When Friends Give You Apples….Make Fall Desserts

My friend gave me a bag full of her beautiful apples right off her tree.  It doesn’t get any better than that.  Except a week later she gave me another bag and I can’t believe these are even bigger and juicier.  The first bag I made this super easy apple crisp.  Crisps are so easy and with so few ingredients I just made it up as I went along. I went to a friends’ and shared with lots of moms and kids. It was a hit and I was asked for the recipe.  Oops!  My own kids didn’t have any crisp. And my daughter didn’t get to help.   So when the second bag of apples came around my daughter and I made another crisp to share with my kids and followed a real recipe so I could share with everyone.  Although I cooked according to directions for 40 minutes and the apples turned to sauce.  I think 25 – 30 minutes for firmer apples.

Another great option for fall apples is an Apple Gallett.  Easier than a pie as the crust is tasty but more rustic and doesn’t require all the fuss of a pie pan, fluting, etc.  I still have some apples left so I’ll make this next.


Apple Crisp

6 -8tart apples, peeled, cored, and sliced (such as Granny Smith)

2 -3 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup flour (can use whole wheat)

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup butter

Toss apples with lemon juice, sugar, and spices; turn into an 8×8″ baking pan that has been lightly coated with no-stick cooking spray

Cut together flour, brown sugar, and butter until crumbly; sprinkle evenly over apples.

Bake at 350° for 30-40 minutes until apples are tender; serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

 

 

 

 

 

Apple Galette

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) plus 2 tablespoons cold butter

1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten

1/2 cup walnuts

2 pounds tart apples (3 to 5), such as Pink Lady or Granny Smith

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 large egg, beaten to blend with 1 tablespoon water

In a food processor or large bowl, combine flour, granulated sugar, and salt. Cut 1/2 cup butter into pieces and add to flour mixture; pulse motor, cut in with a pastry blender, until mixture resembles coarse meal. With motor running (or stirring with a fork after each addition), add egg yolk and 3 to 4 tablespoons cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time; process or stir just until mixture comes together in a ball. Form dough into a flat disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill until firm but still pliable, about 1 hour

Meanwhile, spread walnuts in a baking pan and bake in a 375° oven until barely golden under skins, 6 to 8 minutes (leave oven on). Coarsely chop nuts.

Peel and core apples; cut each into eight wedges. In a 10- to 12-inch nonstick frying pan over medium heat, melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter. When it’s foamy, add apples and stir often until slightly softened and brown at edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Sprinkle brown sugar and nutmeg over fruit and stir until liquid is syrupy and bubbling, about 5 minutes. Stir in walnuts. Remove from heat.

Unwrap dough. On a lightly floured surface, with a lightly floured rolling pin, roll into a round about 15 inches in diameter. Line a 12- by 15-inch baking sheet with cooking parchment and carefully transfer dough round to sheet (edges will hang over sheet)

Pour apple mixture onto center of pastry, mounding wedges in a circle about 8 inches wide and 2 inches high. Gently fold edges of dough over apples, pleating as you go, leaving an opening about 4 inches wide in the center. Brush pastry all over with beaten egg.

Bake in 375° oven until pastry is golden brown and apples are tender when pierced, 40 to 45 minutes (35 to 40 in a convection oven). Transfer galette (with parchment, if using) to a wire rack to cool. Transfer to a large plate, gently pulling parchment from under tart. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature, cut into wedges.

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The Apple Feast

Because of all the apples we’d harvested at the u-pick, I was inspired.  And admittedly a little over the top with my obsession with making an apple meal.  By this I mean, using apple as an ingredient in each food.  Also I also must admit, it was tasty and fun, and we now have only about a dozen apples left.

 

Note: I suggest if you have an abundance of apples – make applesauce of course.   This was great for my son who can’t enjoy raw apples easily with his new mouth hardware.  It can be swirled into yogurt, oatmeal and ice cream.  And also is a great way to create moist and nutritious baked goods.  This week I made apple banana bran muffins for my kids’ school snack.

 

Anyways… we invited our friends over for dinner, who we picked apples with.  Luckily they weren’t too burned out on apples (or just too polite) to go with my theme.  Over the course of a few days of planning and prepping we were ready for our apple feast.  Our guests were creative and brought two wonderful sides that went perfectly.  (No really.  I can’t say how much I appreciate it when someone offers and actually brings something that goes with the meal, rather than just bringing something because they think they should.  Your host doesn’t want extra food for that meal, unless you’re assigned.  O.K. so yes, that it a pet peeve of mine.).

Here was the menu…

Butternut-Apple Soup

Mini Grilled Cheese and Sliced Apple Sandwiches on Raisin Toast

Corriander Spiced Pork Chops (Sunset mag Oct. 2011) with Applesauce (very Brady Bunch)

Apple Slaw with yogurt dressing – thanks Anne

Mixed Greens with apple slices, candied peacans and blue cheese – thanks again Anne

Apple Pie with caramel drizzle and vanilla ice cream

We started the evening with apple bobbing.  This was a great activity to use those little tiny apples we picked.  The kids had fun coming up with ways to get the apple (nope, the stem is cheating) and finally dunking in head first (my son had seen this in a contest at school last year).

As far as the kids were concerned they were most excited about the first course (soup and sand) and dessert course.  No surprises there.  I was quite happy with the pork chops (thanks Sunet and Lee for grilling) and ate more than my share.  I can’t remember the last time we made them at home.  But I will again. (Note: the recipe has the chops with plum chutney, which I skipped due to the applesaue)

soup and sand
pork, apple sauce and salads
mmm....pie

Here’s the soup recipe because it is so easy and perfect on a chilly autumn night.  I like to roast a halved butternut squash in the oven a day or two ahead, then scrape out flesh to make this soup even quicker.

Butternut-Apple Soup

(adapted from Petit Appetit: Eat, Drink and Be Merry)

This is a simple, sweet and aromatic soup that only requires a few ingredients.  It can be enjoyed with a salad and bread for a nutritious lunch or dinner, or as a comforting autumn snack on a chilly day after playing outdoors.

Makes 7 cups; 7 servings

1 tablespoon expeller-pressed canola oil or other vegetable oil

1/3 cup chopped onion

1 pound peeled, cut cooked squash (can buy prepackaged in produce section) or 2 pounds whole butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

2 medium organic Fuji apples, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped

1 (14-ounce) can organic low-sodium vegetable broth

1 cup water

1 teaspoon fresh thyme or ¼ teaspoon dried thyme

½ teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup organic milk

In large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until tender and golden, about 10 minutes. Stir in squash, apples, broth, water, thyme, salt, and pepper. Heat over high heat until boiling. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer, stirring often until squash and apples are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. (If not using precooked
squash, you’ll need to increase cooking time by 15 to 20 minutes.)

Spoon one-third of squash mixture into a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Be careful: Mixture is hot and steam can burn when processing. Pour puree into bowl and continue processing remainder of squash mixture. Soup can be made
ahead at this point.

When ready to eat, return puree to saucepan and stir in milk. Heat through over medium heat until hot.

(Babes and Soup. Just remember many children do not like foods too
warm, so serve at room temperature for the youngest. Because this recipe has
cow’s milk, it should not be served to those under one year.)

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How D’ya Like Them Apples? With Apple Crisps recipe

Tis the season to go apple picking.  Luckily we were only thinking pumpkins, but our friends reminded and invited us up to Gabriel Farm in Sebastopol.  We all had lots of fun.  I was expecting ladders and pickers to reach the trees, however we could all stand (even my 5 year old) to pick our own.  My husband was looking at them curiously and figured they must cut them in a certain way so they do not grow tall but out.  They also grow asian pears for sale, but not u-pick.  So all in all we bought 20 lbs of apples, plus another 5 of asian pears!  I know I was surprised too.  It’s just so fun and easy and of course each child wanted their own basket.  They do add up.

our apple haul

Luckily I had lots of ideas and recipes in mind….

First we made Apple Crisps…

 

apple crisps

Apple Crisps

(from Petit Appetit: Eat, Drink and Be Merry)

An alternative to boring potato chips, this simple treat satisfies a child’s need for crunch. Using a mandoline provides convenience and accurate cuts for even baking. However a careful, steady knife works as well. The apples crisp in the low heat, which dries out the moisture. Once in the oven these need no attention (just remember to turn off the oven overnight), until it’s time to pack them (or eat them) in the morning.

Makes about 48 apple crisps; 4 (12-chip) servings

2 tablespoons evaporated cane juice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

2 large organic apples such as Fuji or Braeburn

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Stir together evaporated cane juice, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a small bowl.

Using a mandoline or a steady hand and a knife, cut the apple vertically in to 1/8-inch-thick rounds. You do not need to core or peel the apple. The seeds will fall out or can easily be removed from apple slices after cutting.

Place apple slices on prepared baking sheets in a single layer and sprinkle with cinnamon mixture. Bake in the middle of the oven for 1½ hours. Rotate pans and cook for 1 hour more. Turn off heat and leave in the oven overnight if apples are not dry and crisp. Loosen chips with a spatula to remove from parchment paper.

Kids Korner

Shake it Up! The easiest way to lightly and evenly sprinkle sugars and spices is to transfer to a spice shaker. Having a specially marked shaker for cinnamon and sugar saves time when making other snacks such as cinnamon toast or spicing up plain yogurt. This is also a “neat” way to get children to help with decorating and flavoring tasks.

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Happy New Year – Rosh Hashana Apples and Honey

Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah is here. It is a tradition in the Jewish culture to dip apples in honey for a sweet New Year.  It doesn’t matter what time of year or what your culture, apples are the most popular fruit in the world.  And really who needs an excuse to dip them in honey?  Yum!

Here’s a link to my friend Lisa’s Velick’s blog who writes about all things gluten free and always gives me a lesson on the Jewish holidays and celebrations.

 

 

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Steamed Milk in May?!

Frothing Milk in His Jacket

Today was cold and rainy here in Northern California.  I have to keep reminding myself it’s mid-May, as we put on rainboots and remember umbrellas to head out for the day.  We would usually be making fresh lemonade by now.  But today when my kids got home from school they asked for steamed milk.  I thought it was a great idea as I needed to warm up too. 

Luckily I had been doing lots of cooking and food prepping with apples for some videos (more on that later) so we had our steamed milk (aka Little Lattes) with homemade applesauce and mini apple banana bran muffins.  It was comforting and warmed us up for a bit. (and my son finally removed his jacket)

I’m still hoping for some sunny and warm weather soon, but in the meantime maybe you and your kids would like to share some milk and muffins too.  See the recipes…

Little Lattes (from Petit Appetit: Eat, Drink and Be Merry)

Everyone likes the warmth and comfort of a warm drink on a cold day. Having a frother on hand is great for making quick foam from any kind of hot milk. When making steamed milk for my latte one day I discovered my son really enjoyed the foam on the top. I poured him a glass of the warm milk and he loved it. I laughed at his cute milk foam mustache.

Makes 1 cup

 ¾ cup organic vanilla soy milk (or any organic milk)

 Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until just under boiling, 5 to 6 minutes. Pour milk into a frother and froth until foam becomes thick but it can still be poured.

Kids Korner

Serve steamed milk with a shaker each of cinnamon and chocolate and let kids top their lattes with something special like the grown-ups.

Mini Banana Apple Bran Muffins (from The Petit Appetit Cookbook)

These mini muffins have all the flavor of a big muffin, but fit nicely into little hands.   Of course you can also make these in a regular full size muffin pan, just remember to increase baking time to 15 to 18 minutes and check for doneness.  Be sure you’ve already introduced wheat and eggs before giving these muffins to baby.

Makes 24 mini muffins or 12 regular muffins

1 cup organic wheat flour

½ cup organic oat bran

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

¾ cup organic applesauce or homemade apple puree

3 medium organic bananas, 1 mashed (about ½ cup) and 2 sliced for muffin tops

½ cup organic light brown sugar

2 cage free, organic eggs

 Preheat oven to 375F.  Grease 24 mini muffin cups or 12 regular muffin cups.

 With a fork, combine flour, bran, salt, and soda in a small mixing bowl.  Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat or in a microwave for 25 seconds on High.  In a large bowl combine butter, applesauce, one mashed banana, sugar and eggs.  Mix together with a rubber spatula.  Add flour mixture to applesauce mixture and stir until just blended.  Batter will be lumpy and very moist.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling two-thirds full.  Place banana slice on top of each muffin.  Bake for 12 minutes, or until golden brown and set.  Cool muffins in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes before turning out muffins.

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Kids on a Plane (with Organic Snack Recipes)

From Lisa Barnes

So we’re headed to the East Coast to visit family (and see a Red Sox game). It will be great once we get there. However anyone ever traveling with (or unluckily, near) small children knows how touchy and anxious the plane flight can be. Even if you’ve packed all the old favorite (and new) books, games, stickers, toys, DVD’s, etc. it may still not work for a child who is confined for more than an hour.

I’ve been stockpiling and preparing snacks now that only peanuts and “cereal bars” are the only edibles offered any more (unless you are flying first class). And you can’t bring in liquids, gels and other food type textures (forget the yogurt, hummus dip and apple sauce). Some of the items in our (large!) carry-on include: bananas, apples, carrot sticks, trail mix, dried spicy peas, yogurt covered raisins, and fig bars. In addition here are a few recipes for things my children (and husband and I) will enjoy en route. In addition I’m sure we’ll be buying food (an actual meal) in the airport (an activity for the lay-over, right?)

Organic Cherry Almond Granola
This is from my baking friend, fellow mom and food blogger Amy Andrews. It is the perfect crunchy snack for on-the-go packing or enjoyed at home in your child’s favorite cereal bowl with milk. It also makes the perfect top layer for a yogurt parfait.

Makes 5 ½ cups

Granola base
2 cups organic rolled oats (not instant)
1 cup organic sliced almonds
1/2 cup organic unsweetened grated coconut
3 tablespoons organic flax meal
1 cup dried cherries

Granola syrup
2 tablespoons organic, expeller pressed canola oil
3 tablespoons organic agave nectar
3 tablespoons organic maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 250°F.

Line a cookie sheet pan with parchment paper. In large bowl combine the oats, almonds, coconut, and flax meal.

In small bowl whisk together canola oil, agave nectar and maple syrup. Add the vanilla and salt. Pour over oat mixture and stir with wooden spoon to combine.

Pour the granola mixture onto the prepared cookie sheet pan and spread to an even layer. Bake for 1 hour stirring every 20 minutes until golden in color. Remove cookie sheet pan from oven and add the dried cherries. Stir to combine and let cool. (At home, enjoy as a topping to organic yogurt or as a cereal with your favorite milk or nut milk.) Store airtight.

Organic Apple Crisps
An alternative to boring potato chips, this simple treat satisfies a child’s need for crunch. Having a mandolin provides convenience and accurate cuts for even baking. However a careful, steady knife works as well. The apples crisp because of the low heat which dries out the moisture. Once in the oven these need no attention (just remember to turn off the oven overnight), until it’s time to pack them (or eat) them in the morning.
Makes about 48 apple crisps.

2 large organic apples such as Fuji or Braeburn
2 tablespoon evaporated cane juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg

Preheat oven to 200°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Stir together evaporated cane juice, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small bowl.

Using a mandolin or a steady hand cut the apple vertically in to 1/8 inch thick rounds. You do not need to core or peel the apple. The seeds will fall out or can easily be removed from apple slices once cut.

Place apple slices on baking sheet in a single layer and sprinkle with cinnamon mixture. Bake in the middle of the oven and cook for 1½ hours. Rotate pan and cook an additional hour. Turn off heat and leave pan with apples in the oven overnight if not dry and crisp.

Loosen chips with a spatula to remove from parchment paper.

Tip:
Shake it Up! The easiest way to lightly and evenly sprinkle sugars and spices is to transfer to a spice shaker. Having a specially marked shaker for cinnamon and sugar saves time when making other snacks such as cinnamon toast or spicing up plain yogurt. This is also a “neat” way to get children to help with decorating and flavoring tasks.
~~
Lisa Barnes is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler and lives in Sausalito, California.
Image Credit: Ripe Oats © James Virgin | Dreamstime.com
OrganicToBe.org | OrganicToGo.com
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