glaze:

  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cognac
  • 2 tsp lemon juice

Directions: Chill a large bowl in the freezer. Put flour, 1/2 cup almond meal, sugar and salt in the bowl. Cut the butter into small chunks, add to the bowl. With your fingertips, work the mixture to the consistency of a fine crumb. Add 3 tsp of ice water, knead with your hands. If the dough doesn’t come together, add water, a little at a time. If the dough gets wet and sticky, add a little flour.

Roll the dough into a ball, flatten with your hand, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2-4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 375F degrees. Place a cookie sheet into the oven.

Make the almond cream: Mix the almond meal, sugar, and butter in a bowl. Whisk until smooth. Add the egg and egg white, whisk to smooth and creamy consistency.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator, let sit outside for a few minutes to soften, cut into pieces (in my case, 6 small and 2 medium), place each piece of dough between two pieces of plastic wrap, roll out to about 1/8 in. thick. Remove the dough from the wrap and drape it loosely over the tartlet forms. Press in with a fork. This dough breaks very easily, but it’s also easy to repair. Pinch off pieces of the dough and press them on to close any holes, reinforce thin edges, etc.

Spread some almond cream on the bottom of each tartlets, fan out the apple slices and place on top (1/2 of a small apple for 3 inch tartlets, whole apple for 4 inch tartlet).

Place the tartlets in their forms on the hot baking sheet, bake for about 20 minute, or until the filling is set. Remove from the oven, let cool on a wire rack.

To make the glaze, mix the cognac, sugar, and lemon juice in a small pot. Stir over low heat until the sugar is dissolved.

Brush the glaze on the tarts. Cover with plastic wrap and chill.

Roasted Duck with Apples and Prunes

Recipe courtesy of Polina Antonova, chef and owner of Caliblini Personal Chef Service. Duck is lovely with fruits and creates a nice fall feat. Makes 2-3 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 duck, washed, wiped dry, the innards, extra fat, and neck removed
  • 3 Granny Smith apples, cored and cut into segments
  • 1 cup prunes, pitted
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • salt, pepper

Special equipment:

  • Roasting pan with a rack
  • Large needle
  • Kitchen thread
  • Sharp carving knife

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350F.

Rub the duck generously with salt and pepper inside and out.

Place the apples, prunes and cranberries into the cavity, stitch the cavity closed.

Cut off the tips of the wings, or make small cuts in the breast skin and tuck the wing tips in to prevent burning. Make 2-3 shallow cuts in the skin of the breast and the legs.

Place the duck on the rack in the roaster and into the oven for about 1-1/2 hour, or watch the pop-up thermometer. Remove from the oven, remove the stitches, scoop out the stuffing to be served on the side, carve and serve.

Do not discard the pan juices and fat. Leave them to cool, separate the fat and juice, store separately in the refrigerator for future recipes. Some people believe that duck fat is as healthy as olive oil, and it surely tastes great. Use it to sauté mushrooms or potatoes, to cover pate, or to make duck confit.

Or store the fat and reduce the juice to make sauce for the bird.

Carmelo’s Power-Packed Oatmeal with Sweet Apples and Almonds

Breakfast…it’s the most essential meal of the day! However, it’s easy to skip during the mad-hatter style mornings that ensue as we rush to work or to get the kids to school.I learned long ago that it’s helpful to prep some ingredients for breakfast at the beginning of the week or even the night before.

 My go-to is a special oatmeal mix. I’ve used all kinds of different toppers, like sweet apples & almonds, that fill me up and give me energy.

Oatmeal Mix

This makes a large batch. Mix it together and portion out only what you need each morning. Store the dry mix in the freezer. One serving = 1/2 cup dry mix.

  • 4 c. rolled oats
  • 1/2 c. oat bran
  • 1/2 c. each sesame seed and soy flour
  • 1/2 c. each almond meal and non-fat dry milk
  • 1 TBL cinnamon

To Eat: Bring 1/2 c. oat mix and 3/4 c. water to a boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Cover, set aside for 4 minutes. Spoon oatmeal on top of the sweet apple & almond mix (see below), sprinkle with flaxseed and serve.

Sweet Apple & Almond Topping (makes 1 serving)

  • 1/2 apple, grated
  • 1/2 tsp lime juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Agave nectar
  • 1 TBL sliced almonds
  • 2 tsp flaxseed (whole or ground)

Mix all ingredients in a cereal bowl just before breakfast. Makes enough for one serving of oatmeal. Feeding more than one? Increase measurements accordingly.


 

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