The Real Food Journal

See You, In a Few

Chai Tea, Let that shit go

Sometimes, you just have to let go a little.

Dear readers,

If you’ve been reading my blog, I thank you. All your interest and input are invaluable to me.

I’m just letting you know that I’ve got a project going that is going to need most of my focus for the next couple of months.

So I may get to blog again, soon, but I may not.

Something had to take a back burner, so I can dedicate myself to another book.

In the meantime, all my previous blogs and recipes are available under the recipe tab on my homepage.

You can also follow me on instagram, my current obsession, as well as facebook and twitter.

See you soon!

The Jazzy Vegetarian’s Deliciously Vegan Cookbook

The Jazzy Vegetarian

Banana Walnut Bread from the Jazzy Vegetarian’s Deliciously Vegan Cookbook

( A winner has been chosen in the giveaway, but you can still make this recipe!)

It’s gonna be jazzy! If you haven’t seen the popular and long-running “Jazzy Vegetarian” on PBS, you might not know that there’s a jazz-singing vegan in the kitchen, and she’s got her own show. Laura Theodore’s Jazzy Vegetarian is launching a sixth season on TV, as well as a companion cookbook. You can even enter to win a copy at the bottom of this page.

Laura Theodore's Jazzy Vegetarian's Deliciously Vegan

Win It!

Laura Theodore was born to have her own vegan cooking show. Theodore started out as a kid studying acting, grew into a singer fronting rock and jazz bands, and found her calling when she became vegan. All those performing chops came in handy when she was moved to spread the word about a compassionate way of living and eating.

Fast forward to this, the sixth season of her popular cooking show, where she continues to thrive in a media marketplace with stiff competition. Her passion for plant-based food is clear on the screen, and in the pages of her cookbooks. She’s a powerhouse, finding time for the Jazzy Vegetarian radio show, frequent guest appearances on TV, tons of social media and web activity, and of course, she still records music.

Somehow, along with all this, she is opening the Jazzy Vegetarian Vegan Restaurant in Hendersonville NC, in May. Check out her website to watch, listen, read, and find out more.

Laura Theodore, Jazzy Vegetarian

Laura Theodore, the Jazzy Vegetarian

This is her fourth book, and like the others, it’s both fun and functional. This is food you will really make and serve to your family. Many of the recipes are breathtakingly quick and simple, but still packed with good, real, plant based ingredients.

The format is well organized and easy to use, with tons of photos so you can see what you are going to make. The chapters start with fundamentals and breakfast, and cover the gamut on up to desserts. Start the day with a plant based frittata or scramble, and you can end it with one of her cakes, crumbles, puddings or pies.

Jazzy Vegetarian Banana Bread

Crunchy with Walnuts, Slathered with Jam…

I couldn’t wait to try this banana bread. There are plenty of banana bread recipes out there, but vegan banana bread can come out rubbery, or even worse, gummy. Not this one, it has a lovely texture, and is chock full of walnuts for crunch. She clearly did a little engineering of the recipe, by changing the temperature midway. The result is that the bread gets lift from the first segment of time in a hot oven, then has time to bake through without burning in the second, cooler part of the oven time.

Very smart.

And very Jazzy, with a schmear of jam or vegan butter!

If you like this recipe, you can

US residents can enter by clicking the link below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Banana-Walnut Bread

MAKES 10 TO 12 SLICES

 

This delicious bread makes a wonderful snack, slathered with a bit of vegan margarine, nut butter or your favorite fruit preserves.

 

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon nondairy milk

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup vegan cane sugar

1/3 cup extra-light olive oil (see note)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

11/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium)

1 cup chopped walnuts

 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan with vegan margarine. Line the lengthwise sides and  bottom of the pan with unbleached parchment paper, leaving an overhang of 2-inch “wings” on the two long sides of the pan.

Put the nondairy milk and lemon juice into a small bowl or pitcher, and stir to combine. Let stand at room temperature while preparing the batter.

Put the flour, baking soda and sugar in a large bowl, and stir with a dry whisk until combined. Add the nondairy milk/lemon juice mixture, oil, vanilla and mashed bananas, and stir with a large spoon until combined. Fold in the chopped walnuts. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 45 minutes.

Decrease the heat to 350 degrees F and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Put the pan on a wire rack. Lift the bread out of the pan using the paper “wings.” Let cool for at least 1 hour before slicing. Wrapped tightly and stored in the refrigerator, leftover bread will keep for 3 days.

CHEF’S NOTE: If desired, you may use extra-virgin olive oil in place of the extra-light olive oil. The bread will be slightly denser in texture.

Recipe by Laura Theodore, from JazzyVegetarian’s Deliciously Vegan. Published by Scribe Publishing, ©2018, reprinted by permission.

 

Celebrate St Pat’s with Rosemary Garlic Hasselback Potatoes with Greens

As St Pat’s rolls around, are you a traditionalist, who craves the same Irish-inspired dishes year after year? Or are you just in it for the green beer? I’m more interested in tweaking the usual fare, to avoid boredom. That’s why I made Rosemary-Garlic Hasselback Potatoes with Greens.

Some kind of roots and carbs are a must-have on St Patrick’s Day, no matter what. Whether you go with Colcannon or Irish Soda Bread. 

Potatoes are Peasant Food

Cheap food to keep a belly full harks back to the Old Country. Why not make your potatoes a little bit pretty, and use some simple herbs and garlic for a fragrant, exciting meal? I even slipped in a sweet potato, to fill up the pan and give you a little variety. The hasselback potatoes roast to tenderness, and the edges crisp in the hot oven.

Hassleback Potatoes with Rosemary and Garlic

Elemental Soul Food for the Irish in You

Once the potatoes are underway, a quick saute of kale and chiles provides the necessary green element to the meal. Cabbage, kale, and other sturdy greens are part of the peasant pantry, and we all want some shamrock colors on the plate.

The only trick is slicing the hasselback potatoes. I put chopsticks alongside each potato, so that the knife won’t go all the way to the board. Since potatoes are round, sometimes I had to keep my knife a little higher so that I wouldn’t lop off the end.

(I’ll post a video of this on instagram, since I can’t post one on the blog.)

Heat, Herbs and an Hour

That’s it, just drizzle with the herbs, garlic and olive oil, getting a little down into all the crevices, and roast, uncovered, in a 450 F oven for an hour or more.

 

Hassleback Potatoes with Rosemary and Garlic

Hasselbacks with Kale, Rustic and Hearty

Of course, if you are so inclined, you can pile some shredded Irish Cheddar on for the last 15 minutes. Fry up your favorite mock sausages, and you have a pretty respectable St Paddy’s day meal.

And if you hoist a pint of Stout, you’ll really be in the spirit!

Rosemary and Garlic Hasselback Potatoes with Greens

The luck of the Irish will be with you, when you make this hot panful of crispy potatoes and herbs. Who needs all the cream and cheese, when you have garlic and olive oil?

Course Side Dish
Servings 5
Author Robin Asbell

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic mince two of them
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary, plus three big sprigs
  • 5 medium yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 small sweet potato
  • coarse salt
  • 1 bunch kale or other greens
  • 2 medium red Fresno Chiles chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 F.Get a 9 or 10 inch cast iron skillet. Pour the olive oil into a cup and add the 2 cloves chopped garlic and the chopped rosemary, reserve.

  2. Use a sharp chefs knife and a pair of sturdy chopsticks to make the potato cuts. To create the classic Hasselback cuts, you'll need to make thin cuts straight down, but not all the way through. I like to place a chopstick along each side of the potato, so that my knife will stop at the stick, and preven me from slipping all the way through. Slice about 1/4-1/3 inch apart. As you finish each potato, tuck into the cast iron pan. For the sweet potato, slice lengthwise in half and place cut side down on the board, and repeat the Hasselback process. Tuck into the pan. Scatter the remaining whole garlic cloves alongside the potatoes. Use a paring knife and your fingertips to gently separate the slices just a little, and drizzle the olive oil mixture down into each cut. Tuck the remaining rosemary sprigs alongside the potatoes and sprinkle with coarse salt.
  3. Roast for about an hour, testing by piercing into the center of the largest potato at about 45 minutes.

    Just before serving saute the kale and chiles in olive oil, and add salt to taste. When potatoes are tender, take out and serve hot, with sauteed kale and chiles.

Make a Memorable, Memory-Saving Meal With Creamy Kale Soup

Creamy Kale Soup with Almonds

Creamy Kale Soup with Almonds, Delicious and Memorable

Spring is coming. The bright sunlight hurts my eyes, as I emerge from my winter cocoon. I need to clear the cobwebs from my brain and lighten up, after all the Winter eating. It’s time to clean up my act with Creamy Kale Soup.

It turns out, my cobwebby brain really is craving greens.

Greens Prevent Memory Loss

A recent study at the Rush University Medical School found that eating as little as 1 1/3 cup of salad or 1/2 cup cooked greens a day resulted in a brain that worked as well as one 11 years younger. The researchers came up with a whole list of foods that also help prevent dementia, including beans, grains, berries, nuts, wine, olive oil and fish. But greens are the number one food to stay sharp.

Getting Those Greens In

Kale soup is a great way to finally get enough greens. Most days, even the best of us don’t eat enough salads and veggies.  I challenge my self to get more than 2 1/2 cups of greens every day. Some days I fail. For me, the blender is the best way to tackle the greens challenge.

Lacinato Kale

Lacinato Kale, Ready to Save My Brain in Kale Soup!

 Take the Greens Challenge

The average salad only has a few ounces of greens. Those boxes of salad are only 5 ounces, and most of the time, you don’t eat even half of that. Unless you are building yourself a big platter-ful of salad, it’s just a small percentage of the greens that your body craves. The green smoothie or juice is a way to process a couple cups worth of greens into one serving. Cooking greens condenses them, so that a big fluffy pile of spinach or kale shrinks down to a concentrated source of brain-saving green energy.

So, if you both cook and puree, you can really eat a lot of leafy greens in a small portion of food. Take this creamy kale soup. A bunch of kale ends up as about 5 cups of soup, and depending on how hungry you are, it can serve 2-4 people.

Kale Soup

Whole Wheat Toast with Dijon Mustard and Tomatoes Makes it a Meal

I love making creamy soups with almonds. Unsweetened almond milk is rich enough to give the soup a lush, creamy body. A sweet potato thickens and adds a few speckles of orange to the bright green soup. Fresh rosemary braces all that sweet creaminess with a little piney herbal flavor. Crunchy toasted almonds add interest and a nutty counterpoint to all the veggies.

Food is about pleasure. It’s also the thing we are made of, so it is our great good luck that we can find so much pleasure in a dish that packs a nutritional wallop. This seductive, colorful kale soup could well play a part in saving your brain from the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease, so it is all good.

Absolutely. All. Good.

Creamy Kale Soup with Rosemary

This easy kale soup has sweet potato for a thickener, and just enough creamy almond milk to make it luscious.

Course Soup
Servings 4
Author Robin Asbell

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon avocado or olive oil
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 small sweet potato peeled and chopped
  • 1 bunch kale stems removed, chopped
  • 1 ta fresh rosemary plus more for garnish
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 2 cups plain, unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds toasted

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the onions and stir, and once they start to sizzle, reduce the heat to medium. Stir and cook, reducing the heat to medium-low if they start to stick. Cook for as long as you have time, at least 10 minutes, up to an hour or two.

  2. Add the sweet potato, kale, rosemary and stock and raise the heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil, cover and cook for about 10 minutes. When the sweet potato pieces are tender, take off the heat.

  3. Transfer the soup to the Vitamix or food processor. If using the processor, puree without adding the almond milk. If using the blender, add the milk and puree. Add the salt and several grinds of pepper, and taste. Add more if needed. 

  4. Serve in bowls with toasted sliced almonds, and a rosemary sprig.

Gochujang Makes an Easy Bowl Pop

As the author of a whole book on bowl food, I’ve explored bowl cuisine in all its forms. But I have to give all respect to the OG of bowl food, the folks who created Bibimbap. Yes, Korean cooks made a feast in a bowl long before American hippies started piling up brown rice and veggies. Bowl food traces its roots right back to the Asian countries who made an art of topping their daily rice with flavorful tidbits.

Bowl Food is timeless

The latest food trend analysis has two concepts at the top of the charts. 2018 will bring us more Korean Food, and more plant-based food. Looks like I’m in the right place at the right time, with my Kim Chi and Gochjang laced veggie food.

I’m not claiming that it’s authentic to Korean cuisine. But by tapping those flavor profiles, I’m guaranteed to get something good.

Bowl Food is easy

Take this super easy bowl. I had some cooked Freekeh in the fridge, and a roasted Stokes Purple Sweet Potato, so I was halfway there. For the dressing, I wanted something unfussy and super-flavorful, so I just stirred up some tahini, Gochujang, rice vinegar, tamari and a little brown sugar.

Stokes Purple Sweet Potatoes

The Stokes Purples are in Front

If you’ve missed the ascendancy of Gochujang, the hot sauce of Korea, don’t worry, it will be on a menu near you any time now. Like Sriracha before it, this hot sauce is entering the American mainstream. The best way to think of the flavor is as a combo of umami-bomb miso with chile and the sweet, tangy notes of fermented rice. Korean cuisine is known for it’s hot and funky fermented foods, and this sauce kind of sums it all up.

Bowl Food goes with you

This is a good example of how flexible and packable bowl food can be. If you wait to slice the avocado, it can all be done a day or two ahead. If you want to add some protein, you can just toss in your favorite leftover.

Wake up those tired taste buds with this spicy, savory bowl food!

Freekeh and Purple Sweet Potato Bowl with Sesame-Gochujang Sauce

Cook extra Freekeh and roast a purple sweet potato so you can make this easy bowl.

Course Main Course
Servings 4
Author Robin Asbell

Ingredients

Sauce

  • 1/4 cup Gochujang
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup tamari
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar or other sweetener

Bowl

  • 4 cup cooked freekeh or other grain cooled
  • 1 medium purple sweet potato roasted, cooled
  • 1 large avocado
  • 2 small golden beets peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 small watermelon radishes peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch kale chopped
  • pea shoots for garnish

Instructions

  1. For the sauce, place the gochujang and tahini in a medium bowl and stir until well-mixed, then gradually stir in the rice vinegar, tamari, and brown sugar.

  2. Build your bowls, placing a cup of grain in the bottom of each. Arrange sweet potato, avocado, beets, radishes and kale on the grain, then drizzle with the sauce. Garnish with pea shoots and serve.

Yellow Curry Tofu with Makrut Lime is the Thai Curry You Need Right Now

Yellow Curry Tofu with Makrut Lime

Yellow Curry Tofu with Makrut Lime is so beautiful over Black Rice noodles!

If you follow food trends at all, you know that turmeric has been on the hot-and-happening-food lists for a while now. Soon enough, it won’t be a trend at all but an accepted food in the consciousness of chefs, diners, and juicers. Now that fresh turmeric is becoming widely available, I’d like to suggest that another trend to come is a rise in Thai yellow Curry dishes.

Turmeric Plus Lime

This Thai yellow curry is perfect for the season of citrus, since this is the time when exotica like Makrut limes are available, too. I’m using the term Makrut in place of the term Kaffir, which we should all stop using. The limes have been called Kaffir for many years, probably named after the Kaffir people of Sri Lanka. Unfortunately, in the ensuing years, Kaffir came to be used as a racial slur in other parts of the world, so there’s a movement to switch the terminology. Basically, we shouldn’t be using a term that is equivalent to the “n-word” to refer to a fruit and its leaves.

Thai Curries Are Easy

Red and green Thai curries have replaced hummus and veggie lasagna as the token vegetarian dish on many restaurant menus. It’s a great solution, really, the curries are easy to make, keep well, and can cover all your special needs diners by being vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and if served over black or brown rice, whole grain.

Generally speaking, red curry is medium- hot, while green is hotter, and both are from Central Thailand. There are many variations on curry paste, from the more Indian-spiced Massaman curry to the Pananag and Jungle Curries. Thai yellow curry is not as hot, making it very accessible, even to Minnesota palates!

The makrut lime is a wonderfully fragrant, intensely flavorful ingredient. I like to simmer the peel in the curry over low heat, so the oils from the peel can really infuse the coconut milk. It is reminiscent of citronella, but in a good way. I used Mae Ploy brand Thai yellow curry paste, which I made a trip to the Asian store to get. It’s reliably vegetarian, and the ingredients are: garlic, lemongrass, shallot, dried red chile, salt, galanga, cumin, cinnamon, star anise, turmeric, kaffir lime peel and coriander seed.

Curry pastes keep for months in the refrigerator, so go ahead and stock up.

Thai yellow curry is often made with potatoes, so I subbed in sweet potatoes. They give the dish enough sweetness that you don’t need to add any, and are just a little bit more colorful.

I found these gorgeous black rice noodles, which are made with Forbidden Rice. They are as tasty as they are good looking. If you want to sub some other noodle, anything from a regular rice noodle to a whole wheat linguine would be perfect.

So look for these wrinkly, lumpy limes where you shop, and simmer them with turmeric for a timely, healthy dish.

Thai yellow curry should soon be as common as spaghetti and red sauce!

Yellow Curry Tofu with Makrut Lime and Black Rice Noodles

Fresh turmeric and yellow curry paste give this curry a golden glow, and the lime infuses it with a unique and exotic flavor. The black noodles really make the color pop, but if you can't find them just use your favorite noodle.

Course Main Course
Servings 4
Author Robin Asbell

Ingredients

  • 1 block extra firm tofu drained
  • 1 cup coconut cream
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon yellow curry paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large makrut lime zest pared off in a strip
  • 1 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups cubed sweet potatoes
  • 1 large jalapeno chopped
  • 1 teaspoon canola or coconut oil
  • 4 ounces fresh shiitakes slivered
  • cilantro and scallions for garnish
  • 8 ounces black rice noodles

Instructions

  1. Drain the tofu and wrap in a towel, press lightly to extract water, then cube and reserve.

  2. In a large saute pan, heat the coconut cream over medium-high heat and add the turmeric and curry paste. Stir until it comes to a boil. Add the salt and lime zest and stir in the vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer. Lower the heat and cook for at least five minutes, adding water or more stock if it gets too thick.

  3. Add the sweet potato and jalapeno and stir, when it boils, reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for about 8 minutes, until the sweet potato cubes are tender when pierced with a knife. Fold in the tofu and simmer gently until thick.

  4. In another pan, heat the oil over high heat and sear the mushrooms. Cook, stirring, until browned and shrunken. Keep warm.

  5. Cook the noodles according to package directions. Serve curry topped with shiitakes, cilantro and scallions.

Can a Valentine’s Dessert Be Decadent AND Light? Crispy Pastry Nests with Aquafaba Mousse and Berries are!

Have you planned your Valentine’s Day yet? Forget about going out, it’s much snugglier to stay in and have your own private menu. The most important part of the meal is, of course, the Valentine’s Dessert. It must be sensuous, it must be chocolate, and if you can make it pretty, you’ve got a winner.

It’s all about the Valentine’s Dessert

For my Valentine’s Dessert, I went with a deep dark chocolate mousse. 85% cacao chocolate, to be exact, although you can use your favorite. Just don’t use chocolate chips. They are formulated to keep their shape in a cookie, and don’t flow as well when you try to fold the melted chocolate into the mousse.

Then I simmered some aquafaba with raspberry and vanilla extracts, chilled it, and whipped it up. It takes longer to whip aquafaba than egg whites, so if you are accustomed to that process, just give it time. it takes about 16 minutes.

aquafaba mousse

Folding melted chocolate into aquafaba mousse

The Kataifi Nests

For this cute dessert, the only tricky part was making a trek to the Middle Eastern grocery for Kataifi pastry. It’s in the frozen food section at Holy Land at the Midtown Global Market, if you live in Minneapolis. Depending on whether it’s Greek or from the Middle East, it might be called Kunafa, Kunaifa, or some other spelling. It’s a form of filo dough that has the texture of fine rice noodles, and it’s actually really easy to use, as long as you just let it be kind of messy. Just drizzling it with some melted coconut oil or butter, fluffing it into nests, and sprinkling it with sugar is all you need to do.

Once the nests are baked, they keep for days, as long as you keep them in an airtight container. If you are a fan of syrup-soaked desserts, you can even dip them in syrup. I skipped that for the photo, but include instructions below.

 

Kataifi Pastry Nests

Kataifi Pastry and Nests

This is a good one for a special night because all the components can be made ahead. Make the nests and mousse up to three days out, and you can assemble it at the last minute. Nothing requires any special skills, unless you consider folding to be a big challenge.

Valentine's Day Aquafaba Mousse

A lovely Valentine’s Dessert

Then it’s up to you to garnish with some berries, drizzle with some chocolate sauce, and dig in. It’s a little messy, when the nests crumble into a pile of crunchy strands, but getting messy is part of the fun.

It’s all part of celebrating the “love holiday” and it wouldn’t be complete without a chocolate Valentine’s Dessert!

Aquafaba Mousse in Kataifi Nests

Put them on a little cake stand for serving

Crispy Nests of Raspberry Chocolate Mousse with Strawberries

Use Kataifi pastry to make these quick and easy nests, and whip up some aquafaba mousse to nestle inside. Perfect with berries for a Valentine's dessert.

Author Robin Asbell

Ingredients

  • 1 pound kataifi or kunafa thawed
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil or butter
  • 3 tablespoons turbinado sugar

Mousse

  • 3/4 cup aquafaba 1/2
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon raspberry extract
  • 5 ounces dark chocolate
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons organic sugar
  • strawberries, raspberries, pomegranate seeds
  • chocolate sauce

Syrup

  • 1/2 cup organic sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon orange blossom water or rosewater

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Lightly grease the 12 cups in a muffin tin and reserve. Put the pastry shreds in a large bowl and use your fingers to separate and fluff them. Drizzle with melted coconut oil or butter and toss to coat. Pull out a small handful and coil and roll it to place into the muffin tins. Shape into nests, make an indentation in the middle.

  2. Sprinkle the nests with turbinado sugar and bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool, loosen gently while still warm. Let cool completely, store in an airtight container.


  3. For Mousse, put the aquafaba in a small pot and bring it it to a boil, add the vanilla and raspberry extracts. Boil until reduced to 1/2 cup. If you get below 1/2 cup, add a little water to make 1/2 cup.

  4. Place the aquafaba in the refrigerator until completely cold. Put the cold aquafaba and cream of tartar in a stand mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment, or a large bowl with an electric mixer. Melt the chocolate and let come to room temperature.

  5. Beat on high for 10 minutes, then sprinkle in 1 tablespoon sugar and beat for 3 minutes longer, then sprinkle in the remaining tablespoon and beat for 3 minutes longer. 

  6. Fold the chocolate into the whipped aquafaba until smooth. Transfer to a storage tub and chill until cold and firm.

  7. To serve, place a nest on a small plate and dust with cocoa or powdered sugar. Scoop a small portion of mousse into the nest, then decorate with berries. If desired, drizzle with chocolate sauce.

  8. If making syrup, make it before baking the nests. Place the sugar and water in a small pot and place over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Stir for just a couple of minutes, until the sugar is dissolved. Chill until completely cold. When the nests come out of the oven, take each out of the pan and place on a rack over a baking pan. Drizzle the nests with syrup and let the excess drip into the pan. Let cool.

Is Evercrisp the Next Big Apple?

Evercrisp Apple-Nutella Panini

Melty and Delicious Evercrisp Apple-Nutella Panini

What’s your favorite apple? I have been smitten with the Honeycrisp ever since that Minnesota born juggernaut took me by the tastebuds. You could divide my apple life into BH (Before Honeycrisp) and AH (After Honeycrisp.) It was that big. There have been new apples AH, but none have tempted me to change allegiances. At least not until now. Now, we have the Evercrisp, the love child of the Honeycrisp and a Fuji, and it’s a pretty attractive apple.

In fact, the Evercrisp has so much effervescent juiciness in every crunchy bite that the juice flows like bubbly champagne. And I love champagne.

I suppose now I will enter the Evercrisp period, at least until the supply runs out!

Evercrisp Apples

A Beautiful Bowl of Evercrisps

The Crunch is the Thing

The breakout quality of the Honeycrisp was the almost explosive crunchiness, and the Evercrisp is just as magically percussive in your mouth. Biting into one causes big, juice packed cells in the apple to burst, flooding your palate with intense flavor. The Fuji’s influence seems to give the apple a slightly sweeter, perfumey quality, balancing with the tartness of the Honeycrisp. There’s more going on in your mouth, and it’s all good.

Apples Take Time

While the Evercrisp is new to you and me, it actually came to be in 1998. It takes that long to get a new apple into production. So, the hot new apple is actually 20 years old. The first official crop was in 2016, and it was just a small, test run. The 2017 crop is in stores now, and should last until the end of February. In Minnesota, your best bet for trying one is a Lunds or Byerly’s store. (For a guide to finding the Evercrisp near you, click here.)

These are Keepers

One of the standout qualities of the new Evercrisp is its durability. Unlike most apples, it stays crisp and fresh for months, even without refrigeration. Growers and sellers love that, and you will, too. An apple that stays fresh in that crisper drawer longer means less food waste. Less food waste saves you money, and reduces the carbon footprint of your apple cravings.

Evercrisp Apple Salsa

The Crunchiest Evercrisp Apple Salsa

To give these apples a little test run, I ate lots of them straight up. Every time, the fist bite was a revelation. Then, I made some really simple things with them. The Grilled Evercrisp and Nutella Panini is so easy, It’s hardly a recipe. Same thing with the Evercrisp Apple Salsa. I was restrained, just giving the apples center stage.

That crunch held up in both, keeping the salsa exciting well into the next day. The grilled slices in the panini stayed just firm enough, taking on a nice color without falling apart.

I’m seeing a bright future for the Evercrisp, which delivers on both the texture and flavor, as well as keeping well to reduce waste. I’m predicting that next year will be a big one for this newcomer.

It’s definitely a win-win!

If you want more recipes for apples, try apple salad 

 

Evercrisp Apple Mint Salsa

Get ready for crunch, with this simple salsa you can make from Fall through Spring. Great on chips, quesadillas, or a Mexican themed bowl meal.

Course Appetizer
Servings 4
Author Robin Asbell

Ingredients

  • 2 cups chopped Evercrisp Apple about 2 apples
  • 1 large jalapeno seeded and diced
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh spearmint chopped
  • 1 large scallion chopped
  • chips

Instructions

  1. Don’t peel the apple, just cut in small cubes. Put in a bowl with the jalapenos, sugar, lime and mint and toss to mix. Serve with chips, nachos, quesadillas, or anything else that needs a little crunchy salsa.

 

Grilled Evercrisp Apple and Nutella Panini

Just good bread, good apples, and the over the top chocolate hazelnut Flavor of Nutella. I used an organic coco-hazelnut spread by Nutiva, which is dairy-free.

Course Main Course
Servings 3
Author Robin Asbell

Ingredients

  • 8 slices whole wheat peasant style bread I used Baker's Field
  • 1/2 cup Chocolate Hazelnut Spread or more, if you like it
  • 1/4 cup roasted, skinned hazelnuts chopped
  • 2-3 large Evercrisp Apples peeled and sliced
  • canola oil for grill

Instructions

  1. Preheat the panini grill. Slice the bread, if necessary, and spread four slices with 2 tablespoons Nutella. Chop hazlenuts and reserve.

    Brush the panini grill with canola oil and place apple slices on the grill, close the grill. Cook for a minute or two, until the apples are marked and softened. Let cool slightly as you grill the remaining apples. Cover Nutella with apples and hazelnuts, then place the second slice of bread on each. Brush the bread with oil and grill the sandwiches until toasted and marked. Slice each in half or quarters and serve.

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