Tag Archives: apples

Apple Flavored Everything

As it turns out, a half bushel of apples is quite heavy. As in, 26 pounds heavy.

This one was delicious.

There were four of us apple picking, which meant that I got six and a half pounds worth. six and a half pounds! For those of you keeping track, that’s quite a lot of fruit.

And, while normally I would have been thrilled with this quantity, I was leaving the country two days later. So, while I should have been packing, I was making a variation of this, flavored this time with roasted garlic because I had four heads of garlic in my refrigerator that I had to find something to do with before I left so that they wouldn’t go to waste. There was apple butter, too and cookies, lots and lots of cookies.

There are no sweeping themes that follow. There’s all of the last minute packing still to be done and a need on my part to make sure that every last food item in my apartment has been cooked and stored before I depart (what? you don’t do that?). There are recipes. They’re worth making even if you’re not trying to use all of the perishable items in your house before you go away for almost two weeks(!).

Apple Butter
8-10 apples, peeled and cored (I used a mix)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
2 cups water

Place all of the ingredients into a dutch oven and bring to a boil. Once the mixture is boiling reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, until the apples have softened. Take off the heat and blend with an immersion blender, until the apple sauce is completely smooth. Return to a low heat and simmer until the sauce is reduced by half of its volume and has turned a caramel color. Taste, adding sugar to achieve your desired sweetness.

Apple Spice Cookies
Recipe courtesy of Gale Gand

If you’re making the apple sauce yourself, be sure to cool it before adding it to the creamed butter and sugar so that the mixture doesn’t melt.

Your resulting cookies will be light and cake like and would be delicious as the base of whoopie pies, if you’re into that sort of thing.

2 cups flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup applesauce, recipe follows
1 1/2 cups raisins

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Cream the butter and brown sugar. Then add the eggs and applesauce mixing well. Gradually add the dry ingredients and raisins to make dough.

Drop by rounded tablespoons onto a greased cookie sheets, then bake until light golden brown, about ten minutes.

Allow to cool before serving.

Makes 60-75 cookies

Applesauce:

This recipe makes more apple sauce then you need for the cookies—if you want less, simply halve the proportions
6 apples, peeled and cored
1 cup water
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cinnamon

Place the apples in a saucepan with the water, sugar, and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Then, turn down the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until the apple pieces start to break down. Add in the cinnamon and then blend the sauce with an immersion blender until it is smooth.

Makes approximately two cups

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When it Works

Sometimes, I get it right.

Lately, not so much.

If you’ve been following along this Summer, then you’ve repeatedly read about how that it’s been a busy one—unplanned in many ways. That’s always the case, I suppose.

I’m rolling with it.

Monday night, after my apartment was back in order and the leftovers from the Last Hurrah Brunch were all stowed away, it struck me that it was, indeed, the last hurrah.

Insightful, I know.

In a feeble attempt to hold on to the season a little longer, I even attempted to use the air conditioning one last time, just because I could.

It turns out that I couldn’t—again, I’m being really deep here.

What I mean is simply that, with the change of season, I think that change is in order, generally.

My friend Peggy recently posted her own version of a back-to-school list, and while I’m keeping mine closer to the vest, I’m running with the promise of fresh starts that seems to go hand and hand with early fall.

In that spirit, I’ll be posting recipes from the last brunch soon, but for now, I want to share a recipe inspired by the school lunches of my childhood. Really, what could be more quintessentially back to school than fruit roll-ups?

Consider this version a reinvented nostalgic version, scented as it is with vanilla, cinnamon, a nutmeg.

Don’t be put off by the time it takes to dry out the fruit—its a reason to loaf at home as the weather gets colder and catch up on some reading. I, for one, cannot think of a better way to spend a cool, crisp fall afternoon.

Fruit Roll-ups

Apple Fruit Roll-Ups
Inspired by Food Network Magazine

1 large Apples, peeled and chopped (I used Mitzu)
1/4 cup light brown sugar, tightly packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 TBS lemon juice
1 TBS vanilla
1 pinch nutmeg

Vegetable oil, for greasing your baking sheet

In a blender, combine the apples, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and lemon juice. Puree the mixture until it is completely smooth.

Move the pureed apple to a saucepan and bring it to a summer over medium-high heat. Be careful as it might splatter. Once it is at a simmer, lower the heat, to medium-low and cook, stirring periodically — more often towards the end — until most the liquid evaporates, making the mixture very thick. This will take 35-45 minutes.

While you’re stirring the apple puree, preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. You should also line a 8-by-13-inch rimmed baking sheet with a foil that is coated with oil or a Silpat baking mat.

When the apple puree has sufficiently thickened, pour it onto your baking sheet, using a spatula to spread the fruit on the mat or foil into a thin layer. Bake until barely tacky, 3 hours to 3 hours, 30 minutes.

Transfer the baking sheet to a rack and let the fruit leather cool completely. Peel off of the mat or foil, being sure to check that the fruit leather has no moist spots. If the leather is still moist on the underside, return it to the oven, moist-side up, until dry, about 20 more minutes.

Once the fruit leather is completely dry and has cooled, lay it smooth-side down on a sheet of wax paper. Cut into cut it into strips using kitchen shears. Roll up the strips and store in plastic bags.

Makes 8 fruit roll-ups

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Lacking Self Control

I couldn’t help myself.

Walking through Union Square last Saturday—any Saturday morning, really—tends to be a bit of a dangerous proposition for me. I feel myself grow covetous. And, despite having a fully stocked pantry, find myself unable to resist the new flavors on offer.

In this case, it was the newly arrived flavors of fall that did me in. Sure, I’m already missing the juicy tomatoes of summer, but right now the rows and rows of apples have made me easily distracted. Paired with butternut squash—another fall favorite of mine—they make a surprising soup. Silky and elegant and so very filling, this is soup that’s good enough for company.

What? You thought perhaps I would admit to something more ominous?

Oh, well, there’s always next time.

For now, here’s the recipe.

Butternut Squash Soup

6 bacon strips, cut into 1/2″ pieces
2 TBS olive oil
3 apples, peeled and cut into cubes (combination of gala and granny smith)
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes, with seeds set aside
2 shallots, diced
2 onions, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp thyme
6 cups chicken stock
1 cup milk or heavy cream (I used soy milk for a lighter flavor)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In separate dishes, toss both the butternut squash seeds and butternut squash with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Before roasting the butternut squash seeds, make sure that they have been dried thoroughly. Roast for 40 minutes. Set aside.

In a large dutch oven, heat the bacon over a low flame, rendering the fat and browning the bacon, about 10 minutes. Strain the bacon on a paper towel and set aside.

Add the red pepper flakes, thyme, shallots, onions, and garlic to the bacon fat and saute until the mixture is translucent, about ten minutes.

Add the apples, cinnamon, and nutmeg, stir and saute 2 minutes.

Add the butternut squash and chicken stock. Simmer for approximately 30 minutes, until the apples are soft and falling apart.

Using an immersion blender, puree the soup. Stir in a cup of milk or heavy cream and simmer for another 15 minutes, until all of the flavors have combined.

Serve using the bacon bits and butternut squash seeds as garnish.

Serves six, very generously

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Just Add Crunch

Right. A while back I told you about pulled pork, mentioning that it didn’t need much, just some white bread and slaw.

The problem is when it comes to slaw, I’m as finicky an eater as there is. Despite trying it countless times, I simply cannot bring myself to like mayonnaise. And, as I searched for mayo-less recipes, one thing became quickly apparent: I would have to make my own.

I know, I know, my life is so hard.

This slaw is fantastic with the pork, not least because the dressing gets its acidic kick from mustard—an ingredient that’s featured in the dry rub of the meat and the accompanying sauce. The apples, right in season at present, play off the classic pork and apple combination as well, bringing it to a different level.

That said, there’s no reason not to serve this at all your (indoor) picnics.

Cabbage and Apple Slaw

1 head of green cabbage, shredded
4 gala apples, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 TBS and 1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1.5 TBS Dijon mustard
1 TBS honey
2 TBS red wine vinegar

Place the shredded cabbage in a bowl of ice water with 1 TBS salt and all to sit at least 30 minutes.

Strain the cabbage and spin in a salad spinner until it is completely dry.

In a large bowl, combine the Dijon mustard, honey, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper and whisk it all together. Add more salt and pepper to taste if needed.

Add the cabbage and apples to the dressing and toss until well combined. All the slaw to sit at least 15 minutes prior to serving to all all of the flavors to meld together.

Makes approximately 8 cups

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Eating Your Greens

brussels sprouts with bacon

This is my favorite kind of dish—the kind that feels indulgent while still allowing you to think you’re being healthy. And, it really is mostly healthy.

Sure, there’s the bacon. But it’s minimal compared to the vegetables, there for flavor more than anything else. And what flavor it imparts—it’s the perfect foil for the vegetables and seasoning. The saltiness nicely offsetting the tartness of the granny smith apples and perfectly balancing the acidic punch of the vinegar.


brussels sprouts onions

Then, there are the Brussels sprouts, filled with fiber and vitamin rich, detested by children everywhere.

Seriously.

My mother was so convinced that my sister and I would hate them that she refused to serve them in our house while we were going up. I’m almost entirely convinced that’s the only reason I like them so much now.

bacon and onions

This is also the kind of dish that comes together quickly, making it the perfect candidate for a quick weeknight dinner. A little bit of chopping, a quick stir and dinner is on the table.

Make it tonight.

frying away

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Apples

A note about the oil before you get cooking: I realize it seems a bit excessive what with the bacon fat. You can certainly leave it out, but in my experience, the vegetables stick to the pan without it and burn instead of brown. So, do so at your own risk. (Upon rereading that, I realize that it sounds rather ominous. Forgive me, but I take my vegetables very seriously, apparently.)

1.5 cups brussels sprouts, quartered
4 bacon strips, diced
1 large granny smith apple, peeled and diced
1/2 large or 1 small onion onion, cut into slivers
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp thyme
2 TBS cider vinegar
1 TBS olive oil

In a large pan, heat bacon, rendering the fat, about 5 minutes.

Add olive oil to the pan, and once it has heated, add the onions, garlic and thyme, and saute until the onions are translucent. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Add the brussels sprouts without stirring, another 5-7 minutes until they have caramelized, appropriately another 5-7 minutes.

Pour in the cider vinegar to deglaze the pan, and stir to get up all of the brown bits.

Add the apples, stirring until they’ve heated.

Cover the pan for another 5 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Finish off with more salt and pepper, as needed.

Serves 4 as a side dish and 2 as a main dish.

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