Stuffed Spiced Apples

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This post is sponsored by the Ontario Apple Growers – the opinions and recipe idea is entirely my own.

Do you know where your apples come from? Contrary to popular belief, they don’t magically appear on grocery shelves.

This year I was invited to tour with the Ontario Apple Growers. We headed to Wilmot Fams to the Apple Orchards and onward Algoma Orchards to a packing plant. Last year we visited another farm in the west end. Although it was an amazing trip, we didn’t get to see any of the apples on the trees as it was November and picking was done for the season. You can watch that video here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8J1BnQXSSI&t=239s

Ontario Apple farms are located in three different zones and they are all close to the lake regions – Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake Huron and Georgian Bay.

This trip was made mid October and although Apple picking is finished for the most part, the trees are still laden with Ambrosia that is picked in the mid to late fall.

We started off at Wilmot Farms in Bowmanville. This farm is owned by the Stevens Family Charles and Judi and their daughter Courtney. Courtney is the seventh generation farmer in the Stevens family!

Ian Parker, Orchard Manager is very knowledgeable and it blew my mind to learn how much strategy and science in involved in keeping the apples safe. Everything is calculated, the height that the tree is allowed to grow to, and the distance between each tree and the rows. The trees are also thinned so they produce the right amount of apples. If it tree is over producing there are many methods to trim back the apples to maintain quality; including thinning, pruning and applying certain products. Machines such as frost fans are used to suck in the cold air and push it upward, pushing the warm air back onto the orchard. The difference even if it’s a few degrees can save the crop. They also protect the crop from hail using a hail cannon.

Apple Fact: There are 15 different main varieties of apples are grown on nearly 16,000 acres in Ontario

This farm grows about 10 varieties of apples at this time of year the Ambrosia is ripe for the picking. The Ambrosia is a fairly new apple discovered in British Columbia in the early 1990’s. This was found growing in the orchard among another apple variety. This fruit is typically picked late fall.

Many of the trees in the Orchard that are done for the season have a lot of fruit on the ground. In commercial growing, if the apples touch the ground, they cannot be sold under Food Safety protocols. I asked the farmer why the fruit couldn’t be saved by installing a net and the answer he gave me made perfect sense  – when the apple falls, even if it is caught in a net, when it collides with another apple it will bruise, which makes it unsellable. Also the cost of picking the apple on the ground for organic waste or cattle feed is labour-intensive & too expensive, so the best is to leave it on the ground to fertilize the soil for next year’s crop.

Our group of eager bloggers had plenty of photo ops to get up and personal with these beautiful fruit. Here you see my friend Puneeta from Maple and Marigold look for the perfect shot!

Other bloggers on this trip were The Kitchen Fairy, Eclectic Soapbox, Nutrition Artist, Little Sweet Baker, The Viet Vegan, The Messy Baker, The Cookie Writer, Imagelicious, Carmy – Run Eat Travel, The Unlikely Baker, How To Eat, Nomadic Nutritionist, Weekend at the cottage & Baking for Friends – check out their recipes too!

As I was busy admiring the flawless fruit that Eve lured Adam with, I spy a group of pickers! These pickers typically are seasonal agricultural workers that come from Mexico and Barbados to work in the orchard and pick fruit every year. They live on the farm for between 4-8 months and then either transfer to another farm, or go back home till the next season.

The farmers that run this farm are filled with passion and love for the apples. This farm also grows blueberries and you can pick your own in season.

After a busy morning trudging through the apple orchards, we were served a delicious apple themed lunch and these gorgeous apple centrepieces made by the owner Judi Stevens caught my eye.

After lunch we made our way to Algoma Orchards to meet Kirk Kemp a partner with Mike Gibson. In addition to running apple farms they run a top notch apple packing & storage facility and juice processing plant.

Apples arrive by the bins and start to move in massive streams of water to wash the apples and removed any stems and leaves. It is also a gentle way to move the apples through the grading process. This minimizes bruising and damage to the fruit.

Anything that hasn’t come off will be manually picked off.

The apples are then photographed 50 times and monitored by a machine. The fruit that are less than perfect are separated from the perfect fruit.

These move on belts like a highway of apples where they are cleaned. This plants can process 9000 cases of apples per day.

Kirk Kemp, guides us through the plant and we hang on every word.

The apples are kept in temp controlled storage rooms  till they are ready to be packed.

Once the apples are ready to be sold to the grocery store, they move through the plant on the belts and are sorted and boxed by staff.

Apple Fact: The top five varieties in Ontario (based on acreage planted) are McIntosh, Gala, Empire, Red Delicious, and Northern Spy.

Many of the popular store brands you see are packed right here. Boxes of apples are rushed out of here onto trucks to make it into stores for you!

And what does one do when one has way too many apples? Make apple juice and cider of course. Algoma Orchards invested in a state of the art facility to make apple juice that supplies many big brands. Their tanks are insulated which gives them much longer shelf life.

There is a lab on site that monitors the quality of the apple juice.

Apple Fact: It takes four apples to make a glass of pure apple juice.

This chamber controls all (I can’t remember what the specific task of this chamber is) the tanks and everything is temp controlled and computerized.

To keep the facility germ free, the ground is filled with soap suds.

And on our way out we were were sent home with a nice big bag of apples! Yummmm

Now that you know so much about apples, you’re going to love how I developed this recipe for a sweet and savory treat. These Stuffed Spiced apples are brined, then stuffed with a savory filling with herbs and topped with Cheddar. The Apples are just about cooked till the cheese melts to maintain that nice crunchy and juicy exterior. If you’re having a sit down Fall or Christmas lunch or dinner, this is the perfect start to the meal and looks incredible.

I was gifted a large bag of Galas and I decided to use this in this recipe. You can find the right type of apple to use in your recipes by following this guide – http://onapples.com/apple-usage-guide

Although the Gala is not recommended for baking, I only let it go in the oven for a few minutes so the cheese melted to preserve that crispiness. Have apples been brined before? I have no idea, but I think it’s a great idea!

I start with a sweet savory spicy brine and soak my cored apples in so they absorb some more flavour.

 

 

While they soak, I prepare a quick filling using ground Chicken, spices an herbs. This is stuffed into the cavity, topped with cheese and baked for a few minutes. Super delicious!

Here is the super simple recipe!

Appla Baklava

Ingredients

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Instructions

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https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/stuffed-spiced-apples/

Apple Facts courtesy of http://onapples.com/apple-facts

 

Check out my other Apple recipes:

Candy Apples: https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/candy-apples/

Cheddar crust Apple Pie: https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/candy-apples/

Curried Chicken Salad – https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/curried-chicken-salad/

 

More pictures!

 

 

Popcorn Tandoori Chicken

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Popcorn Tandoori Chicken

Ingredients

  • 3 Chicken breasts (2 lbs)
  • Marinade
  • 1.5 cups of Yogurt
  • 1 tsp red Kashmiri Chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried Fenugreek also known as Kasuri methi
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp Chaat masala
  • 1 tsp Black salt
  • 2 tsps of Ginger and Garlic paste
  • And 1 tbsp Mustard Oil
  • Batter
  • 1/2 cup regular all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Cut the Chicken into small pieces
  2. Prepare the marinade and reserve about 4 tbsps
  3. Marinate the Chicken in the rest of the marinade
  4. Prepare the breading by mixing the reserved tandoori marinade in the dry ingredients one tbsp at a time till it resembles dry breadcrumbs
  5. Dip the marinated Chicken in this and deep fry in hot oil till crispy
https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/popcorn-tandoori-chicken/

Moroccan Sliders – Lamb or Beef

View my step-by-step  video

 

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Even though I’ve never been to Morocco, I’m drawn to it by the wonderful food and traditions. A friend just returned from Morocco and brought back the most beautiful ceramic platters from her trip. This made me want to buy a ticket right away, instead I settled for these Moroccan sliders. Lamb is very popular in Morocco, but you can also use Beef to prepare these insanely delish patties. The star in these patties is by far the Harissa. This is a paste made with red Chillies both fresh & dry, Garlic & Lemon juice. I like to quickly ground up a batch but you can also find Harissa in Middle Eastern stores and some of the larger grocery chains that carry ethnic goods. It also contains Figs, Bulgur Wheat, Chickpeas & Parsley.

This is by no means an authentic recipe but a combination of flavours that respect and represent the culture and cuisine. What I love about these and any other sliders or burgers is that you can prepare them in advance and then stack them in a freezer to enjoy whenever you need them.

Here are the slider press tubes I used!

Moroccan Sliders – Lamb or Beef

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs ground Lamb or Beef
  • 5 tsps Harissa
  • 3 tsps soaked Bulgar wheat
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • ¼ cup finely diced Figs
  • ¼ cup crushed cooked Chickpeas
  • ¼ cup finely diced Mint & Parsley

Instructions

  1. Combine all the ingredients together well
  2. Form into patties using your hands or burger press
  3. Freeze
  4. Cook on a bbq for 10 - 12 min per side
  5. Serve on a slider bun or pita with some garlic sauce
https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/moroccan-sliders-lamb-beef/

Grilled Cheese & Turkey Waffwich – Waffle + Sandwich

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Last year I was obsessed with buying a waffle iron, and like my brand new ice cream maker, it sat in my basement for months till I started making waffles and literally wanted to throw everything into my waffle iron. When I was thinking of new recipe ideas for my Easy Weeknight Meals and Back to School episodes I came up with this idea of turning a savory waffle into a grilled cheese sandwich called the Waffwich. Turns out, this wasn’t such a unique idea, but it’s still pretty damn good.

This is a great quick dinner served with ketchup and a side salad but is also perfect for those school lunch boxes. I added Turkey to my Waffwich’s because of my carnivore high schooler but it’s just as delicious with plain cheese. I chose to make my Waffwich straight in my waffle iron, but if you’d like to pile it up higher with fillings, you could just make the savoury waffles and stack them in the oven to allow the cheese to melt.

My waffle iron is round and you can break the waffle into easy quarters, this recipe also would be great as a snack for a kids’s party and a little quarter open face with filling and a dollop of mustard would make a very sophisticated canape. Enjoy

Grilled Cheese & Turkey Waffwich – Waffle + Sandwich

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups sifted all purpose Flour
  • 2 tsps Baking powder
  • 1 tsp each Sugar & Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 1 Egg
  • 1.5 cups Milk
  • ½ cup melted and cooled Butter
  • 2 tbsps chopped Parsley
  • 1 cup grated Cheese
  • Sliced Cheese
  • Sliced Turkey

Instructions

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients together
  2. Mx all the wet ingredients together and add the dry in 2 additions
  3. Add the Parsley & the grated Cheese
  4. Preheat the waffle iron and add about ¾ of a cup
  5. Close and cook for 3 – 5 mins, flipping the iron in between if you have the rotatable type
  6. Add Cheese & Turkey slices to one side flip the other half over to make a sandwich and press the waffle iron down so the cheese melts
https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/waffwich/

 

Avocado & Crab Toast

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Avocado & Crab Toast

Ingredients

  • 1 Avocado
  • 120 can Crab meat
  • Lemon
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/4 chopped Coriander
  • 1 tsp Soya Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Red Chillies sliced
  • 3 - 4 Ciabatta buns
  • Sriracha sauce

Instructions

  1. Drain the water from the tinned Crab meat
  2. Add some pepper, squeeze of Lemon and Soya and keep aside
  3. Mash the Avocado and add Salt & Pepper, Coriander and Red Chillies
  4. Mix well
  5. Toast the Ciabatta buns and add the Guac on top and top with Crab meat
  6. Drizzle with Sriracha sauce
https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/avocado-crab-toast/

Chicken 65

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For everyone that begged for this recipe … here it is! This dish has a strange name and an even stranger story. Back in the days when typesetting was done with little metal alphabets and numbers, a little canteen in south India had a chicken dish that was item no 65. At the typesetting house, some of the pieces got displaced and when it printed, it got printed as Chicken 65 and the name stuck ever since. This is really popular in South and Central India and is commonly ordered as a snack.

I was inspired to make this video a few years ago after watching Wilbur Sargunaraj’s funny rendition of this iconic dish. This has always been one of the most popular recipes on my channel. I contacted Wilbur, met the simple superstar in person and got permission to use his track in my video – check it out!

 

Chicken 65

Ingredients

  • Chicken
  • 2 pounds boneless chicken thigh meat cut in cubes
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsps corn flour
  • salt/pepper
  • 2 tbsps ginger/garlic paste
  • 4 Green chillies chopped
  • 1 red onion finely chopped
  • 2 tsps chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup curry leaves chopped
  • 2 tbsps chilli paste
  • 2 tbsps ginger/garlic paste
  • 1 tsp jeera powder
  • 1 tsp chilly powder
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • Red food colour
  • Salt

Instructions

  1. Mix the chicken with one egg with corn flour, salt and pepper. Fry in oil till slightly crispy. Keep aside.
  2. In a saute pan fry the chopped onion, garlic, green chillies and curry leaves. Add the ginger/garlic paste and chilly paste. Add the cumin and chilli powder. Add the red food coloring with a tiny bit of water. Add the chicken and coat well.
https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/chicken65/

Shrimp & Asparagus with Quinoa

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The combination of Shrimp & Asparagus together is one of my favorite things. When I found some really delicate Asparagus, I decided to make this into a delicious Easy Weeknight Meal! This is going to be paired with quinoa, onion, minced garlic, parsley, red chili & paprika and finished with a vegetable broth.

Watch the video to see how to prep Asparagus and the woody bits at the bottom can be thrown into a stock pot with other left over bits to make stock.

Shrimp and Asparagus is a marriage made in heaven and paired with garlic and paprika and tossed together with cooked Quinoa is so hearty and healthy. This recipe can be eaten hot or cold and leftovers make a great lunch!

You can use as much Shrimp as you like in the dish. If making this as a buffet style salad you can use smaller salad shrimp or even finely dice the shrimp post cooking so it’s evenly distributed throughout the quinoa!

Because this is an Easy Weeknight Meal recipe, it’s designed to prepare it in the shortest possible way without sacrificing the delicious.

Serve warm or cold

Shrimp & Asparagus with Quinoa

Ingredients

  • Olive Oil
  • 1 cup diced Onion
  • Handful of Asparagus
  • 500 gms, 1 lb shelled and deveined Shrimp
  • 2-3 cloves of Garlic minced
  • 1 red chilli, sliced
  • 2 tsps smoked Paprika
  • 1 cup Quinoa
  • 2 cups Vegetable stock
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil and sweat the onions
  2. Make room in the pam and allow the asparagus to caramelize in the heat
  3. Add the shrimp, the garlic and the red sliced chilli
  4. Add the paprika and mix well
  5. Cook till the shrimp is just cooked
  6. Remove the asparagus and shrimp and add more oil to the empty saute pan
  7. Lightly fry the quinoa and add the stock and bring to the boil
  8. Add salt only if required cover and cook for 18+ minutes till the quinoa is cooked
  9. Add more stock if the quinoa starts to dry out
  10. Fold in the Asparagus and Shrimp mixture when the Quinoa is cooked and all the stock has evaporated
https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/shrimp-asparagus-quinoa/

Arabic Party Salad

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Since I was born in the Middle East, these flavours touch my soul from the flavours and ingredients like Sumac, Pomegranate Molasses, Parsley, Thyme, Oregano, Paprika, Garlic, Lemon, Pickled Turnips and Halloumi of the Middle East are captured in one delicious and colourful salad. I love to make this in the summer time as an accompaniment to some BBQ’d meat or take this as a contribution to a pot luck. There are so many colours and textures in this salad that it’s literally a party on a plate.

Growing up in Abu Dhabi we got the most delicious Arabic food, from mouth watering kebabs, to creamy hummus and everything in between. And the Arabs do know how to party, take a trip into the desert for a night safari and you will taste the most amazing food cooked right in the outdoors.
 
This salad has a fair bit of prep work but is very easy to assemble at the last minute. It uses exotic ingredients like Zaatar and Halloumi and using the bbq to grill some of these really had a special flavour for the salad. Arabic Pita bread is a lot thinner that it’s more famous Greek counterpart. If you can’t find this, you can use Greek pita instead. This salad also includes Burghul wheat which is cracked wheat that gives a wonderful nutty flavour. To make this Gluten free, omit the Pita bread, or use Gluten free pita and omit the Burghul wheat and substitute it for Quinoa. Halloumi is an Arabic cheese made from Sheep milk. It has a very high melting point and can be grilled on the BBQ. I like to call it the ‘squeaky’ cheese as it makes a squeaky sound when you chew it.
Arabic Party Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tbsp sumac
  • 1/2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup mixed Arugula & Baby Spinach
  • 1 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 cup halved grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup cucumber cubed
  • 1/4 cup cubed pickled turnips
  • 1/4 cup fresh thyme & oregano
  • 1/4 cup chopped bottled red pepper
  • 1/4 cup sliced green olives
  • 1/4 cup sliced black olives
  • 1/2 cup soaked bulgur wheat
  • 1 Arabic Pitas
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 tbsps Zaatar spice
  • 200-300 gms Halloumi cheese

Instructions

  1. Brush the pita with Olive Oil and sprinkle with Zaatar
  2. Using a scissors, cut in quarters
  3. Cut the Halloumi (if the cheese is too salty, cut smaller)
  4. Grill both the Pita and the Halloumi – the Pita just needs to be crisp and the Halloumi should have nice grill marks
  5. Once cool, cube the Halloumi
  6. In a small bowl combine all the Salad dressing ingredients and mix
  7. In a larger bowl, combine all the ingredients except the Pita and the Halloumi, add as much dressing as desired and toss
  8. On a platter, place the Pita at the bottom, followed by the salad and top with the Halloumi
  9. Serve with reserved dressing
https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/arabic-party-salad/

Sriracha Cauliflower

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Cauliflower in all it’s incarnations are all the rage now and I’m excited to share this recipe with you for Sriracha Cauliflower fritters. It all started with a lunch date with my BFF Mona, when she insisted on having Fried Korean Cauliflower. Not being a huge veggie fan myself(I would have preferred wings), I reluctantly agreed and was pleasantly surprised with it’s stellar taste and crunch.

Fast forward to the period of Lent where I decided to give up meat for 40 days(46 including Sundays ) and always looking for interesting ways to eat vegetables. I remembered this tasty snack and knew I could put my fave Sriracha to the test. It didn’t disappoint.

This is a crunchy cauliflower fritter that is spiced up with Sriracha sauce. The smaller your Cauliflower florets are the crunchier they get. A simple batter of cornstarch and Sriracha helps the florets crisp up, but also hold on to the extra Sriracha sauce that’s poured over later.

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Sriracha Cauliflower

Ingredients

  • 3 cups Cauliflower
  • 2 tbsps Cornstarch
  • Salt
  • 1 tsp Sriracha
  • 3 tbsps Sriracha
  • Oil for frying

Instructions

  1. Make a batter with cornstarch, water, salt and the sauce
  2. Add the florets, deep fry and drain on a kitchen towel
  3. Add the Cauliflower to a clean wok an douse it in Sriracha sauce
  4. Mix well
  5. Leave to caramelize a little bit
https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/sriracha-cauliflower/

Chicken Liver & Mushroom Stuffing

Watch the step-by-step videoChickenLiverStuffing_PosterHI’ve made stuffing so many times before, but this stuffing style was so delicious that I decided to try it for myself. This recipe used Chicken livers and you must remember to properly sear them to bring out the flavor.

Chicken Liver & Mushroom Stuffing

Ingredients

  • 1/2 loaf bread (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 lb Chicken livers
  • 1/2 finely chopped red onion
  • 1 cup mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup small diced beef pepperoni
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsps chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup coriander

Instructions

  1. Cut the bread into cubes and bake till toasty on the outside but still soft in the middle
  2. In a saute pan add some oil and sauté the livers for a few minutes till nice and seared. Remove and keep aside
  3. Add a bit more oil and sauté the onions, followed by the mushrooms and beef pepperoni
  4. Chop the cooked liver and add back into the pan
  5. Add some stock for moisture and finish with chopped coriander
  6. In a oven proof dish, layer some croutons at the bottom and mix the stuffing mixture with the other croutons and over lay them on the dry croutons
  7. Beat and egg and mix it together with a cup of chicken stock
  8. Drizzle over the stuffing mixture and bake for 10 – 15 minutes
https://kravingsfoodadventures.com/chicken-liver-mushroom-stuffing/