Saturday, October 26, 2013

Apple Pound Cake

Day 49

Autumn is finally in full swing, and the temperatures are here to prove it. There are few things more invigorating than the cool, crisp air this time of year. To celebrate the arrival of cooler temps and the best of fall food, Doug and I recently ventured to a local apple orchard here in Maryland, Larriland Farm. We spent the afternoon walking through the rows of apple trees, picking from several varieties. 

I guess it should have come as no surprise that the orchard would be filled with visitors who wanted to spend a day away from the hustle and bustle of their everyday lives. Children and families madelong lines for funnel cakes and hot apple cider, and there were more than a few pumpkin shoppers too. Doug was able to take some nice fall pictures as we meandered through the fields and orchards. Back at home, the kids carved pumpkins and drank hot cocoa to finish an already perfect day. 

Spending time at Larriland caused a deluge of fond memories from childhood, mostly surrounding food prepared by my grandfather and both of my grandmothers. From fried apple turnovers to baked apples to apple pie, it seemed that the months of September, October, and November were always filled with apple dishes. 

In honor of those memories, I tried to tweak a quick and easy pound cake recipe to include apples. Using a cake mix really makes this one perfect for a last minute prep that you can take to a Halloween party or any fall gathering. The apple pound cake is delicious with caramel sauce and ice cream. It’s also great for breakfast, served with coffee and a cheese platter. For that matter, try it with baked brie—it’ll be a crowd pleaser, for sure!

Happy fall, everyone!

Apple Pound Cake

1 box Pillsbury white cake mix (with “pudding in the mix”)
½ cup sugar
¾ cup butter, softened to room temperature
1- 8 oz. container sour cream (I recommend Breakstone)
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. ground ginger 
3 medium tart apples, peeled, cored, and petite-diced in food processor

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a standard Bundt pan. 

In a mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sour cream, and sugar. Add room temperature* eggs, one at a time, until fluffy. Add cake mix and mix well. Add vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger and mix just until incorporated. Fold-in diced apples. 

Bake at 350 degrees in Bundt pan until a knife in center of cake comes out clean. Cool on wire rack. 

*To bring eggs quickly to room temperature, place them in very warm tap water for 10 minutes. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Bacon Chive Egg Salad

Day 48

Egg salad never fails to rate highly on my ever-growing list of comfort foods, I must say. I love trying a long list of unusual ingredients in egg salad from time to time, even though the traditional mix is normally my favorite. For this entry, I have chosen to add bacon and chives.  This change also works perfectly for deviled eggs if you’d prefer to make more of an hors-d’oeuvre than a sandwich filling. 

Photo by Maggie Kapustin 

Bacon Chive Egg Salad

12 extra large, hard-boiled eggs, chopped roughly
1 cup mayonnaise (Hellman’s recommended)
½ cup finely chopped celery
2 tbs. pickled jalapeno, chopped finely
½ cup chopped red onion
3 tbs. chopped chives
5 slices fried, crumbled bacon 
¼ cup dill pickle relish
½ tsp. salt (more to taste if needed)
1 ½ tsp. black pepper
*more mayonnaise if needed, added 1 tbs. at a time


Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Taste and add more salt, pepper, or mayo as needed. Refrigerate at least three hours before serving. Perfect on sandwiches with lettuce and tomato, or on crostini or crackers.