Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Apple Avalanche

I'm not talking about the Apple Ipod, or Apple Ipad, but "apple" as in Johnny Appleseed. "Apple" as in Adam and Eve. "Apple" as in apple pie, apple dumpling, applesauce.............

I have a sweet friend who has apple trees. This Fall there is an abundance of apples. She left a huge grocery sack of them on my front porch. I spent the entire week following this windfall, in the kitchen - peeling, slicing, simmering, processing, and baking apples.

Here is the result:

Frozen peeled & sliced apples for future use
Apple sauce
Apple Crisp

Apple bread

Apple Crostata

I'm sure you'll notice the very vintage tiny Corning-ware that I made the apple crisp in. I cook for one so I don't prepare anything in "giant-size". Everything is mini or "fun size". These little apple crisps are so simple to make for one. I take a mini container like my Corning-ware or a ramekin, spray it with Pam, fill the bottom with sliced apples (or any other fruit), cover the fruit with a random mixture of butter, flour, sugar, cinnamon, and oatmeal. Sprinkle that over the fruit and bake for about a half hour. I bake mine in the toaster/oven - (a) because I'm cooking for 1 and (b) why fire up the big oven for 1 little item when the toaster/oven will do the same job with lots less energy.
For the crostata - the same rationale - I'm cooking for one, therefore, I don't want a great big pie going stale while I try to consume the whole thing slice by slice.  I can consume an entire crostata in one fell swoop or if I'm feeling a bit like eating healthy, I'll cut it in half and have one piece now and the second one tomorrow (or in the next half hour).
I made the crostata by unrolling a refrigerator pie crust from the super market onto my floured counter and cutting it into 3 rounds. I measured the rounds with a lunch plate. I piled the same mixture that you would use for apple pie into the center of the dough round, then drew up the edges of the dough round to cover over the apple mixture. Baked on a cookie sheet in the big oven til apples were soft and dough browned.
Just in case you don't know: the apple mixture consisted of sliced apples, a tablespoon or 2 of sugar and flour, sprinkle of cinnamon and several pats of butter. I did brush the crostata with beaten egg and a sprinkle of sugar before baking.
I made 3 of these, gave one away and froze the others.
I'm not including the recipe for the apple bread because I'm not too happy about it. It did not turn out as expected. I'll give it to you if you request it but I like my Aunt Mimi's Jewish Apple Cake recipe much better. But I'm loath to make it because it's huge. I suppose I could make it and freeze slices for eating in the dead of winter. Yes, that's what I think I'll do.  
I make apple sauce by first washing the apples, next I slice the apples around the core, discard the cores but do not peel. I leave the skins on (a) because the skin is good for you, has lots of beneficial nutrients and (b) the skins give the applesauce a beautiful pinkish glow. I put all the prepared apples in a large sauce pot (kettle) and cook on VERY low (don't want to scorch) heat until a skewer will go through the apples very easily. I let this cool down a bit. Next I pass the apples through a food mill into a large container. The food mill will remove the skins and any bits of core and what you'll find in the large container will be awesome applesauce. I didn't add any sugar or sweetener. It was sweet enough. I put this up in the small plastic containers that you get from the olive bar at the supermarket. They freeze perfectly. When you're ready to use one, defrost in the refrigerator for a day before.
Another method for making applesauce is to use a crockpot. I gave this one try and was not thrilled. But I am going to try again. One advantage to this method is you don't have to worry about scorching. You also don't have to watch the pot. BUT you must not leave the crock pot lid on (this is what ruined my crockpot applesauce experience). Cook the apples "open kettle" or you will have watery applesauce (not good). With the lid on = too much steam which translates = watery applesauce.
Any questions???

Monday, October 5, 2015

A House Tour This Weekend

This past Sunday I took myself on the Perinton Historical Society's 35th annual house tour. My town was founded in 1793 by Glover Perrin. The town has a rich history as, I'm sure, most small towns do.

This year the homes on the tour were all on the same street so you could just park your car and walk the tour. All the houses on this year's tour were built in the early 20th century.

Our Historical Society and Historical Museum are both completely volunteer staffed. This tour is one of several fund raising events that keeps this treasure up and running. I am happy to support it.

Each house had a chair or chairs outdoors so visitors could put "booties" over their shoes to protect the homeowners floors and carpeting. When visitors were finished using their "booties", they were deposited into the colorful shopping bags you'll see next to the outdoor chairs.

This apple tree, loaded with big, shiny apples was in the garden of one of the houses.
The tour afforded the tour-goers a peek at the first floor of each home. A docent was present at each one. They gave a little capsule of the history of each house.
This little house was, by far, my favorite. It's the Cape Cod style. Note the clematis growing over the garage door and the wisteria over the front entrance. This inside had a very Key West vibe, clean, white, open, airy. The homeowners vacation there and their northern home is a lovely reminder of their relaxing times in Key West.

There was a secluded spa in the backyard.
This weathered lattice created the seclusion of this home's garden. I couldn't resist taking pictures everywhere I could at this house. I would move in tomorrow if they would let me.
                       A small Autumn gourd vignette on a side porch of the same favorite house.

I think this home owner so honored the unknown visitors to their home on this bright sunny house tour day. This is a window box on the side of the house, just brimming with cabbages, gourds, and everlastings. I found it so enchanting. I think I would love to know these folks.

There were 7 houses on the tour and as you can see I was charmed by one in particular. I just used my phone cam to take the pictures. Sorry they are the best quality.

Hope you enjoyed seeing the tour with me.