Friday, December 12, 2014

How do you like your apples?

Apples, not cooler days or back-to-school time, are my first sign that I know fall is coming. Even while there are tomatoes and peppers and summer bounty at the farmers' market, when I see the first of the apples I know the season is changing. At the end of October and last two markets in early November, I buy all the apples for our Thanksgiving meals, because it's not just apple pie on our table. The menu includes Cranberry-apple Sauce, Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Shallot and Apple, Kale and Apple Salad, and we even use an apple and apple cider in my husband's turkey brine.

When the Thanksgiving cooking is done, I freeze extra applesauce for winter. We have a bit of an obsession with applesauce variations. We make a different version every year for Thanksgiving.

For holidays, we pair apples with fine cheeses for holiday parties and just eat them plain. Because, how many snacks come in their own individual servings, have an edible wrapper, and the bits left make compost and even provide seeds to make more food?

I just realized today this blog is in its tenth anniversary! What a great experience it's been sharing a decade of food with everyone kind enough to come visit here. Over the decade, I've written a few recipes! I even forget how many until I look back in the pages.

Here's nine apple recipes from the past decade of blogging, plus a new one to make ten:

Bourbon Molasses Applesauce:
8 Gala or Granny Smith Apples, cored, peeled and sliced thin
Juice of one lemon
1 cup apple cider
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 oz. good bourbon
1/4 cup honey
Seeds of 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, discard pod or put in sugar bowl to make vanilla sugar
pinch salt

Place the apples and cider and lemon juice in a large pot, cover and heat to a simmer to cook apples. Add the molasses, boron and honey. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until apples are soft. Add the vanilla bean and salt.

Stir the apples to break them up into a chunky "home style" applesauce.