Thursday, September 14, 2006

Apple Season = Great Recipes!

In many parts of the country the weather has begun its seasonal change to Fall. A fresh crispness has been added to the air blended with tangy scents of smoke drifting from burning piles of fall leaves. Schools are back in session, and on Friday nights you will find high school and college bleachers filled with fans cheering at football games and sipping on warm apple cider. Although fresh apples are available year-round, the peak season is September to November. This is known as “Apple Season” which is quite fitting since Johnny Appleseed’s birthday is on September 26. Apples should always be high on the snack list, as they are high in fiber, help fight cholesterol, are low in calories, and can be eaten as a natural mouth freshener. The following are some great apple recipes that I hope you enjoy as you celebrate the season:

All-American Apple Pie

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. lemon zest -- grated
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
6 med. apples -- prepared as directed
1 cup raisins
1 pie crust (9 inch)
1 lg egg -- beaten
1 tsp. granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 425 F. Spray a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine brown sugar, granulated sugar, flour, lemon zest, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mix together well.

Peel, core, and thinly slice apples. Add apples to sugar mixture; stir until coated. Stir in raisins. Spoon into prepared pie plate. Place piecrust on top of filling. Trim edges, pressing against edge of pan. Using a sharp knife, cut steam vents in piecrust. To glaze, lightly brush piecrust with beaten egg. Sprinkle with teaspoon of sugar. Bake until piecrust is golden brown, about 35 to 40 minutes. Place on a wire rack and cool for 30 minutes. Serve warm.

Source: Abigail’s Kitchen -

Peanut Apple Salad

4 to 6 apples
1 small can crushed pineapple
3/4 cup crushed peanuts
1 (8 oz.) carton of Cool Whip
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour

Cut apples in bite-size portions, don’t peel. Drain the juice from the pineapple and mix with sugar and flour. Heat until it thickens and set aside to cool. Combine apples, pineapple and peanuts. When sauce has cooled, add to Cool Whip and mix with fruit. Will keep 3 to 4 days.

Homemade Applesauce

Let your microwave do the work. Simply peel, core and cut apples into chunks. Put into a covered microwave dish and cook for about 10 minutes on HIGH. Check to see if it is mushy enough. Cook a couple of extra minutes if needed. (You will need to cook longer if you are using super crisp fresh apples.) Just add a little cinnamon and nutmeg and voila, you have fresh, hot and totally wonderful applesauce. If using tart apples and you want the sauce to be sweeter, add a little brown sugar at the end. A little goes a long way.

If you want to cook the sauce on your stove, be sure to add a little water to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan. You will also need to stir frequently to evenly cook the sauce and prevent sticking. This method works great, but the microwave method is easier and less labor and attention intensive.

Use this rule of thumb for determining quantities:
1 large apple = 3/4 cup sauce
1 medium apple = 1/2 cup sauce
1 small apple = 1/3 cup sauce

Source: NY Apple Country -

Spinach-Apple Salad

Southern Living magazine describes this as: "A zesty curry vinaigrette, tossed with spinach and apples, and garnished with peanuts, raisins and toasted sesame seeds. To toast sesame seeds, place a small skillet over medium-high heat until hot; add seeds, and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly browned." Original recipe yield: 6 servings.

2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon chutney
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon dry mustard
9 cups torn fresh spinach leaves
3 cups diced Red Delicious apples
2/3 cup salted dry-roasted peanuts
1/2 cup raisins
1/3 cup sliced green onions
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted

WHISK together first 6 ingredients; cover and chill, if desired.
COMBINE spinach and next 5 ingredients in a large bowl; toss with dressing. Serve immediately.

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