I’ve got another apple pie just out of the oven, this time made a little differently from my original recipe: no sugar added aside from a couple generous splashes of maple syrup, a big glug of vanilla extract, and a dusting of ground ginger (not fresh this time – I wanted the bite to be subtle) as the lone spice. I did keep the lemon juice and zest, though. The mix of distinct flavors made the apples lots of fun to both smell and taste-test – first all you can sense is the lemon, then the vanilla kicks in, followed by a nice mellow maple flavor, and then BAM, right in the mouth, a little kick of ginger. I also added a couple shakes each of ground nutmeg and cinnamon to the crust, and generously sprinkled the whole top of the pie with cinnamon and sugar before I popped it into the oven. I happened to have a little extra crust and found some colored sugar so here’s how the pie looks fresh from the oven!
As far as new recipes go, here’s something easy I made for Z’s dinner a couple nights ago and he thoroughly enjoyed the leftovers tonight. It’s very easily customizable – the bacon can be fried instead of baked, switched out for another meat, or can be left out entirely. You could also use fresh minced onion, sauteeing it in some olive oil in the same pan you cook the sauce in, but powdered was all we had. I added the garlic powder since it was right next to the onion and seemed like a good idea. You can also choose to peel the potatoes, or use a different kind, but red is my favorite and the skins are so beautiful.
One last note: when I made this, I halved the recipe since we only had half a pound of bacon. You may need to use two pans for the bacon.
Bacon-Broccoli Scalloped Potatoes
Splash of olive oil
2 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
Onion & garlic powder, to taste
4 or 5 medium red potatoes, sliced thinly
3 cupped broccoli, chopped roughly
1 pound bacon
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
Small handful shredded cheese, for sprinkling on top, if desired (we used sharp cheddar)
Preheat oven to 400. Lightly grease a large, shallow pan (a cookie sheet with a lip all around the edge works perfectly) and arrange the bacon evenly in it. Place the pan in the oven and cook until almost all of the fat has cooked off. Blot as much grease as you can from the cooked bacon.
While the bacon cooks, prepare the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat, then add the milk, flour, salt, pepper, onion and garlic powders to the pan. Cook until thickened, stirring constantly. This will take between 3 to 5 minutes. Once thickened, remove from heat.
In a greased 2 quart casserole, layer half of the potato slices evenly, then top with the broccoli and half of the sauce. Crumble the bacon on top of everything in the casserole, dot it with the Dijon, then cover with the rest of the potatoes and sauce. Cover with aluminum foil and bake between 30 and 40 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through and tender. Remove foil, sprinkle on cheese if desired, then bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the top is lightly browned. Serve very hot.