Monday, September 26, 2011

It's Apple Season!

 It's Fall, my favorite time of year, and apples of all sorts of flavors and varieties are ready to be harvested!  Apples are an incredibly diverse fruit and are great raw, cooked, and juiced.  Each type of apple has it's own unique flavor profile and characteristics much like a good wine! Apple picking also makes for a fun date or family adventure and is really cheap. You spend the day walking around a farm hand-selecting your apples to take home and play with in the kitchen! Here are a few of my current favorite apple recipes:

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
Hearty breakfast with classic Fall flavor!  Serve with eggs to stay full longer and get the day started with healthy protein!  

1/2 c.  Steel Cut Oats,  precooked according to the directions on the package (Not your traditional American processed rolled oats like Quaker's - I'm talking about real oats!)
2 tbl.  glazed apples (recipe follows)
splash organic whole milk
3-4 pecan halves, toasted and hand crumbled

1.  Place all ingredients oats, apples, and milk into a glass bowl and microwave for 2 minutes.  Stir well to combine and top with toasted pecans.

Serves 1.

Glazed Apples
My boyfriend, Chef Tanner Marino, made these for us one night for dinner over seasoned pork chops and I fell in love.  These glazed apples are delicious and versatile you can use them over oatmeal, on top of toast, or even over your favorite pork dish.  He adds port to them to give it an extra layer of flavor and depth but you can certainly make them without.
2 tbl. unsalted butter
6-8 granny smith apples, finely diced
1 1/2 tbl. cinnamon or more to taste
4 tbl. light brown sugar
1-1/2 c. port wine (optional)

1. Brown the butter in medium sized skillet and toss in apples.  Saute for 2-3 minutes or until caramelized.
2.  Add cinnamon and brown sugar, and stir well until sugar is fully melted.  Add port wine and stir then reduce until it coats the apples and resembles a thick sauce.

Makes 1 qt.

Apple and Cheese Plate
Cheese plates are classic fare and pairing it with fresh apples brings a lightness to this dish.  Budget saving tip: Whole Foods Market has a fantastic cheese section with a "Bit Basket,"  you can try out all sorts of exotic cheeses without committing to huge expensive portions.  Most cheese's in the bit basket cost less than $2.  

2 or more types of raw apples, cored and thinly sliced
3-5 types of cheese, cut into bite sized pieces
A selection of your favorite whole grain crackers (get one's without any hydrogenated oils!)
Real fruit jams, pickled vegetables, relishes, or dijon mustard for garnish

1.  Position apples, cheese, crackers and garnishes on plate and enjoy immediately!

Homemade Apple Sauce
Simple and delicious.  Apple sauce makes a great side dish for any meal!  Sometimes I even eat it as a mid-day snack.  The peel of the apple contains the majority of the fiber which is healthy for your digestive system - leave the peel on to bulk up your nutrient intake!  

1 tbl. unsalted butter
Filtered water
Green apples
Cinnamon to taste
Brown sugar or honey to taste

1.  Melt butter in saucepan over low heat.  Toss in apples and pour water into pan until apples are just under halfway covered.  Reduce down stirring occasionally until apples soften completely.
2.  Add cinnamon and sweetener to taste.

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