Hot Baked Apple Crisp

8 apples (4 macintosh or macoun and 4 granny smiths)
  • peel, core and cut into 8 sections
  • arrange in rings in 9 inch pie plate starting from the outside and working to the center
1/2 cup Quaker Instant Oatmeal 
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
  • toss in a bowl
4 tbsp butter
  • cut into small pieces
  • toss into bowl with dry ingredients
  • cut into dry ingredients with two knives, a pastry cutter or quickly blend with your fingers
Spread mixture on top of apples.  Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven until browned and bubbly 25-30 minutes.  Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Pop the apple crisp in the oven just as the last guest arrives.  First of all the aroma in the house of apples baking is unbelievable.  Can you think of a better way to make your guests crave dessert?  Also, don't skimp on the ice cream -- buy one that you really love!  Because we leave the dining table for dessert, I serve this in coffee mugs with ice cream scooped in first and the warm apple crumble on top. 

Making your own ice cream is truly a labor of love.  If you love eating it more than the labor, stick to Haagen Daz it's just a good!

Vanilla Ice Cream (+ cinnamon)

2 cups milk
1 cup cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 cinnamon sticks broken in half (or 1 tsp cinnamon)
1 vanilla bean split with seeds scraped out (or 1 tbsp vanilla extract)
  • place all ingredients in a medium sauce pan
  • heat over medium low heat until sugar dissolves
  • stir occasionally (Do not boil mixture.)
  • remove from heat when you are satisfied that the cinnamon and vanilla flavor are incorporated into the mixture (This could take 10-15 minutes.)
  • remove vanilla bean and cinnamon sticks
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
  • beat with a hand mixer at high speed until yolks are creamy, slightly puffy and light yellow
One tbsp at a time add the milk/cream mixture to the egg yolks.  This is called "tempering" so that the yolks do not cook.  When you have added enough milk/cream to the yolks so that the yolks are warm pour everything into medium sauce pan and place over very low heat.  Cook this mixture stirring constantly until it completely coats the back of the spoon and has a "silky" texture.  Place this mixture in a bowl and refrigerate overnight before freezing in your ice cream maker. The next day it should take 20-25 minutes in the ice cream maker to freeze.  You then may spoon it into a container with a tight cover and place in your freezer until ready to serve.

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One Week Before the Celebration

Why do I tell you to  cool the mixture overnight before freezing it your ice cream maker?  I have found that this helps to avoid creating grainy ice crystals in your ice cream.  The end product will be much smoother.
Anytime the Day of the Celebration


Arugula and Fennel Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

Baby Arugula
  • thoroughly rinse and spin in a salad spinner 
  • place in bowl or container large enough to hold all of the leaves (A medium sized disposable aluminum roasting pan is ideal to toss and store large quantities of salad.)
Fennel Bulbs
  • cut off stalks and fronds and discard
  • with potato peeler shave brown spots from fennel bulbs
  • cut bulb in half length wise and carefully cut out the "core" (The core looks like a triangle in the middle of the bulb.)
  • very thinly slice the fennel bulb (If you have a mandolin it is perfect for this purpose.  No worries if you don't have one, knife cut is fine.)
  • toss the baby arugula and the fennel together
Lemons
  • squeeze the juice of 3-4 lemons (You need 1/4 cup of juice.)
Olive oil
  • add 3/8 cup of olive oil in a stream to the lemon juice whisking vigorously
1 tbsp honey
  • whisk in and taste 
1/2 cup pitted green olives and 1/2 cup pitted black olives (Do not use Kalamata they don't go with this as well because their flavor over powers.)
  • slice olives in half
Store and chill all ingredients separately.  Just before placing in serving bowls toss all ingredient together.  This salad does not require pepper due to the peppery flavor of the baby arugula.
Two Hours Before the Celebration

 Salad is easy -- right?  Here are a few hints that will have every guest diving into your salad.  Even though the package says the greens are clean, wash them anyway -- it refreshes them.  Make sure you spin the greens as dry as you possibly can.  I spin once, empty the water and then spin a second time.   If you slice the olives in half it releases flavor into your salad more readily.  NEVER use lemon juice from a bottle or the cute little plastic lemons, squeeze it fresh.  Taste your dressing as you are making it.  If it needs more sweetness or salt add it sparingly until you achieve the balance you want.  Toss at the last minute and serve it COLD.

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Everyday Divas Celebrations
with Mimi and sue
Autumn Dinner