Monday, October 14, 2013

Wet Newfs, Friends, Banana Bread and Apple & Pear Crumble

Hard to believe it's been almost a month since my last blog post, and that was a post about gourmet dog biscuits! Trapper LOVED those biscuits and still wanders into the kitchen every now and then to stare at the empty jar. He makes sure to turn and look over at me with his best pouty-face until I promise to make them again.

I should have made a batch for the Newfs at the annual water test a few weeks ago. It was such a beautiful morning at Glorietta skies, about 90 degrees, toes in the sand, soaking up the sun, photographing happy Newfs. It is such a joy to watch these magnificent dogs in the water, but it is even more heartwarming to see and feel the special bond they share with their owners. I honestly cannot imagine my life without a Newfoundland.  Just look at the awesomeness of these incredible dogs! That's why Trapper gets Bouchon Bakery chicken liver and bacon dog biscuits.

This past month has been a blur, but the highlight was when Joe and Sue came to town for a medical convention. Sue and I became e-mail friends after she started following the blog and sent me a personal e-mail one day. We exchanged periodic e-mails over the past few years and I was thrilled when she said she was coming to San Diego. She asked for restaurant recommendations and wanted to meet me and Trapper. We all met for coffee one morning, strolled Little Italy's Farmers' Market on another morning, and went out to dinner together three evenings. We enjoyed the restaurant week menu at Cafe Chloe, a quaint French bistro downtown, received royalty treatment by chef/owner Anthony at Saiko Sushi, and watched the sun sink into the ocean from the patio at ENO Wine Bar while sipping wine and nibbling on wood fired pizza.

Coffee at Cafe 1134

Indigo Rose tomatoes from Suzie's Farm

Wine Flights and Salsiccia Pizza (Fennel Sausage, Charred Broccolini, Garlic Oil) at ENO

Because my kitchen has been rather dark of late, I only have a few worthy recipes to share. The first resulted from a couple of overripe bananas, a craving for banana bread, and some adaptations to this recipe by Tyler Florence. I used light brown sugar instead of white sugar and currants instead of pecans. I added a few tablespoons of dark rum to the melted butter and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and 2 tablespoons cocoa powder to the dry ingredients. Since I only had two bananas, I halved the remaining quantities and made one smaller loaf. I'm not really a fan of nuts in cookies, cakes or banana bread, so I really liked the substitution of currants here. The hints of cocoa, cinnamon and rum were also nice.

Bob and Sandra invited me up to Terra Nova for dinner last evening, which gave me the opportunity to make dessert. I've been trying to talk myself into a road trip to Julian with Trapper, but it hasn't happened. Julian is a historic gold rush mountain town about an hour east of San Diego, known for its cozy bed and breakfast inns, apple orchards, and apple pie. Apples on the brain inspired me to make Brendan's Apple & Pear Crumble. I used a few different varieties of apples and pears for the crumble (Jazz, McIntosh and SweeTango apples and Comice and d'Anjou pears). A scoop of ice cream or dollop of whipped cream is a must-have, so I went with bourbon-spiked whipped cream. I'm not sure how I stuffed down dessert after Bob's fabulous dinner of pulled pork sandwiches, coleslaw and hush puppies. I must have eaten at least six hush puppies!

Apple & Pear Crumble

Brendan's Pear & Apple Crumble
Adapted slightly from My Family Table (John Besh)
Serves 8

5-6 cups chopped, cored, peeled apples and pears (about 5-6 whole fruits) 
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 egg, lightly beaten

For the topping:

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into ½-inch pieces

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Toss the fruit with the brown sugar, flour, butter, cinnamon, and egg to coat. Spoon the mixture into a medium-sized baking dish or individual ramekins.

Prepare the topping by whisking together the flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. Cut the butter into the mixture until the topping is crumbly. Sprinkle over the fruit in the baking dish.

Bake until the fruit is bubbly and the topping turns golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.



Sue Kipp said...

We had a wonderful time. Can't wait to go back and spend time with our friends, Denise and Trapper.

Anonymous said...

Great post. Fruit, friends and Newfs. Life is good!

Mary Hirsch said...

I love reading your Posts which include not only fabulous recipes, beautiful pictures but also wonderful anecdotes about your Trapper and your everyday life experiences. I'm sure you've read that 16 French Friday with Dorie bloggers gathered in Seattle last month for a conference in which Dorie was the keynote speaker. We turned virtual friendships into reality just as you have done with your friends. Life just gets better and better, doesn't it?