Smitten Kitchen

Apple Cake Recipe

by Anne Maxfield on September 4, 2017

accidental-locavore-slice-of-apple-cakeNow that we’re moving into apple season, it seemed like a good time to revisit this great apple cake.

Originally the idea of a fruit CSA had its appeal.

Apples and other fresh fruit, weekly when we picked up our regular CSA share at Poughkeepsie Farm Project.

Shared with friends since the Accidental Locavore knew 8 pounds of fruit was going to be too much.

Even 4 pounds is a lot of fruit, but this delicious apple cake will take six of them off your hands.

I’d seen this recipe on Smitten Kitchen and then my cousin called raving about this great apple cake she’d made. She was right!

accidental locavore apple cakeApple Cake Recipe

For the apples:

  • 6 apples, McIntosh or whatever looks good
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 5 tablespoons white or light brown sugar

For the cake:

  • 2 3/4 cups (360 grams) flour
    1 tablespoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon fine salt
    1 cup vegetable oil (or mix of butter, olive oil etc.)
    2 cups sugar
    1/4 cup orange juice
    2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    4 large eggs

accidental-locavore apples-for apple cakeHeat oven to 350°. Butter a tube pan (angel food, bundt).

Peel, core and chop apples into 1-inch chunks. Toss with cinnamon and 5 tablespoons sugar and set aside.

Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, orange juice, sugar, vanilla and eggs.

Mix wet ingredients into dry ones; scrape down the bowl to ensure all ingredients are incorporated.

accidental-locavore apple cake-assemblyPour half of batter into prepared pan. Spread half of apples (and their juices) over it. Pour the remaining batter over the apples and arrange the remaining apples on top.

Bake for about 1 1/2 hours, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool completely before running knife between cake and pan, and unmolding onto a platter. Serve and enjoy!

My verdict: Great apple cake! After we devoured a couple of slices of it, I cut it in quarters and stuck most of it in the freezer. Two days later, most of it has already been pulled from the freezer (not to worry, got more apples from the CSA). Slightly warmed up, it makes a great breakfast too! Now I’ve made it twice and it still hasn’t lasted a week.

I used a combo of McIntosh and Macon’s which worked well, you probably want to avoid the mushier apples like Delicious. Since we’re not an orange juice drinking household, I just bought an orange and juiced half of it.

The recipe calls for a cup of vegetable oil and suggests that you can use olive or coconut oil and/or butter. Because butter makes everything better, I used one stick of butter, melted and topped it off with vegetable oil. Might try an olive oil-butter mix the next time.

Update: Because of the plethora of apples, I ended up making this about five times. Olive oil was the least successful batch so I went back to butter and vegetable oil. Everyone who has made this or tasted it loves it. Give it a shot.






The Easiest Hot Chocolate Mix

by Anne Maxfield on January 29, 2015

Accidental Locavore Hot Chocolate MixIt’s taken the Accidental Locavore almost two years to de-tox from excessive amounts of hot chocolate. However, this year, it seem like I’m ready to get back into it. This recipe was on Smitten Kitchen (which I will forever think is Smitten Kitten…) and since I had the food processor out…Makes about 1 ½ cups of mix (which will give you about 9 cups of cocoa) and takes longer to assemble the ingredients, than it does to toss them together.

  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup cocoa powder (like Droste, or Scharffen Berger)
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until powdery. Store in a jar or airtight container.

Accidental Locavore Cocoa SuppliesTo use: heat a cup of milk in a small pan or microwave (about 2 minutes) until steamy. Add 3 tablespoons of the mix and stir really well until it’s melted and combined. Serve with marshmallows, whipped cream or just plain and enjoy!

My verdict: On first taste, the resemblance to Swiss Miss (or any other commercial cocoa mix) was pretty good—which in my book, is not a glowing recommendation. If that’s how you like your cocoa, go for it! I want mine richer, with darker chocolate and not so sweet. If you’ve ever been to Angelina’s in Paris, you’ll know what the gold standard is. What’s good about the recipe, is that you can easily tweak it. Next time I’ll be sure to use bittersweet chocolate (or the super bittersweet I just bought) instead of semi-sweet and I’ll cut back the sugar to 1/3 cup or less, since you can always add it back in if need be. And since I’ve been buying chocolate in 4 ounce bars, I might just toss the whole bar in. If you wanted, you could add some instant espresso, mint or chilles, just don’t try to sneak it by me, ok?

Update: Second batch used bittersweet chocolate and a better (darker) cocoa powder–much better!




Pickles Two Ways (Easy and Easier)

by Anne Maxfield on July 31, 2014

Accidental Locavore Pickles IWhen you’re two hours away from a decent pickle (think Gus’s in the city), your CSA has pickling cucumbers and all the dill you can pick, making your own sour pickles seems like a pretty good idea.

The Accidental Locavore found a couple of recipes that looked easy and interesting, so five pounds of cucumbers were quickly dispatched.

The first was a recipe for half-sours that I found on Fine Cooking. It was pretty simple, just requiring a little patience (something not normally on my top-ten list of attributes) to let them sit and become pickles. I made four quart jars and let them sit in the basement to cure.

Accidental Locavore Pickling CukesWhile I was waiting for them to ferment, I came across an intriguing recipe from Smitten Kitchen.

It was so quick and easy I just had to give it a shot. There were two decent sized cucumbers left from the five pounds, so I found a couple more jars and went to work.

For her recipe, all you do is thinly slice pickling cucumbers, put them in a jar with ½ cup of white vinegar and 5 teaspoons of kosher or pickling salt and a tablespoon or two of chopped dill.

Cover the jar, give it a good shake, and put it in the front of the refrigerator. Every time you open the fridge, shake the jar. Supposedly, they’re good after about 2 hours; I let mine sit overnight before tasting them.

Accidental Locavore Quick PicklesMy verdict: The Smitten Kitchen pickles were great! Couldn’t be easier, and I can’t wait to try them on a burger or our Cubanos. I added a smashed clove of garlic to each jar, but that’s optional. There are lots of ways you could vary them – different vinegars, pickling spice, different veggies (maybe lightly blanched). You should definitely give this a shot, it’s too easy and good not to! If you do a smaller recipe, like we did, with a couple of cucumbers, I would cut down the salt to maybe 3 teaspoons.

My half-sours were a bit more problematic. While they tasted like a good deli pickle, in the fermenting process mold developed on the top of the jars and sadly I had to dump them. When I was talking to Ethel at the farmers’ market about them, she and her associate thought that it was probably because they weren’t properly submerged. They suggested wadding up a piece of plastic wrap and putting it in the top of the jar to keep everything submerged. Since pickling cucumbers and dill are plentiful at my CSA, stay tuned, there will definitely be another batch coming soon.

Update: Now the really quick ones can always be found in my fridge. I use the 1/2 cup of vinegar, but only a scant tablespoon of salt. And, since I’ve discovered Kraut Source, the fermented pickles have come out great!




Ribbon Salad

by Anne Maxfield on June 12, 2014

Accidental Locavore Sliced SaladNow that we’re finally moving into warmer weather, the Accidental Locavore was idly looking for main-course salad ideas, just in case we should get bored by salad Niçoise. I saw this on Smitten Kitchen and it looked interesting. Having some iceberg lettuce on hand added impetus. I made the whole amount of dressing (which she says feeds 6), but scaled down everything else as I was just feeding myself. This is quick and none of the ingredients need cooking.

Accidental Locavore Oregano VinagretteOregano dressing

  • 4 cloves garlic, run through a garlic press
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano (preferably Sicilian, if you can find it)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (use the good stuff here)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (optional)


  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and sliced into paper-thin rings
  • 1/2 pound provolone, sliced 1/8-inch thick then cut into 1/4-inch ribbons
  • 1/2 pound salami, peeled, sliced 1/8-inch thick then cut into 1/4-inch ribbons
  • 4 pickled pepperoncini, sliced into rings
  • 3/4 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup marinated artichoke hearts, in ½” pieces
  • ½ cup pitted olives
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce, halved, cored, and cut in 1/2-inch ribbons
  • 1 head radicchio, halved, cored and cut in 1/4-inch ribbons
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano for garnish (optional)

Make the dressing: In a small bowl or jar mix the garlic, oregano, salt and ground pepper together to make a rough paste. Add the lemon juice, vinegar and mustard, if using. Mix with a fork. allowing the salt to dissolve, then add the oil and whisk with a fork until well combined. The dressing should be thick with garlic and oregano

Assemble the salad: Using the iceberg and radicchio as a base, top with the chickpeas, onions, provolone, salami, pepperoncini, tomatoes, artichoke hearts and olives. Top with the dressing and toss to combine. Adjust seasonings to taste, add the dried oregano as a garnish, serve and enjoy.

Accidental Locavore Salad to GoMy verdict: I made it as a composed salad and just dressed the lettuce, but that was mostly so it would photograph well. The dressing had way too much garlic and too much salt, so the next time I would probably cut the garlic down to two average-sized cloves and add more if needed. This was a good base salad to play with. Since I was home alone, the red onions were left out (and considering the excess of garlic, that was a smart move) and replaced with marinated artichoke hearts and olives, both of which were great. Also left out, the radicchio, since there wasn’t any in the house. Because I didn’t toss it all together, in the first few bites I got a lot of pepperoncini and found it gave everything a vaguely unpleasant taste.

The next day, I made a travel version for the train and added about another tablespoon of olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice and oregano to the leftover dressing. The salt was fine and the garlic, while strong, was under control. We’ve got lots of odds and ends of various salamis, which could easily get sliced up for this.  So use this as a guide to building your own incredible salad.