2015 Favorite Recipes

Curry Turkey with Turmeric Rice

I’ll be spending a little time this week between Christmas and New Year’s posting a series of ‘favorites’ from the year.  Today focuses on the favorite recipes from 2015.  Enjoy this peek back at the year in recipes, and if you’ve missed a few of these, I hope you can give them a try!

Norton Chocolate Cheesecake
This Norton chocolate cheesecake was rich, fruity and the perfect treat for valentine’s day.

Curry Turkey with Tumeric Rice
Clyde’s recipe for Curry Turkey with Turmeric Rice turned out to be one of our go-to meals all year. This recipe combined all our favorite things in a meal: easy to prepare, flavorful, and healthy.

Lemon Basil Wine Gimlet
You probably already know my love of wine cocktails, and this lemon basil wine gimlet was a summertime favorite that I just had to make over and over again while the fresh basil was in season.

Autumn Vegetable Medley
This autumn vegetable medley recipe was another fun, healthy, and filling dish that we enjoyed this fall. It’s versatile too, so with a few vegetable changes, we are keeping this in the mix this winter too!

Macaroni & Cheese with Wine
After saying how much we liked healthy food, I have to admit, the Macaroni and Cheese with Wine recipe garnered the most rave reviews, and it was not healthy at all. But I guess sometimes you just need cheesy goodness to offset all the health benefits of wine, right?

Well, there you have my 5 favorite recipes of 2015. The next edition in this little series will feature my favorite critter photos from the past year. What were you’re favorite new recipes this year? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below. Cheers!

Crock Pot Baked Apples Recipe

Baked Apples Recipe

Baked Apples Recipe

Looking for an easy and elegant dessert that’s on the lighter side to serve?  These crock pot baked apples are slow cooked in wine for about 3 hours in a crock pot, making them an ideal dessert for the busy holiday season.

Set them up before everything gets started and turn them on low just before serving dinner. By the time you are ready for dessert, these flavorful baked apples will be steaming hot and ready to serve.

recipe for baked apples with wine

I cut the apples vertically, removed the stem, and then just scooped out the core and a bit of the flesh from around the core with a regular spoon.  You can also use a small pairing knife to cut the center out of these apples.  Leave the skin on though, and place the halves skin down in the crock pot as you see above.

slow cooker baked apples recipe

 

They kinda look like hearts when they are cut this way, so I’m thinking these would make for a pretty end to a lovely, romantic dinner.

Crock Pot Baked Apples Recipe

I used our Sweet River White in this recipe to compliment the apples’ flavor and bring a little extra sweetness to the sauce.  Once baked, use a spoon to transfer your baked apples on to a platter or individual plates, then spoon the leftover liquid from the bottom of the crock pot over the apples. Get those apples sauced!

The beauty of using honeycrisp apples is that they retain a bit of crunch, so you’ll want to use a butter knife and fork to dig into these baked apples.  If you use a smaller apple, or one without as much crunch, you can just use a fork to eat the apples up.

baked apples recipe

Enjoy these heavenly, and healthy treats during the holiday season, or anytime you want an easy make-ahead dessert.  Let me know what you think of the recipe in the comments below.  Cheers!

Crock Pot Baked Apples Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This easy and healthy baked apples with wine recipe calls to cook apples in a crock pot; making this an ideal dessert when you are entertaining.
Peaceful Bend Vineyard:
Recipe type: dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 large honeycrisp apples, or 4 medium-size granny smith apples
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¾ cup Sweet River White
Directions
  1. In a small bowl, stir together the walnuts, cranberries, 3 Tablespoons of brown sugar and ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon.
  2. Cut apples in half vertically. Scoop out the core and a bit of the flesh with a spoon.
  3. Place the apples in a large crock pot so the cut side is up. Spoon walnut mixture into the center of the apples.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together 1 cup brown sugar, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, and the Sweet River White wine. Pour over the top of the apples in the crock pot.
  5. Cover the pot, and turn on low for 21/2-3 hours.
  6. Take baked apples out of the crock pot with a spoon, and place on a platter or individual plates. Spoon liquid from the crock pot over the apples and serve immediately.
Notes
Feel free to use raisins, currents, or other dried fruit instead of the dried cranberries.

 

Bitten Word 2015 Holiday Cookie Challenge: Bourbon Bow Tie Cookies

Bourbon Bow Tie Cookies
A few days ago, I (Katie) was excited to see that one of my favorite food blogs, The Bitten Word, was asking for bloggers to participate in their 2015 holiday cookie challenge.  I love this blog for their real-world reviews of cooking magazine recipes so I eagerly jumped on board.  Friday morning they issued me my recipe to bake and post this weekend: Bourbon Bow Ties from The Food Network.

In Zach & Clay’s email giving me the assignment, they wrote:

We randomly selected this cookie and were surprised to find that it is…(don’t hate us)….fried. We’ll all have this adventure together!

Well, this was definitely an adventure and a challenge for me, since I have never deep fried anything.  But I liked the fact that this recipe:

  1. didn’t really sound all that tough to make;
  2. didn’t sound too sweet – something that I was sure Clyde would approve of;
  3. used bourbon, which meant I could break away from the regular routine of cooking with wine and;
  4. reminded me of Christopher Kimball!

So I resolved to make these cookies and to love them.  I mean, after all, everything fried tastes good, right?

Bourbon Bow Tie Cookie Fail

Bourbon Bow Tie Cookie Fail

I won’t make you wait on my review.  As it turns out, not everything fried tastes good.  It could have been my lack of experience with frying, but even so, I don’t recommend wasting any bourbon on these cookies.  You won’t be able to taste it anyways.

Bourbon Bow Tie Cookie Fail

Do these look like bow ties to you? Total visual fail in my opinion. The dough was very sticky and extremely awkward to form into bow tie shapes as recommended in the recipe, even after getting the hang of it.  I ended up finding that simply cutting rectangles of dough out and twisting them twice in the center made for a more realistic-looking bow tie in the final product (and I don’t even think they were all that good looking).

For most of the cookies in the picture above, I used the recipe’s recommended method for creating the bow ties. Except for the bow tie in the very bottom left.  That one was made using my method instead. MUCH easier!

Bourbon Bow Tie Cookie Fail

A second problem cropped up quickly after I began frying these puppies up (yes, some of these cookies resembled puppies more closely than bow ties).  The recipe calls to toss them in a home-made cinnamon sugar blend while the cookies are still warm, thereby coating the cookies.  So that’s what I did and uh, did you see any sugar on those cookies above?  No?  Well pretty much that’s because the sugar would not stick!

The sugar blend was totally delicious though….I recommend that portion of this recipe whole-heartedly.

Bourbon Bow Tie Cookie Fail
I didn’t like the naked cookies so I decided to try powdered sugar instead. Fortunately the lighter sugar clung like a blanket to these charlie brown Christmas trees.  So I mixed in a bit of ground cinnamon, ground allspice, and ground nutmeg to the powdered sugar and went with that as a coating.  Not too big of a deal, but a definite fail as far as the recipe goes in my opinion.

The thinner I could roll out the dough, the crispier the cookie.  But thin dough still didn’t help hold the bow tie shape at all. The three cookies in the bottom left were made from extremely thin dough…and yeah, I don’t even want to try to guess what they look like.  Certainly not bow ties!

On the plus side, these cookies did end up being fairly light in texture, which is a nice break from all the rich, heavy treats we usually consume around the holidays.  However, the only flavors that came through were the powdered sugar and the canola oil that I used to fry them in.  So. Meh.  They are a lot of effort for an airy, one-dimensional cookie I’m afraid.

 

Despite my lack of enthusiasm for the actual cookies themselves, I really did have fun cooking them.  I can now say I’ve deep fried something, I have an awesome batch of cinnamon sugar to make mulled wine syrup with, and I have a bunch of rorschach tests in the form of cookies to entertain everyone with today! 😀 (ETA: I had customers today who thought they were tasty treats, despite my negativity.  I should probably be more forgiving to these bourbon one-legged frogs.)

If you’re interested to see a round up of the cookie challenge results that everyone comes up with this weekend, head on over to The Bitten Word starting tomorrow.  Or go to Instagram and search for the hashtag #bittencookiechallenge.  My recipe category has it’s own hashtag as well, #friedcookies. I’m looking forward to seeing if anyone else had better luck with these clouds, er cookies, than I did!