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Sunday, October 7, 2007

Savory Apple Recipes

The Lord is Good to Me
And So I thank the Lord
For Giving Me The Things I Need The Sun and The Rain and The Appleseed
The Lord Is Good To Me

-Johnny Appleseed, Girl Scout song. Not to be sung unless you are hoping for rain.

Yeah, Hotober.

Thanks to the gumption of my sister Ann, a group of friends ventured out to suburbia to pick apples at Linvilla Orchards. An activity that is normally supposed to be enjoyed during crisp fall weather, this adventure was a sweaty affair, as temperatures in the northeast are hitting record highs. It was close to 90 and muggy as hell.

We still had an awesome time, despite the unseasonable weather. We filled two huge boxes with apples, picked pumpkins for carving, and I bought some chestnuts from the farmers market. I now have 30 pounds of apples to go through, and, in case you were nervous, I will be blogging my way through the box.

The whole experience was idyllic. It harkend memories of a childhood in Ohio, home of culinary colonizer Johnny Appleseed [side note: if you thought apples were indigenous to this country, you're wrong. They have their origins in Kazakhstan]. Fruit tress always remind me of my grandma. She would see them in someone's yard as we were driving by and insist that we stop. We'd all have to get out of the car and stand amongst the smelly, rotten fruit on the ground, trying not to get stung by bees or arrested. She was undaunted, and we always had a bowl of fruit with leaves still on the stem on our kitchen table.

Apples are sort of generic anyway, so I'd like to avoid the obvious. There will be at least one apple pie that comes of our apple picking adventure, but in my kitchen, apples are the new veg.

shredded collard greens with walnuts and pickled apples

Gourmet | September 2000

Note: this recipe doesn't say to cook the collards, but I am gonna blanch them because raw collards are pretty intense .

Active time: 30 min Start to finish: 1 1/2 hr

Servings: Makes 6 servings.
For pickled apples
2 red apples such as Gala or Idared
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pickling spice

1/2 cup walnut halves (3 oz)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 bunch collard greens (1 lb)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Make pickled apples: Quarter and core apples, then cut each quarter lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Boil vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and pickling spice in a saucepan, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Add apples and return to a boil. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and cool. Chill, uncovered, until cold, about 1 hour.

Prepare nuts while apples chill: Toast walnuts in oil in a small skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until a shade darker. Cool nuts in oil. Transfer nuts to a cutting board with a slotted spoon, reserving oil. Coarsely chop 1 tablespoon nuts and finely chop remaining nuts.

Prepare collard greens: Halve each collard leaf lengthwise with kitchen shears or a sharp knife, cutting out and discarding center ribs. Stack leaves and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide strips. Transfer to a large bowl.

Just before serving: Transfer all nuts and oil from skillet to collards and toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Add apple slices, discarding pickling liquid and spices, and toss again.

Apple Curry Baked Beans

This recipe calls for 1 golden delicious, but I find them to be not so delicious, so I will use two winesap.

1 28 ounce can baked beans
1 cup thinly sliced carrot
1/2 cup chopped sweet red pepper
1/2 cup sliced green onion
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small Golden Delicious apple, chopped
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

In a skillet sautee carrot, sweet red pepper, and onion in hot oil over medium-high heat until crisp-tender. Combine vegetable mixture, beans and remaining ingredients in a lightly greased 1 1/2-quart casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until bubbly.

A few other ideas I have kicking around:

* cheese tortellini with apples and sage butter,
* a whole wheat pizza with brie, apples and caramelized onions,
* sauteed cabbage with apples,
* bread pudding with apples and sweet potatoes.

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