Archive for October, 2009


I haven’t made it out to pick apples this fall, but I did recently endeavor to do the next best thing: picking apples from among the mounds of varieties in wooden crates that line the tents just outside the Eastern Market on weekends. The apples — Gala, Jonagold, Golden Delicious, and Fuji — are trucked in directly from the orchards of West Virginia and rural Maryland.

Returning home with a bag full of the fall fruit is then the perfect reason to break out the recipe book and cook up all but a handful to be saved for lunchtime eating. This iced apple coffee cake is great for putting your fresh-peck of tart apples to good use and makes an awesome breakfast sweet to accompany your coffee or tea. It’s moist and semi-tart on the inside with a light, vanilla sugar glaze on top. Vanilla yogurt and cinnamon add a dimension of flavor.


Iced Apple Coffee Cake

For the Cake:
1 3⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
3 tart cooking apples peeled, cored and chopped
2 tablespoons orange juice
1⁄3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
1 1⁄2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs

For the vanilla glaze:
3/4 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

(1)Preheat an oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9-inch round springform pan.

(2) Toss the apples with the juice. Then, in a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, cardamom and cinnamon. Add to the apples and toss to coat. Set aside.

(3)  Combine the butter, yogurt, granulated sugar and vanilla and beat together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

(4) In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture in 2 or 3 additions to the creamed mix. Beat well until smooth before gently folding in the apples until evenly distributed.

(5) Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.  Bake until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 60 to 70 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes.

(6) Meanwhile, make the glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners sugar, the  milk and the vanilla until smooth and pourable. While the cake is warm, drizzle with the glaze. Let the cake cool to room temperature.

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If you’re a breakfast fan, the Market Lunch at Eastern Market on Capitol Hill is the place to be on a Saturday or Sunday morning. The food counter, on the north end of the South Hall, is a huge draw; but don’t be intimidated by the long line that snakes around the kitchen’s single long table.  It moves quickly and the pay off is well worth it: the food is fresh, cooked to order, and a real bargain.  And don’t panic that you won’t have a place to sit and enjoy your meal — there’s always space to sit at the counter since workers help facilitate the turnover.  At the top of the menu is one of the most unbelievable breakfast sandwiches I’ve ever had (!!):  “The Brick” — egg, cheese, potato and meat on a toasted portuguese roll.

Brick2The thick-cut smoked bacon is crispy and meaty, earning two thumbs up. But the ham, sausage, turkey sausage and scrapple all appeared to be equally compelling choices.  The grilled new potatoes have slightly crunchy skin and warm, pillowy insides – all topped with melted cheddar cheese. Add a fried egg in between – with a little hot sauce – and you’ve got a killer sandwich. I was very impressed with the raw ingredients here and the freshness: despite it’s name, it was not dripping in grease and didn’t deliver a punch to the gut.  If you have appetite to spare, definitely get a side order of yellow North Carolina grits and/or the “Blue Bucks” — blueberry buckwheat pancakes.

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I love a crunchy cookie with lots of “stuff” in it — nuts, chips, oats, raisins, coconut, peanut butter… Certainly not all those things at once.  But, the combination of a few of those ingredients in a single cookie always pleases the palate. These oatmeal-coconut-chocolate chippers are crispy and hearty. Delicious with a cup of hot chocolate or coffee!  This recipe makes about 3 dozen cookies:

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/8 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet, mini chocolate chips

1/2 cup flaked coconut

(1) Preheat oven to 350.

(2) Cream butter and sugars in a bowl until light and fluffy. Then add the egg and vanilla.

(3) Whisk dry ingredients together and then fold into the butter mixture. Add chocolate chips and coconut.

(4) Drop tablespoonfuls of dough on a cookie sheet, spacing about 2 inches apart.  Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Cool cookies on a baking rack.

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Having lived in Georgia and South Carolina, I can appreciate the amazing flavors of Southern cuisine. But I’ve never quite been able to stomach all the grease that’s often involved.  So, here’s a healthier take on mashed potatoes and buttermilk fried chicken I tried:  it’s packed with juicy flavor but not dripping in oil. And, using the oven makes it easier to prepare and clean up than frying on the stove: a definite “plus” for work-night cooking.


I marinated my boneless, skinless chicken breasts — which I pounded out to half-inch thickness — in a buttermilk marinade for several hours in a ziplock bag in the fridge.

Buttermilk Marinade

3/4 cup of buttermilk

Juice of one lemon

4 chopped garlic cloves

1 diced yellow onion,

1 teaspoon of dried thyme

1 teaspoon of dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon crushed black pepper

Before encrusting the chicken, be sure to pat each breast dry with a paper towel first. Then, dip in egg — letting excess drip off — and dredge in Panko breadcrumbs mixed with herbs, salt and pepper to taste. Lay the chicken on a wire rack atop a baking sheet before baking in a hot, preheated 375 oven.  Mine took 20-25 minutes — but baking time will vary by oven.  The outer crust should look toasted brown and crispy! (Good news about this marinade is that it keeps the chicken fairly moist even if you slightly over-bake.)


While the chicken is “oven-frying,” prepare the carrots and potatoes on the stove.  In a small sauce pan, saute several cups of carrots in one tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat. Once the carrots get tender — about 5 minutes — add two tablespoons of good, aged balsamic vinegar and one tablespoon of light brown sugar. Continue to cook the carrots, coating in the balsamic glaze, until the liquid is reduced by about half.  These are incredibly tangy and tasty on the side!

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