Will Hunting: Do you like apples?
Clark, the obnoxious grad student: Yeah.
Will: Well, I got her number. How do you like them apples?
I came back into town just in time for the end of a glorious, crisp, sunny weekend -- perfect for the annual apple-picking trip to Homestead Farm in Poolesville. We had been introduced to this by our biologist friend (and brother of the guy I lived across the hall from freshman year -- strange how these things work...) Steve; he was supposed to join us, but somehow didn't show up in time. Luckily, we weren't quite alone, having also invited JP, Kathy and Jolie for the apple-y adventure.
Angela's idea for this particular trip involved the kids running around a lot, fascinated equally by the small coterie of farm animals and the rows and rows of apples. She even envisioned the kids running between the rows, getting lost and freaking us out minorly. All this, however, would have the effect of tiring them out immensely.
As you can see, the kids were not entirely down with Angela's idea that should be the ones running about. Put into the cart as such, they happily were carted about, all the way down to the rows. At one point, Xan did get out of the cart and insisted on pulling Jolie in the giant cart as best as he could; clearly, she has him trained and, even more impressively, he remembered his training well from previous sessions. (All prospective arranged marriage proposals from other women who would like a well-trained, blue-eyed guy may be directed to the comments section of this website.)
As for losing various people between rows of apple trees, the only person who accomplished this was, miraculously, JP. We immediately jumped to the conclusion that he had been eaten by the Evil Apples That Bite. Considering that, of the six of us, he was the Naval Academy graduate, the rest of us naturally feared for our lives. Luckily for us, both Jolie and Xan have learned how to Take a Bite Out of Crime, or at least criminal apples that may have threatened to eat one of their Dadas, and are sweet and tasty besides.
Luckily, JP was found and we were able to pick a sizeable amount of apples. We had gotten waaaaay too many the first time around, then not enough last year. This year, we got about 24 pounds of apples. This means that, as I am typing, there already has been made apple sauce and apple crisp. In the near future, there may even possible be apple butter and surely apple pie. I'm even contributing to the whole shenanigans by finding a couple recipes that involve apples in different contexts. Here, I'm providing a few recipes that at least look interesting -- but the catch is that we probably need more. Do you have a favorite? Would you mind typing in the recipe for us? We're serious: we need even more apple recipes than this to use our stash.
Puffy Pancake (from Moosewood New Classics)
for batter: 3 eggs * 3/4 c milk *1 T. melted butter * 1 T. sugar * 1/2 tsp. vanilla * 3/4 flour * 1/4 tsp cinnamon * 1/4 tsp salt * optional pinch nutmeg -- for topping: 1 T. butter * 2 c sliced apples * 2 T. brown sugar, packed * 1/2 c optional fresh or frozen blueberries or raspberries -- for apple syrup: 2 c apple cider * 3-in. cinnamon stick
- Whisk together eggs, milk, butter, sugar and vanilla in large bowl. Sift in dry ingredients. Stir to combine and set aside.
- Melt butter in skillet. Add apple slices and sauté for 2-3 mins. Stir in sugar and cinnamon. Add berries, if using, and cook for another 1-2 mins until sugar has melted and apples are hot. Remove from heat.
- Butter a 10-in oven-proof skillet. Evenly pour in batter and top with fruit. Bake for 30 mins in 425-degree oven, until puffed and golden around the outside and firm in the middle.
- Meanwhile, bring cider and cinnamon stick to a boil in heavy saucepan. Cook until liquid has reduced to about 1/4 cup, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and strain. Serve pancake immediately, straight from pan, topped with syrup. Serves 4.
French-Style Sandwich (also from Moosewood New Classics)
1 c sliced tart apples * 1/2 c. thinly sliced onions * 1 c. thickly sliced mushrooms * 1 T melted butter * 1 T. mayonnaise * 1 T. choped fresh dill * 20-in. baguette * 1 c arugula * 1/2 c packed grated Gruyere cheese
- Toss apples, onions and 'shrooms with melted butter and place them on lightly oiled 7"x10" baking dish. Roast for 15 mins, until apples and vegs are tender and have released some of their juices.
- Meanwhile, combine mayo and dill in small bowl. When the vegs are roasted, slice baguette in half lengthwise. Cover one half of baguette with arugula, spoon on roasted mixture, and top with cheese. Spread dilled mayo on other half and put baguette together. Slice to make 3 sandwiches.
Upside-Down French Toast with Apple and Banana (from Nicole Ruthier's Fruit Cookbook)
2 tart apples * 2 1/2 T. lemon juice * 3 large ripe bananas * 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon * 1/2 tsp ground ginger * 1/4 tsp ground cloves * 1/4 tsp nutmeg * 3 T. unsalted butter * 1/2 c. light brown sugar * 1 T. maple syrup * 2 large eggs * 1/2 c milk * 1/2 tsp vanilla * 4-5 slices challah
- Peel, core and cut apples into 3/4" wedges. Toss with lemon juice. Peel and slice bananas to 3/4" and add to apples. Toss to coat evenly with lemon. Add spices and toss well again.
- Melt 2 T. butter over medium-high heat. Add fruit, sauté until tender, about 30 seconds. Add sugar and syrup and cook until sugar is dissolved, 30 seconds longer. Remove from heat.
- Pour contents into lightly buttered baking pan. In a bowl, beat eggs, then add milk and vanilla. Dip bread slices into egg mixture to just moisten both sides, then place them over fruit in single layer in pan, making sure to cover fruit entirely. Pour any leftover egg mixture over bread. Dot bread with remaining butter. Let mixture sit for 10 mins. (Can also be prepared up to here and refrigerated overnight.)
- Bake uncovered at 375 until top is golden, 30-35 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes. Place serving tray over pan and carefully turn over to unmold French toast. Spoon any syrup or fruit from pan over bread and serve immediately. Serves 4.
Old Dutch Apple Strudel (from Old Fashioned Apple Recipes, picked up at the farm a couple years ago -- put online for JP)
2 cups apples, sliced * ½ cup honey * 2 tsp cinnamon * 1 tsp lemon juice * 1 Tbsp butter *1 cup flour, sifted * 1 cup sugar * 1 tsp baking powder * ½ tsp baking soda *½ tsp salt *1 egg beaten
Arrange apples in a buttered baking dish. Drizzle honey over apples and sprinkle with cinnamon and lemon juice. In large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Stir in beaten egg until mixture is crumbly. Spoon mixture evenly over apples. Bake in 350F oven for 30-40 minutes or until crust is golden brown.