Welcome! :-) Whatever brought you here today wasn't an accident, and I'm so glad you stopped by. I'm always glad to have folks drop in my kitchen for a visit and hope you'll feel right at home. We always have an ample supply of fresh lemonade, sweet tea, and a pot of coffee brewing along with a sideboard full of baked treats for you to enJOY while you're here. Relax and take your time as we visit and catch up on the latest news. Don't forget to email and let me know what's going on in your world, as well. And, come back soon!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Pinch of Love, A Smidgen of Joy - Fall Apples

It’s officially fall, y’all! Fall was Momma’s favorite time of year. It just so happens to be my favorite time of year, too. There's so much to love about fall - the trees changing colors, the cooler weather, the Razorback football games, the candy and desserts, the mums, the farmers market pumpkins, the spooky decorations, the classic decorations, and the Halloween and Thanksgiving holidays.

For me, living in New England, fall is even better. Trees change colors so much earlier, and the crisp air wanders through these 17th-century colonial towns, which are all celebrating fall festivals and decked out with quaint harvest pumpkins, mums, Indian corn, and hay stacks. It makes the season so much more authentic. This is my second fall in Maine, and I love it here. Even though I'm far away from "home" in the South, I somehow feel closer to Mom here, because I think she would have loved visiting me in New England.

Fall also means apple-picking season in New England, and what better thing to enjoy than a harvest of apples! I joined an apple CSA and have been getting a variety of heirloom apples every other week. I like to make an assortment of fall-inspired sweet desserts and savory dishes with them. I’ve been searching through cookbooks for apple recipes, and Momma’s cookbook has been a big baking inspiration, of course.

Especially in the fall, Momma would make fried apple pies with fresh apples. Oftentimes I would eat the filling of the fried pies by itself, without the fried pie dough. The pie filling is very reminiscent of homemade apple sauce. This week, I decided to take it a step further and actually use Momma’s recipe for fried apple pies to make apple sauce. And it turned out wonderfully! Here’s my transformation of Momma’s fried apple pie filling, turned into apple sauce.

Apple Sauce

(Adapted from “Apple Fried Pies” recipe on pg. 93 in “A Pinch of This, A Smidgen of That” Cookbook by Patricia Rains)

2 Tablespoons butter
4 large apples (I used my CSA apple varieties: Wealthy, Northwestern Greening, St. Lawrence), peeled, cored, and sliced into small pieces
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon corn starch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ lemon squeezed, seeds discarded

Combine dry ingredients and set aside. Melt butter in a large Dutch oven. Add the apples and cook until they begin to fall apart. Then, add dry mixture all at once and stir to keep lumps from forming. Add the lemon juice. The sugar will dissolve and “thin” the apples at first, then the corn starch will thicken it as you continue to stir and cook over medium heat until desired thickness is reached. Remove from the heat and add vanilla. Take an immersion blender (or put the cooked apple mixture into a blender), and blend until the mixture is more of a sauce and the apples are cut into smaller pieces. There can still be some pieces of apple visible, if you like it chunky. If you like it saucier, keep blending until preferred consistency is reached. Allow to cool. Refrigerate leftovers. Serving suggestions for apple sauce: with pork chops, a side with roasted pork tenderloin, on potato latkes, on fresh bread, or just by itself! EnJOY!
(See step by step photos below...)
Cut apples into small pieces.
Cook apples in Dutch oven with butter.
Mix dry ingredients.
Add dry ingredients to apples and cook until apples are softer.
Add lemon juice and continue cooking until sauce is thickened.
Add vanilla and stir. Break apart cooked apple mixture with immersion blender.
Apple sauce is all done and ready to store in the refrigerator or serve!
Happy fall! :)