Monday, August 30, 2010

as the first leaf fell....

I don't know about the rest of you people, but I could not be more happier to feel the weather changing. We are starting to get some nice temperatures outside. I am simply waiting on that moment. You know...the official autumn moment. When you get a chill, and for the first time in a LONG time, you actually need something more than just a sheet on your bed, and the leaves start to fall to the ground.

When you think about fall, most of you think about the colors that come along with it. But me? I think about the color of the foods that help transfer my mind into colder nights, long sleeves, and good eats! But the colors of both are quite similar :)

Fall’s seasonal fruit and veggies are one of the reasons we associate rich shades of orange, yellow, red, and gold with the autumn season. Apples, black berries, blueberries, butternut squash, pears, pumpkins, okra, sweet potatoes...just to name a few. Today, however, I am going to be focusing on one of the most popular fruits...the Apple! You can get them pretty much year round in grocery stores, and you have a variety to choose from. I am going to be sharing some of my favorite recipes, using apples. Yummy yummy!

First I am going to name a few of the more well known apples, describe them, and tell you how to choose the best ones.

these small red beauties have become hugely popular due to their sweet flavor and incredibly crispy texture. (red delicious)

Golden Delicious
obviously golden in color and has creamy, firm, yellow flesh and lightly spotted skin. The flavor is absolutely sweet and mellow, making it a versatile cooking apple. It holds its shape well when baked, but handle them with care bc they bruise the easiest.

Granny Smith
Lime-green skin that resists bruising and very firm, crisp flesh characterize this popular apple. Its sharp, tart flavor holds up well in recipes with spicy notes, and the flesh is firm enough to retain its shape when cooked.

Apples can be eaten fresh, cooked, canned, frozen and made into many tasty and healthy dishes. Apples are fat, sodium, and cholesterol free. A medium apple has about 80 calories. who knew right?!?! Select firm, bruise-free apples. The color can be anything from dark green, to yellow, pink, orange, bright red, dark red or even a combination. It all depends on the variety. And color is not really how you tell when an apple is ripe. Apples should be crisp and firm. CRISP AND FIRM!

Now to get into my fave part...the recipes! YAY!! I am going to start you out with Waldorf Salad recipe that has been growing and growing on me. When it comes to apples, this is one of the most light and refreshing salads you can make. And it even tastes good!


1/2 cup walnuts halves
1/2 cup yogurt (plain or Greek)
2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 lemon, zest finely grated
2 large apples of your choice
2 ribs celery, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick pieces
1/4 cup golden raisins (or halved green or red grapes)
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 head of lettuce, optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degree F.

Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool and break the nuts up into small pieces.

Whisk the yogurt, mayonnaise, parsley, honey, and lemon zest in a large bowl (you can season with pepper if you would like)

Halve, core, and cut the apples into 3/4-inch pieces, leaving the skin intact. Add the apples, celery and raisins to the bowl, and sprinkle with the lemon juice; then toss with the dressing. Cover and refrigerate if not serving immediately.

When ready to serve, toss walnuts into the salad. Arrange the lettuce leaves on a large platter, or divide them among 4 salad plates. Place the salad on the lettuce and serve.

***I have been known to change it up depending on what I have or what tastes I feel like putting together. Pecans, different apples, grapes, even adding a little chopped grapefruit can give this salad a very unique flavor***

You could also make chips!! (yes you read that right) These chips bear no relation to those you buy at the market: the intensity of their flavor is much deeper and more apple-y (is that even a word?) and they are SO LESS FATTENING. To ensure crispness, slice the apples as THINLY as possible: slice one side and then turn the apple 1⁄4 of the way and slice smaller pieces (they won’t be round) and keep going. The slices don’t have to be uniform. You can do something like the following:

2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
4 Granny Smith or other tart apples, thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 250°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Place the sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl and mix well. Add the apple slices and toss until most of both sides of the apples are well coated (no need to get crazy if they aren’t completely coated).

Pour the apples, in a single layer, onto the baking sheets, transfer to the oven and bake until lightly browned and just crisp, about 2 hours. Set aside to cool and then transfer to a jar or plastic bag. Or if you are anything like wont have any left, so it really wouldn't matter!

But not only can you cook and eat apples, you can use them as decoration. WHAT?!?!?! Has this lady gone crazy??? Yes I have. And in my craziness, i have taken it upon myself to show you a few decorations you can do with APPLES! (and yes you are still reading that correctly)

And I do not have any long candles to show you a picture, but you could always take two apples, core them, stack them up and stick a long candle down the middle as a beautiful centerpiece as well.

Put this in your pipe! Indians in the Northwest Territory smoked wild apples to preserve them for the winter. (Bet you didn't know that!) And so what if you did...shut your face and go eat an apple!

til next time!

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