how you like them apples, or, seven things i did with apples this week.

October 7, 2013 § 2 Comments

photo(15)

1. picked ’em.
there are few things that i look forward to more than apple picking in minnesota in the fall. it just feels so perfectly seasonal, so earnest, so *wholesome*.

And around here, the little guys are practically *begging* to be picked. In fact, it’s a hard thing to escape. whether you’re venturing east or west, there’s no shortage of orchards to choose from. Better still, once you arrive in the orchards, you’re reminded that there are loads of new and inspired apple breeds to choose from; many brought to you by the kind folks over at the u of m (honeycrisp, anyone?)

but when you’re surrounded by rows and rows of perfectly ripe apples, it’s not hard to quickly become a little over-zealous in your picking, leaving you with pounds and pounds an pounds of the little guys.

on the upside, i have a food blog.

2. made Apple Sauce.

photo(18)
the stuff:
2 apples, cored, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1/4 yellow onion
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch allspice
pinch ground cloves
1-2T butter

the how-to:
1. heat butter over med heat; add onions and cook until becoming translucent, approximately 5 minutes. (note: I know what you’re thinking. but really. there’s nothing that takes on seasoning quite like a sautéed onion. trust. I eat this stuff for breakfast. non-metaphorical breakfast. mixed in with this).
2. sprinkle onions with cinnamon, allspice and cloves. grin at the christmas-y smell. photo(19)
3. stir in apple chunks.
4. reduce heat to medium-low and cover loosely with a lid (it needn’t match; you want to leave it a bit open).
5. stir occasionally (every 5 minutes or so) until the apples have largely broken down and can be squished with a spatula. this bit should take about half an hour. remove from heat and serve.

3. tried a new soup recipe and then made it less good for you (read: more delicious)
I tried out this recipe for Broccoli Apple Soup from Food52. their version is thin and lacking in substance. and by substance, i clearly mean “things that are delicious if not necessarily good for you.” So i tweaked the recipe and made it taste good. Don’t ever say I’m not there for you.

photo(16)

the stuff:
1 large head broccoli
2 large apples
2 T butter
1 large yellow onion, diced
4 c. vegetable broth
1/2 pint heavy whipping cream
plain yogurt to garnish (optional; advised).

the how-to:
1. coarsely chop the onion.
2. trim off the broccoli stems from the florets (the bits that you think of as “broccoli”). set the florets aside and coarsely chop the stems, discarding any of the end bits that look like they’re considering becoming rounds of wood.
3. peel the apples and coarsely chop the peeled apples. (horse people: throw the cores and skins in a Ziploc and put in the freezer. they will come in handy later when you make these).
4. heat butter over medium-high heat. add onion and apples and cook approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure everything gets squishy and nothing gets browned. photo(20)
5. add in the stock and broccoli stem bits.
6. bring everything to a low boil; reduce to a simmer. cover and cook for approximately 20 minutes.
7. add in broccoli florets and cook for an additional 5 minutes. photo(17)
8. remove from heat and let cool for 5 or so minutes. blend in a blender or with an immersion blender. The latter is much easier, but please for the love of god, keep ’em under water and don’t burn yourself with broccoli soup splatter. ouch.
9. return puree to low heat, stir in cream until combined throughout.
10. serve with a dollop of plain yogurt (don’t skip this step. LIVE A LITTLE. I mean, you already added the cream right? and scout’s honor. the yogurt really does add a lovely, tangy bite.)

4. watched my trusty sidekick make Honey Ginger Apple Shredded Pork and happily devoured it
photo 3 (2)
we picked up the recipe here: http://paleomg.com/honey-ginger-apple-shredded-pork/ and varied it not a whit, except that, not able to locate a shoulder roast, we used a pork ribeye roast instead and, slightly concerned about the fact that the crokpot was not nearly half full of liquid, added loads more stock to the pot (which I subsequently used to make soup. waste not…).

serves 6-8 and makes really great sandwich-ready leftovers.

the stuff:
a crockpot
2lb pork roast (I used ribeye)
1 yellow onion, sliced
2 apples, cored and sliced
5 c. stock (I used veggie)
1 tablespoon raw honey
2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger (use ground ginger if you don’t have fresh on hand)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon pepper
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 bay leaf

photo 1 (2)
the how-to:
1.pull out the crockpot.
2.add the stock, onions, apples, pork, and spices.
3.Cover.
4.Cook for 8-10 hours on low (or 6-8 on high). we ended up doing closer to 10, to give the pork a chance to get even more tender.
5.use tongs or a fork to shred the pork.

photo 2 (2)
after enjoying our delicious and ridiculously easy dinner, we strained out the stock and threw it in the freezer for later soup-making and pyrexed the solids in the fridge, which later played a pivotal role in what might have been one of my top-10-sandwiches of all time. leftovers!

5. made Baked Apples
photo 2
the stuff:
4 apples (I used honeycrisp)
1/4 cup brown sugar (dark or light)
1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch cloves
1/4 c pecans or walnuts, chopped
1 tablespoon butter, divided in four
1 cup hot cider or hot water in a pinch

the how-to:
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F
2. scoop out the cores of the apple, leaving approximately 1/2 inch in tact on the bottom.
photo 1
3. in a small bowl mix the sugar, oats, spices and nuts in a bowl. divide the mixture between the apples, packing in the stuffing tightly.
4. arrange the apples in a baking dish and top each with 1/4 tsp. butter. pour 1c. cider in the bottom of the dish, and cover loosely with foil.
5. bake for 20 minutes and remove foil. continue baking uncovered until the apples are soft and the brown sugar has grown syrupy, approximately 20-30 minutes.
6. serve with vanilla ice cream, crème fraiche or whipped cream.

also, make extras to eat for breakfast!

6. made butternut squash and apple soup

i’ll skip posting the recipe here since it was really just a riff on this guy, with paprika and cayenne in place of the christmas spicing.

7. made cider!
photo 5 so, this is year three of our cider-making career, and because I am not terrifically modest, I will tell you that the product of the past two years’ efforts has been pretty fantastic. and so! year three!
I will post with the details and how-to when this year’s cider is ready for the-drinkin’.

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§ 2 Responses to how you like them apples, or, seven things i did with apples this week.

  • Morgan says:

    What do you mean you couldn’t find a pork shoulder roast? Where do you shop? With some cuts of some animals there are a number of related cuts or even different names for the same cut. Pork shoulder can be cut into picnic roast and Boston butt and Boston butt can go by a number of names combining “butt”, “shoulder”, “Boston”, etc. It’s definitely confusing. I would guess your store has some variation of it, though.

    • I was at the wedge. I’ll admit, I was looking for something marked “shoulder roast.” so, barring that, it was destined to be a failure. You should take me on a field trip to learn about cuts of meat! Or I should get some of those animal drawings that show where the various cuts come from.

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