Apple Chutney

I love apples.  I eat them regularly.  I buy big bags of them from my local farmer’s market, and stick them in the fridge, so that i always have some around. Apples are an important part of my snacking regimen.

The problem is that invariably one or two will come loose from the bag and wander around my fridge for a while.  Any time that i clean out the fridge i find a few apples just hanging out, usually a little old.  Uh, not to imply that i do not clean my fridge weekly!  Bi-weekly in fact…

So what do i do with apples that are a little old, maybe soft in parts, but not bad yet?

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Cheese Series: Smoked Cheese

In our quest to know more about different cheeses, we went on the smoky side.

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Smoked Sulguni (Karoun)
Karoun is a California company specializing in Mediterranean cheeses such as the Ackawi we reviewed earlier.  The smoked sulguni tastes a bit liked a smoked provolone.  The smoke flavor is relatively mild compared to the Irish cheddar listed next.  Sulguni is a specialty of Georgia (Eastern Europe not Southeast US) and is a stretched curd cheese like mozzarella.  We didn’t find this sample to be as soft as most mozzarella, and it was perhaps a little more rubbery than a provolone.  It would be yummy used as you would a smoked provolone, but Georgians also use sulguni in stuffed mushrooms.

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Irish Knockanore Oak Smoked Cheddar
Knockanore is a family owned cheese company in Ireland.  They breed their own cows for cheese making.  This cheese has a strong cheddar flavor.  It is sharp and a little crumbly like a good aged cheddar.  The smoke does not overpower the cheddar flavor, so that the flavor is balanced.  It’s a powerfully flavored cheese….not for the faint of heart.  I can imagine sitting in an Irish pub with a Guiness, dark bread and some of this cheese!  Slainte!

Grafton Village Maple Smoked Vermont Raw Milk Cheddar
Grafton Village Cheese Company has been making cheese in Vermont since the 19th century.  This was very mild in cheddar flavor and in smoke.  It’s texture was smooth and creamy.  Of all these cheeses, this is probably the best to eat raw on crackers or rye with a smear of mustard or a slice of apple.

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Vegan Chocolate Coconut Cookies for the GFBCS2013

What, you might ask, is “GFBCS2013”?  It is:

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2013

All of you loyal readers who have been with us from the beginning know that the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap is, in a sense, the reason for this blog.  Quite simply, i love making cookies and love eating cookies, so i have wanted to participate in this event for a few years.  In order to do so, i had to have a food blog, and thus you came to be reading this.

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Isa Moskowitz and the Atlanta Veg Fest

Atlanta Veg Fest is a gathering of Vegetarians and Vegans. On Saturday 9 November 2013 i went to the third annual event, which appeared to be a pretty popular.

It took place at Le Fais Do-Do in the trendy Westside. Despite my aversion to “joining things” and “being part of a group” i went to the event.  I know that i would be going there to mingle with people who have an “ideology” and a “group identity”, things which make me profoundly uncomfortble for reasons that would take too long to go into here  I went mostly to see what it would be like, but also because Isa Chandra Moskowitz was giving a cooking demonstration. Isa is the lady behind The Post-Punk Kitchen, a blog i have been reading for quite a long time, and so my long familiarity drew me out on a cold, dreary Saturday..

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Cranberry Relish

I love cranberry sauce just as it is.  But when we were making trade items for the November Food Swap, I figured plain wouldn’t cut it.  Researching cranberry relishes, chutneys and sauces is overwhelming!  I ended up combining elements from a couple of recipes.  Some of the seasoning comes from a chutney recipe.  It doesn’t really taste like an Indian chutney, but it has a little bite from ginger and some mellow sour from the balsamic vinegar.  The slightly chunky texture that comes from using the food grinder gives it textural interest but leaves the relish spreadable.  If you don’t have a food grinder, a food processor would work as long as you don’t overprocess and end up with a paste.

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Vegetarian Chili

Much vegetarian chili is unsatisfying to me.  Maybe it’s beans in vaguely chili flavored tomatoes.  Or maybe it’s tvp or seitan, and I’m not absolutely crazy about those.  But I didn’t have any alternative, so I kept trying different versions.  This one has a chili-like texture provided by the split moong dal.  If you can’t find those, French lentils should work as well.  Korean black bean paste gives it a depth that spices alone don’t.  When I reheated some leftovers, I added a half tablespoon of butter for a little richness.  If you don’t mind the calories or fat, give that a try.

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Chili Seasoning Spice Mix

Spice blends are so useful, particularly when time is short.  Many premixed blends in stores can be bland, too salty or just stale.  In any case, it’s nice to customize blends to one’s own taste.  One of my recent obsessions is the quest for a good vegetarian chili that has a authentic texture and rich flavor.  This chili mix came out of that quest.

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Kim Chi Grilled Cheese

When I saw this Fried Egg Kim Chi Sandwich with Bacon on Tasting Table, I knew I had to come up with a vegetarian version.  Kim Chi and a fried egg on bread?  What’s not to love?  Of course, the bacon provides smokiness, so how to do that in a veg makeover?  We were getting ready to try the smoked cheeses, so the natural answer was a strong smoked cheddar.  We simply layered a slice of that cheddar, a fried egg and strong kim chi on whole grain bread and fried it in a pan until it was melty.

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Sublime!  The original recipe included a tart mayonnaise.  A bit of mayo mixed with lemon zest would be good, if you want to gild the lilly.