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Saturday, September 8, 2018

EASY Puff Pastry Apple Roses for Rosh Hashanna!

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This post is for everyone who thinks they can't make Puff Pastry Apple Roses- If I can do it - and I am not known as "Ms. CraftFail 1959" for nothing- you can do it! I am NOT "crafty", and most of the things I have tried to make based on Pinterest pins and Video Tutorials have turned into Epic #PinterestFail messes. But this one actually worked- and on the first try, too! Puff Pastry Apple Roses seem to be this year's "Hot Desert" for Rosh Hashanna (Jewish New Year), when it's traditional to eat apples and honey to usher in a sweet new year, and there are at least a dozen recipes, tutorials, and videos on the web showing how to make them, but most are professionally photographed, and, while gorgeous to look at, incredibly intimidating in their perfection! This recipe, on the To Simply Inspire blog, sounded easy and actually do-able: https://www.tosimplyinspire.com/apple-rose-puffed-pastries.html#comment-426815  and it is where I started from...
Ingredients:
  • 1 box of Pillsbury Puff Pastry (Yes, you can make your own puff pastry, but this is for people like me who won't. LOL) The box contains 2 packs of dough. I made 6 roses using one pack. You can make 12 roses at once, or make 6 and keep the other pack in the fridge or freezer.
  • 3 red apples for one pack of dough
  • Lemon Juice
  • Flour to dust your work surface
  • Apricot Preserves
  • Butter for greasing the Muffin Tin or Ramekins
  • Sugar & Cinnamon (aka Cinnamon-Sugar LOL)
  • Powdered Sugar for dusting

Tools: 
  • Sharp Knife, Spoon
  • Rolling Pin
  • Melon-Baller to scoop out the seeds from the apples
  • Mandoline to slice the apples thinly
  • Microwave to gently par-cook the apple slices
  • Muffin Tin or Ramekins
The first thing you do is halve and core the apples- you want red apples, so the edges of your rose petals are red. :-)  I used a "melon-baller" to scoop out the seeds, and then cut the ends off with a knife. Three apples will give you more than enough slices for 6 roses.

The next thing you do is slice the apples very thinly, using a Mandoline. Yes, you can do this with a knife, but unless you have the Knife Skills of an Iron Chef they probably won't be thin and perfect, and for this you want thin and perfect. A cheap plastic Mandoline with a good, sharp blade (be Careful when using it!) is one of The best kitchen tools to have around...

Slice all the apples thinly, and, as you slice them, IMMEDIATELY put them in a bowl with water and a little lemon juice, so they won't turn brown! Toss the apple slices gently in the lemon water to make sure they all get coated.

Microwave the bowl of apples and lemon water for about 5 minutes, tossing them gently in the lemon water every minute or so, until the slices are soft enough to roll. You don't want them mushy, but they have to be soft, or you will not be able to roll them up into roses.



Flour your flat rolling surface and lay your cool (defrosted) Puff Pastry out on it. You need the pastry dough to be cool in order to work with it, so if it starts to get warm and sticky, pop it into the freezer for a few minutes or the fridge.
Using a rolling pin, roll out the Puff Pastry until it's a large, thin rectangle. Cut off any wavy edges so it's straight.
 Cut the Puff Pastry into 6 even strips.
 Spoon the Apricot Preserves on each strip of Puff Pastry.
Drain the apple slices and cut each one in half. 
Place the slices, slightly overlapping them, as shown, all along the edge of the Puff Pastry strip, with the red edges of the apples sticking out a bit over the edge of the pastry.
Fold the Puff Pastry up over the apple slices as shown. 
Starting at one end, quickly roll it up like a jelly roll- and you will have a rose! Don't try to roll it tightly- just roll it gently, but quickly.
A Puff Pastry Rose!

Voila! A Puff Pastry Rose! Isn't that the cutest thing ever? :-)











Immediately put each Rose in a BUTTERED muffin tin, or into porcelain baking ramekins. I found they fit perfectly into our trusty old muffin tin. (If you don't butter the tin or ramekins the pastry may stick, and it will be impossible to get them out).

Cinnamon-Sugar Dusted Roses

Dust each one with cinnamon-sugar:







Bake then for 40-45 minutes in a pre-heated oven. I baked them at 375F for the first 10 minutes, and then at 350F for the last 30 minutes. (Everyone's oven and pans are different, so bear that in mind!)

When done, this is what they looked like!




 Once they are cool, pop them out and put them on plates or in ramekins to serve them. (If you bake them in porcelain ramekins, you can serve them like that, straight from the oven- just sprinkle with powdered sugar and go!)
I heated them in the microwave right before serving, and then sprinkled them with powdered sugar, and we served them with a bit of caramel sauce on the side!

They came out so well, in fact, that we served them as a special treat to our Elkhorn Inn Dinner Guests and they loved them- and wanted the recipe! :-)

I can think of a number of interesting variations you could try with different fruits- and I want to try it with veggies like squash or beets- anything you could slice really thin and get soft enough to roll would probably work- and make savory ones!  Maybe using pesto instead of the preserves???

Have you made these yet? Let me know how they came out in the comments- and if you have a really funny "Fail", let me see that, too!



Friday, August 17, 2018

ATV fun YEAR 'ROUND in McDowell Co,. #AlmostHeaven West Virginia!


Elkhorn Inn ATV Guests!
ATVing from the Elkhorn Inn!
ATVing home to the Elkhorn Inn...


Believe it or not, one of the main reasons Dan and I chose to save and restore the historic "Coal Heritage Trail" building we would open as the Elkhorn Inn, and move to McDowell Co., WV, is because we love to ATV! And as Dan is 72 and I'm 59, we (and our guests) can attest to the fact that ATVing is NOT just for kids! AND as it's LEGAL to ride ATVs and UTVs on the roads here, we- and our Elkhorn Inn guests- can ride right from the Elkhorn Inn to the trails- and in addition to the famed Hatfield McCoy Trails, (their "Indian Ridge Trailhead" in Ashland, WV is only 8 miles from the Elkhorn Inn), there are literally HUNDREDS of miles of FREE trails throughout McDowell County! There are wonderful places to ride to where you can have a glorious picnic up on a mountain top, such as Miracle Mountain Wilderness Park, which has a gorgeous lookout, a beautiful 1940s log cabin, and a nearby koi pond! There are waterfalls to enjoy, fun mud puddles to splash through, interesting and historic small towns to ride through, such as Gary, War, Elbert, Filbert, Crumpler, Matoaka, and Beartown, and deer, wild turkeys, goats, and even bears to see! There are wildflowers and butterflies in the spring and summer, and cattails and magnificent "leaf-peeping" in the fall! There are even fun places to stop for a bite to eat along the way! This spring we ATVed to the place we call "Ramp Mountain", and dug ramps on the mountainside so we could make Pickled Ramps and Ramp Pesto, and we recently went ATVing several times to pick wild blackberries, and got so many that Chef Dan and I not only made Wild Blackberry Cordial and Sorbet, and Wild Blackberry-Ancho BBQ Sauce, but we also put up several gallons of Wild Blackberry Wine! You can Railfan on your ATV, "leaf-peep" the gorgeous fall colors, AND you can even ATV to the Golf Course- Black Wolf Links near Gary, WV! There are SO many great places to ATV here that I can't begin to list them all, but below are photos of some of our favorites for year 'round fun- this is TRULY "Four Seasons Country"!  
Call the Elkhorn Inn at 304-862-2031 or 1-800-708-2040 for reservations, and come on down!
Spring: ATVing to dig ramps up (and down) on "Ramp Mountain" in April:
Elisse digging ramps!
Pulling each other out of the mud!


Ramps!
Ramp diggin' Chef Dan!
Somewhere in McDowell County!

 Summer: ATVing to pick wild berries!

Berry-pickin' Dan!
Picking wild blackberries!

ATV wild berry-picking!


And blueberries!


YUM!
Summer fun: Miracle Mountain and other places...
Log Cabin at Miracle Mountain
 
Koppers Store, Capels, WV



Elbert, WV


Beartown, WV
Gary Coal Diggers Museum


Welch, WV

Kimball, WV

Gary, WV

Waterfall near "Ziggy's"


An adventure!

An obstacle!

Northfork, WV

Ashland, WV Company Store

Stopping for a hamburger at "ATV Rider's Paradise"
Lunch on the trail!



The Elkhorn Inn...
ATVing up on the mountain...
Bramwell, WV Train Station Museum
YES, YOU CAN ATV TO THE GOLF COURSE!
A bite to eat at the "Pinnacle Beach" Cafe!





Matoaka, WV


Wild goats!
Mud!

A picnic on the mountain top...

Miracle Mountain look-out
A painting in the Miracle Mountain cabin...
The Heart-Shaped Koi Pond near Miracle Mountain...
Dan and Elisse at the Miracle Mountain look-out
Miracle Mountain

More mud!
Up on the mountain...



An old coal tipple...
War, WV
Railfanning via ATV!

Wild turkey!

Frog Rock!


Fall: Leaf-peeping and picking cattails!



Beartown, WV

Picking cattails for fall decor!
Crumpler, WV



ATVers and trains at the Elkhorn Inn
(c) John Sagert











Elkhorn Inn's January ATV Guests!







Winter: ATVing on the Hatfield McCoy Trails with our Elkhorn Inn Guests in January! 

Yes, you can ATV here in JANUARY!











Call the Elkhorn Inn at 304-862-2031 or 1-800-708-2040 for reservations, and come on down!