No, A-Man and I did not just eat root vegetables and cake for dinner one night. We had another potluck at Church, and these were my contributions.
Both dishes are very rustic. Both are probably better suited for Autumn, but root vegetables and apples store well, so… eh. Break the recipes out for Winter.
The vegetables would really be nothing without the cranberries. Don’t skip them. You’ll thank me. They add just the perfect burst of tart-sweetness that finishes off the dish.
And the cake is far more moist than you’d expect. That comes from letting the cake sit a couple of days before digging in. The liquid from the apples seeps down into the cake layers and juices them up. A-Man doesn’t particularly like molasses cakes or cookies, but he said this cake was “pretty good.” At least try it is all I’m sayin’. If nothing else, it’s pretty enough for company, right?
And since Ruthie prefers the step-by-step guide, and was the only person to respond, I’ll keep with that format for now. I’m still figuring out my style, so we’ll see how things evolve over the next ten months.
Balsamic Root Vegetables
from Southern Living Magazine
1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 pound parsnips, peeled and cubed
1 pound carrots, peeled and cubed
2 large red onions, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Combine parsnips, carrots, onions, and cranberries in a lightly greased 6-qt. slow cooker.
Layer sweet potatoes over top.
Whisk together sugar, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
Pour over vegetable mixture, but do not stir. Cover and cook on HIGH 4 to 5 hours or until vegetables are tender. Toss with parsley just before serving.
Apple Stack Cake
from Classic Southern Desserts
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
4 cups flour (whole wheat or all-purpose)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup molasses
2-1/2 teaspoons sugar
18 ounces dried apples
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer 2 minutes or until creamy. Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar, beating 5 to 7 minutes. Add egg, beating until yellow disappears.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Stir together buttermilk and molasses in a large measuring cup.
Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition.
Divide dough into 5 equal portions; place each portion in a 9-inch round greased and floured cake pan (clearly I had to use a pie plate because I somehow don’t own any cake pans). Firmly press with floured fingers into pan.
Prick dough several times with a fork.
Sprinkle each layer evenly with 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes or until golden brown. (Only bake layers on 1 rack at a time.) Repeat procedure as needed to bake in pans. Remove layers from pans to wire racks, and cool completely.
Meanwhile, stir together apples and 6 cups of water in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until tender. Stir in sugar and spices. Return mixture to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 to 15 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Let cool completely.
Spread 1-1/2 cups apple filling between each layer to within 1/2 inch of edge, beginning and ending with a cake layer. (Save your prettiest cake layer for the top.) Loosely cover cake, and let stand 2 days at room temperature.