Tag: applepalooza

Apple-palooza: Part 3

by on Oct.15, 2010, under Yummies

So I caved and bought an apple peeler. Sure, sure, I could have saved the $20 for something else, but this is actually a multi-tasker that I will will get a fair amount of use. Well, at least enough to justify the investment. Here’s what I ended up with:

This has a suction base rather then the traditional clamp. I was pretty impressed with how well it held to our counters, although it did come up once. We only have composite counters, so I can’t place all the blame on the tool. The peeling process was pretty good, although at the top of one of the apples, near the steam, it lost its contact and I had to go back and cut away leftover skin myself. The corer was perfect. Regardless of all of this though, the best feature by far was the SPEED! I cored, peeled and sliced 3 large Granny Smith apples in a fraction of the usual time! With my knife issues, this would have taken me MUCH longer to do by hand. I was so excited to use my new toy however, I ended up having my apples ready long before they were needed, so into the fridge they went.

And this brings us to the next recipe, Apple Galette with Cider Drizzle. Now, I had never heard of a galette before this, although I think I had seem them in bakeries. Reading the ingredients, it sounded right up my alley. Unfortunately, I committed a total newbie error and didn’t read further. Before you think about making this READ ALL OF THE RECIPE TO SEE THE TIME INVOLVED!!! This ended up taking me almost three hours from start to finish. None of the actually prep took that long, it was all the waiting! The cider drizzle has to sit for 1 hour. Then another blunder, I didn’t read my pre-made puff pastry box until after my drizzle was in the fridge cooling to find out it needed 40 minute to defrost (DUH!). Then, once the pastry was defrosted enough for me to shape it, it had to cool for 20 minutes. Then, I made the apple filling and it had to cool another 15 minutes! Then there is the actual baking time of 35 minutes, plus the 15 minutes of cooling. Suffice to say, I was almost so disgusted with myself and this recipe by the time it was done, I almost didn’t even try it…almost.

I just waited 3 hours for this damn thing to be ready and yes, it was past my bed time and I was cranky, but this galette was not going to have the last laugh! I’m not sure I can say it was worth the 3 hours, but it was pretty darn delicious. (Now take in mind, my opinion is probably colored by the 3 hours I had to work for this. Had someone prepared this for me, I probably would have taken much greater pleasure in it’s taste). The puff pastry crust was flaky and sweet, as promised by the egg wash with the sugar sprinkle. The apples were a flavorful balance of sweet and tart. I just love Granny Smith’s for baking. The cider drizzle was excellent on both the galette and the vanilla ice cream. There was plenty left over though. If I ever make this again, which there is a distinct possibility of as I think this is a very pretty party dessert, I will probably half the amount of drizzle.

Keep your eyes peeled (hehehe-see what I did there!) for the next installment of Apple-palooza. Still to come are Apple Slump, Apple Tarte Tatin, and Apple Cupcakes!

Previously: Apple-palooza Part 2

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Apple-palooza: Part 2

by on Oct.14, 2010, under Yummies

So one conclusion I have come two after 2 days of cooking apple-themed recipes… I really am bad at peeling apples. I have an overdeveloped fear of fine-edged cuts, be it from kitchen knifes, scalpels, straight razors, etc. Give me a nice jagged wound, attack me with a spoon or a saw, but please don’t give me a clean cut. I am getting creeped out just thinking about it to write this. Psychology majors,  make of this what you will.

I mention this because, in my need to always cut away from myself, I can’t do that cool apple peeling trick where you guide the knife with your thumb and make a big spiral around the apple and cleanly separate the peel all in one piece. My apples end up with lots of flat plains and I am realizing I am loosing a lot of flesh doing this. No help for it though, that is, unless I invest in an apple peeler. There might just be a Bed Bath and Beyond trip in the very near future. Just sayin’.

Anyway, enough about my personal idiosyncrasies and on to the apples! Tonight’s feature recipe is Cheddar-Crusted Chicken with Smooshy Applesauce.

I have always thought the combination of apples and sharp cheese to be ambrosia. It hits all the right flavor notes, sweet, salty, tangy, creamy, crisp…obviously I could go on. The final execution of this recipe turned out to be a very satisfying, if not just a little disappointing on the cheese front. Also, I was skeptical about how I would like the crushed pretzels in the chicken coating, but they turned out to be a wonderful addition in both texture and flavor. The applesauce made a great side/topping for this chicken. I chunked my apples pretty big, so it wasn’t really saucy, but that in no way detracted from the deliciousness. I asked The Man his rating of this recipe on a scale of 1-5 and he gave it a 3.5. I agree. Not a gourmet meal by any stretch, but definitely good enough to cook again.

Previously: Apple-palooza Part 1

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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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