Apple-palooza: Part 1

by on Oct.12, 2010, under Yummies

I had the pleasure this past weekend of returning to the North Georgia Apple Festival for the first time in 10+ years. This annual fest is held in a little north Georgia town called Ellijay, which boasts the title of Apple Capital of GA. I became quite familiar with Ellijay while I was a young teen, as much to my chagrin at the time, my parents used to drag me to a vacation home we had nestled in this beautiful Appalachian foothill town.

Much like Ellijay itself, the North GA Apple Festival has grown in the years since I obtained a drivers license and asserted my will to stay home with my friends on the weekends my parents went to ‘the cabin’. Held in the large fairgrounds next to the picturesque Coosawattee River, this festival a great way to while away an afternoon with the family, not to mention the beautiful drive through the colorful forests just to reach this somewhat remote oasis in the mountains.

I went to the festival with a specific agenda in mind: APPLES! Lots and lots of apples. As a testament to my over-enthusiastic need for organization, and need for quantification, I sat down and made a list of 12 recipes I wanted to make, all featuring apples of course. I thank totaled up the various types of apples I needed so to have a handy table of just what I needed to purchase.

Well, 3 pecks of apples and a few hours drive later, I am home stairing at this vast basket over-flowing with these delicious members of the rose family thinking, ‘Dear God, what have I gotten myself into?’

Thus the beginning of Apple-palooza in my house, which I am going to attempt to share with you. 12 recipes, 75+/- apples, and a ticking clock on how long these apples will keep.

My first dishes to feature the second most valuable fruit gown in the U.S. (behind oranges) are Cinnamon-Apple Pork Chops and Apple Dumplings.

I made a small change to this recipe to try and increase the actual apple flavor on the pork chop. It just annoys me a little when a recipe calls to cook the main protin in minimal seasoning, and then to just make a topping that will contain all the flavor. I dont know if it really made much of a difference, but I added a splash (approx 1/4 to 1/2 cup) of apple cider during the last few minutes the pork chops where cooking. I’m not sure if it made all that much difference to the over-all flavor of the chops, but the apple mixture and and pork combination is a classic that is guaranteed to satisfy.

Because I did not get home until late in the evening, I selected what looked to be the easiest dessert on my to-cook list. Not only was this super easy to put together, but the final dish looked ridiculously delicious, and the taste lived up the looks. I would easily recommend this to anyone looking for a quick and tasty dessert and who only has limited ingredients on hand. Pair this with some vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream and you will have a hit!

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