Apple Tarte Tatin

This is another recipe I've been waiting for a good time to make. My mom actually having a cast iron skillet, plus a big brunch with my brother and sister-in-law provided the perfect opportunity. This. was. so. good. 

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
7 apples
1 stick butter
1 C sugar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, with a baking sheet inside. Peel, core, and quarter the apples. Melt the butter in a 10 inch cast iron skillet. When melted, take off heat and whisk in the sugar, the mixture will be thick, but that's ok. 

Spread it evenly over the bottom of the skillet. Line up the apples in a circular pattern on top of the butter and sugar. If all the apples don't fit, don't worry, the apples will cook down and you can fit more later. Cook the apples over medium high heat for about 15 minutes, until the butter and sugar have formed a nice caramel color. 

Meanwhile, roll out the dough a little, and use a plate to cut it into a circle, slightly larger than the skillet. When the apples and caramel are done, place the dough on top, tucking in the edges. Bake for about 30 minutes, on top of the preheated baking sheet, until the pastry is puffy and browned. 

Allow to cool for 30 minutes. Invert onto a plate using pot holders. If any apples stick to the skillet, just remove them and put them back in their place in the tarte. 

Beautiful, simple, and so yummy!

Creamed Onions

I've been waiting for the perfect time to make this Smitten Kitchen recipe for a looong time. Christmas dinner was the perfect opportunity. I didn't get quite the creamy sauce that Smitten Kitchen achieved, but the dish was still quite delicious, a great holiday side. Kyle and Mom approved.

Creamed Onions with Bacon and Chives

3 10 oz bags of frozen pearl onions
2 1/2 oz bacon, diced
1 1/4 C heavy cream
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 tbsp sherry
1/2 bunch chives, chopped
Salt, to taste

In a saucepan, cook the bacon until crisp, dry on a paper towel. Leave about 2 tbsps of bacon fat in the pan. Add the onions, cream, nutmeg, and salt to taste. Cook the onions until done with a lid cracked ajar on the pan. When almost done, take off the lid and add the sherry. Garnish with bacon and chives.

December 26

Tree - Bethlehem, PA

Peanut Blossoms

Ok, this is the last from the Christmas cookie files. I'm sure everyone has a recipe for these, but if not, here you go!

1/2 C butter
1 C peanut butter chips
2/3 C packed brown sugar
1 egg
3/4 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 C flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
Granulated sugar
Hershey's kisses, unwrapped

Preheat oven to 350. In a saucepan over low heat melt the butter and peanut butter chips, stirring constantly. Pour mixture into a large bowl and add the brown sugar, egg, and vanilla. Beat until well blended. Stir in flour and baking soda, blending well. Shape into 1 inch balls and roll them in granulated sugar. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately place a kiss in the middle of each cookie. Cool on a wire wrack.

Date Balls

More Christmas cookies... this one is kind of a pain to make, but they're my favorite!

1/2 C butter
1 C sugar
1/2 lb chopped dates
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
12 tsp salt
2 C rice krispies
1/2 C chopped nuts

Combine the butter, sugar, and dates and set aside. Bring the egg, milk, vanilla, and salt to a boil. Important: stir constantly being very careful not to let the egg scramble. Add the date mixture to the egg mixture and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add the rice krispies and chopped nuts. Cool the mixture until you can handle it without burning your hands, then form into little balls and roll in coconut. 

Toffee Nut Bars

Another from the Rowe family Christmas cookie archives.

1/2 C butter
1/2 C brown sugar
1 C flour
1 tsp vanilla
1 11 oz chocolate bar
3/4 C chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter and sugar, add the flour and vanilla. Press and flatten in to the bottom of an ungreased 13 x 9 inch pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Melt the chocolate bar and spread over the cookie. Sprinkle the chocolate with the chopped nuts.

December 25

Merry Christmas from Aprons and Apertures!

Kyle's Expert Wrapping - Bethlehem, PA

December 24

Amanda and Diane - Bethlehem, PA

Rhode Island Pork Pie

First of all, a formal apology for being absent for a little while. I have been in the process of moving my life across the country, currently taking a pit stop in Pennsylvania. 

Second, being home with my mom and not working for the past week, I have a TON of recipes to post. Get ready for a recipe influx!

This Pork Pie recipe comes from my father's friend's mother (confusing, I know). Legend has it, on Christmas morning, this mother would make a pie each for her 5 sons, and they would each eat one for BREAKFAST! I do not recommend this, at all. When I was young, we were a family of five, and would still have leftovers. This certainly isn't health food, but definitely a comforting hearty meal.

Pork Pie

2 pie crusts
1 lb ground pork
1 lb ground beef
1/2 of a medium onion, chopped
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp sage
1/8 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp allspice
1/2 C water
1/4 C bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown the onions and meat in a large skillet. Add the spices then water and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the bread crumbs. Cool slightly, and place in a pie crust. Cover with the second pie crust, crimp the edges, and put a few slits in the top for ventilation. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the pie crust looks done.

Most serve with ketchup, but I think ketchup is whack. Enjoy!

December 20

M Street - Washington, DC

December 19

M Street - Washington, DC

December 18

M Street - Washington, DC

December 17

Office - Arlington, VA

December 16

M Street - Washington, DC

December 15

Front Page - Washington, DC

December 14

Underground - Arlington, VA

December 13

M Street - Washington, DC

December 12

Danielle's Home Office - Washington, DC

Thumbprint Cookies

I'm hoping to post a few of our family's christmas cookie recipes here. I don't remember where this one came from (mom?), probably a grandmother, but it's a staple every christmas. Very easy to make!

Thumbprint Cookies
Yields 1 dozen

1/2 C butter
1/4 C brown sugar
1 egg yolk (retain the whites)
1 tsp vanilla
1 C flour
1/4 tsp salt
Crushed walnuts (or other soft nut)
Your favorite jelly (I use raspberry)

Heat oven to 375. Mix together the butter, brown sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla. Sift the flour and salt into the mixture, and combine until incorporated. Beat the whites. Roll about a tablespoon of dough into a ball, dip in whites, and then roll in the nuts. Place cookies on a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Read to bake

Bake for 5 minutes, take the sheet out of the oven and use something (I used the bottom of an ice cream scoop handle) to create an impression in the center of each cookie. Bake for 8 more minutes, and allow to cool on a drying rack.

Cookies baked and with impression

When cool, fill the holes with jam, enjoy!

Mixed Mushroom Risotto


Amanda and I first made this recipe for her 21st birthday; four years later, we can't remember where it came from. It's delicious. Try it, unless you don't like mushrooms.

Mixed Mushroom Risotto
Serves 4-ish

2 tbsp dried porcini
2/3 C hot water
1 tbsp olive oil
4 shallots, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
6 C assorted mushrooms (we used an assortment of shiitake, crimini, and portobello)
1 1/4 C long grain brown rice
3 3/4 C vegetable stock, hot 
3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
Fresh grated parmesan
Salt and Pepper

Soak the dried porcini mushrooms in the hot water for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a large pan with the olive oil to medium and add the shallots and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes.

Drain the porcini mushrooms but save the liquid. Add all of the mushrooms and the retained liquid and let the mushrooms cook down for 5-10 minutes.

Throw in the rice and 1/3 of the hot stock (keep the rest of the stock warm in a pan on the stove). Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until all of the liquid is absorbed by the rice. Add a few more ladles full of stock, and repeat. Do this until all of the stock is absorbed. Taste your rice to ensure it is cooked enough, if not, you can add a little hot water until it is. 

Add the parsley, parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a little extra parmesan sprinkled on top. Enjoy!

December 10

Amanda with Cider - Washington, DC

December 9

23rd Street - Washington, DC

December 8

Office - Arlington, VA

December 7

Mt Vernon Metro - Washington, DC

December 6

M Street - Washington, DC

Danielle's Ginger Cookies

Danielle and I brought some ginger cookies to St. Nick's Christmas Extravaganza last night. Recipe comes from here, with possibly the most 5 star Allrecipe ratings ever.

Big Soft Ginger Cookies

2 1/4 C flour
2 tsp ginger
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 C margarine, softened
1 C white sugar
1 egg
1 tbsp water
1/4 C molasses
2 tbsp white sugar
Optional: chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 350. Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. In a large bowl cream together the margarine and one cup sugar. Beat in the egg and then stir in the water and molasses. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients. If you want, stir in the chocolate chunks. Shape the dough into balls, roll in sugar, and flatten slightly on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes on the tray, then transfer to a cooling wrack. 

Party goers gave rave reviews!

Danielle says "you betcha."

December 4 - St. Nick's Christmas Extravaganza

Nick's Christmas Party - Arlington, VA

December 3

Pentagon City - Arlington, VA

December 2

Movember Characters at the George - Washington, DC

December 1

M Street - Washington, DC

November 30

New Jersey Avenue - Washington, DC