Harvest Apple Chai Muffins

Eat Well Edibles Recipe

Autumn is my season, and back home in the Wisconsin, it’s the most splendid season of all.

One of the traditions I miss most is driving north along country roads to the rolling, tree-dotted hills of The Little Farmer Orchard in Pipe. Rows and rows of apple trees as far as the eye can see. Twisted branches stretching skyward like gnarly fingers, each drooping slightly under the weight of juicy, white-fleshed Cortlands. A dazzling display of autumnal beauty.

Memories of these orchard afternoons are always on my mind come October. An apple-y sweet does nicely to satisfy some of the nostalgic longings. Traditionally this is an apple crisp with vanilla and lots of walnuts, but this year I dreamed up a spiced multi-grain apple muffin instead. (There’s still plenty of apple season to bake a tray of that crisp.)

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Maple Fig Shortbread Bars

Eat Well Edibles Recipe

There is a definite seasonal urgency to cooking, especially this time of year. One minute you’re on top of the game, the next Mother Nature snatches away your favorite ingredients without warning. Removing her wrench from my plans is where you will currently find me.

Originally conceived to capture the final harvest of fresh figs, our tree took an early holiday, and has since been put to bed. But I’m a sucker for fig cookies, and darned if this setback was going to impede my weekly baking therapy — dried, it is!

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Multi-Grain + Seed English Muffins

Eat Well Edibles Recipe

With a little advance planning and patience, but not too much, homemade English muffins enhance any simple morning (or afternoon or evening) at home (or picnic or other gathering)!

This recipe, modified to our liking over many years, has become our standard. Replete with whole grains and seeds, it’s the fluffy comfort classic sneakily made healthier.

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Cream Scones with Fresh Figs, Cardamom and Black Pepper

Eat Well Edibles Grow Well Recipe

Nine years ago this September, my parents and I set off in the early morning hours down the interstate. Minneapolis — grad school + dietetic internship — or bust. Suitcases, boxes, and bags filled with far too many belongings for my new garden-level studio were deftly organized into the two cars by my father, our packing engineer. Thoughtfully, he left enough room for myself, a very large coffee, and a parting gift from my mother: her extra copy of The Fannie Farmer Cookbook.

Being in the kitchen is more than a passion and reminder of loved ones who helped make it so, but, for me, also a stress reliever. And though my subterranean shoebox boasted nothing beyond the basics — refrigerator, sink, an appropriately tiny gas oven/stove, and literally zero counter space — cooking, along with walks and the best café miel, was my delicious escape from reality. My smart mum, she just knew that Marion Cunningham’s classic would keep me well fed. And sane.

Fannie and I got on instantly, and she remains an anchor cookbook to this day. I have made so many of her recipes, both as printed and as variations on a theme, with honestly not one failure. Or at least not a failure on her part — burning my palm almost to the third degree on a metal skillet handle and destroying its contents was not instructed. The signs of heavy use are plain to see in the cracked spine (apologies, lots of love), spattered pages (decoration), scribbled notes (words of praise), and the occasional small cloud of flour that falls when opened to certain pages (baking pixie dust).

Scone cut-outs_HGN

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Peach and Basil Buttermilk Kuchen (Cake)

Eat Well Edibles Grow Well Recipe

Back in the summer between my junior and senior year I visited a handful of countries in Europe with our high school German Club. We spent a whirlwind week and a half in and out of two coach buses exploring cities, touring castles and cathedrals, admiring artistic masterpieces, and literally shouting from the mountaintops. The second half of our visit was an immersion of sorts, each student living with a different family in a village south of Frankfurt in southern Hesse, Germany.

On instruction from our teacher, talk with our host families and at school was to be a learning experience, and therefore strictly in German. Shy and not at all conversationally confident in this second language, my host father and older brother were gracious enough to bend the rules and intersperse a good bit of English into our interactions. My host mother, on the other hand, was either as timid as me, valued her silence, or couldn’t speak much English, as we seldom spoke more than a few sentences at a time. Still, she headlines my fondest memories under their roof.

Every morning I would help her prepare the lunches she sent my “brother” Ralf and me off to school with. Always the same: 1 or 2 small ripe nectarines, and a simple sandwich on toasted wheat bread with thin slices of a pale gold cheese, giant homegrown basil leaves, no condiments. I couldn’t have tore into the identical contents of those brown paper bags any more excitedly. No doubt it had a lot to do with that I’m in Germany thing, but there was something special about this combination, the tastes and aromas heightened from being kept in my warm backpack until break.

To this day the pairing of basil with nectarine, any stone fruit, is totally my jam, and one I riff on frequently during the summer. Living where we do, we have an easier time finding quality peaches (same went for former locales on the Gulf in FL and TX for whatever reason), so it’s the one I turn to most. Besides that, peaches are a little sweeter and more intensely flavored than their fuzz-free cousins, which makes them perfect for creating recipes with less sugar.

Peach basil cake_prebake

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