Kathy Maister's Start Cooking

Apple Crisp for Two

print recipe card posted in Sweets by Kathy Maister

My Apple Crisp Recipe-Video, which serves 6 to 8 people, has turned into a very popular video. I decided the full recipe was too much of a splurge to make for just David and me, so I have adapted the recipe to make just two individual servings.

When making individual servings, it is really important to have the right size dish. A flat, shallow dish, like a Creme Brulee dish is perfect.

These dishes measure about 4 inches wide by 6 inches long and 1 inch high. Be sure the dish you choose is oven-safe!

To make two servings of Apple Crisp, follow the Apple Crisp Video directions.

For the ingredient you will need:

  • 1/3 cup of flour
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • A pinch of nutmeg
  • 3 Tablespoons of butter
  • 2 apples

In the video I mixed the topping either with a pastry blender or two knives. Here I just used my fingers and it worked beautifully!

The topping should end up looking like the photo below.

Peel and core the apples. (The video shows 4 different ways to core an apple!) Then slice the apples and put them in the individual baking dishes.

Sprinkle the topping on the apples. (Yes, I do like lots of topping!)

Many recipes add oatmeal to the topping which does give it a wonderful texture.

Be sure to place the Apple Crisps on a baking sheet before putting it into the oven. Just in case it bubbles over!

It will only take about 30 minutes for the apples to become tender and juicy.

Serve the Apple Crisp right in the individual baking dishes as is or with some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.


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Apple Picking

posted in Fruits by Kathy Maister

There are a gazillion different varieties of apples. When traveling overseas, I am often at a loss choosing apples as the varieties available in Europe and Australia are often very different from those sold here in the States.

Apples like Granny Smiths and Braeburns are usually available worldwide, but many other varieties are only available locally.

Different kinds of apples vary in taste and texture, which determine what they are used for. Apples are basically divided into three categories:

  1. Eating
  2. Cooking
  3. Cooking and / or Eating

Many stores have signs telling you how best to use the apples.

If you are unsure which ones to buy ask the Produce Person for help.

When cooking things like apple pie or apple crisp (video) the apples should end up being tender and soft to the bite, but still retain their shape. If you choose to cook with apples that are described just as *eating* apples, the recipe probably won’t come out that great. The apples may turn to a watery mush.

Apples used for cooking versus apples that you eat for a snack, vary considerably in how sweet or tart they are.

Granny Smiths are too tart for me to eat but I love cooking with them. Braeburns are both tart and sweet and crisp and are great for eating and cooking.

Cooking apples, like Bramley, Newton Wonder, and Grenadier (English varieties) are very sour and basically used just for cooking.

Tips for Working with Apples

  • Buy apples that are smooth and free of bruises.
  • If you are adding apples to fruit salad be sure to coat them with lemon or orange juice to prevent them from turning brown.
  • Apples will last longer if you store them in the refrigerator rather then leaving them on the counter top.
  • Put an apple in a paper bag with an avocado to help ripen the avocado.
  • A vegetable peeler works really well for peeling an apple.

How to Core an Apple

(In my Apple Crisp Video I demonstrate all the various ways one can core an apple.)

There are many ways to core an apple. You could slice around the core with a large knife.

Or you could use a melon baler to scoop out the core.

Or you could use an official apple corer. This odd looking utensil gets pushed down into the apple. (Be sure to leave the apple on the cutting board or you might end up coring the palm of your hand!)

Then you just pull out the core.

While people have preferences for different kinds, everybody loves apples!


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Pear and Blue Cheese Salad

print recipe card posted in Soups, Salads, Sides and Sauces, Vegetarian by Kathy Maister

In the movie Ratatouille, the little chef Remy rejoiced in discovering the pleasures of combining certain foods to maximize their flavors. He would have certainly done his happy dance after trying this Pear and Blue Cheese Salad!

When brought together on one plate, the five simple ingredients used in this recipe create an explosion of taste and texture that put it in my top five list of the best salads ever!

As true with many salads, you can adjust the amounts according to your tastes. To make enough for two people, I’m using:

  • 3 ounces of salad greens
  • 1 pear
  • 3 ounces of blue cheese
  • 1/4 cup of pecans
  • 2 Tablespoons of salad dressing

You can choose your favorite variety of pears, just make sure that it is really (really!) ripe.

I used Stilton blue cheese. There are many varieties of blue cheese available at the grocery store, all with a slightly different flavor; some much stronger than others. The price of blue cheese can vary dramatically depending on where it is from. If in doubt as to which one to buy, ask the person in charge of the cheese counter to explain them. They may even offer you a taste test!

Whole pecans look nice on the plate, but you can use chopped pecans as well.

A simple vinaigrette salad dressing is all you need for this salad. You can make it yourself or buy your favorite brand.

Slice the pear in half and remove the core. I used a small paring knife and a melon baller to remove the core.

Once the core is removed, you can cut the pear into slices or chunks. To add a bit of a fancy touch to the look, I cut the pear into slices, leaving 1/4 inch at the top uncut. You can then fan the pear out on the plate.

Assemble the salad right on the individual serving plate. Start with the lettuce, then add the pears. Crumble the blue cheese and dot it around the plate, then sprinkle on the pecans. Finally, drizzle on some salad dressing.

You can serve this salad with some crusty bread and a glass of wine.

Lunch is ready!


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