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Irish Apple Cake

Irish Apple Cake

Ingredients

For the Streusel Topping
6 tbsp cold salted butter, cut into small cubes
¾ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ cup rolled oats
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
For the Cake
1 stick salted butter, room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground ginger
cup salt
3 tbsp milk
2 granny smith, pink lady or gala apples sliced thin

Directions

Preheat oven to 350˚F with the rack in the middle. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan with butter & parchment to line the bottom.

Assemble the streusel topping. In a medium bowl mix together the flour, oats, sugar and salt. Rub the butter into the flour mixture until the streusel resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Store in the fridge until ready to use.

For the cake: Using a stand mixer & paddle attachment, cream the butter and granulated sugar on medium-high speed until light & fluffy. Add the vanilla, then beat in the eggs one at a time. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt. With a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the wet along with the milk.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Layer the apples over the top, then sprinkle the streusel over the apples.

Bake the cake for 60 to 70 minutes. The top should be golden brown and crisp. A toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake should come out virtually crumb free. Remove from the oven, let cake cool a bit before flipping it onto a cooling rack or cake platter.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Orecchiette with Sausage & Spinach

Recipe: Orecchiette with Sausage & Spinach

Ingredients

1 lb Orecchiette, cooked to package directions
1 lb ground sausage (breakfast, sweet Italian or Andouille)
1 tbsp olive oil
½ chopped red onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups baby spinach
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
splash dry white wine
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 oz high quality crumbled feta (I prefer sheep feta for it’s deep, tangy flavor)

Directions

Cook the pasta to package directions in plenty of salted water. Drain and return the pasta back to the cooking pot, set on the counter.

While the pasta is cooking make the sauce. Heat a 10 inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground sausage and break apart with a wooden spoon. Cook until no pink remains, about 7-10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a bowl.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the olive oil and onions to the skillet. No need to rinse the skillet, leave a small amount of sausage grease in the pan to enhance the flavor of the onions. Cook the onions for about 5 minutes, until fragrant and translucent. Add the garlic at the last 30 seconds of cooking the onion. Add the spinach, wine and lemon juice to the skillet. Cook a few minutes until the spinach is wilted. Transfer the sausage back into the skillet. Cook until all is hot, season to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer the sausage mixture into the pasta and toss to combine. Transfer to a large serving dish and top with crumbled feta cheese.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Grilled Salmon with Couscous in Foil Packets

Recipe: Grilled Salmon with Couscous in Foil Packets

Ingredients

2 cups cooked pearl couscous
1 lb boneless salmon filets (skin on or removed)
olive oil
2 Roma tomatoes, sliced
1 large zucchini, sliced
1 yellow summer squash. sliced
1 red onion, sliced
¾ cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and sliced
¾ cup sliced Kalamata olives
2 lemons, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
freshly ground pepper
Kosher salt
4 fl oz vegetable broth
½ cup chopped Italian parsley

Directions

Prepare couscous to package directions. Pre heat the grill to medium high (400-450 degrees.) If cooking over an open flame, place a grill grate over the fire.

Place a large piece of tin foil on a work surface. Drizzle some olive oil on the bottom.
For each salmon slice, layer on the following (remember to divide all ingredients into four portions): 1/2 cup cooked couscous, one slice salmon, yellow summer squash, zucchini, tomato, onion, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, lemon slices, garlic, sprinkle with salt and pepper & parsley. Drizzle some broth and a little more oil over the top. Fold the foil edges over the salmon making a packet. Leave a little room in the packet for air to circulate.

Place the wrapped salmon over the grill or open flame and cook for 10 to 12 minutes. Cooking time depends on the thickness of the salmon and your desired level of doneness. You can test salmon while it’s cooking by opening up the foil, but be careful of the steam! Using a sharp knife peek into the thickest part of the baked salmon. It’s almost done when it’s beginning to flake, but still has a little translucency in the middle. Once your salmon flakes easily with a fork, it’s done. If you like it a bit more on the rare side take it off the grill at the very slightly translucent phase and let it rest off the grill for a few minutes before serving.

You can also bake this in the oven! Simply follow all of the prep work and preheat the oven to 375˚F. Place the wrapped salmon on a baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the salmon is done to your liking. See Step 4 for how to judge doneness.

This salmon can also be enjoyed the day after you cook it. Simply reheat in a lightly oiled skillet or in the microwave.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Blue Corn Pancakes with Vanilla Crema & Raspberry Sauce

Recipe: Blue Corn Pancakes with Vanilla Crema & Raspberry Sauce

Ingredients

Blue Corn Pancakes
1 ½ cups fine-ground blue cornmeal
1 ½ cups boiling water
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 ½ cups all-purpose unbleached flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp Kosher salt
¾ tsp baking soda
4 large eggs, beaten
¾ cup whole milk (or unsweetened coconut milk)
½ cup unsalted butter, melted (let cool a bit) plus more for the griddle
Vanilla Crema
1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
¼ cup Mexican crema, sour cream, or plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
¼ cup pure maple syrup
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
Berry Sauce
2 cups raspberries (fresh or frozen)
¼ cup granulated sugar, taste

Directions

Combine the blue cornmeal with the boiling water and maple syrup. Cover and let sit for 15 minutes.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and melted butter. Add the egg mixture and the cornmeal to the flour mixture. Whisk until just combined (there will be some lumps in the batter.)

Melt a pat of butter in a large cast iron skillet or griddle over medium heat. Place 1/3 cup portions of batter onto the hot skillet. Cook until bubbles appear on the tops of the pancakes and the sides look cooked, about 2-3 minutes. Carefully flip and continue to cook for about 2 minutes. Continue until the batter is used up. Pancakes can be kept warm in a 200˚F oven up to 30 minutes. Serve the pancakes with the vanilla cream and raspberry sauce.

Vanilla Crema

Place ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, mix on low speed until the cream starts to thicken then increase speed to medium and whip until soft peaks form 2-3 minutes.

Berry Sauce

Place the berries and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook about 5 minutes and mix with a wooden spoon, the berries will start to release their juices. Add some water to the sauce if needed.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Ultimate Campfire Skillet S’mores

Recipe: Ultimate Campfire Skillet S’mores

Ingredients

11 oz (1 bag) semi-sweet chocolate chips
11 oz (1 bag) butterscotch chips
7 oz shredded, sweetened coconut
cup half and half
10 oz (1 bag) marshmallows
graham crackers for serving

Directions

Over the Campfire

Set a metal rack a few inches over your campfire. Line a 10 inch cast iron skillet with foil and melt the butter. Evenly layer in the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips and coconut. Drizzle in the half and half. Top with a generous layer of marshmallows. Tent with another piece of foil and cook for 6-10 minutes until the marshmallows are gooey. Remove skillet from the flame. Using a propane torch, brown the marshmallows to your liking. Serve with graham crackers.

Over the Grill

Preheat the grill to medium high and follow the directions above.

Baked in the Oven

Preheat the oven to 400˚ F. Place the butter in a 10″ cast iron skillet. Melt the butter in the oven. Remove the skillet from the oven. Evenly layer in the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips and coconut. Drizzle in the half and half. Top with a generous layer of marshmallows. Bake for 6-8 minutes or until the marshmallows are golden brown.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Campfire Loaded Veggie Nachos

Recipe: Campfire Loaded Veggie Nachos

Ingredients

1 15 oz can whole kernel corn, drained
1 15 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 10 ounce can Rotel, drained
½ large red onion, diced & divided
1 2 ounce can sliced black olives, drained
1 tsp Tajín Clásico mexican spice blend
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp cumin
1 16 ounce bag tortilla chips
1 8 ounce package shredded Mexican blend cheese
1 ripe avocado
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
lime slices
sliced jalapeños

Directions

Line a 10 inch cast iron skillet with foil.
Combine the corn, beans, 1/2 of the onions, Rotel, olives, Tajín Clásico, pepper and cumin in a large bowl.

Place 1/2 of the chips in the skillet, top with 1/2 of the cheese and 1/2 of the corn mixture. Repeat with another layer of chips, corn mixture and cheese.

Campfire or Grilled Nachos

If you are heating over the campfire; tent with foil and grill until the cheese melts 8-10 minutes. Remove from the fire, carefully remove foil. Top with avocado, the rest of the onions, cilantro, lime wedges, jalapeños and drizzle Chipotle Cream Sauce.
If using the grill, heat over medium high heat and follow the rest of the directions. Serve immediately.

Baked Nachos

Heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit with rack in the middle. Place the skillet in the oven, tent with foil and bake for 8-10 minutes until cheese is melted. Remove from the oven, carefully remove foil. Top with avocado, the rest of the onions, cilantro, lime wedges, jalapeños and drizzle Chipotle Cream Sauce. Serve immediately.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Creamy Chipotle Sauce

Recipe: Creamy Chipotle Sauce

Ingredients

¼ cup full fat mayonnaise
½ cup full fat sour cream
4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp onion powder
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender until well combined and smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Sauce will last up to one week stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Baked Cinnamon Apple French Toast

Recipe: Baked Cinnamon Apple French Toast

Ingredients

3 tbsp unsalted butter
3 cups chopped apples (1/2 inch pieces)
2 tbsp light brown sugar
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon, divided
1 lb brioche or sourdough bread, cut into cubes
8 oz (1 package) full fat cream cheese, cut into cubes
12 large eggs, beaten
1 ½ cups half and half
½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
cup pure maple syrup
½ cup raisins
2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
½ tsp Kosher salt
½ cup chopped pecans

Directions

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the apples and cook about 5 minutes until fragrant and slightly softened. Stir in the brown sugar and cinnamon. Continue cooking until the sugar has dissolved, about 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a bowl to cool.

Butter or spray a 9X13 casserole dish. Place 1/2 of the bread cubes in the bottom of the baking dish in an even layer. Top with 1/2 of the apple mixture and cream cheese cubes. Layer again with the rest of the bread cubes and then the rest of the apple mixture & cream cheese.

In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, half and half, orange juice, maple syrup, raisins, vanilla, rest of the cinnamon and salt. Pour over the apple/bread mixture. Cover the casserole, set in the fridge and let soak for at least 2 hours to overnight.

Remove the casserole from the fridge 30 minutes before baking. Top with the pecans.

Pre-heat the oven to 350˚ F with the rack in the middle. Bake the casserole covered with foil for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 25-30 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the center is cooked through.

Serve immediately with more maple syrup and whipped cream.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: One-Pot Beefy Lasagna Soup

Recipe: One-Pot Beefy Lasagna Soup

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb lean ground beef
1 large yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
5 cups (40 oz) chicken broth
1 can (14.5 oz) petit diced tomatoes
1 can (14.5 oz) can crushed tomatoes
½ cup (4 oz) dry white wine
2 tbsp tomato paste
¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
¾ tsp dried oregano
10 dry lasagna noodles, broken into pieces
salt and pepper to taste
8 oz whole milk ricotta cheese
½ cup finely shredded parmesan cheese
extra chopped fresh parsley for serving

Directions

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large Dutch Oven or soup pot. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and crumble in the ground beef, stir occasionally. Cook for 7-10 minutes or until the meat is browned. Season with some salt & pepper. Mix in the garlic.

Add the chicken broth, diced & crushed tomatoes, puree, wine and herbs. Bring to a boil. Add the lasagna noodles. Reduce heat to a simmer and place the lid on. Continue to cook for about 20 minutes or until the noodles are cooked to your liking.

While the soup is cooking combine the ricotta and parmesan. Slice the mozzarella.

Spoon portions of soup into oven safe bowls. Top with a dollop of the ricotta mixture and mozzarella. Broil for 3 minutes or until browned to your liking. Serve hot, topped with parsley and basil.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Vegan Minestrone Soup

Recipe: Vegan Minestrone Soup

Ingredients

3 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 cup chopped zucchini
1 cup chopped sweet potato
2 cups chopped brussels sprouts
1 14 ounce can petite diced tomatoes
6 cups low sodium vegetable broth
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 15 ounce can Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp dry white wine
1 tbsp chopped italian parsley
2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
7 oz orzo or small pasta, cooked to package directions

Directions

Cook pasta to package directions, drain and set aside.

In a large soup pot or Dutch oven heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, celery, carrots, zucchini, sweet potato and Brussels sprouts. Cook 6-8 minutes (until fragrant and softened) stirring occasionally so veggies don’t stick to the pot.

Add in the broth, diced tomatoes, wine and vinegar. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. In the last few minutes stir in the beans, rosemary and parsley.

Place some pasta in each bowl and ladle soup into bowls.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Sheet Pan Roasted Veggies with Feta

Recipe: Sheet Pan Roasted Veggies with Feta

Ingredients

2 broccoli crowns, sliced into florets
1 pt cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
½ red onion, sliced
½ zucchini, sliced into half moons
½ lemon, cut into slices
1 8 ounce block of feta cheese
6 mini bell peppers, sliced in half
¼ cup olive oil
sea salt, pepper and dried oregano

Directions

Pre heat oven to 400˚ Fahrenheit.

Slice all the veggies, lemon and feta. Place on an unlined sheet pan in a single layer.

Bake for 30 minutes. Serve with quinoa, rice or pasta.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Strawberry Almond Baklava

Recipe: Strawberry Almond Baklava

Ingredients

4 cups fresh strawberries, quartered
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar, divided
¾ cup water
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp cornstarch (if needed to thicken)
1 (16 ounce) package phyllo pastry dough
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, melted
1 cup slivered almonds
½ cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp ground cinnamon, divided
1 pinch salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit with the rack in the middle.

In a saucepan, heat the strawberries with 3/4 cup sugar, water, lemon juice, vanilla and 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Bring to a boil then down to a simmer, cooking for 30 minutes until the sauce thickens into a jammy consistency. Whisk in the cornstarch if needed. Set aside to cool and thicken a bit more.

Brush the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish with melted butter, add a layer of phyllo pastry, brush with more butter and add another layer of dough. Do this until you have 6 layers of pastry dough lining the dish.

Layer on a thin layer of the strawberries and then the almonds. Place a layer of phyllo dough, then some melted butter. Do this for 5 layers of dough. Continue these layers until you have 3 layers of strawberries/almonds, always brushing melted butter in between layers of phyllo dough. For the top layer, use 10 sheets of phyllo dough brushing butter between each. Brush the top layer with butter too. Score/slice the dough with a sharp knife into desired portions.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Top with 1/2 of the syrup and let cool. Serve with more syrup.

While the baklava is baking make the maple sauce. Boil the remainder of the granulated sugar (1/2 cup) with the maple syrup, the rest of the cinnamon and a pinch of salt in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves into the maple syrup forming a syrup.

~ Marla Meridith