Apple Pecan Salad

apple-pecan-salad

This is a great fall salad recipe.  If you are lucky enough to be able to source freshly picked apples it is outstanding.  But, since apples are available all year round in most places you can make it any time.

I like to use pecan halves for the candied nuts. If the nut pieces are too fine they sort of get lost in the mix.  With the halves – you know when you get one!   You can use walnuts instead of pecans if you prefer.

I think it might also be good with dried cranberries instead of the dates.  I haven’t tried that yet but if anyone does let me know how you liked it!

Update Nov 11, 2016.  I changed the photo of this salad to better reflect it. Sorry for any confusion… the other pic just had to go!!

apple-pecan-salad

Apple Pecan Salad

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Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup walnut oil
  • 1 1/2 Tbsps champagne vinegar

Candied Pecans

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsps balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups pecan pieces I like halves

Salad

  • 8 cups romaine lettuce or sturdy greens of your choice
  • 2 red apples unpeeled, diced (store in lemon water to avoid browning)
  • 6 oz old Cheddar cheese grated
  • 1 1/2 cups dates finely chopped
  • 4 large shallots finely minced

Instructions

Dressing

  • Mix all dressing ingredients and shake well.

Candied Pecans

  • Mix the sugar and balsamic vinegar in a non-stick skillet. Melt the sugar and vinegar over medium heat then add pecans to coat. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until the sugar mix is reduced and syrupy enough to coat the nuts - about 8 minutes but this will vary depending on your heat level and size of pan. Be careful not to burn this mixture.
  • When nuts are thickly coated pour them out in a single layer on a piece of parchment paper to let them cool and harden. Break the nuts apart when they are cool.

Salad

  • Mix all salad ingredients in a large bowl. Toss with dressing and incorporate nuts just before serving.
    Apple Pecan Salad

Notes

Variations:  You can use Hazelnut oil instead of walnut oil.  You can substitute walnuts for the pecans if you prefer.

Warm Creamy Potato Salad

bacon-and-beer-potato salad

I can’t decide which potato salad I like best!  This is the 3rd variation of German potato salad  I am posting. The base of this is the same as Warm Potato Salad with Beer– only the dressing is different!

This creamy one is really interesting as well because of the warm butter, beer mix you pour over the hot potato dice.  I think you will get a lot of people asking what is in this salad because unless you have seen the recipe it is hard to put your finger on on what you are tasting.

I like this one with Schnitzel because the creaminess offsets the dryness of the schnitzel cutlet.  You can keep it relatively calorie light by using light mayonnaise and light sour cream.

As you may know from my other posts my favourite new way to cook my potatoes is in my pressure cooker, 15-17 minutes for 12 whole medium size potatoes!  And no mushiness!  I feel like I am becoming a broken record!

bacon-and-beer-potato salad

Warm Creamy Potato Salad

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Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: German
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 17 mins
Total Time: 52 mins
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 12 medium white or yellow potatoes
  • 4 strips bacon sliced 1/4"
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 2 Tbsps butter melted
  • 2 Tbsps cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp light beer (optional) (like Corona, Coors or a lager)
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 Tbsp salt

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions

  • Lightly scrub potatoes. Cook whole with skins on. On a stove top this would take about 40 minutes in a dutch oven. Or, follow your pressure cooker instructions and cook for approximately 11 minutes. (Pressure cooker produces preferred final texture).
  • Allow cooked potatoes to cool until you can handle to peel. They should still be warm to hot.
  • While potatoes are cooking and cooling, sautée the bacon pieces and onion in a skillet.
  • Mix the first quantities of butter, beer, cider vinegar, sugar and salt in small dish and microwave to melt the butter and heat mixture.
  • When potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel and dice them. While they are still warm mix them with the warm bacon and onions. Mix in the warm butter mixture and let them stand about 5 minutes to absorb.

Dressing

  • Mix the dressing ingredients together in a microwaveable cup. Heat gently -do not boil. I did about 2 minutes on 3/4 power in my microwave.
  • Pour warm dressing over warm salad and serve.

Notes

If you want to make this and serve later in the day, prepare the potato salad and mix in the butter mixture to be absorbed. Do not pour the dressing over it until you are ready to serve it.  I would warm the potato salad gently in the microwave (not on high power). Warm the dressing and then pour over the rewarmed potato salad.
If you have leftovers to rewarm do so gently in the microwave.
 

Slow Cooker Sausage and Sauerkraut

Sausage and Sauerkraut

The Oktoberfest theme continues! We often have a houseful of weekend visitors during Oktoberfest.  The key to relaxed entertaining when you have multiple cottage or house guests is organization and smart selection.

You can put these ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 4-5 hours (or more since it is very forgiving!) and have self-serve as guests filter in at different times of the day or evening.  You can keep the Warm Potato Salad on warm setting in a slow cooker for a number of hours as well. And voila!  You have a casual meal that tastes great no matter what time your crowd comes in.  Or – you can keep a supply of sausage buns beside and serve Sausage and Sauerkraut on a bun with German mustard.

In my English Canadian childhood home my mom used to heat sauerkraut up on the stove in its brine and then serve it.  Yikes!  What we didn’t know then!

Then I met my husband!   His mother was an amazing cook.  I came to realize that after many years most of my holiday go-to recipes are German!  (Wait for the German Torte recipes to come!)

She never made her sauerkraut from scratch although many local Mennonite families do and sell it at the St. Jacob’s Farmers Market.  That can be delicious but I have no quarrel with regular store-bought sauerkraut from a jar or a can!

There are all kinds of sauerkraut variations too..

The base sauerkraut is the drained sauerkraut,  a couple of Tbsps of fat (bacon, pork, veg oil), about a 1/2 cup of liquid, black pepper. Never add salt to sauerkraut-there is enough residual salt from the brine.

  1. You can brown a boneless pork shoulder or butt roast with a diced onion and some oil and black pepper and then smother it with a couple of jars of  drained sauerkraut, 1/2 -2/3 cup of liquid (white wine, beer, apple juice, broth)  and let it simmer for an hour or two on your stove top.  You should be able to shred the roast with 2 forks when you are done and mix it evenly through the sauerkraut.  This approach lends a ton of flavour and makes the sauerkraut a substantial dish on its own.

or

2. You can add a couple of chopped, peeled apples to make a sweet sauerkraut.

3. You can add a teaspoon of caraways seeds to make it Bavarian style.

or

4. Cook it with sausages and add some  boiled potatoes to make a full meal.

There may be as many sauerkraut variations as there are German cooks!  But I love them all now!

Sauerkraut is good for you! It is low in calories and they say fermented foods are good for your digestive system.

Sausage and Sauerkraut

Slow Cooker Sausage and Sauerkraut

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Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: German
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 2 mins
Total Time: 7 mins
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 28 oz jars sauerkraut (I use Bic's Wine Sauerkraut)
  • 2 Tbsps bacon fat or veg oil
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup water (or white wine or apple juice) You can also use beer if not using wine sauerkraut.
  • 12 german style sausauges (Oktoberfest, Knockwurst, Bratwurst, Farmer Sausage or a mix)

Instructions

  • Put fat in the bottom of your slow cooker. Add sauerkraut and stir in other ingredients except sausage. Place sausage on top, cover and let cook.
  • Use a slotted spoon to transfer sauerkraut to a platter. Transfer sausage as well.
  • Alternatively you can fill a sausage roll with a bed or sauerkraut, top with a sausage and German mustard.
    Sausage on a Bun

Notes

You can serve this with German Potato Salad, or on a big sausage bun or on a platter with boiled potatoes.

Apple Pie

Apple Pie with Cider Ice Cream

This is another of my favourite recipes.  I just got fresh, fresh, Ontario apples at our market and they were outstanding in this pie.  I heard on a radio program once that most of the apples we can buy in our supermarkets are at least four months old by the time they hit the shelf.  I know apples keep if properly stored but it sure makes a difference if you can source some fresh apples in season from an orchard or market near you.

This pie uses my Easy Pie Crust recipe and the filling is generous.  I was afraid that my top crust was going to be too thin by the time I got it big enough to cover the mound of filling but it forced me to roll it out thinly and it was wonderful.

I like this recipe because it cooks long and at a bit lower heat.  Often pie recipes start the first 15 minutes at 425 degrees and then reduce to 350 or 375 degrees. I find my crust is always too brown when I do this.  With the even temperature on this bake time my crust was a light golden brown.

You will want to bake this with a pan underneath to catch any juices.  There is so much filling in this pie you will definitely need it.

I served it with Apple Cider Ice Cream for a double apple hit!

Apple Pie with Cider Ice Cream

Apple Pie

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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 50 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 20 mins
Servings: 1 9" pie

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1 Easy Pie Crust https://thewineloverskitchen.com/recipe/easy-pie-crust/

Filling

  • 8 cups apples cored, peeled, sliced (Cortland are good)
  • 2 Tbsps lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 Tbsps butter
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 tsp nutmeg

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Peel, core, chop apples. Cover apple chunks in water with a squirt of lemon juice so they don't turn brown while you prepare them all.
  • Drain apple pieces and mix with all Filling ingredients.
  • Roll out bottom pie crust, transfer bottom crust to 8" pie pan and pour in the filling. Top with upper crust. Make slits for steam to escape and bake. Bake with a pan underneath to catch the drips.
  • Serve warm.