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Sundays in the Me and Martha series is dedicated to Family Time. This Sunday was even better because it’s a holiday weekend (Matt and I took Columbus Day off) and also Alyssa is in town for the weekend. It’s been a packed weekend and since we will be at the Stare Fair of Texas all day Monday, you probably won’t hear from me again until Tuesday.
We watched movies, shopped, and ate lots of yummy foods. I thought I’d share a couple of recipes from Martha Stewart’s book Special Occasions. This one is a little over 20 years old. It gives you full menu ideas for different celebrations throughout the year (Easter, Fourth of July, Graduation). I thought I’d pull a couple of recipes out that would be fun this time of year. I chose the rustic artichoke & shallot puff pastry appetizer and also an apple tart.
The puff pastry recipe was easy enough. We don’t eat a lot of artichoke. I had to use frozen and I think it would have turned out better with fresh but they were still really yummy!
What I LOVED about this dish is that, of course, I used my fall cookie cutters! And I also loved the puff pastry. SO easy to work with and makes your appetizer look so elegant. I had never used it before. I will most definitely use it again. We still have half a box left and I’m going to make breakfast puff pastries this week. Bacon and egg and cheese on tops of some cut out pastry. I think the kids will love it.
The second recipe we tried was the apple tart (we made ours more of an apple pie because I don’t have a tart pan but still…). We will DEFINITELY make this one again. It’s all simple ingredients and EASY. The girls started by peeling and quartering a bag of granny smith apples.
We put 3 apples aside for the topping. Once the girls finished peeling and quartering the apples, I put them in a pan and we coated them with sugar and lemon juice and butter (the amount the recipe called for). They roasted at a low temp for 2.5 hours. Once they were done, I let them cool then blended them up. Martha said use a food mill or food processor. I don’t have either of those, so I used the blender! lol, it worked fine. You could also just use your potato smasher because I think lumps might be a good thing if you are NOT determined to make this a traditional tart. After I pureed the apples, we dumped them in the prebaked pie crust (there are also directions on simple pie crusts in the book – we bought the premade dough and put it in our own pie plate). Last, we thinly sliced the remaining peeled apples and placed them on top. We broiled the whole thing for around 10 minutes then coated the top with the apricot glaze. The glaze was so easy. It was apricot jam, brandy (which we sub apple juice for) and lemon juice. It turned out LOVELY. I mean, seriously! We were all like, we totally made that and it’s beautiful!
We paired it with vanilla ice cream (still no blue bell here in Texas, but it’s coming soon) and a great card game. If you love the tartness of granny smith apples this is the dessert for you! My kids loved it. I’m not a big apple person but I even liked it. I think we will definitely make this again and I’ll try it with a sweeter variety of red apple and maybe even add a little cinnamon. If it were up to the rest of the fam, they wouldn’t change a thing.
I love preparing food with my family and then sitting down to enjoy it together. When you look at the pages of many of Martha Stewart’s entertaining books, they can be SO intimidating. But I studied several in this book and found ones that we had 99% of the ingredients and that weren’t too complicated and went for it. You can even modify them slightly to fit your family’s tastes. The important part is finding something new (or a new process) and trying and also including the fam. Win, win. (recipe pic below…)