Toasted Quinoa & Farm Vegetable Soup
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When I saw this recipe in Cooking Light magazine, I just knew I would love it! I am a big fan of veggie soup and this recipe allows a lot of room for creative alterations. What really caught my attention was the technique of toasting the ever-popular quinoa grain. I had never heard of that before! I decided to make a batch and include Eckert’s home grown squash instead of celery root, and I also tossed in some Eckert’s homegrown garlic that I had curing in my pantry.

After sampling the soup to our classroom team, we came to the consensus that this recipe needed to be part of our Holiday Wine and Food class. This soup is an excellent pair for Sauvignon Blanc and we just happened to have one in our wine lineup for the class. Most Sauvignon Blancs have herbaceous notes and as a result they pair well with veggie dishes ranging from steamed asparagus to summer salads. Sauvignon Blanc is my go-to summer patio wine because I find it refreshing on a hot day with lighter summer meals. I am thrilled to have discovered this pairing with a soul-warming soup. 

Another bonus about this recipe is that it’s gluten-free and vegan. You can make this recipe for friends and family members following these special diets but I can guarantee it will also appeal to your whole guest list. I can’t wait to see what our classroom guests think about our version of Toasted Quinoa & Farm Vegetable Soup!

Eat well this holiday season,

Angie

Toasted Quinoa & Farm Vegetable Soup

1 cup uncooked quinoa*
2 Tbsp. olive oil
¼ cup small diced onion
¼ cup small diced carrot
¼ cup small diced bell pepper
4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. minced fresh rosemary leaves (or 1/2 tsp. crushed dried)
¾ tsp. ground cumin
6 to 7 cups unsalted vegetable broth, divided
¼ cup small diced unpeeled gold or russet potato
¼ cup diced peeled sweet potato
½ cup large diced Eckert’s peeled butternut squash
½ cup small diced zucchini
½ cup thinly sliced Brussels sprouts
½ tsp. kosher salt, optional
¼ cup roughly chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Spread quinoa in a thin layer on a rimmed baking sheet; roast until lightly browned about 20 to 25 minutes; stirring every 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside. 

 

 

Pinot Noir Cherry Bruschetta

Happy December All! After baking 14,000 pies in our bakery last week my mind has officially shifted to full-blown Christmas mode. I must admit here I had a lot of help from my 12 year old daughter with the transition. I was ready to crash and she had a bee in her bonnet to get the house fully decked and two live trees decorated to the hilt. Needless to say, the holiday season has arrived in full force at the House of Eckert thanks to Ella. 

This week in the cooking classroom, we are getting ready for another one of my favorite classes here at Eckert’s, our annual Holiday Wine and Food Class! This class is so popular we host it two nights and it is the perfect time to celebrate delicious food and wine pairings with friends. Yesterday, Lana, my dad and I tried a variety of foods with wines and I think we are very close to a perfectly paired menu.

One of the recipes I am really excited about is called Pinot Noir Cherry Bruschetta and I found it on a blog site called barefootwine.com. But as always with recipes we are inspired by in the classroom, we put an Eckert’s spin on the details. This recipe uses Pinot Noir wine to create a savory sauce for the cherries. I fell in love with the idea of a cherry topping for goat cheese and crusty bread, who wouldn’t? This delicious appetizer and a glass of jammy Pinot Noir are downright delightful!

 If you are making this recipe at home, be sure to use our frozen sweet cherries from Eckert’s produce department. They are grade one fruit and they are frozen quickly to lock in the maximum fruit flavor just after harvest. We used sweet cherries but our tart cherries are also super popular with cherry pie bakers.

I can’t wait to see what our classroom guests think of this appetizer and wine pairing. I think it might be my favorite of the night!!

Eat and drink well this holiday season,

Angie

Pinot Noir Cherry Bruschetta

2 Tbs. unsalted butter
2 Tbs. minced onion
½ cup finely chopped pecans
¼ tsp. dried crushed thyme leaves (or ½ tsp. minced fresh)
¼ tsp. dried finely crushed rosemary leaves (or ½ tsp. minced fresh)
1 Tbs. Eckert’s Pure Honey
2 cups Nature Blessed Individually Quick Frozen Dark Sweet Cherries slightly defrosted and drained*
¼ cup Pinot Noir wine
Fresh thyme leaves for garnish, optional
4 ounces fresh goat cheese, remove from refrigerator about 20 minutes before using
1 Eckert’s Bake at Home French Bread, sliced ½-inch thick (about 30 slices)

Cherry Compote:

1.      In a 10-inch skillet, melt butter over medium heat.
2.      Add onions and cook about 2 minutes or until they start to soften.
3.      Add pecans, spices and honey. Stir to combine.
4.      Turn heat to medium high and add cherries; cook until cherries are soft about 4 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Use kitchen scissors to cut cherries in half. Note: Seems more logical to cut cherries in half before adding to the mixture. May release a little more juice; however, I suggested draining juice in ingredients listing.
5.      Stir in wine. Increase heat to medium high for 2 to 3 minutes.
6.      Cook mixture until liquid cooks down to a syrupy texture about 4 to 5 minutes. Stir during this cooking time.
7.      Remove from heat.
Yield: about 1 cup.

Bruschetta:

1.      Take a slice of baguette, thinly (if using 4 ounce package) spread on soften goat cheese. Top with a spoonful of cherry compote.
2.      Garnish with a couple fresh thyme leaves.
Makes about 30 appetizers.
Can make Cherry Compote 2 or 3 days before serving; cover and refrigerate. Appetizers can be assembled 3 hours before serving. Serve at room temperature.

 *Note: If the cherries are totally defrosted there is lots of juice. Takes too long to cook down. And the cherries cook so long they lose their identity. Draining helps this problem.

Caramel Apple Walnut Pie

It‘s pies, pies and more pies at Eckert’s this week!! We have begun our round-the-clock shifts for our annual baking for QuickTrip convenient stores, pie fundraisers sales and Thanksgiving pie pickups. The sweet aroma of pie baking is permeating every nook and cranny at Eckert’s Country Store, I think even the commuters on Highway 15 can catch a whiff of our pies as they drive by!

This is the time of year I literally have sweet dreams about the nearly 10,000 pies we will be preparing at Eckert’s. Even in my subconscious state I am thinking about making, baking and boxing pies. Last night I dreamt about a Caramel Apple Walnut Pie and so here it is! This sticky sweet version of a classic apple pie will impress every guest at your Thanksgiving gathering.  

As always I am using Eckert’s frozen pie shells as my base. We still have some homegrown Eckert’s apples in the Country Store and I chose Granny Smith because the tartness will complement the sweetness of the caramel (other varieties­ of tart apples can be substituted).­

This week on Show Me St. Louis, I demonstrated how easy it is to assemble this delicious pie. I hope you will give it a try soon….. and don’t forget to add a heaping scoop of Eckert’s Frozen Custard!

With the Thanksgiving holiday around the corner, I want to take the opportunity to thank you for reading the Eckert Family Blog. Our family is grateful for you and your interest in feeding your families with fresh and local ingredients. We wish you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Eat well this holiday season,

Angie

Caramel Apple Walnut Pie

2 unbaked Eckert’s 9 ½-inch frozen pie crusts, defrosted (Reserve 1 empty aluminum pie pan to cover baking pan after 30 minutes).
1 jar (12 ¼ -ounce) Stonewall Kitchen Sea Salt Caramel Sauce, divided (or other similar brand)
2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
8 cups baking apples, peeled, cored, sliced ¼-inch (6 to 8 medium)
½ cup packed brown sugar
2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp. milk, divided
1 tsp. granulated sugar
8 scoops Eckert’s frozen vanilla custard

Preheat oven to 400-degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a 2-cup mixing bowl, mix ½ cup caramel sauce topping with 2 tablespoons flour. Spread evenly over uncooked bottom pie crust. Set pie crust aside.

In a large 4-quart bowl, mix apples, brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Spoon apple mixture over caramel covered bottom pie crust. Sprinkle with walnuts. Set aside.

On a lightly floured surface gently roll top pie crust to about 10 inches in diameter. Cut 4 to 5 slits in top crust to allow steam to escape.   Brush edges of the bottom crust with ¼-teaspoon milk.

Place top crust over apples. Flute edges. Brush top crust with remaining milk. Sprinkle with granulated sugar.

Bake 60 to 70 minutes or until apples are tender and crust is golden brown. (After 30 minutes of bake time, cover the entire pie with the empty reserved aluminum pan to prevent overbrowning). Cool 2 hours before serving.

In a 1-cup microwave proof measuring cup, microwave remaining ½-cup caramel topping on medium about 30 to 45 seconds. Stir. Add additional 10 to 20 seconds until warm.

Cut slices of pie and top with  Eckert’s Frozen Custard. Drizzle the remaining Caramel Topping over custard.

Serves 8. 

Dark Chocolate Mulled Wine Sauce

With the election behind us, my mind has fully shifted into holiday mode! We have our annual Holiday Open House at Eckert’s Country Store coming up soon. Our team has been busy as bees decorating trees, stringing lights and unboxing some of the cutest holiday décor ever. From soaps to salsa we gotcha covered for Christmas gifts!

I can’t wait for Thursday, November 17th to host 12 of our vendors, wine tastings, Eckert’s finest holiday products and our friends from the PXP Fashion truck. Click here for details and a coupon because you won’t want to miss out on the fun!

All the holiday decorating and merchandising this week has me craving my favorite holiday recipes, especially Dark Chocolate Mulled Wine Sauce (yum!). In fact, this recipe is on the menu for our sold-out cooking class this weekend called “Cooking with Wine.” It comes together in under 20 minutes. This amazingly simple sauce is meant for divine holiday entertaining! It is the perfect way to dress up a simple sugar cookie, top a scoop of custard or steal the show in a chocolate martini. Or, it can easily become a gourmet jarred gift for the foodie in your life.

If you would like to learn how to make more delicious recipes like this one, this is the perfect time to sign up for Eckert’s cooking classes. Once again, we are offering ½ off our adult classes in the month of January. Cross someone off your Christmas list and book a class today in Eckert’s Cooking Classroom! 

 Eat well this holiday,

Angie

Dark Chocolate Mulled Wine Sauce

1 cup Carmenere wine or other dry red wine
½ cup granulated sugar
1 sachet Eckert’s Mulling Spice Blend or similar brand
½ cup cocoa
½ cup Eckert’s pure honey
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Combine first 3 ingredients in a small saucepan; bring to a simmer. Cook 5 minutes. Discard sachet. Add cocoa and honey, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Simmer 2 minutes; remove from heat. Add chocolate, stirring until chocolate melts. Serve warm over Eckert’s Vanilla Custard.
Store in a covered canning jar for up to 3 weeks. Warm before serving.
Makes about 2 cups.

Fresh Pumpkin Pie

This week’s cooking segment at KSDK was certainly one to remember! I had a blast with these fun ladies, Heidi Glaus and Dana Dean, from KSDK’s Show Me St. Louis. Since it was Halloween, I just had to join in the dress up fun. What could be more perfect than a pollinator costume to represent Eckert’s?? This episode was packed with crazy things like puking pumpkins, a Eckert’s pie eating race and a dressed up shelter dog.

With Eckert’s pie baking season right around the corner, I chose to make a pumpkin pie for my segment. This recipe is the classic, old-fashion recipe our grandmothers made. I used fresh pumpkin  in this recipe and it makes all the difference but if you are in a time crunch, canned pumpkin will work too. 

For my crust, I chose Eckert’s Frozen Pie Shells from our bakery department. Our pie dough is made with lard and according to my Grandma B, lard makes the best pie crust hands down! This recipe makes filling for two pies so you will have plenty to share at your next holiday gathering. 

If you missed the live show, you can check out some of the fun we had here.

Eat well this fall,

Angie

Fun Fact: Our bakery is planning to bake more than 3000 pumpkin pies this month!

4 large eggs, slightly beaten
3 cups cooked Eckert’s pureed pumpkin
1 cup granulated sugar
1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground allspice
½ tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 can (12-ounce size) evaporated milk
2 9-inch Eckert’s frozen pie shells, defrosted

Preheat oven to 425° F. In a large bowl, beat eggs, pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, ginger, salt and vanilla with electric mixer until mixture is well blended.

NOTE:  An immersion blender works as well.

Gradually whisk or stir in evaporated milk; mixing well. Equally divide filling between the 2 pie shells and fill to about ¼-inch from the top of the shell. Bake 15 minutes at 425°; then reduce temperature to 350° F. and bake an additional 45 minutes to 60 minutes or until knife inserted in center of pies comes out clean. Cool completely on wire rack. For food safety, cover pumpkin pie tightly and refrigerate. Serve topped with whipped cream.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

 

Fresh Pumpkin for Baking

Have you ever baked with fresh pumpkin puree instead of canned pumpkin? If not, you definitely have to give this recipe a try! Fresh pumpkin is a beautiful color and it makes baked items brighter and prettier and fresher tasting!

 So after Halloween, if you have a few uncarved pumpkins sitting around, don’t let them go into yard waste, bring them inside and clean them up for baking! This recipe can be made ahead and frozen for future baking. It is especially handy to have fresh pumpkin puree stored away in the freezer for holiday pie baking.

 This recipe calls for a pie size pumpkin. Other sizes can also be baked. Baking time will vary and multiple baking dishes may be needed. You can also use this technique to make butternut and acorn squash puree. I recommend baking for 45 minutes, then testing flesh for tenderness before baking further.

 This week on KSDK’s Show Me St. Louis, I will be demonstrating a recipe for Everyone’s Favorite Pumpkin Muffins . I am going to make one batch with canned pumpkin and one batch with my fresh baked pumpkin puree.  It is going to be fun to have a taste test with Show Me St. Louis host, Heidi Glaus. I wonder which version she will prefer!?!

 Eat well this fall,

Angie

Fresh Pumpkin for Baking

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1 pie pumpkin

Adjust oven rack height to accommodate height of pumpkin. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Clean outside of pumpkin with soap and water. Use a rubber mallet or hammer to knock off stem. Slice through the center of the pumpkin where the stem was located with a sharp Chef’s knife. If it is difficult to cut through the pumpkin, use mallet to tap knife through. Remove seeds and set aside for roasting. Line a 9 x 13 baking dish  or rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper or foil. Then fill  with 1/2” of water. Place pumpkin halves cut side down in dish. Bake for 1 hour or until flesh is very tender. Some pumpkins will take longer to bake. Moisture content varies by pumpkin and will influence baking time.

Remove pumpkin from oven and cool for 30 minutes. Peel pumpkin skin away from the flesh and discard. Place the flesh in a mesh strainer and drain for 20 minutes. Place flesh in a large bowl and puree with a stick blender or process in a food processor. Use as desired in your pumpkin pie or bread recipe or place puree in clean freezer proof containers and store for later use.  When using frozen puree. Thaw in the refrigerator a day or two before baking. Place puree in mesh strainer to drain off excess moisture before using for baking. Use as an equal substitute in recipes that call for canned pumpkin.

 One pie pumpkin makes about 4 cups of puree.

Dessert Grilled Cheese with Apples & Nutella

Last night, our culinary team was planning an upcoming wine class menu and boy did we have fun! We were tasting wine while brainstorming recipes to pair with them. A German Reisling we recently added to our wine department called 50 Degrees inspired this Dessert Grilled Cheese. After several derivations, we landed on this delicious combination of Eckert’s Cinnamon Bread, Nutella, crème fraiche and apples!

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Just as we were taking the grilled cheese out of the skillet, my kids hopped off the bus and headed straight to classroom to offer their feedback. Theo went crazy over our sweet and chocolaty combination. In fact, I am pretty sure he had eight bites which resulted in an adorable smudge of Nutella across his cheek. Ha!

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We will be putting this recipe to the test in our upcoming wine class and our upcoming holiday appetizer classes. I think it is a perfect dessert appetizer or a unique brunch item for holiday gatherings. I hope you will give it a test too, just be sure to wipe the Nutella off your face before your guests arrive!

Eat well this fall, Angie

 Dessert Grilled Cheese with Apples & Nutella

4 slices of Eckert’s Cinnamon Bread
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. granulated sugar
¼ cup Nutella Chocolate Hazelnut Spread, divided
¼ cup crème fraiche or ricotta cheese
1 Eckert’s apple, cut in half and sliced thin

Place bread on a sheet of foil or parchment paper. In a small bowl, combine butter, cinnamon and sugar. Spread butter mixture evenly on 4 slices of bread. Flip slices of bread over. On 2 slices of bread, spread Nutella evenly and spread crème fraiche or ricotta cheese on remaining two slices. Top Nutella covered slices with apple slices and place ricotta covered slices on top of the apple slices. In a large skillet over medium heat, toast sandwiches until desired doneness (bread will be golden brown). Cool 5 minutes before cutting into bite size pieces. Serve with remaining Nutella. Makes 16 bite size servings.

Note: This recipe can be assembled a day ahead, stored in an air tight container lined with parchment paper and cooked in a skillet just before serving.

Balsamic Roasted Butternut Squash
Balsamic Roasted Butternut Squash

I am completely in love with our farm grown butternut squash! Chris and I both make Butternut Squash and Pear Soup on regular basis in the fall. Click here for the recipe to one of our all time favorite fall recipes:

A few months back I tore a recipe out of a magazine for oven roasted butternut squash and I have been carrying it around in my work tote ever since! Finally, I decided to give it a whirl last night for dinner. Full disclosure: my kids do not eat butternut squash, but Chris and I gobbled it up. I love how the balsamic vinegar and olive oil glaze the squash in a rich, brown color which then caramelizes into a syrupy sauce as it roasts. The resulting dish is a tender and savory squash like you’ve never had before!

Cleaning Butternut Squash
Cutting Butternut Squash

I halved the recipe last night and still had a few chunks left for today’s lunch. I will be adding them to baby salad greens with feta cheese and pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds) with a light drizzle of olive oil. My mouth is watering as I type my lunch plan!

 I hope you will give Eckert’s farm-grown butternut squash a try this season!

Eat well this fall, Angie

Balsamic Roasted Butternut Squash

Butternut Squash Baking

1 Eckert’s butternut squash
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
2 Tbs. brown sugar
2 tsp. soy sauce (or tamari)* 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut butternut squash in half across the middle at the narrowed point to separate the top from the bottom. Place the cut edge on the cutting board and cut in half again thru the base of the squash and the stem of the squash. Remove the seeds of the bottom half of the squash with a spoon and discard seeds. Remove and discard the stem. Peel the pieces of squash with a potato peeler before cutting into 1” chunks.

In a large bowl, combine vinegar, oil, sugar and soy sauce. Place squash in bowl and toss until well coated. Roast squash on a foil-lined baking sheet for 15 minutes then toss squash. Bake another 15 minutes or until squash are fork tender. Serve immediately or refrigerate after cooled and serve on greens salads. Makes 6 servings.

*Make this recipe gluten free by using tamari instead of soy sauce. 

5 Favorite Apple Recipes
Eckert_apples

Wow, what a difference a week makes on the farm! It finally feels like fall around here thanks to cooler temperatures and I guess that’s what sent my taste buds reeling for all things apple. I could not make up my mind on what to feature this week on the blog so I decided to include five of my favorite apple recipes to give you a little inspiration for upping your apple game in the kitchen.

My go to dessert in fall is the Apple Crumb Pie because it can be assembled in less than 30 minutes with the help of Eckert’s frozen pie shells. No, I am not making my pie dough from scratch! Years ago my 90 year old grandma discovered Eckert’s pre-made crusts and she hung up her rolling pin! While I like to make dough from scratch, I rarely have time and I find that people just love the Eckert’s crust just as much. So if you are in a crunch for time and you are craving a classic apple pie, give our pie shells a try.

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Our headliner this week, Apple Crumb Pie, is in good company with four of my other favorites.  Slow-Cooker Vanilla Apples make a delicious dinner side dish and a next-day oatmeal topper. Grilled Cheese with Apples and Bacon is a classroom favorite because cheddar and apples are “oh so good” together. My kids love to concoct Game Day Nachos. It is super fun to sprinkle and drizzle a variety of toppings for this easily customized dish. And finally, Oven Baked Apples, Onion and Pork make a savory and sweet dinner entree that will impress the whole gang.

Slow-Cooker Vanilla Apples

Slow-Cooker Vanilla Apples

Grilled Cheese with Apples

Grilled Cheese with Apples

Game Day Nachos

Game Day Nachos

Oven Baked Apples, Onions & Pork

Oven Baked Apples, Onions & Pork

While these recipes ooze with fall flavor, I find myself making them year round with stored or frozen Eckert’s Apples.  I hope you will give them a try this fall and find yourself a new year-round favorite!

Eat well this fall,

Angie

 Eckert’s Apple Crumb Pie

5 cups apples, peeled and sliced (about 6 to 7 medium apples)*
1 (9-inch) unbaked frozen Eckert’s pie shells
1 cup sugar, divided
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cold unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 450°F.   Arrange apples in bottom of pie shell. Mix ½ cup sugar with cinnamon; sprinkle over apples. Mix remaining ½ cup sugar and the flour in a medium bowl. Cut in butter with pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture forms pea sized crumbs. Sprinkle over apple mixture. Place pie on a baking sheet and bake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F and bake an additional 30 minutes or until apples are tender and crumb top is nicely browned.

*The Eckert family “secret” to the best-tasting apple pie is to use a ratio of 4 Jonathan apples for every Golden Delicious apple. 

Broccoli, Apple & Blueberry Salad

It is hard to believe it is officially fall! Our days have been extremely wet and hot on the farm and unfortunately, ripe apples struggle with that combination. While this is certainly not our best apple crop, we are not alone! Almost all of our orchard friends in the metro east and Southern Illinois are struggling with apple quality this year. That being said, every apple that has endured the harsh climate is a treasure to be had! I feel fortunate each time I take a bite and thank Mother Nature for not taking them all.

 This week, I wanted to make a spin-off of one of my favorites from our deli called Broccoli Crunch Salad. I explored the internet and found a couple different versions that included apples instead of bacon and I immediately started salivating! I rushed to our classroom kitchen test a few different recipes before arriving on this perfect combination. Our deli’s Broccoli Crunch uses a mayonnaise based salad dressing but I wanted to incorporate Greek yogurt in mine. A little Eckert’s honey adds a perfect sweetness to compliment the apple cider vinegar.

 I used Jonathan apples in this recipe but you could use any apple variety. This salad has great texture and flavor and it is such a beautiful salad. I am so excited to take it to my next potluck!!

Eat well this fall,
Angie

Broccoli, Apple & Blueberry Salad

Salad:
4-5 cups fresh broccoli, cut into bite size pieces
1 cup blueberries (about 6 oz)
¼ cup finely chopped red onion
½ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup sunflower seeds
2 large apples, chopped into bite-size pieces (use your favorite variety)

Dressing:
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
¼ cup Eckert’s pure honey
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs. water
1 Tbs. poppy seeds

 In a large bowl, combine salad ingredients. In a canning jar, combine the dressing ingredients and top with lid. Shake well, then pour dressing over the salad. Toss to combine. Return bowl to refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to 3 days. 

Eckert's Apple Brie Soup

Our classroom staff is busy preparing for our annual event of wine and apple recipes in our Belleville orchard! It is one of my favorite events of the year because our guests have a blast riding the wagon out to the orchard and tasting wines and foods among the apple trees. This year Grafton Winery will be joining us again to serve up one of their special apple desserts too. I can’t wait!

 Every year we change up the recipes and this year I am most excited about serving our Apple Brie Soup with apple slices and our bakery’s Irish Soda Bread. This recipe uses apples in a truly creative way. Brie cheese is a perfect complement to sweet apples and the stock gives the soup nice body. I am also calling for my new favorite heavy cream from a local family-owned dairy called Rolling Lawn. We have recently partnered with Rolling Lawn and I am impressed with the flavor and quality of their dairy products.

 This recipe requires a little extra time to slow cook the ingredients before gradually blending in the broth and cheese. I guarantee if you follow our step-by-step instructions and recommended cooking times, you will have yourself a soup that will steal the show! I can’t wait to see what our guests think about it tomorrow night!

Eat well this fall, Angie

Eckert’s Apple Brie Soup
3 Tbs. unsalted butter
2 large apples (about 1 pound), peeled, cored and cut into ½-inch cubes
½ large sweet yellow onion (about 1 cup), peeled, chopped into ¼-inch cubes
1 stalk celery (about ¼ cup), finely chopped
2 ½ cups of unsalted chicken stock or vegetable broth
2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
½ tsp. ground white pepper
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cumin
8 oz. Brie cheese, rind scraped and removed; cut into 1-inch cubes
Kosher salt to taste
¼ cup Rolling Lawns heavy cream
Grated apple, unpeeled for garnish, optional

Melt butter in a 5-quart Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium heat. Add apples, onions and celery; cook and stir 8 to 10 minutes or until vegetables are soft. (Cooking until soft is important to get a smoother textured soup).

Turn off heat.

Sprinkle flour evenly over top of cooked vegetables. Return heat to low. Using a whisk, stirring constantly, and cook 2 minutes or until the flour is completely combined with mixture.

Gradually add stock while constantly stirring mixture with a wooden flat bottomed spatula. Stir in pepper, ginger and cumin. Bring mixture to a boil then immediately reduce heat to medium-low and cook 15 to 18 minutes; stirring occasionally.

Add cubes of Brie cheese. Stir gently until cheese is melted about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Puree soup in batches in blender, food processor or immersion blender until smooth and well blended. Add salt to taste. Stir in cream with whisk before serving.

Note: This soup looks super cute when served in 4-ounce canning jars with Eckert’s unpeeled apple rings and Irish Soda bread.

Apple Cider Pancakes

In celebration of apple season finally being here, we asked Alex Caspero, Registered Dietitian, yoga teacher and blogger at Delish Knowledge to create a delicious fall inspired recipe for us highlighting our favorite fruit of the year.


This may be the most perfect weekend breakfast. A giant stack of warm apple cider pancakes, a mountain of soft, cinnamon coated apples and a generous pour of Eckert’s homemade apple syrup. Just add an oversize cup of coffee with my favorite book and I might stay on the couch all morning.

I’m a big believer in Saturday breakfasts, a tradition I take very seriously in my house. After a morning walk, bike ride or run together as a family, we head home to relax, plan the weekend and linger over a long breakfast. To me, it’s the perfect way to ease into the weekend; savoring time, trying new recipes and creating memories. While these special days can be few and far between during the busy summer season, we gear back up after Labor Day ends.

Though the weather is still hovering around 90 degrees, I’m all in for Fall. I’ve switched out my spring flowers for mums, pulled my boots out of storage and dusted off my slow-cooker. I’ve also scheduled a few afternoons to head out to Eckert’s for apple and pumpkin picking and stocking up on my favorite fall favorites like homemade apple cider, apple butter and apple syrup. We welcomed in the season this past Saturday with a batch of these cider pancakes. Tender, fluffy and layered with apples, I know you will enjoy them as much as we did.

If you have any extra pancakes, they freeze wonderfully. Simply wrap each cooled pancake in plastic wrap then place in a freezer-safe bag. When you’re ready to eat, remove the wrap and toast until warmed through. 

Apple Cider Pancakes
Yield ~14-16 pancakes

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup whole-wheat pastry flour
¼ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup Eckert’s Apple Cider
1 cup low-fat milk
1 tablespoon apple-cider vinegar
2 large eggs
¼ cup canola oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup shredded apples (from roughly ~3 small apples)
Eckert’s Apple Syrup, for topping

Apple Topping

3 apples, chopped
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Place all ingredients for apple topping: apples, sugar, butter and cinnamon in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until apples soften and caramelize, about 10-15 minutes.

While the apple topping is cooking, make the pancakes. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, soda and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the apple cider, milk, vinegar, eggs, canola oil and vanilla extract until smooth. Stir in the shredded apples. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir together taking care not to over mix. The batter will be lumpy.

Heat a large griddle over medium heat and coat either with cooking spray or a teaspoon of oil. Using a ¼ cup scoop, pour pancake batter onto the griddle. Cook until air bubbles appear then flip and cook on the other side, about 2 minutes more.

Continue with the rest of the batter.

To serve, stack pancakes and top with apple topping and Eckert’s Apple Syrup. 

Late Summer Pork & Apple Salad

The days are still hot on the farm but Eckert’s apples are ready for pickin’! It feels like we are in limbo season because we are still harvesting some summer crops but starting to pick a few fall goodies as well. Last night I was in the mood to grill but I also craved to keep dinner on the lighter side. I love this Late Summer Pork and Apple Salad because it is packed with flavor and a refreshing dinner choice.
 

Grilling pork is always tricky because it easily becomes tough if over cooked. In this recipe, the pork is finished on the grill in a foil pouch. The foil locks in the flavor and generates some lovely juices to flavor the salad. You won’t want to skip this step because it ensures tender and flavorful pork.

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The rest of the recipe is pretty simple, aside from the complexity of flavors. I chose a blue cheese to add a creamy mouth feel and a little saltiness. Buttermilk Blue Affine is one of my favorites because it is made in America and it is aged for at least six months which gives it an earthy undertone. If you are not a fan of blue, try this recipe with feta crumbles or an aged cheddar, roughly chopped.

I used chopped Gala apples in the salad because that is what I picked on my drive home through the farm (I am super spoiled I know!). If Galas aren’t available, substitute another sweet apple like HoneyCrisp, Fuji or Red Delicious. Finally, I chopped up one of the remaining farm-grown turnips that was hiding in my crisper drawer and topped it all off with the delicious dressing. The dressing, made with Eckert’s Apple Cinnamon Jelly, pork drippings and Dijon, really rounds out the flavors of this yummy salad.

I hope you will give this recipe a try for yourself very soon!

Eat well this Late Summer/Fall,

Angie 

salad.jpg

Late Summer Pork & Apple Salad
3 Tbs. Eckert’s Apple Cinnamon jelly, divided
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, divided
½ tsp. fresh rosemary leaves, minced
½ tsp. fresh sage leaves, minced
3 boneless (¾-inch thick cut) pork chops
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus about 1 Tbs. more for brushing
¼ cup red onion, finely diced
1 Tbs. whole-grain mustard
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
6 to 8 cups cleaned torn lettuce greens
1 unpeeled Gala or Fuji apple, diced
1 small Eckert’s turnip, peeled* and finely diced

¾ cup crumbled blue cheeseHeavy duty Foil for chopsPreheat grill to high. Mix 2 tablespoons apple cinnamon jelly with the 1 teaspoon thyme, rosemary and sage leaves. Set aside. Season pork chops with salt and pepper and brush with olive oil on both sides. Reduce grill heat to medium. Grill the chops until marked, about 3 minutes per side. Brush each chop TOP with the jelly-herb mixture (does not need to be brushed on both sides). Continue to grill until the chops are cooked through about 2 to 3 more minutes. Using a large enough piece of heavy duty foil, wrap the chops tightly. Return to the grill for about another 5 minutes. Food thermometer should read 165-degrees. Leave in foil and set aside to rest and cool slightly.

Whisk mustards, vinegar and remaining 1 tablespoon apple cinnamon jelly in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Set dressing aside. Reserving the pork drippings, cut pork into bite-size pieces. Add lettuce, apple, turnip, pork, onion and blue cheese to a large platter or bowl. Take the reserved pork drippings and add to the salad dressing; mix well. Pour dressing on salad.

Makes 4 entree size servings.
*If using small, young farm fresh turnips, no need to peel. 

Baked Apples with Sweet Cream Cheese Filling

Apple season is in the air and I am thrilled to be revisiting my favorite fall recipes. I especially love to take a favorite recipe and make minor adaptations to it. This recipe for Baked Apples with Sweet Cream Cheese originally came from the Eckert’s Fall Cookbook (on page 74). I decided to make it with Gala apples since they are currently in season. This recipe would also be excellent with Pixie Crunch, Jonathon or Golden Delicious apples which will be ready for picking soon.

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The fun part of this recipe is hollowing out the apple. A coring tool makes this job much easier. And although it takes a bit of time to prep the apple, they make a beautiful presentation for this yummy dessert. I also adapted the original recipe to include a combination of goat cheese and cream cheese (which has broad appeal and tempers the tang of goat cheese). 

I love this dessert because it reminds me of a rich and creamy cheesecake. For those of us trying to eat fewer carbs or less gluten, it is a great way to get your cheesecake and eat it too! 

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Eat well this almost fall, Angie

Baked Apples with Sweet Cream Cheese  

6 Gala, Pixie Crunch or Jonathan apples
4 oz. fresh goat cheese, softened
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
½ tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup raisins
3 Tbs. slivered almonds, toasted and chopped

Preheat oven to 375°F. Slice thin layer off top of each apple. Using an apple corer tool, remove the core to within 1/2 inch of bottom. (Do not core apple all the way through.) Carefully cut out a cavity in center of each apple about 1 1/2 inches across and 2 inches deep using paring knife or end of the corer tool. Mix cheeses, lemon juice and brown sugar until well blended and smooth. Stir in raisins and almonds. Spoon cheese mixture evenly into apples, mounding slightly. Place in parchment paper- or foil-lined baking dish. Bake 35-40 minutes. Serve hot or warm. Makes 6 servings.

Almost Peaches 'N Cream Cake
ingredients.jpg

Today, I am excited to share one of our most requested recipes! Our bakery has been making Peaches ‘N Cream Cake for more than a decade. It is our bakery’s best-selling product in the summer which is why we make it 80 cakes at a time. This time of year, customers stock up on Peaches ‘N Cream Cake and freeze it since we only make it during peach season. I have been trying for years to come up with something similar for the home baker so here is my best attempt.

I used a crumb topping from a family apple pie recipe and tweaked our Peachy Pound Cake from the Eckert Family Summer Cookbook by adding sour cream and more eggs. The resulting batter is very dense so be sure to follow the directions closely on mixing times and the order to incorporate ingredients.

After some recipe testing in our cooking classroom, I held a taste-off with our veteran staff members and they all thought the recipe tasted a lot like our bakery’s best-selling loaf. Last night I made the recipe again and tested it at home with Chris and the kids. They all thought the batter was a little denser and not quite as sweet as our bakery’s version. Chris suggested adding another ½ cup of sugar but I didn’t test that version yet.

I am anxious for you to try this recipe for yourself and decide. Let me know what you think!!

Eat well this summer,

Angie

P.S. Hurry on out to the Belleville Farm and pick some peaches! We will soon be winding down peach season and shifting gears to all apples! Click here for crop availability: 

Almost Peaches ‘N Cream Cake

Topping:
¼ cup granulated sugar
3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbs. unsalted butter, cold
1/3 cup finely chopped pecans

Batter:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
6 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour, stirred then measured
¼ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ cup sour cream
2 cups peeled and diced Eckert’s peaches

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine topping ingredients in a small bowl and work with a fork or fingertips until crumbly.

For batter, in a large bowl, cream butter and sugar with a stand or hand mixer until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt and whisk to incorporate. Add dry ingredients to the butter mixture alternately with dollops of sour cream. Beat well after each addition. Drain peaches if they have drawn juice before adding to batter.

Pour topping into two buttered 8” loaf pans (we used glass pans). Then, sprinkle topping over the batter in both pans. Bake for 60 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan and cooling on a wire rack. Slice and serve. Freezes well.

Blackberry Peach Sangria

Who can resist a pitcher of sangria bursting with fresh-picked summer fruits? This Blackberry Peach Sangria recipe will make you want to park yourself on the patio and put your feet up!

 This week, I made my sangria with fresh picked Eckert’s blackberries. With the end of blackberry season, looming I will be freezing lots of blackberries this week. I want to make sure I have plenty of blackberries and peaches in the freezer so I can make this recipe out of season too!

 By the way, blackberries are one of the easiest fruits to freeze. Start by rinsing and gently patting dry your berries. Place them on a parchment or wax paper lined rimmed pan, making sure to leave space between each berry. Then place the pan in the freezer for at least 24 hours. Remove pan and place frozen berries in a zip top bag or an air tight container marked with the date. Pull them out by the handful or the bag for use in smoothies and recipe like this one!!

Want to make this recipe kid-friendly? Follow the same directions without the wine. In fact, this recipe was developed by Eckert’s kids class cooking instructors. It was called a berry spritzer and our kid cooks adored it!!

 Drink well this summer,

Angie

Ingredients

15 fresh Eckert’s blackberries, cut in half                 
Eckert’s peaches, peeled & cut in chunks
1 kiwi, peeled & cut in pieces
1/2 bottle inexpensive Pinot Grigio or Reisling, chilled
1 1/4 cup lemon-lime soda, chilled
½ cup orange juice, chilled
½ cup lemonade, chilled
½ lemon, juiced
Mint leaves, optional

Directions

Place fruit in a punch bowl or large pitcher. Pour in wine, lemon-lime soda, orange juice, lemonade and fresh lemon juice. Gently stir. Serve in a jam jar over ice. Garnish with mint leaves. Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve within 4 hours for best flavor. Makes 8 servings.

 

Mexican Street Corn Off the Cob
Mexican Sweet Corn Ingredients

Eckert’s sweet corn is at its very best this week. Each night when we eat corn around the dinner table, I say “this is the best corn I have had all summer.” Then my kids tease me by saying “you say that every night Mom!” Oh but it is true this week! Each ear seems to taste better than the last.

Shucked Sweet Corn

We are corn purists in our house, meaning we don’t usually add much to our corn. The kids and I like ours with a small pat of butter and a light sprinkling of salt, while Chris prefers his completely unseasoned. When cooking fresh corn in the husk, just 90 seconds per ear in the microwave does the trick. If I am cooking four ears of corn, I set the microwave for six minutes. After removing the corn from the microwave, I let it rest for 3-5 minutes before shucking it under cold running water. This is my go-to method for cooking corn almost every summer evening.

Last night, I wanted to try something a little different. A few months back we held a Food Truck Inspired Cooking Class in the Belleville Country Store. The star recipe of the night was Mexican Street Corn (on the cob). Lana, our culinary expert, made me an ear and it was so delish, I have been thinking about it ever since. I wanted to repeat the recipe but try cutting the corn off the cob for a less messy eating experience.

Sweet Corn Broiled

Cheese, sour cream and mayo in this recipe add creamy richness to compliment the juicy sweet corn. And while I am usually a “clean” corn eater, this recipe makes me want to finish the whole dish all by myself. I hope you will give it a try soon and let me know what you think!

Eat well this summer,

Angie

Mexican Sweet Corn

Mexican Street Corn Off the Cob
½ cup mayonnaise
3 Tbs. sour cream
3 Tbs. minced fresh cilantro leaves
1 medium Eckert’s garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. chili powder, divided
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
4 tsp. lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
½ cup (1-ounce) grated Ménage or Pecorino Romano cheese
2 to 3 Tbs. vegetable oil
½ tsp. kosher salt
6 ears Eckert’s sweet corn, husked

Adjust oven rack 5 inches from broiler element. Preheat broiler. Line rimmed baking pan with foil. While broiler is heating, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, cilantro, garlic, ½ teaspoon chili powder, black pepper, cayenne pepper, lime juice and cheese in a medium bowl. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, salt and the remaining ½ teaspoon chili powder. Place corn on the cob on foil lined pan, drizzle with oil mixture and turn ears to coat evenly. Broil corn until well-browned on each side, about 5 to 6 minutes per side. Remove corn from oven and cool 10 minutes. Using a knife or corn stripper, cut corn from the cob. Use the back of the knife to extract the “corn milk” from the cob. Add corn and “milk” to the large bowl with mayonnaise mixture and combine. Pour corn mixture into a small oven safe baking dish. Place dish under broiler 5-6 minutes or until the corn is lightly browned about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve corn with lime wedges and cilantro leaves.

Makes 6 servings. 

Blackberry Peach Crisp
Blackberry Peach Crisp - Ingredients

Wow! This summer is flying by and I haven't been keeping my usual baking pace! I love to make peach and blackberry custard pies, cobblers and crisps and I am just now realizing how little baking I have done this summer. I am determined to make it up to my family over the few remaining weeks of summer break!

Blackberry Peach Crisp - Ready to Bake

Last night I made a Blackberry Peach Crisp. I saw this recipe several months ago on the Food & Wine recipe site. I love apple crisp so this recipe is right up my alley. Eckert's peaches and blackberries steal the show in any dish this time of year. That being said, the crumbly topping in this recipe is divine. A combination of cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg offer a gentle boost of flavor to Eckert's ripe and juicy fruit.

Blackberry Peach Crisp

Over the weekend, Ella helped me pick some of the most beautiful peaches of the year. (I love this picture with Rosie in the background surrounded by peaches. She adores Eckert's fruit!) By Tuesday, our peaches were soft and juicy making them perfect for this recipe.

Angie and Ella Eckert

This is the peak time to pick Eckert's peaches and blackberries. We only have another week or two of blackberries. Peaches will be available for another 3-4 weeks but why wait? They are picture perfect and downright delicious right now! Visit eckerts.com for crop availability and picking hours.

Eat well this summer,

Angie

Blackberry Peach Crisp

Ingredients:
2 cups Eckert’s blackberries
2 lbs peeled and sliced ripe Eckert’s peaches
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 cup quick-cooking oats
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup light brown sugar
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cardamom
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 stick plus 1 Tbs. cold, unsalted butter, cubed

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, gently toss the peaches, blackberries, granulated sugar and lemon juice. Pour into a 8 x 11 glass baking dish.

In a medium bowl, toss the oats with the flour, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg. Using your fingers, mix in the butter until the topping is crumbly. Sprinkle topping over the fruit and bake for 50-60 minutes or until the topping is golden brown. Rest 30 minutes before serving.

I found this recipe on foodandwine.com

Peaches N' Cream Pie Pocket

This week has been just PEACHY at Eckert’s! We are opening Pick-Your-Own Red Haven peaches very soon. Click here for crop availability.

Peaches N Cream Pie Pocket Ingredients

The Red Haven peaches we have in the store in Belleville and Sappington, St. Louis are AMAZING! They are so sweet, there is no need to add sugar to a big bowl of freshly sliced peaches. My family has been eating them every night at dinner and they are just divine.

Peach Pie Pockets Unbaked

I was testing a new recipe this week for a play date the kids have this Friday. Both of the kids will be inviting friends over to pick peaches and I wanted to have a simple recipe for them to bake when we get back to the house. This recipe is fun because it gives kids a chance to make their own dessert.

Peach Pie Pockets - Ready for the Oven

Have you heard of a soft-skin peeler? It looks just like a potato peeler but it has teeth. The teeth grip the skin of the peach without compromising any of the sweet peach flesh. I will have the kids (carefully) peel their own peaches for this recipe. I think they will like the idea of filling the pie and then “painting” the crust with egg white.

Peaches N Cream Pie Pocket

Ingredients

4 Eckert’s frozen humble pie dough rounds
1 large egg, separated
3 oz cream cheese, softened at room temperature
3 Tbs. + 1 tsp. granulated sugar
3 large peaches, peeled and sliced

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Thaw humble pie rounds at room temperature for 15-20 minutes. In a medium bowl, combine the egg yolk, cream cheese and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Mix well. Divide mixture between 4 dough rounds and spread on one half of each round. Arrange peach slices on top of the cream cheese mixture. Fold over dough and pinch closed. Place pie pockets on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush top crust with egg white and sprinkle remaining 1 teaspoon of sugar on tops. Bake 16-18 minutes or until crusts are nicely browned. Makes 4 pockets.

Homegrown Corn Salad with Feta & Herbs

Finally! Eckert’s homegrown corn is ready for the pickin’. Did you know Eckert’s corn is so tender that you don’t even have to cook it? My kids love to cruise down the hill from our house on the golf cart and pick it and eat it directly in the field.

corn salad ingredients

We have several different plantings of sweet corn and each planting can be picked for about three weeks. Staggered planting times, called succession plantings, allows us to have homegrown corn for pick-your-own and store sales from now until early September. And, boy are we grateful for the recent rains that are allowing all of our crops to grow and thrive in spite of the extreme summer heat.

Corn Salad

I love this recipe for Homegrown Corn Salad with Feta & Herbs which features corn cut fresh from the cob and I made it for the Eckert family’s 4th of July gathering on Monday. We met at Chris’ parents house on the Millstadt farm for a delicious family meal of fresh picked farm fruits and veggies and grilled meats from Eckert’s butchers. It was a yummy start to our evening of family conversations and an awesome fireworks show.

Come on out and pick some corn this summer at Eckert’s! You will be a-maze-d how good it is fresh from the field.

Eat well this summer, Angie

corn salad with feta and herbs

Ingredients

6 ears of corn
6 oz feta cheese crumbles
1 small spring onion or ½ shallot, finely sliced
1/3 cup kalamata olives
1 Tbs. + 1 tsp. white vinegar
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of Kosher salt
1-2 Tbs. parsley
1-2 Tbs. tarragon

Instructions

Cut corn from the cob with a knife. Using the back of the knife, scrape the cob to release any “corn milk.” Place corn in a medium bowl and add feta, onion or shallot, and olives. Drizzle vinegar and oil on top. Toss to coat. Add salt to taste and toss herbs in gently. Makes 8 servings.