salted caramel apple galette with pink pearl and cortland heirloom apples

Fall makes me think of things like falling leaves and pumpkins and warm soups and apples.

Apples! Sure, we can get apples year round but we don’t always get apples like these. I was recently given a few apples to experiment with from Frieda’s – two different varieties that I had never heard of!

The Pink Pearl (left) and the Cortland (right).

Pink Pearls were developed in the 1940’s by a Northern California breeder while the Cortland was developed at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva in 1898.

As you can see, the Pink Pearl has pink overtones within the flesh of the apple. It’s got a slightly tart taste. It’s not like “Granny Smith OMG tart” either – a bit more mild with a touch of sweetness. The cortland is very white and crisp and much sweeter than it’s counterpart.

These unique heirloom apples will be available at local Sprouts stores starting October 17th, so you can get some of these beautiful apples for yourself!

I decided to take these beautiful apples to produce this: a salted caramel apple galette.

Want to go on a apple galette making journey with me?

Of course you do!

First things first… we need salted caramel sauce.

Oh, I suppose you could just cheat and buy a jar of sauce. They do make a really wonderful one at Trader Joe’s. But I was feeling rather down in the dumps that day due the radiator in my car bursting and causing my car to break down that I wanted to do something therapeutic: like baking and making caramel sauce from scratch.

Caramel sauce it actually quite easy. Sugar and water, into a pan, set it to shimmer. And don’t touch it! No stirring!

Okay, maybe I swirl it around a little… but that’s just to see how amber it’s getting.

All of those crazy bubbles get in the way, I tell you.

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banana cream pie with caramelized walnuts and grow bananas

I have a weird aversion to bananas. I think their texture is kind of weird. But I like them when they’re in stuff, so I’m not opposed to things like banana bread, or banana muffins or things like that. When I was contacted recently by a rep who offered me bananas, I thought, “Huh? Really? Bananas?”

I accepted the offer though and was able to learn more about the company behind Organics Unlimited and their program called GROW (Giving Resources and Opportunities to Workers). GROW helps fund programs for farm workers and their families in the areas where Organics Unlimited bananas are grown (in Mexico and Ecuador). These programs include scholarships, study groups, dental programs and vision exams. A portion of each purchased GROW box is donated to the GROW fund to help support these programs to bring educational and health care programs to these underdeveloped banana growing regions.

The bananas I received were from this GROW box – you can tell by the sticker placed on the bananas! GROW bananas are available at Jimbo’s Naturally stores and can sometimes be found in Sprouts, Ralphs, and OB People’s Food Store.

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with the bananas. So many ideas ran through my head; I got suggestions on Twitter and Facebook. Bread? Cookies? Pie? What?

I decided on making a pie. A banana cream pie. With caramelized walnuts.

Want a make a pie, too? Follow my instructions below.

Take photos of bananas in the yard.

Hope no one else is watching you take photos of bananas in the yard.

Proceed to bake a pie shell without properly tucking it into the pan.

Lament about how ugly your pie is going to look.

Sigh dramatically. Notice that no one else is around to hear you sigh dramatically. Repeat.

Make delicious vanilla custard stuff from scratch and feel slightly better about the ugly pie crust.

Slice the bananas. Think to yourself, “Organic bananas look just like regular bananas!” Laugh at self.

Decide to cut the bananas on a bias. Decide you should use the word “bias” more often.

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gluten free baked goods from butterfly bakery

I was recently sent samples of gluten free baked goods from the Butterfly Bakery. No, no, I’m gluten free or anything. I had actually asked if I could try the sugar-free goods, but I guess that just wasn’t going to happen and a few weeks later I got these gluten free baked goods in the mail.

I’m very skeptical of gluten free products and if they’ll taste good or not. Since I’m perfectly okay with eating up glutens, I really tend to shy away from gluten free stuff since well, I don’t really need or want to eat them. But hey, I’ll still try things.

I was sent two products to try:

The sliced plain vanilla creme cake and…

banana walnut mini muffins.

[Vanilla Creme Cake Facts & Ingredients]

Both products are made with 100% teff flour – which is a very small grain, about the size of a poppy seed.

[Banana Nut Muffin Facts]

I’ll admit now that I know nothing about teff flour. Or about gluten free products. Let’s just consider this a taste test from a non-gluten person to you.

I had a furry little helper with me while I was taking photos and taste testing the products. I guess this was a sniff test. Sniff test was approved and I was able to move on to the next step.

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kona coffee company / hillcrest – san diego, ca

I’ve had kind of a love and hate relationship with coffee the past few months. I like to have coffee, but for awhile, I was unable to have it at all. It really tended to tie my stomach up in knots and drinking a cup of coffee made my stomach unhappy for a whole day. I laid off the stuff for awhile until I started taking probotics on a regular basis to help ease my stomach woes. I’m happy to say and coffee and I are friends again.

It was fortuitous then that I was invited to come to Kona Coffee Company in Hillcrest to try out what they had to offer. I was still a little wary of coffee at this point, but I had slowly started to partake of the fragrant beverage again and was hoping my stomach would be amieable enough for the ride. Jake and T were with me for this particular adventure. Jake isn’t a fan of coffee really and neither are most teenagers (T included). But I was hoping there would be enough here for them as well and happily there was.

We had a small snafu in the beginning as the manager gave me a blank look when I told her why we were there. But, after everything got cleared up, we were well taken care of. I let the manager make us whatever she wanted us to try.

[Outside of Kona Coffee Company from across the street]

The Kona Coffee Company in Hillcrest is one of the few shops in town that will offer you a 100% Kona coffee (french pressed for you, no less). They also offer 35% Kona blend at a lower price. I started off the day with the blend.

[35% Kona Coffee Blend]

I kept it simple and added milk and Splenda to my coffee. I’m not good at describing coffee flavors, but this had a bold and somewhat rich flavor. It wasn’t too bitter tasting with just one package of Splenda in this large mix of coffee which I liked.

[Hawaiian Mocha – espresso, milk, Ghirardelli chocolate, banana, coconut flavor, ground cinnamon and topped with whipped cream, coconut flakes and a sprinkle of cinnamon]

I’ve never had a mocha quite like this one – this one goes beyond just a dash of chocolate in your coffee drink! This is filled with intense flavors, giving the mocha a very tropical taste and feeling with the coconut and banana flavors in the mix. It’s also quite sweet – the mix of flavors and chocolate made this a rich, chocolately drink – enough to make you forget that it even has any espresso in the mix. The cinnamon rounds out the flavor nicely giving it a nice heat and spice that I really enjoyed. Jake and T also enjoyed this one, so it was winner for the coffee and non-coffee drinkers alike.

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