Let’s face it kids, winter’s upon us. It’s going to snow this weekend. Saying goodbye to the warmer season can be difficult in the diet-shifting arena and the cravings you may have had a month ago may be manifesting itself as a confused lump of indecision in front of the refrigerator, at that “I really shouldn’t be eating anything else this late” hour. I encountered this issue last night, as I scavenged for my post-dinner mini-meal. I wanted something comforting, warm, potentially sweet, but not hot chocolate – tryin’ to watch my girlish figure – I wanted savory, but not salty. I eventually identified the desire to have an apple, yet that didn’t completely appeal to me because I was cold. Thus, my brainchild came to life:
5-Minute Apple Delight Stew
1 apple (a hard variety, like Fuji), cut into chunks- peeling optional
3 Tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon each:
a pinch of cayenne pepper
1 Tablespoon ground quinoa grain (flour, really. I ground it in the food processor, so it’s not as fine as flour)
1-2 Tablespoons honey (Buckwheat has a nice, dark color and strong, malty flavor- a change from clover)
Put apple chunks into a microwavable glass bowl, along with the water, cinnamon, curry and quinoa.
Cover and microwave on High for 4-5 minutes, or until apples are cooked through, but not killed. Remove from the microwave and mix in the honey, stirring until the whole mixture is completely blended.
Voila, it’s a perfect wintery dessert!
Additions and Variations:
Substitute pear for the apple
Make it more savory by adding salt and sage instead of cinnamon
Add other ingredients, like berries, pumpkin/squash or even garlic or onion!
Bake in a conventional oven if you don’t need immediate sustenance. 375° for 20 minutes should do the trick.
Here is another easy recipe that, if you happen to have a giant bag of frozen pumpkin chunks that you prepared last fall sitting in your freezer. I strongly recommend cutting up one of your post-halloween pumpkins and doing this. It’s nice to have fresh pumpkin readily available. You can also have homemade pepitas! Anyway, this recipe calls for white wine. I used Retsina, which is a Greek pine resin-infused wine that is very strong-bodied and strong-flavored. It is somewhat reminiscent of gasoline. I used it in the recipe because I don’t like it enough to drink. It added a really nice touch to this dish, however! You can pick up an inexpensive 750ml bottle for about 7 bucks if you want to experiment. To play it on the safe side, use a chardonnay or a sauvignon blanc instead.
1 package skinless/boneless chicken thighs (about 2 lbs), cut into bite-size chunks or left whole
2 cups peeled and cubed pumpkin flesh
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves
2-3 celery stalks, chopped
several sage leaves, slivered and then halved
Fresh Turmeric root, grated *optional
water – 2-3 tablespoons
white wine – 1/2 cup (I used Retsina)
Cover your toaster oven pan with aluminum foil (If you are of the mind that cooking with aluminum is bad, leave it out and have more scrubbing to do later). Coat foil with oil spray.
Arrange the chicken pieces, pumpkin, onion, garlic, celery, turmeric and sage leaves onto the pan, mixing enough to have cohesion.
Drizzle the wine and water over the mixture, then sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste.
Finally, spray with olive oil and cover, but don’t seal, with foil.
Bake at 375º for 30 minutes (might need more, don’t exactly remember)