Appalachian Appetites

International Inspiration, Local Ingredients

Rhubarb Rubble May 24, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ann @ Appalachian Appetites @ 9:12 am
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I set out a couple of days ago to make a yummy strawberry-rhubarb bread budding.  To find out why this post is titled” Rhubarb Rubble” you’ve got to read all the way to the end…(“yikes” is all I can say!)

I found the recipe in a little recipe book I downloaded online.  The book is titled Classical Seasonal Desserts and was complied by Eating Well.  I checked out the “Spring” section and found the perfect recipe…combining the two foods I bought at the farmers market: strawberries and rhubarb!  The recipe was simple enough, starting with cubes of whole wheat bread.  I had the ingredients to make a loaf in my bread machine, so I started by making that.

I then made a custard, combining eggs, egg whites, skim milk, sugar, vanilla extract, and orange zest.

Afterwards, I mixed the bread (crust removed and cubed) with crushed gingersnaps…

…quartered strawberries, sliced rhubarb, and toasted walnuts…Yummy fresh strawberries:

And the rhubarb…

I really think this is the first time I’ve eaten rhubarb.  But it’s definitely the first time I’ve cooked with it.  I expected it to look and taste a lot like celery but it didn’t at all!  It was hard to cut, but was juicy and bright green in the inside.  And it is TART!  No wonder you have to add sugar 🙂

It all got mixed together and put into a greased casserole dish.

Kinda looks Christmasy doesn’t it?!

It baked for a while covered in foil and then uncovered and topped with a few more walnuts…

Here’s the final product…

Looks pretty and tasty, right?!!  Well…I don’t really know.  Nope, don’t know.  Because this happened…

AHHHH!!!  I was walking to up to my grandmother’s house and it slipped out my hands 😦

I didn’t cry but I did sigh…ahhh!!

Sad, huh?  I tried to save some but there were shards everywhere.  I didn’t want to tear up my stomach 🙂  So…I had a taste on a fork and trashed the rest. 

Sigh.  Rubble.

But I still had some strawberries and rhubarb left…more recipes to come…Life goes on 🙂


French Savory Bread April 7, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ann @ Appalachian Appetites @ 9:12 am
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My great friend Courtney lives in Paris, France with her husband and shares my joy of reading food blogs.  She recently introduced me to a new blog, Lunch in Paris, by Elizabeth Bard.  I immediately loved the site.  Plus, I found out she also has a new book  by the same title.  When my mom let me recently borrow her Kindle, I knew instantly what book I wanted.  I really enjoyed reading Lunch in Paris, especially all of the recipes.  I love reading cookbooks and nothing is better than reading recipes in an actual book!  So I may be featuring a few recipes here on the blog, and the first one is “savory bread.”

When I first read the recipe, I happened to find another recipe very similar on another blog!  This blog, What Are You Feeding Your Kids Today, is also written by a French woman.  She had an almost exact recipe to Bard’s “savory bread.”  Here’s what she says about the bread:

A Cake Salé is generally made in the Summer to bring along to a pique-nique or to eat as an entree for lunch/dinner along a big salade. French people love them and I was surprised that with the American tradition of eggs-for-breakfast and brunch, I had not seen many Cake Salés in the US.

The basics seem similar between the two recipes…flour, eggs, baking soda, baking powder…and then you add whatever ingredients you would like.  I happened to have olives, sun-dried tomatoes, swiss cheese in the refrigerator, and I picked up some ham.  Here are the original ingredients:

  •  1 slice (1/2 inch thick) of ham to cut it into dices.
  • 1 cup of pitted green (or black) olives. (I used black) 
  • 4 eggs (local)
  • 1 Tb of Herbes de Provence or Fresh thyme (I used dried thyme from the cupboard)
  • 1 2/3 cup (200 gr) all purpose flour
  • 1 ts of baking powder
  • 1/2 ts baking soda
  • 1/4 cup (5 cl) Olive oil
  • 1/2 cup (10 cl) beer (local)
  • 1 cup (75 gr) of Swiss cheese or Comte (Shredded) (I used Swiss)
  • a pinch of Chili Pepper (optional)
  • Salt and pepper

Forgot the beer and tomatoes (from The Bradford Store) in the first pic!

So I set up the Kindle and got to work!

You basically just mix it all together!

And come up with this…

 After 45 min. in the oven…Perfection!

We ate this a couple of nights ago on a warm evening.  It was a perfect addition to a fresh salad. 

I am very pleased for my first attempt at French cooking…I think more is to come!


Pale Ale Bread April 5, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ann @ Appalachian Appetites @ 10:54 am
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I pulled out a recipe that I used often in Togo…bean soup 😉  Not very exciting, huh?  But I’ve made it so many times as dried beans were something we could easily buy in Togo, that I decided it was worth another meal in America.  You really can’t beat the price of dried beans!  I’ve also tried cooking them in multiple ways and have eaten semi-hard beans more times than I can count (if you don’t believe me you can ask my husband…it’s our inside joke!).  My technique now is to measure out a cup of beans and pour them into a large cup.  I then fill the cup with water and leave them overnight.  The  next afternoon, I drain the water and transfer the beans to a pot.  I add more water or chicken broth and turn it on to boil.  When it boils, I turn the heat off and cover the beans with a lid.  I leave the pot for an hour.  I then start cooking them on low for about another hour.  I keep adding water while they cook to make sure they are covered at all times.  It takes awhile and often I think I should have used canned beans.  But then again, the price.  So I decide a little time is worth the effort.  I add various things to the pot…everything from garlic, to chopped onion, to chopped celery, to spinach, to diced tomatoes.  I find tomato paste added near the end of the cooking gives the broth a nice flavor.  And add whatever spices you like…I find the more the merrier!

So we had beans…but I needed something to go with them.  When I was in Boston visiting my parents-in-law before coming to North Carolina, we went shopping at Trader Joe’s to pick up a few fun staples.  There is a Trader Joe’s in NC but not near me.  I love TJs and loved shopping there when I lived in Boston (before going to Togo).  I found a great mix for beer bread…something I had never heard of before.  I decided to give it a try.  And decided it would make a great accompaniment for the soup.

I mixed the package with…you guessed it!  Beer!

I had a local organic beer in the fridge made by Highland Brewing Company in Asheville.  Perfect!

I added it to the mix…

Stirred it gently…it was thick but the box said  not to over-stir!

And poured it into the pan (well..more like “plopped!”) and topped it with melted butter.

It baked for 45 minutes and came out like this…

It turned out really well!  Super yummy.  I’m sure different beers would give it different tastes…and the box says you can use any carbonated beverage.  What do you think would taste good?

But it worked perfectly with our soup…and a side of Tabasco!


Chicken Potpie March 17, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ann @ Appalachian Appetites @ 7:26 am
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I found this great recipe in a Rachel Ray magazine my mother sent me in Togo.  Since I knew we were headed back to the States soon, I started clipping recipes that I thought sounded great and easy for dinner upon our return.  I tried this one out last night and really liked it.  Nathan called in “bland” but I just think he’s just missing spicy West African food.  I can’t cook “spicy” every night, can I?  I thought it was warm and comforting…savory and not spicy, which is not a problem for me!

So I grabbed this rotisserie chicken (again, spent most yesterday in the car, so needed something fast!) at Earth Fare:

And then shredded it:

And added it to the combo of carrots, celery, onions, mushrooms and a little wheat flour and cream (and ultimately a little parmesan cheese).

I then popped a fresh loaf of french bread out of the bread maker and sliced it.

I placed the slices on top of the hot mixture and topped the bread with olive oil. 

It then went into a 400 degree oven for 15 min (until the bread had browned).  And here is the final potpie:

Again, not so pretty, maybe a bit bland, but overall I was pleased.  And I love how the recipe didn’t call for exact amounts of ingredients.  A great recipe to use what you have in the house and throw together a warm comforting meal.  I have a couple of other potpie recipes that I may try soon…The cold weather is still here but fleeting so I want to get all of my “comfort” recipes in!  Do you have a favorite potpie recipe?  Share it with me and I’ll cook it!


Maple Oatmeal Bread March 9, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ann @ Appalachian Appetites @ 4:51 pm
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I decided to put our bottle of local maple syrup to good use again!  I found a great recipe online for Maple Oatmeal Bread to make in my bread machine.  And since my bread machine and I seem to be on a roll, I decided to try the recipe out!  My husband and I were on our way for a  hike today so I felt a bit rushed to get everything done before we left.  So I made a quite a mess in the kitchen…And the flour found it’s way to my pants!

(Can you find my best bud Asher in the picture?)

So here’s the ingredients:

  • 1 package (1/4 ounce or 2-1/4 teaspoons) dry active yeast
  • 1 cup quick cooking rolled oats
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 1-1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon very warm water (105F to 115F)
  •  And everything added to the pan:

    We got back from our hike 4 hours later and had warm bread waiting on us!  It tastes very light and sweet.  I am surprised the oatmeal did not seem to change the texture of the bread…again, very fluffy.  I love that I was able to use the syrup and am thinking of making french toast tomorrow.  Check back and see!


    Cinnamon Toast March 2, 2010

    Filed under: Uncategorized — Ann @ Appalachian Appetites @ 9:27 am
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    This morning I woke up and decided I needed some comfort food 😉  So I made toast!  Warm, cruchy, and sweet.  I used the bread I made two days ago and added the local butter and cinnamon and sugar!

    The butter looked and cut like cheese…not hard but gave to the knife a bit unlike commercial butter in the stick form.  It had the texture of a semi-hard cheddar cheese.  So I cut off a chunk and melted it in the microwave.  I then brushed it on bread slices and sprinkled it with cinnamon and sugar.

    (still working on my camera skills!)

    And when it was done, I sat down with a cup of tea 😉 

    I am not completely sold on the taste of cinnamon sugar on a savory rye bread.  I could taste the cheddar and it seemed to clash a bit with the sweetness of the toppings.  However, I REALLY liked the texture of the bread, very soft and fresh.  The texture set this breakfast apart for me and is definitely a keeper.  Now I just need to experiment with different bread recipes!


    Bison Dinner March 1, 2010

    Filed under: Uncategorized — Ann @ Appalachian Appetites @ 9:55 am
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    So the ground bison was a great success last night!  The meat was rich and had a satisfying taste.  It was not greasy and the burgers held together well.  I had originally found a recipe on, but when I went to re-find the recipe to begin cooking, the site was down!  I had a quick moment of panic but took a deep breath and decided to trust my cooking experience and instincts 😉  I remembered reading that the Food Network Kitchens (yes, I’m addicted to the website and shows!) used Worcestershire sauce and thought I would keep it simple by adding to the sauce salt and pepper.  I also remembered the reviews of the recipe said to not overcook the bison as it easily becomes dry.  The man at Greenlife said the same thing and to keep the meat as rare as possible.  So while cooking the patties on the stovetop, I kept a eye on them and made sure to not cook them past medium (I can’t go much rarer!).

    And to go with the burgers I added local sweet potatoes cooked as fries…Again, following a recipe on FoodNetwork.  Good think my memory is strong!

    I also sauteed some onions for the burgers…

    So with everything together, we had bread (the cheese taste was very slight but the bread had a nice savory flavor), bison burgers, caramalized onions, sweet potato fries, and some roasted asaparagus (frozen organic…needed the vitamins!).  It was a very good meal, and Nathan and I were both quite pleased!  And even Asher, the dog, got a little bit of the bison 😉  5 Stars all around!