Apple Tortellini Salad


Part of the fun of planning a night of tasting with friends is reading up on the food that you’ve chosen. Our local library has shelves of books on food. Some volumes teach you how to cook. Others describe the cultivation of the plant. Some authors collect stories about food’s place in history, while others throw together pages of glossy photos with their accompanying recipes.

Kyle Nagurny’s thin book, Pennsylvania Apples: History & Culture, has a little bit of everything.  The end pages even provide addresses for where you might find local produce in the state.

Summer’s heat wave hasn’t even hinted at truly saying good-bye, so cool meals continue to be welcome. One morning, I had boiled some tortellini, so that in the heat of the afternoon or evening I wouldn’t have to stand over the stove. There were other leftovers and staple ingredients on the counter, in the cupboard, the freezer, and the crisper drawer of the refrigerator…at least enough to try out one of the recipes in Nagurny’s book.

Joel didn’t like it very much. I can’t blame it on the recipe, though, since I didn’t use the correct proportions. If there is a next time, I think it could work out better with stronger flavors and a thicker dressing.

Tortellini Apple Salad

Serves 8 (I served 2.)

3 T apple juice concentrate (I substituted juice from the can of Mandarin oranges.)
3 T honey
1 – 2 t apple cider vinegar

9 oz refrigerated cheese tortellini (I used Aldi’s shelf-stable try-color tortellini.)
3 apples, chopped (I only used one.)
2 c salad greens (I used iceberg lettuce.)
1 c drained Mandarin oranges (I only used 12 sections of the fruit.)
1/2 c chopped green onion (I only used the green part of one stalk.)
2 T chopped walnuts

Categories: Cheese, Food and drink, Salad, sauces & condiments | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Crockpot French Onion Soup

We had invited a group of friends over to taste apples and cheese. While that combination could be filling, I wanted to make sure that we had something of a complete meal when all was said in done, so I promised soup for anyone who might still be hungry.  Cheese was a source of protein, so a vegetarian soup would round out  things. Toasted cheese sandwiches paired with tomato soup is a classic combination and could have worked well. However, we decided on French Onion Soup.

A traditional recipe will tell you that you need to start off by sauteing your sliced onions.  This would mean standing over a hot stove and stirring the vegetables for 25 to 20 minutes, then adding your liquids and letting the soup simmer to develop the flavors.

With a heat advisory in effect, and only one window air conditioning unit, any action that might increase the temperature of the inside of our apartment was not encouraged. That in mind, I headed to the bookshelf to see if there might be a way to prepare French Onion Soup in a crockpot.

After scanning the table of contents and index pages of several cookbooks, I figured out the basic technique for the slow-cooking part and got some ideas of how to make it taste better by adding bay leaf as well as pouring in some white and Marsala cooking wines in the last few minutes.



3 cups sliced onion + 3 T softened butter

3 T flour

1 T Worcestershire + 1 t sugar + 1/4 t pepper

7 c beef broth

2-3 bay leaves

1 c white cooking wine

2 T Marsala cooking wine


Put the sliced onion and the butter into your crockpot. Toss them together, so that the onion rings separate and the butter coats most of them.  Set the crockpot on high. Place the cover on, and let the onions cook for 30-35 minutes.

Add the flour to the mixture, tossing the onions with a fork so that the flour is distributed somewhat evenly.

In a separate bowl, combine the Worcestershire, sugar, and pepper. Pour this over the onion-flour mixture. Add the beef broth. Place the bay leaves on top. Place the cover back on, and let the soup cook: 3-4 hours on high or 7-8 hours on low.  In the last 10 minutes, add the cup of white cooking wine. In the last 5 minutes, stir in the Marsala cooking wine.

French Onion Soup is tasty with a slice of crusty bread floating on top, which has cheese that has been broiled, but if it is a hot day, just slices of store-bought bread and a bowl of shredded cheese will also work out well.

After Tasting Apples & Cheese





Categories: Food and drink, Soup, Tasting, Vegetables | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sounded Gouda To Me

Starbucks is quite forward in their attempts to get you into their stores. Every day they send an email telling Starbucks Rewards account holders ways to earn extra bonus stars. Usually, I ignore the offer and send the email to the trash folder. This past weekend, however, the morning bonus offer was illustrated by a photo of a Gouda and Bacon breakfast sandwich. Rather than convincing me to make a trip to the nearest Starbucks, the photo inspired me to create my own sandwich at home.

scrambled eggs

Categories: bacon, Bread, Breakfast, Cheese, Food and drink, Sandwiches | Leave a comment

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