Just because I live in the middle of nowhere doesn't mean I have to eat like it!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Caramel Apples

So there we were sitting at the coffee shop/wine bar when the owners ask if we want to come over and hang out that evening. They had some hard to get brews from the Twin Cities and they love to share good brews...  We said sure and told them to give us a call when they were ready and we'd follow them out to their house.

I had to make something!!!  I have had the itch to make homemade caramels for a while and Abbie always talked about making caramel apples so I ran with that idea.  I also figured I had everything at the house to make it. I was mostly right...

I set out on Google for a recipe, searching for 'homemade caramel apples' or 'scratch caramel +apple', FAILURE. Nearly every recipe that came up was for a crisp/cobbler or it used Kraft Milkmaid Caramels that come individually wrapped and you just melt in a double boiler. Not my style...

I checked out Alton Brown's Food Network site and he didn't have any up so I just checked out food network in general. A couple promising cooks showed up and I checked their recipes out, KRAFTed again... One more recipe at FN before going to epicurious or cooks.com, BINGO, one to try from How to Boil Water. :) Thinking back... there is probably a recipe in one of the many real books I have in the kitchen but who wants to look through those?

THE RECIPE ... I did not have any heavy cream and half and half would not hold up to the heat so I asked Abbie to head back to the store while I got started on dinner and the other ingredients for the caramel. I also asked her to get more apples in case we liked the recipe we could make more for our get together tomorrow. She set off and got the stuff then I was cooking or so I thought.  The recipe calls for Maple Syrup. I had maybe two tablespoons. Improvise- you went to culinary school... Molasses time! I used 1/2 cup of molasses instead of the full cup of syrup and they turned out awesome!

I thought a 2.5 quart sauce pan would work. NO IT WOULD NOT! Things bubbled over a little bit and I smoked up the house. Luckily it was a nicer day outside compared to what we had in the beginning of the week and I could open a window, the back door and set up a fan to get some air circulating. Now I know to use the 6 quart pan despite it being overkill.

Other things to note: Sil-pats are amazing! If you need new baking sheets, make sure there is a Sil-pat to fit it. The recipe also says 8 apples.  I made 11 and had left over for another 1 or 2.
The caramel was very sticky. If you have old fillings or orthodontic work, don't bother! We were cutting the apple and caramel off the core/sticks and the caramel was sticking pretty good to our teeth.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Just a little something...

A little about myself...  I grew up in Ohio and thought I wanted to be in the Navy/Marine Corp.  Got a ROTC scholarship and went to UCLA. I dropped out of that, not because of ROTC but because of UCLA being in LA...

I worked for six months before deciding to go back to school thinking I wanted to go into Business.  Not enough thought. Go to UK for stuff. Played video games instead. Go back to Hocking but this time for Culinary Arts. I eventually get bored with every class repeating itself (the instructors even say you don't learn much after the first year...) and working full time at a hole in the wall (yet somehow decent for Athens, Ohio standards) restaurant when my bride gets a job offer in the same town her parents moved to a few years before.

I am now in the middle of nowhere far from most things culinary or with flavor.  Sure Madison has its highlights and their little hidden gems of flavor and class, places that don't just serve meat and potatoes or have more than three beer choice and even a few places where wine means something other than Sutter's Home.

I want to talk about how I get by with my champagne tastes on the Michelob Golden Light options.

Take tonight's dinner.  It started out with home made mayonnaise and  grilled chicken breasts but puree a couple roasted red peppers with shallot, white wine, salt and pepper with the mayo and you get rouille. Spread that on your chicken breast and put it on a fresh bun from the grocery and my sandwich is no longer a bland run of the mill chicken breast.

I have some caramel apples cooling on the counter. Hopefully they are worth the effort I put into them and also something worthy to post about. Maybe with some pictures.

Not tonight's dinner but Mike says I need some food porn with gourmet in the title.