Earth Log: June 7, 2103
Okay, it’s still not 2103 but it’s still feeling like every day is a year and I’m still anxiously waiting to pick apples this year. However, it looks like we will be heading back to the office this week. I will definitely miss my wife’s home cooked meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I will have to get used to my organic instant oatmeal for breakfast and protein bars for lunch again. At least I still have her great dinners to look forward to eating. Plus, I still get to pair those dinners with my hard ciders. She gave me another great challenge tonight, which was how to pair my hard cider with a vegetarian pasta dish.
You might be thinking that should be simple. I mean many pasta dishes are vegetarian. However, my wife wasn’t going to make it easy on me. For this vegetarian challenge, her pasta was’t really pasta. It was spaghetti squash with marinara sauce. She also combined that with an awesome kale apple quinoa salad. My idea was something light with bubbles and some acid. I was thinking white wine but apple, which made me think of a batch I had just bottled: ‘Oaked. To start this meal off, my wife also made a great kale apple quinoa salad and she included one of my multi-grain sourdough cider breadsticks as a side for the pasta. No, it doesn’t get much better than this. Just check out how they looked.
Let’s check out the salad and pasta dishes before we explore the cider.
Kale Apple Quinoa Salad
Servings: 4 Serving
1/2 Cup Uncooked Quinoa
1 Cup Roasted Walnuts Halves
6 cups Lightly Chopped Baby Kale
2 Apples Chopped (Ideally: Pink Lady, Ambrosia, or Jazz)
1/2 Cup Dried Cherries
4 oz Goat Cheese, Crumbled
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice
2 1/2 Tbsp Honey
1 Tsp Prepared Horseradish
1 Tsp Sour Cream
1/4 Tsp Salt
- Cook the quinoa as directed by the package. This can be done well in advance and stored in the refrigerator.
- Place the walnuts on aluminum foil lined cookie sheet and roast 8-10 minutes at 350F. This can also be done ahead of time. Store in a sealed container in the cabinet.
- Prepare the dressing by whisking all the ingredients and set aside.
- In an extra large mixing bowl, toss the kale and dried cherries with 1/2 of the dressing. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
- Add quinoa, apples, and walnuts along with remaining 1/2 of dressing To the kale and cherries. Toss again.
- Place in serving bowls, add crumbles of goat cheese. Cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes and up to 4-5 hours.
Spaghetti Squash Marinara
Servings: 6-8 Servings
2 Medium Organic Spaghetti Squash
1/4 Cup Organic Olive Oil.
Salt and Pepper
6 Slices Organic Mozzarella Cheese.
Organic Dried Oregano
2 Tbsp Organic Olive Oil
1 Organic Jalapeño, Deseeded and Diced
4 Cloves Minced Organic Garlic
1/2 Tsp Organic Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
28 Ounces Organic Crushed Tomatoes
2 Tsp Dried oregano
3/4 Tsp Sea Salt
1/2 Tsp Black Pepper
4 Sprigs Fresh Organic Basil
- Preheat the oven to 450F
- Cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds
- Brush the squash with olive oil and add salt and pepper
- Place the squash flesh side down on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet.
- Bake 30-40 minutes and remove and cool
- Using a spoon, scrape the flesh from the inside of the skin
- Add olive oil, jalapeño, garlic, and crushed red pepper to a large saucepan and sauté until jalapeño is soft (5-7 minutes)
- Strip basil leaves off sprigs and add along with tomatoes, oregano, salt, and pepper
- Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes
- Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes stirring occasionally
- Remove from heat and use immersion blender to purée smooth
- Add spaghetti squash to an oven safe bowl
- Cover with marinara.
- Top with sliced mozzarella and oregano
- Place in warm oven (170F) until cheese starts to melt
- Serve with a warm sourdough cider breadstick
‘Oaked Hard Cider
‘Oaked is a hard cider I made as part of a trial comparing French and American oak. You can read more about it here. I finished it as a sparkling hard cider with 3.0 CO2 volumes. Its a dry hard cider with sweet vanilla aromas. The taste is a tart vanilla caramel apple. The finish is acidic, slightly astringent, and with vanilla and caramel notes. This cider is a single variety made from Newtown Pippin apples, which was discovered in the late 1600’s or early 1700’s. It’s a very famous apple and one of America’s earliest named varieties. I’m working on the hard cider recipe and you can find it in my recipe page.
However, you can find similar hard ciders at your local wine, bottle, or liquor store. These are hard ciders that have good carbonation with often notes of oak or barrel aging. If you find other hard ciders that would work well, please post them!
Blackjack 21 by ACE Hard Cider
Brut Cidre by Le Brun
Barrel Aged Perry by Stoic
Bourbon Peach Barrel by Tieton Cider Works
Whimple Orchards by Courtney’s
Did you enjoy this article? Follow me so you can get more ideas on pairing hard ciders with food as well as ideas and tips for making and experiencing hard cider. Also, if you want to learn more about making hard cider, get my book. It covers all things hard cider as well as food and cider pairings like above.
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