Apple-Honey Challah

I'm always tickled when I experience serendipity.  Take this post for instance - while David has 3, 4, possibly 7 recipes in the cooker waiting to post, here I am - late, late, late - with a recipe I made over a week ago.  Sigh.  In so many ways, I am the epitome of organization - sadly, this just isn't one of them.

And what to write?  I've been sitting at my desk staring at a page torn ages ago from an issue of Martha Stewart Living, pondering that very question.  From the pile of never-tried-recipes, I had pulled out one for Apple-Honey Challah.  Only now did my fingers do a bit of internet walking and I was delighted to read that Rosh Hashanah - the Jewish New Year - begins at sunset this Wednesday, September 28th.  Positively serendipitous and I'm just in the nick of time.  It's interesting to learn that among the traditional food customs surrounding this high holiday, challah baked into a round loaf represents wholeness and community, and the cycle of the new year. And simply put, apples and honey are symbolic of the wish for a sweet new year.


A Sonoran Desert Coffee Cake

Recently, Mark and I were in the downtown Tucson store of Whole Foods. This is not a store where we normally shop, for the main reason that it is off our beaten path. We have great stores in our direct route between work and home - Trader Joe's, Caravan (Middle Eastern market), the India Dukaan and Albertson's. Pretty much everything we need, we find in one of our regular spots.

I can't remember what took us to Whole Foods that day, but we were so glad we went. It was their once-a-month day to show off local vendors selling Arizona-made products. This gave me the idea to create a recipe using items created by our local artisans or grown by local farmers. You needn't worry if you aren't in Arizona, though - most of these vendors ship or you can make substitutions using your local ingredients. Now, see how easy this will be? 

My first foray into this realm will be my Sonoran Desert Coffee Cake, made with mesquite flour (from the velvet mesquite), Cheri's Cactus Marmalade and Arizona-grown pecans – all three products form our beautiful Sonoran Desert.


Stuffed Again!

My most recent farmers market find is the Jimmy Nardello sweet Italian frying pepper.  I have never tasted a pepper this sweet in my life and am now hooked. 

Should you want to grown your own, seeds for the Jimmy Nardello pepper are readily available online at Burpee's and other seed catalogs and I think I will be growing them myself next year along with my Scotch bonnets, Thai peppers and native chiltepin peppers. I have never before had the urge to grow a sweet pepper! (Let's be honest, Mark will grow the peppers for me, and he will benefit from all the culinary wonders they/I provide for him!) 

When the woman at the vegetable stall asked what I was going to do with them, my first thought was to stuff them and serve them as an appetizer or first course. "Well, what exactly will you stuff them with?" Feeling a bit on the spot, I responded, "Cheese and herbs, of course!"