Apple Crostata for Two
We went apple picking and we have A LOT of apples around here so I’ve been thinking of ways to use them up but keep it simple at the same time. I just don’t want to go to the trouble of baking a whole pie for two people. These mini apple crostatas are easy and quick to throw together with their fold-over crust. The apples are spiced with a little cinnamon and cardamom, one spice that is comfortingly familiar and the other is appealingly different. These crostatas are rustic and elegant and just the thing to treat yourself without over-doing it as you only get one. You have to share the other! 🙂
Using a mix of sweet and tart apples offers a perfect balance of flavors. I used Stayman Winesap and Red Delicious as that is what we picked on our apple picking trip to Terhune Orchards.
You don’t want the filling to be dry so to remedy this, sprinkle a teaspoon of sugar and dotted butter over the crostatas.
Allowing the tarts to cool on a wire rack is the last small but significant step toward a crisp crust. This keeps the crust from steaming itself as it cools.
For the effort used to throw together these crostatas, the reward was amazing!
- 3/4 cup (3 3/4 ounces) all purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces and chilled
- 2/3 tablespoons ice water
- 1 small tart apple like Granny Smith, peeled, cored, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1 small sweet apple like Macintosh, peeled, cored, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar, lightly packed
- 2 tablespoons white sugar (plus one teaspoon for sprinkling over crostata before baking)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
- 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon butter cut into 1/4 inch pieces
- Process the flour and salt in a food processor until combined, about 5 seconds.
- Scatter butter over the top and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, about 15 pulses. Continue to pulse, adding 1 tablespoon ice water at a time until the dough forms a ball, about 10 pulses.
- Transfer the dough to the counter.
- Divide dough in half, then form each half into a 3-inch disk. Wrap disks tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Let chilled dough sit on the counter to soften slightly for about 10 minutes before rolling.
- Roll each disk of dough into a 7-inch circle between 2 small sheets of floured parchment paper. If the dough sticks, gently loosen and lift sticky area and dust parchment with more flour. Slide dough circles, still between the parchment onto baking sheet and refrigerate until firm, 15 to 30 minutes. If refrigerated longer and the dough is hard and brittle, let it sit at room temperature until pliant.
- Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss apples, brown sugar, 2 tablespoons white sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon and cardamom together in a medium bowl. Remove top sheet of parchment from each dough round. Stack half of apples onto circle, leaving 1 1/2 inch border of dough around edge and reserving a few apple slices to fill in the the middle of the crostata.
- Fill in the middle of the crostata with the reserved apple slices. Fold outermost 1 inch of dough over the apples, pleating it every 1 or 2 inches as needed. Be careful to leave a 1/2 inch border of dough around edge of apples as this will help to keep the apple juices from leaking. Repeat with remaining apples and dough round.
- Lightly brush the top and sides of dough with the egg white and sprinkle crostata with remaining 1 teaspoon sugar. Dot crostatas evenly with the butter.
- Bake crostatas until the crust is golden and crisp and the apples are tender, 35-40 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking.
- Transfer the baking sheet with the crostatas to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes, then use the parchment to gently transfer the crostatas to a wire rack. Use a spatula to loosen crostatas from parchment and remove parchment paper. Let cool on the rack until apple juice has thickened, about 10 minutes.
- Wrapped dough can be refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 2 months. If frozen, let dough thaw completely on counter before rolling.
We saw this cute dog on our way out of Terhune Orchards and I had to get a pic of him. <3
Blueberry Muffins for Two
When I wake up on a Saturday morning and I want just want something quick and easy these blueberry muffins are great! They are loaded with sweet juicy blueberries and the hint of lemon zest adds just the right amount of tartness. This recipe only makes 4 muffins, two for each of you and you’ll want two; one just won’t cut it! I could have had all four but we’re supposed to be practicing a little restraint here. I mean that’s what this site is all about! Portion control for two! Plus, it’s not nice to not share. 🙂
Blueberries are one of those fruits you can get at the grocery store when they aren’t in season and they still taste really good.
Blend the dry ingredients together in a bowl and whisk the wet ingredients, (yogurt, egg, and lemon zest) until smooth in another bowl. After mixing both together gently fold in the blueberries and coconut oil, or butter if you prefer.
Sprinkle the lemon zest-sugar mixture before baking.
Bake in a 325 degree oven until golden and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes, rotating halfway through baking.
…and you’re done! See how easy that was? Remember to share and if you don’t feel like you’ve had enough bake them again on Sunday morning! 🙂
- 1/2 tablespoon sugar
- 1⁄2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, divided
- 3⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1⁄4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1⁄8 teaspoon baking soda
- 1⁄8 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄4 cup blueberry yogurt or plain if you don't have blueberry
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil melted and cooled, or butter if you prefer
- 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
- Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Spray 4 cups of a muffin tin with baking spray.
- Combine sugar and lemon zest in a bowl and set aside for sprinkling on top of batter before baking.
- Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk yogurt, egg, and remaining 1/4 tsp. lemon zest together until smooth. Gently fold yogurt mixture into the flour mixture with a rubber spatula until just combined, then fold in the melted butter and blueberries.
- Divide the batter evenly among the 4 prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle sugar topping over muffins. Bake until muffins are golden brown and toothpick inserted in the center of muffin comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating muffin tin halfway through baking.
- Let muffins cool in the muffin tin on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove muffins from muffin tin and let cool for 10 minutes before serving, if you can wait that long!
Pumpkin Spice Buttermilk Pancakes for Two
Pancakes are my favorite thing to eat for breakfast! Eating them just makes me happy! I am always adding things in to take advantage of seasonal produce. Somehow I feel better about the indulgence if there is fruit inside of them! 🙂 I am on a pumpkin kick, but aren’t nearly all of us when fall rolls around? These cure my pumpkin and sweet craving all at once! The smell of the warm spices and the sweet butter and maple syrup all mingling together…yeah it’s divine! They only take a few minutes to put together, so get the coffee going and then get started on these and I promise you’ll be so glad you did!
The first thing I do is preheat the oven to 200 degrees. I can only fit 3 pancakes at a time in my skillet so you’ll want to put your first batch in the oven to stay warm. This recipe makes 6 pancakes if you use a 1/3 cup measuring cup for each pancake. Mix all of your dry ingredients together well in a medium bowl. Next, you’ll whisk all your wet ingredients together. Gently add your wet ingredients to your dry just until combined. It’s okay if you still see a few flour spots here and there. Now the hard part, let this batter rest for 10 minutes! Sometimes I fail at this but I noticed that my first batch aren’t nearly as fluffy as the second batch which sat out the full 10 minutes so go check your email or wash up the dishes you just messed up or set the table. 🙂 I like to spray my 1/3 cup measuring cup with a little cooking spray before I scoop out the batter. The batter slips out of the measuring cup so much easier if you do this. I cook them on medium-low for 4 minutes and then flip and cook for 3 minutes or until they get a little brown around the edges. Serve these with a little powdered sugar sprinkled on top and of course, butter and syrup! If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice I have a recipe on how to make it yourself here. –> Pumpkin Pie Spice.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 2/3 cup buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 1/3 cup pumpkin puree (I use canned pumpkin)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil, plus extra as needed, or spray with cooking spray
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Set wire rack in rimmed baking sheet, spray with vegetable oil spray, and place in oven. This will keep the pancakes from getting soggy.
- Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices together in medium bowl. Whisk buttermilk, sour cream, pumpkin, melted butter, and egg together in separate bowl until smooth. Gently fold buttermilk mixture into flour mixture with rubber spatula until just combined. (Batter will be lumpy with a few spots of dry flour; do not overmix.) Let batter rest for 10 minutes before cooking.
- Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Using wad of paper towels, carefully wipe out oil, leaving thin film of oil on bottom and sides of skillet. Using 1/3-cup dry measure, portion batter into skillet in 3 places. Cook until edges are set, first side is golden brown, and bubbles on surface are just beginning to break, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Using thin, wide spatula, flip pancakes and continue to cook until second side is golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer pancakes to prepared wire rack (don't overlap them) in warm oven. Repeat with remaining batter, using more oil as needed. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if you like.
Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry for Two
I have to admit…we eat Chinese take-out a lot! It’s just too easy because they are literally right down the street! I’m really not a fan of any of the beef take-out dishes though, the beef is usually tough and kinda chewy…ewww. Not my favorite! I have been on the look-out for the BEST beef and broccoli recipe and I found it! You just won’t believe you made something so good when you try this one. Take-out can’t match this, no way, no how!
When I first started thinking about posting this recipe I thought to cut it in half but if you love this as much as we do, there might not be any leftovers, so I decided to keep it as is.
You’re going to want to have everything prepped before you start this recipe because once you start it goes fast! Do yourself a favor and put your steak in the freezer for 20 minutes before slicing it, it will be much easier to slice partially frozen. Slice up the partially frozen beef in thin strips and put it in a bowl with the soy sauce and put it in the fridge for an hour, don’t forget to stir it once. In the meantime you can chop the red pepper and mince the garlic and ginger. I just put my garlic and ginger in the food processor. Put the garlic and ginger in a small bowl and add the sesame oil and set aside.
Next you’ll need to drain the beef and get your pan ready by adding 1 1/2 tsps of the peanut oil. Make sure the oil is smoking before adding half the beef, you’re doing this in two batches. Once you add the beef just quickly make sure each piece is touching the pan and not on top of other pieces and don’t touch them for one minute so they start to develop that nice browned color, then stir the meat and cook for only 30 seconds more. You might feel like the meat isn’t done but trust me…it will keep cooking after you take it off…don’t cook it longer. Put it in a bowl and do the next batch the same way, adding 1 1/2 tsp peaunt oil before adding that next batch of beef strips. Add this beef to the rest in the bowl and set this aside. Once you’ve done that add a Tbsp of peanut oil to your now empty pan and heat just until starting to smoke. Add the broccoli and cook for 30 seconds only. Add 1/3 cup of water, cover the pan and steam the broccoli for 2 minutes on medium heat. Transfer the broccoli to a paper towel lined plate. Our goal here is to keep the broccoli nice and green and still crunchy. Nothing worse than limp broccoli in your beef and broccoli! Next you’ll add the remaining 1 1/2 tsp peanut oil to the pan and then add the red peppers. Cook for 2 minutes and then add the ginger and garlic mixture to the middle of the pan and cook for 20 seconds or until fragrant, then stir into the red peppers to combine. Add the beef and broccoli back into the pan, re-whisk the sauce and add it to the pan, tossing until everything is hot. Serve this with white or brown rice and maybe some hot tea would make it especially authentic!
- 1 pound skirt steak, slice across the grain into 1/8-inch-thick slices
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon dry sherry
- 2 tablespoons low-sodium chicken broth
- 5 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 6 medium cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press or minced (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1 inch piece fresh ginger, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 3 tablespoons peanut oil or vegetable oil
- 1 1/4 pounds broccoli, florets cut into bite-size pieces, stems trimmed, peeled, and cut on diagonal into 1/8-inch-thick slices
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 small red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 3 medium scallions, sliced 1/2-inch thick on diagonal (optional)
- Combine beef and soy sauce in medium bowl; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 10 minutes or up to 1 hour, stirring once.
- Meanwhile, whisk sherry, chicken broth, oyster sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, and cornstarch in bowl.
- Combine garlic, ginger, and 1 1/2 teaspoons peanut oil in a different bowl.
- Drain beef and discard liquid.
- Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons peanut oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until smoking.
- Add half of beef to skillet and break up clumps; cook, without stirring, for 1 minute, then stir and cook until beef is browned around edges, about 30 seconds. Transfer beef to medium bowl.
- Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons peanut oil in skillet, and repeat with remaining beef.
- Add 1 tablespoon peanut oil to now-empty skillet; heat until just smoking.
- Add broccoli and cook 30 seconds; add water, cover pan, and lower heat to medium. Steam broccoli until tender-crisp, about 2 minutes; transfer to paper towel–lined plate.
- Add remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons peanut oil to skillet; increase heat to high and heat until just smoking.
- Add bell pepper and cook, stirring frequently, about 1 1/2 minutes.
- Clear center of skillet; add garlic and ginger to center and cook, mashing mixture with spoon, until fragrant, 15 to 20 seconds, then stir mixture into peppers.
- Return beef and broccoli to skillet and toss to combine. Whisk sauce to recombine, then add to skillet; cook, stirring constantly, until sauce is thickened and evenly distributed, about 30 seconds. Sprinkle with scallions if you like, I only do that if I have them on hand already.