Thursday, October 6, 2011

Living Greener and Salted Caramel Sauce

Last week I started reading Simple Mom's blog and it has really inspired me. After reading the a few of the posts I have decided to eliminate most if not all chemical cleaners from my home. I also ordered some soap nuts from Laundry Tree and I cannot wait to try them! An all natural alternative to expensive laundry detergent, woot woot!

Another thing she has inspired me to do is to join my local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). It's kind of like a co-op. I joined Farm Fresh To You. Instead of tilling fields in exchange for produce, I pay just $25 a week for a box of fresh organic produce delivered to my door every Thursday morning. How cool is that? I got my first box this morning and all I can say is "YUM!"

How gorgeous are those colors? My box included: 4 Gala Apples, 4 Red Bartlett Pears, 1 bunch of Collard Greens (which I have NO idea how to cook...), 1 lb. of Baby Bok Choy (again, never eaten this before), 3 Heirloom Tomatoes, 1 bunch of Broccoli, and 1 bunch of Lettuce. All Organic. Pretty good for $25, huh? I was so inspired by all of the gorgeous fall colors I decided that I needed to make myself a little snack with one of the apples. What could be yummier than apple slices and homemade salted caramel sauce?
Caramel sauce can be tricky if you don't have great instructions, but once you get the hang of it, it's SO easy to make and SO delicious. My absolute favorite recipe is from Bakingdom. Darla is amazing. Caramel sauce is really just a simple syrup (sugar, water, corn syrup) that you have boiled to go from this:

to this.

When a sugar recipe says to boil until amber color, this is the color you want. This caramel sauce turned out PERFECTLY. So after you boil it to be an amber color, you take the pot off heat and then add the cream. Now this is the tricky part. If your sugar syrup cools too quickly, aka you added cold cream too quickly, you syrup will get all lumpy and disgusting. So here's the trick I've learned. Let the cream sit out until it reaches room temperature, or do like I do... nuke it for about 30 seconds so that it is luke warm. This little trick (as well as trickling the cream into the syrup slowly while stirring) has worked for me every time! Anyway, this is what your caramel sauce should look like after the addition of cream. YUM.

Now the sauce is delicious as is, but to really make it something special (as well as making it a SALTED caramel sauce), add 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter and 1 1/2 teaspoons of crushed sea salt, stir until combined. Now comes the hard part, waiting for it to cool. As temped as you might be, DO NOT stick your fingers in the culinary napalm. Please wait for it to cool, I can't be responsible for your third-degree burns.
Now just drizzle this sauce over slices of apple (or ice cream or popcorn or pretty much anything) for a yummy snack!

The last thing I will leave you with is my newest Starbucks obsession. Pumpkin Chai Tea Latte. It's pretty much pumpkin pie in drink form. Unfortunately, I'm going to need to cut back on those. Neither the waistline or the wallet are appreciating them.

Love you all! See you on Sunday!

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