Nicole from Baby Food Scoops is bringing a wonderful dish to our virtual potluck today. Nicole is best known for making food that is toddler friendly but still wonderfully delicious for adults. These Wild Rice and Quinoa Baked Apples with Brie are no exception! Nicole and her fellow blogger Jess began BabyFoodScoops out of their passion to infuse nutrition, family values, community, sustainability and creativity into their daily lives. Here is a little bit about Nicole:
Favorite Thanksgiving Dish or Tradition? Honestly, I think my favorite day of the year is actually the day after Thanksgiving.. and it has nothing at all to do with bargain shopping on Black Friday! The leftovers are plentiful, the spirit of the holiday season is undeniable, and year after year we choose to spend this day in our pajamas and slippers with nothing to do but lounge in front of the fireplace, appreciate one another’s company, and decorate our Christmas tree (oh, and watch news clips showing throngs of shoppers outside of Target at 4am). Does it get any better than that?
Pumpkin Pie or Apple Pie? Oooh.. pulling out the tough questions! I’ll answer with an indecisive “it depends.” I’d generally go with apple pie, however my husband’s aunt tests my loyalties each year with her nearly-famous molasses pumpkin pie (at least I think it’s molasses.. the recipe is top secret)!
Cooking Mantra: Eat real food! The old adage ‘you are what you eat’ hits a chord with me, I feel strongly that the less processed food the better – I don’t tend to worry so much about calories or coupon bargains. Instead, I focus my energies on wholesome ingredients and avoiding preservatives or additives whenever possible.
What are you thankful for this year? This one is easy – I am blessed to spend my days and nights with a beautiful newborn, a chatty toddler, and a husband who loves all of his girls enough to do the laundry. I am thankful for this on a daily basis, but especially on laundry day.
Wild Rice and Quinoa Baked Apples with Brie
A holiday all about food! This one has my name all over it. You’ve seen Katie’s Stuffed Squash.. maybe even my Crab-Stuffed Zucchini.. So, why stuff something else from the produce department? You would be forgiven for thinking it was an attempt at being coy–Apples.. Haute Apple Pie.. get it?—but the truth is, for holiday meals I’m drawn to tying traditional staple ingredients into a fresh, new presentation. Cranberries, apples, wild rice and sage are all holiday staples, and here they come together in a glam, single-serving twist without detracting from the traditions of the Thanksgiving table.
For me, there is an added level of appeal when at least a portion of a meal can be made ahead of time. This allows more time and attention on game day for other things, like enjoying the company of those you are cooking or eating with! Most of the filling for these beauties can be made up to two days before baking, but save the apple preparations for the day of. Topping with white cheddar cheese or chopped nuts is an optional last step appreciated by many, however I prefer my baked apple as-is.
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup water
1/2 cup wild rice, rinsed
1/4 cup quinoa
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup finely chopped shitake mushrooms (dried or fresh)
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1/2 cup brie, cut into small pieces
Salt, to taste
1/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped*
4 medium Red Delicious apples
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup grated sharp white Cheddar cheese, optional
¼ cup chopped walnuts, optional
Filling Assembly (can be prepared up to two days ahead of time):
If using dried mushrooms, reconstitute with 1 cup warm water for 20 minutes, then drain water, pat dry, and chop mushrooms. Set aside.
In small saucepan, bring chicken broth and water to a boil. Add wild rice, cover, reduce heat to medium-low. Cook 50 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in quinoa, cover, and cook for an additional 20 minutes, or until majority of water is absorbed. Set aside.
Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and onion, sauté 7 minutes. Stir in sage and wild rice/quinoa mixture, increasing heat to medium-high. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat, and stir in brie and cranberries. Add a dash of salt, to taste.
On Thanksgiving Day:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Halve apples lengthwise, then remove core and seeds. Using a finger, apply lemon juice to cut surface of the apple, to preserve appearance and prevent browning.
Continue to scoop out apple from each halve to create a vessel for wild rice mixture (a melon baller is helpful here). Attempt to leave a 1/4-inch-thick wall of apple around sides. Reserve apple scooped out in this step. Chop and fold into to wild rice mixture.
Fill apple halves with wild rice mixture, gently pressing mixture in to apple to set. Place halves in baking dish. Add 1 cup water to bottom of dish, cover tightly with foil, and bake 45 minutes. Uncover apples, sprinkle with white Cheddar or nuts (if using), and bake an additional 15 minutes, or until apples are soft and tops are beginning to crisp.
Serve warm, and enjoy!
*After many failed attempts at chopping dried cranberries, I found that placing them in the freezer for 20 minutes makes a world of difference when attempting to chop the otherwise sticky fruits. Try it!
Inspiration: Vegetarian Times