There is something about the Fall season that simply warms my heart and gets me thinking about the cooler weather ahead.
Our Airstream, which currently happily waits for us on our piece of property in Eastern Washington sits amongst heirloom apple and plum trees surrounded by this new season.
And it never fails — with the abundance of those late summer fruits — apples and plums — that I’m continually tempted into my silver kitchen to cook . . .
. . . and to escape the everyday hustle and bustle of corporate America.
For me, this is my refuge.
We’ve been spending a lot of time here on our property since our return from our “Rockin’ the Rockies,” road trip we took back in summer and I wanted to take a little break from that trip and share with you what we’ve been up to since then. Kind of like a “intermission,” of sorts . . .
I continue to plug away working hard in corporate America. B has started school which is going strong now and hubby has been busy at home working. Life gets very busy and it sometimes can get pretty chaotic but we keep our eyes focused on the weekends when we can finally escape.
With that said, a few weekends ago when we visited our property I made a simple breakfast as well as other easy meals that turned out really well. I’m happy to finally share them all with you.
Our breakfast one morning consisted of skillet toasted English muffins that I topped with crispy pancetta and poached eggs that I then gently covered in an amazingly delicious smoky almond, cheddar and chive pesto (recipe to follow this post). I was originally planning on using the pesto I had bought from the store but forget it at home — so I came up with this concoction with what I had on hand in the Airstream and well — hubby said I should bottle it and sell it. It was that good! ♥ Pesto recipe follows at the end of this post ♥
We have many horses all around our property. They are just about the sweetest gentle giants we have ever met. They love to have their ears scratched and they especially love being fed apples from our trees.
Oliver has a unique fondness for the horses. I can’t quite figure it out, but he is always trying to get to them to just be next to them . . .
And here is that pesto I wrote about earlier in this post . . .
If you don’t have a mini food processor on board your trailer/RV I can’t highly recommend it enough. Mine is a three cup capacity and I think it’s just perfect and it stows away perfectly. It’s excellent for making dips and spreads and well, pesto :) ♥
Besides cooking in my Airstream I have taken a fondness to fly fishing.
I absolutely love it.
So does B.
Oliver comes too. I carry him in a front carrier that enables me to wade out into the river with him, with me . . . and we fish.
Our plum tree . . .
B loves to help me cook at home and cooking on the Airstream is no exception. In fact, I think it’s more enjoyable because we are in a peaceful state of mind knowing nothing needs to get done (work, laundry, chores, homework, etc.) so we take the time to truly enjoy the process.
“Mommy, we should make candy apples,” B suggested to me one day as we were busy harvesting our apples . . .
So….to make some pretty simple candied apples we gathered our apples of choice along with some branches off the apple tree to use as the sticks and set them aside.
In a rather small but tall sauce pan, I took one cup of sugar and one cup of water. I stirred the mixture until it dissolved and then left it alone while it reached its boiling state. At that point, I kept a close eye on the mixture and as soon as it turned a slight golden color, I immediately took the pan off the burner and carefully dipped and swirled the apples into the mixture immediately placing them on parchment paper.
This was my second attempt at these candied apples — I learned the first time that if you continue to cook the sugar mixture past the “very light golden stage” to the “dark golden stage,” it will continue to cook and (!!) burn.
Moving forward we began working on the plum tarts . . . ♥ Recipe follows at the end ♥
And we made a super easy skillet apple galette as well . . .
That skillet apple galette you see above it SO simple to make!
First preheat your oven to 350 and make sure your Airstream oven rack is set to the highest setting in the oven – enough to have your pan fit. You don’t want it at the lowest setting otherwise the bottom of your crust will burn . . .
Simply take the extra pastry from the plum tart recipe (below) and line your cast iron skillet with it. Thinly slice enough apples (removing the stem and bottom) with a mandolin and immediately place them in a bowl of water with a squeeze of lemon juice. The seeds will gently fall out and to the bottom of the bowl (if they don’t they are easily removed with a slight swish in the water).
When you are ready, pat dry your apple slices and place them ontop of the pastry in your skillet – layer by layer – sprinkling each layer with sugar and cinnamon — enough to suit your taste.
At the end, drizzle a bit of the golden sugar mixture over the top (the same sugar mixture used to make the candied apples).
Fold over the edges and sprinkle some course baking sugar (or turbinado would work well).
Bake for 15 minutes at which time you will want to start watching for the crust to turn a beautiful golden brown color.
Serve warm :) ♥
With vanilla ice cream or a simple pouring of heavy cream xoxo
And one night, for dinner I made this . . .
Mornings are a glorious time in Eastern Washington. The crisp air and sun rays really lift my mood and get me excited for another brand new day.
If you follow me on Instagram you may recognize the picture below of the French toast I made with Challah bread thanks to my fellow instagramming friends. They suggested I give French toast a try with Challah and WOW — there is honestly no other way to make French toast. It turned out thick, sweet, buttery, heavenly and honestly — we felt like we had dessert for breakfast.
For the French toast, I simply cut two thick slices from a loaf of Challah and cut out four rounds using a tin can (or just forget cutting them out all together and go for the big slices ♥). I dipped them into a an egg mixture consisting of two eggs, 1/2 cup of whipping cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon. I melted a pat of butter over LOW heat on my cast iron griddle and cooked them up until they became nice and golden brown topping them with a luscious caramel sauce recipe you will find below. Tart red currants are optional but I will say they cut through the sweetness quite nicely.
I hope you enjoyed reading these recipes and if you do give them a try, please let me know how they turned out. I’d love hear ♥
~ Monica xox
Super Easy Salted Caramel Sauce
- 1 cup Brown Sugar (packed)
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 5 tablespoons butter
- dash of salt
|Literally take all of the ingredients, place them in a small saucepan and over medium low heat cook until the mixture thickens slightly.
At the mixture cools, it will continue to thicken. We use this for everything from topping french toast to yogurt to even putting it in our morning coffees.
Keeps in the fridge for a week (if it can last that long) :)
Plum Tart (adapted from the New York Times)
- 1/2 cup All Purpose Flour
- 1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (cut into 1/2 inch slices)
- 1/4 cup ice water
- 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
- 2-1/2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
- 10-12 tablespoons sugar
- pinch cinnamon
- 1.5lb firm ripe plums (halved, pitted and sliced)
|Make double of this pastry and store in the fridge if you would like to also make the apple galette in this post :)
To make the pastry, combine the flour, salt and sugar in a medium bowl. Using your hands or a pastry cutter, combine half of the butter slices with the flour until mixture resembles coarse meal. Cut in the remaining butter slices until the dough forms chunks the size of large peas. Stir in the water with a fork. The dough should hold together when pressed. If it doesn't, add a few more drops of ice water. Shape the dough into a ball and chill for 1 hour.
|Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out and cut out enough dough to place into your well buttered tart tins.
Cut the excess dough from the top edges of the tins. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
With any left over dough, you can cut out fun shapes to decorate your tarts (we did stars). B really enjoyed that part.
|To make the filling, combine the flour with 3 tablespoons of the sugar and cinnamon. Spread the flour-sugar mixture over the dough. Lay the plums over the flour-sugar-cinnamon mixture in an even layer. Sprinkle the plums with 4 to 6 tablespoons of the sugar, depending on the sweetness of the plums. If you have cut out fun shapes from the excess dough, you can decorate your tarts with them at this point.
|Bake until plums are tender and pastry is well browned, with spots where the sugar has caramelized, about 45 minutes. Immediately slide the tarts from the pan to a rack. Brush the top of the fruit with some of the juices to glaze it slightly. Allow the tart to cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with vanilla ice cream.
Smoky Almond, Cheddar and Chive Pesto
- 3 cups chives (just take the bunch of chives and roughly break them apart so they will loosely fill three cups)
- 1/2 cup smoked and salted almonds (roughly chopped)
- 1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese (finely shredded)
- Zest of one small lemon
- salt and pepper to taste (at the end)
- 1/2 - 3/4 cup olive oil
|In a food processor (I used my trusty little 3-cup capacity food processor I keep on board the Airstream) put the chives, almonds, cheese, lemon zest and give it a whirl. Add your olive oil to it - a little at a time until your desired consistency is met.
|Add salt and pepper to taste at the end. Hubby said I should bottle this stuff and sell it. I also think next time I may add some garlic . . .
|In addition to topping eggs with this, I imagine it would be delicious with pasta or on sandwiches :) ♥