Since having a few rooms painted in the house, I have been on a quest to purge. It’s amazing just how long it takes. Getting rid of old, unused “stuff” is something that I have done with each move, but you would be amazed at the “stuff” I have kept. Some things make me just shake my head and wonder exactly what I thought I would do with it.
For the past week, I have been weeding out cookbooks! Oh my, I did not realize I had such a cookbook hoarding problem until all of them were in stacks on the floor surrounding me! Even then, I’m hesitant to get just trash them before I go through them page by page. It’s a sickness! A sickness that I’m trying to overcome because the feeling of freedom feels so much better than clutter!
I ran across this Waldorf Chicken Salad recipe in an old cookbook from New York. I am typically a very plain chicken salad kind of gal but thought I would give this recipe a try. It is a wonderful fresh summer salad that I loved! The combination is perfect with the crunch of the celery, the tartness of the apple, and the vinegar added a delicious depth of flavor.
Wine vinegar tends to be milder and less acidic than cider or white distilled vinegar, so they make a great addition to sauces, salad dressing, and marinades.
Waldorf Chicken Salad
- 4 Honeycrisp apples, diced (or other crisp, tart,and sweet apple)
- Mayonnaise, to taste
- White wine vinegar
- 4 whole chicken breasts, cooked, and picked clean from bones, and chopped
- 1 c. walnuts, coarsely chopped
- ½ to 1 c. chopped celery
- 1 tsp. poppy seeds
- Leaf lettuce
- In a large bowl combine enough white wine vinegar with the mayonnaise to create the consistency of salad dressing.
- Add the chopped apples, chicken, walnuts, celery and poppy seeds.
- Chill for a few hours before serving. Serve on leaf lettuce.
Our oldest child, Wes, can finally see the light at the end of the “college tunnel.” He just completed his fourth semester of French. He had to take in a French dish on the last day of class and asked me to make an old family favorite, Ina Garten’s French Apple Tart.
I decided to make two, one for him and one to keep at home. This dessert is quite impressive and requires very little effort. It looks like something you might see in a French pastry shop. The tender, flaky crust comes together in a food processor in no time and is the key to this fabulous dessert. The sliced apples are arranged beautifully over the crust. Then the entire tart is brushed with a glaze. This tart is a great weeknight dessert for the family but it’s also special enough to serve to guests.
French Apple Tart
- For the pastry:
- 2 c. all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- 12 tbsp. (1½ sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
- ½ c. ice water
- For the apples:
- 4 Granny Smith apples
- ½ c. sugar
- 4 tbsp. (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, small diced
- ½ c. apricot jelly or warm sieved apricot jam
- 2 tbsp. Calvados, rum, or water
- For the pastry, place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse for a few seconds to combine. Add the butter and pulse 10 to 12 times, until the butter is in small bits the size of peas. With the motor running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and plus just until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Roll the dough, slightly larger than 10 by 14-inches. Using a ruler and a small knife, true the edges. Place the dough on the prepared sheet pan and refrigerate while you prepare the apples.
- Peel the apples and cut them in half through the stem. Remove the stems and cores with a sharp knife and a melon baller. Slice the apples crosswise in ¼-inch thick slices Place overlapping slices of apples diagonally down the middle of the tart and continue making diagonal rows on both sides of the first row until the pastry is covered with apple slices. (To make the arrangement beautiful, don't use the apple ends.) Sprinkle with the full ½ cup of sugar and dot with the butter.
- Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, until the pastry is browned and the edges of the apples start to brown. Rotate the pan once during cooking. If the pastry puffs up in one area, cut a little slit with a knife to let the air out. Don't worry! The apple juices will burn in the pan but the tart will be fine! When the tart's done, heat the apricot jelly together with the Calvados and brush the apples and the pastry completely with the jelly mixture. Loosen the tart with a metal spatula so it don't stick to the paper. (I remove the tart from the baking pan to another pan while it's still hot to prevent sticking.) Allow to cool and serve warm or at room temperature.
It seems that I am always ready for each season when it comes along. Over the past few days I have started to notice the air is just a bit cooler, the leaves have started to fall, and I have been thinking about sweaters, decorating for fall, and bonfires. The cooler air has me thinking of my favorite fall comfort foods and I have been making a list so I’ll have some of the items on hand for the first cold day.
I crave warm foods that are just as good reheated as they are the first time you put them on the table. I crave spicy desserts that smell like fall when they are baking. Many of my favorite fall recipes are right here on Not Just Sunday Dinner, so I thought I’d share some of my favorites with you.
Chicken and Dumplings
One of my favorite dishes! It’s good alone or with a side like green peas and some cranberry sauce.
Pot Roast Stuffed Potato
Pot Roast has always been considered a comfort food. However, stuffing it into a hot baked potato takes it over the top. I’ll be making this again soon!!
A favorite of everyone in my family plus many of my friends! This is always on the menu here when fall is in the air!
Syrup Sweet Bread
There’s just something about this recipe that is comforting to me. Maybe it’s the taste, maybe it’s the smell, maybe it’s the story behind the bread that brings comfort to my soul!
Nan’s Easy Skillet Apple Pie
None other than the picture that represents Not Just Sunday Dinner! Anything with apples and cinnamon are fall comfort foods to me. Savannah will be home from college this weekend and has already requested that I make this pie.
I am ready for fall y’all! I am so tired of hot weather, watching for rattlesnakes everywhere I go, and quite frankly mowing grass! Mowing grass is something I look forward to every spring but I’ve usually had enough by the time September rolls around. This year is no exception. Greg downloaded a new app a couple of weeks ago and he recalculated what we cut (the WE is actually ME most weeks). We are mowing close to 13 acres now. We have a wide zero turn mower, and I suppose that probably makes it a little better but when it burns up a full day and sometimes more it starts to get old.
Fall has always been one of my favorite seasons. Long before it ever meant that my mowing days would soon be over it meant riding to the mountains for apples on a Sunday after church. Even though I no longer live in North Georgia the tradition lives on. My mother still lives in the house I grew up in, on the road she grew up on. She and I recently drove to the mountains for the day. We had lunch at one of our favorite spots in Dahlonega then headed to Ellijah to one of our favorite apple houses. Mutzu is my favorite fall apple. They are not ready yet, so I’m sure another trip is in the near future. In the meantime, I was able to pick up some Honeycrisp apples for a fraction of the price I pay at the grocery store. They are deliciously sweet and tart. One of my favorite apples to snack on and also great for cooking.
This delicious bread recipe comes from Dianne. She is a longtime family friend who use to babysit me when I was young…and I think we share ancestors somewhere down the line. This bread is FULL of apples and is super moist. Dianne works at an apple house part of the year and recommends Gala, Rome, and McIntosh apples for this bread (Honeycrisp worked well too). You will get two standard size loaves with this recipe so you can stick one in the freezer for later or better yet, share with a friend.
Fresh Apple Bread
- 4 c. apples, peeled and diced
- 1½ tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- ¼ tsp. baking powder
- 1½ c. chopped pecans
- 2 c. granulated sugar
- 2 c. all-purpose flour
- 2 lg. eggs
- ¾ c. vegetable oil
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour two standard size loaf pans, set aside.
- Whisk together sugar, oil, eggs, spices, salt, vanilla extract, baking powder, and baking soda in a large mixing bowl. Stir in flour just until evenly mixed. Add apples and nuts. Stir together until well blended. Pour into prepared loaf pans.
- Bake at 350° F for 55 to 65 minutes, or until set in the center.
You can add a pinch of ground nutmeg if desired.