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Entries in apples (19)

Monday
Nov042013

Apple Crisp

Apple Crisp

I adore autumn weather for many reasons—the comfort foods, the colors of the trees, the days of nothing but drizzling rain—but ripe, fresh apples are what truly bring this season home for me. Apples are one of the few foods I keep continually stocked in my refrigerator. I eat apples like other people enjoy bread or drink milk, daily and sometimes more than once. A few years ago, I found myself with an unquenchable apple craving. One thousand apples later, it hasn't dissipated.

When fall rolls around, and the apples become crisp and sweet, this simple fruit becomes irresistible.

Apple Crisp

When the cold sets in for the year, I surround myself with apple recipes. My grandmother's applesauce recipe is on constant rotation, popping up several times a season. Slightly bruised apples, fallen from the tree, are often the stars of this dish. Once the soft parts are cut off, the apples are salvaged in such a simple, but beautiful manner. Likewise, this Apple Cinnamon Cake has never failed to grace my autumn table. More apple than cake, the ingredients vary to accommodate the ones already in the cupboard.

A few years ago, I branched out and made my own homemade apple cider. The final result was so fresh and delicious, my roommate and I were so afraid to drink it (lest it should disappear) that the cider nearly spent too long in the refrigerator.

Apple Crisp Apple Crisp

On a phone call with my mother, she told me about an apple crisp my sister had made for her when she last visited. As I eyed the freshly picked apples boxed on my counter top, the idea seemed like the perfect plan to enact with my own apples. When the weekend rolled around, I peeled and sliced nearly a dozen of the small apples, coating them with sugar, and baking them in the oven until tender. I had plans to share the apple crisp with my coworkers, but after two greedy forks kept stealing bitefuls while it was cooling, half of the apple crisp disappeared in a day.

It is safe to say that my coworkers never saw this dish. Sometimes, I've found, some foods are just too good to be shared.

Apple Crisp

This Apple Crisp is an autumn favorite, with enough variance in texture and flavor to call itself a classic. The apples are baked in a mixture of butter and brown sugar, with a hint of rum to round out the flavor. The crisp bakes on top, sweet and spiced, providing a crunchy contrast to the tender apples. Served cold with whipped cream or hot with ice cream, this apple crisp never fails to please. You may even find yourself scraping the sticky remains from the bottom of the pan, wishing for more.

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Thursday
Oct172013

Classic Apple Pie

Apple Pie

I have forgotten the smell of leaves. This is an admission of which I am not proud. I've been so focused on myself and my new job lately that I haven't taken time to really enjoy the world around me. With winter fast approaching, I feel like there is less time to appreciate this unique time of year.

Each day I see less of the sun. This week I arrived to work in the dark, the sun below the horizon, the sky a fading grey. The view outside my living room window has turned into a noisy and abrasive construction site. I cannot even see anything green—no grass, no trees, no leaves. The changing of the autumn colors feels completely hidden from me. I feel out of touch with the season.

Apple Pie Apple Pie

This weekend I had plans to stay indoors and work, when my boyfriend told me to put down the books. We're going outside, he instructed me. You need some fresh air. He was right. I had not spent any real time outdoors for months. We packed ourselves into the car, granola bars in the console, camera bags at our feet. We found a state park near my new town, parked the car, and went exploring.

The air was crisp, yet holding onto a little warmth from earlier in the season. The ground was damp and soft, smelling rich and earthy from a morning rain. The leaves didn't crunch beneath my heels, but being surrounded by the vibrant colors was plenty for me. We walked the winding trails, overlooking lakes and small valleys. It was a source of rehabilitation for me, a calm moment in the whirlwind that is life.

Autumn Colors Autumn Colors Autumn Colors Autumn Colors

Though I adore it, I have had apple pie only once or twice in my life. My first bite was at fourteen years old, sitting in a neighbor's kitchen, the reward for raking up a yard full of leaves. A dusting of stray leaves were left on the deck and the afternoon sun was golden, vivid details of a quiet moment. It seems such a chance memory now, remnants of a childhood past, but it has nevertheless stayed with me. And that pie, that pie has stayed with me too.

After returning home, pulling off shoes, and unbuttoning coats, I felt a new energy within me. Returning to the kitchen, I channeled it, creating the pie that happened upon my memories. Perhaps the best baking comes from outside inspiration.

Apple Pie Apple Pie

This Classic Apple Pie will stand the test of time, but rarely last longer than an afternoon. Apples are peeled and sliced, coated with cinnamon and spice, and mounded freely into a pie plate. Depending on the sweetness of your apples, you can add more or less brown sugar, but I found that 1/2 cup was enough for my slightly sweet apples. Brushed with egg and a dusting of sugar before baking, the crust comes out golden and flaky. Serve with family and friends, to warm your home, and to create memories to share.

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Thursday
Oct102013

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

When my morning alarm makes itself heard, I roll out of bed without grace, wiping the sleep from my eyes. Some mornings I move faster than others, but the result is always the same. The sky is still dark when I awake, making it feel more like winter than fall. I turn on a few lights, soft and dim, to gradually awaken my mind that is half here and half in dreamland. I begin the process of preparing myself for a new day, ever conscious of the hands moving on the clock.

I'm learning to become a morning person.

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

I appreciate mornings after the fact, when I am awake, the sun is up, and the world is buzzing. I'm trying to change this mentality, to roll out a welcome mat when the beep of my alarm clock signals another day. To wake up earlier so I can be more relaxed and less mindful of the minutes on the clock. To wish the sun a good morning when it begins its ascent into the clouds instead of cursing it as it shines directly into my eyes on my drive to work.

I wonder if these wishes aren't too big—after all, it's hard to transform a night owl into a chipper morning lark.

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

Weekend mornings, on the other hand, I have down just right. In fact, these calm moments at the beginning of the day, when I have nowhere to go and no one to be. I roll out of bed with grace, taking my time with every task, both big and small. Last weekend, I made myself a stack of pancakes. Cooked individually on the stove, one at a time, I let myself run on pancake time. Topped with cooked apples and maple syrup, I sat in my pajamas and watched the minutes tick by, knowing that today those minutes meant little to nothing to me.

If pancakes won't help me become a morning person, I don't know what will.

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes complete the autumnal weekend brunch. The pancakes are spiced and made with apple cider to add a fall flavor palette. Before serving, the pancakes are topped with cinnamon apples cooked down in a cider until soft, yet firm. With a drizzle of maple syrup, these pancakes take morning to the next level.

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