Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A New Adventure Everyday: Apple Week - Recipe 1

Good evening everyone! Alas, our glorious streak of beautiful weather and warm temperatures seems to have come to a screeching halt today. While the morning and early afternoon started warm and sunny - mid afternoon turned soggy and blustery. Now that the temperature has plummeted a full 15 degrees from earlier in the day, it truly feels like fall out there.

What better day to debut the first of our apple recipes? (after all, the apple is 'fall's fruit') Tonight, Maggie took to the kitchen with a very unique recipe - for us anyway, it may not be that 'unique' to some of our readers. For my part, anyway, it was a recipe that I'd never seen before. Without further ado, I'll turn the keyboard over to Maggie so she can share the process!

The Recipe: Gingered Apple Salad
Original Recipe Found In: Taste Of Home Magazine: August / September 2010 Issue

What You'll Need:

1 Medium Tart Apple (Granny Smith or any green variety)
2 Medium Red Apples (Fuji is preferred, although any variety of red/sweet is okay)
1/4 Cup Toasted Pecans
2 Celery Ribs
8 Ounces Water Chestnuts
3 Tablespoons Crystallized Ginger (Chopped)
1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries
1/2 Cup Vanilla Yogurt
1/4 Cup Reduced Fat Mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/2 Teaspoon Salt

Good evening!  In the description for this recipe, it says "...a refreshing twist on the classic Waldorf salad."  Now, I've had Waldorf Salad multiple times, since it is an essential dish at any of my family's get togethers.  Every time I bite into the salad, I cringe a little bit - there is an element of tanginess that I'm still not adjusted to when I take the first bite.  But with this recipe, it was a new ballgame.

I began by slicing my apples, celery, and water chestnuts.  After these were sliced, I added my dried cranberries.  I also [tried to] finely chop my crystallized ginger.  If you have never encountered crystallized ginger, here's the scoop: they look like dried apricots with a heavy dose of either salt or sugar coated on the individuals pieces. (Pictured below)  But they are actually quite soft to slice, which makes the process real easy.  After everything has been sliced, add to a large bowl and toss.

In a smaller bowl, combine the yogurt, mayonnaise, sugar, ginger, and salt.  Pour over the apple mixture and set in the refrigerator to chill.  Meanwhile, spread the pecans on a baking sheet and toast for 5 minutes in a 200 degree oven.   Take out of oven to cool.  Once cool, sprinkle the pecans over the apple mixture.  Serve and enjoy!

The End Result:

The taste had a semi-sweet flavor - it wasn't completely over the top, but the yogurt and sugar brought a harmonious, yet appealing sweet taste.  The yogurt, I think, was the saving grace in this dish and made this dish completely its own.  I would probably cut out the crystallized ginger, just because I'm not the biggest ginger fan - the 1/4 tsp of ground ginger would have given it plenty of good flavor.  Overall, I'm pleased with the result and I can't wait to bring this to any of my family get togethers.

Thanks Maggie! I was very surprised by the interesting flavor combinations of this dish - mainly because I had no idea what to expect. The sweetness of the yogurt, the natural 'tang' of the fruit and the more bitter dried cranberries all combined into a harmonious salad. The lasting flavor could easily be described as 'fresh - yet fall like'. A tasty dish indeed.

That's all we have for you this evening. I take to the kitchen tomorrow with another new adventure in culinary exploits. Tomorrow's dish does not have the 'new' ingredient like Maggie's recipe tonight did, however, it does use a cooking process and technique that I have yet to try. It should be fun, so be sure to stop back in tomorrow evening to see what I've got cooking! Until then,


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