Pass Your Plate

FRCH | Pass Your Plate

“The most indispensable ingredient of all good home cooking: love for those you are cooking for.” – Sophia Loren

We firmly agree with Ms. Loren so for our holiday “card” this year our team decided to gather our favorite recipes from around the firm and share the stories behind the food (along with some pretty mouthwatering recipes…).

Every family has a story to tell, welcome to ours … so pass your plate and allow us to share our joy, memories and waistline with you this holiday season.  Read more of this post

For Fall an Apple Pear Crisp

This may look like a Plain Jane dessert but the taste and texture are all you could desire in a dessert for these lengthening fall evenings.  Beyond peeling the apples it’s a quick recipe.  Commandeer volunteers to peel the apples and pears, use a potato peeler, so simple.  The recipe makes 6 to 8 servings.

Start with a mix of half apples (a mix of goldens, jongolds, a granny for tartness, pippins or empires) and pears (bartletts are best), 2 to 3 pounds to yield 6 to 8 cups of peeled, cored and sliced apples.  Your baking dish will determine the quantity – 8” square or 9” round baking dish for 2 -2 ½ pounds.  I use a 12” long oval baker for up to 3 pounds of apples.

Preheat your oven to 400 F and butter the baking dish.

Toss the apple slices with 1 tsp of cinnamon, juice of ½ lemon and 1/4 to 1/3 cup brown sugar.  Dump this mixture into the baker and spread evenly.  Now I like to sprinkle a tablespoon or so of Poire Williams, apple jack or Calvados over the fruit for a bit more depth of flavor – its optional.

Next combine 5 Tbs cold butter – diced, ½ cup rolled oats – reg or quick, ½ cup reg flour and ½ cup chopped nuts – in a food processor (a mini is best – easier to clean up) and pulse till mixed but still rough.  To mix by hand use a pastry blender, a fork, two knives or your fingers.

Spread the topping mix over the apples.  Bake for 30 to 45 mins until the topping is brown and the apples and pears are tender.

Serve hot, warm or room temp.  Serve with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.   This is why I keep the sugar on fruit low – I like the sweetness in the ice cream to contrast and complement the fruit.

Optional ingredients for the topping are:  unsweetened coconut about ¼ cup, dried currents, blueberries or raisins about ¼ cup.  Or whatever your imagination and taste buds are suggesting.

This recipe is based on one from Mark Bittman in How to Cook Everything

A Cheese Ball for the Season

I love this time of year – planning for the holidays, lists to make and compare, collecting recipes, the first fire in the fireplace in the not-too-distant future, sweaters and turtlenecks back in the closet, how ‘bout a Turducken for Thanksgiving, hearty soups and braises, the return of classic red wines to my table.

Bring on the fall…  And the holidays…  Old Man Winter – I am ready!

Here is my first recipe for this holiday season.  The cheese ball renaissance continues and I for one am happy, especially with this decadent example.

Bleu & Walnut Cheese Ball

Courtesy of our own Liz Price

Prep time: 15 mins

Chill time:  8 hrs

Yield: one delicious ball!

4 oz of cream cheese softened

1/3 c sour cream

6 to 8 oz bleu cheese crumbled*

1/8 tsp cardamom

S & P to taste

½ c toasted walnuts chopped*

½ c peeled apple finely chopped

Combine cream cheese with sour cream and beat well.

Stir in cardamom, salt and pepper.

Add bleu cheese, mix.  Then add remaining ingredients and mix well.

Pack into a plastic wrap lined small bowl or mold.

Cover and chill overnight or at least 8 hours, until very firm.

Serve with baguette slices, water crackers or focaccio and some sliced apples.

* Tips from Liz:

–        Liz uses 2 oz of a very strong bleu and 4 oz of one not quite so potent

–        Before toasting the walnuts, Liz tosses the nuts with a bit of olive oil and a pinch each of cumin and cardamom

–        These are must do tips!


About the photo:  This cheese ball really is delicious.  I was lucky there was this much left to photograph!!!!