Nature’s First Green is Gold

Dear friends, I have no forsaken my vows to this blog. I’m back after vacationing in Peru where I hiked around, saw ancient ruins, and ate a lot of seafood, quinoa, and potatoes. Mhmm. My favorite part was camping in the mountains and falling asleep to the sound of running water and waking up to roosters. It’s refreshing to be so far removed from the city and a break in the every day routine.

Baby Alpaca!

Baby Alpaca!

So punny.

So punny.

Lunch companions

Lunch companions

Macchu Pichu reminds me of human’s amazing potential. The ruins are an amazing feat of engineering and human labor. Our tour guide gave us a sensationalized version of the history behind Macchu Pichu. We were told that one rock was supposed to represent a guinea pig, but we overheard another tour guide saying the rock was meant to represent the mountains behind it. Meanwhile, we saw a tour group bending over, touching the rock, and looking at the ground. I can only imagine they’re stretching their sore hamstrings or looking to derive magical power from the rock. All in all, it was a fantastic trip and highly recommended!


Seeing the trees starting to change color was a surprising welcome back to Chicago. I had lost track of time in Peru and didn’t realize the seasons would be changing when I got back. To me, fall is the season of apples and pumpkins. What better way to celebrate than make something with apples?


Flaky Apple Turnovers and Quick Pastry Dough, adapted from Baker’s Illustrated

Makes 12

Quick Pastry Dough
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1.5 tablespoons sugar
1.5 tsp salt
1.5 cups cold unsalted butter, grated
9 tablespoons ice water
2 teaspoons lemon juice

1.)Mix the flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the grated butter and mix until the butter and flour come together into a coarse cornmeal consistency.
2.) Combine the ice water and lemon juice in a small bowl. Add half the liquid to the flour and butter, toss to combine. Keep adding liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough will clump together in your hand. Turn the dough out onto a work surface. Lightly knead the dough with the heel of your hand until it comes together into a smooth ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for one hour.

Apple filling:
4 large Granny Smith apples
1.5 cups sugar
3 teaspoons lemon juice
.5 teaspoon salt

Cinnamon Sugar
.5 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1.) Roll dough into a 20×15 inch rectangle, about 1/8th inch thick. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, trim and cut the dough into twelve 5-inch squares, and place 5 on each sheet. Refrigerate the dough squares while making the filling.

2.)Peel the apples and grate them on the large holes of a box grater. Combine the grated apples, sugar, lemon juice, and salt in a medium bowl. Remove one sheet of dough squares from the refrigerator. Working with one square at a time, place a dough square on a work surface. Place 2 tablespoons of the grated apple filling (squeezed of excess fluid) in the center of the dough. Moisten two adjoining edges of the dough square with a finger dipped in the apple liquid, then fold the top portion of dough over the bottom, making sure to overlap the bottoms portion by 1/8 inch. Crimp the edges of the turnover with a fork. Repeat with remaining dough squares. Refrigerate the filled turnovers for at least 30 minutes, or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 24 hours.

3.) While the turnovers are chilling, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine the sugar and the cinnamon in a small bowl.

4.) Brush or mist the turnovers lightly with water and sprinkle them evenly with the cinnamon sugar. Bake until golden brown, 30-35 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time. Using a wide metal spatula, transfer the turnovers to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.



Finished pastry dough

Apple filling

Apple filling





Jaclyn Spitz: Deeee-licious.

I personally was not a fan of the grated apple texture. Perhaps it could grow on me, but I think I will keep looking for a different apple turnover recipe. Next time, Baker’s Illustrated!


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