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
Now that summer is in full swing, hopefully you are seeing lots of fresh in-season fruit in the stores and farmer’s markets near you. I found this great article today with lots of tips on the best way to freeze fruits for future out-of-season enjoyment. I tried this a few years back with some fresh farm-picked blackberries, but wasn’t too impressed. I didn’t have all this wisdom at that time, however, and am looking forward to trying it again. Blueberry pancakes in December, anyone?
Tips for Freezing Fruit
1. If your fruit is not organic, wash it. (Organic, delicate berries, like blackberries and raspberries, don’t need to be washed.) Set the clean fruit on paper towels and gently cover it with more paper towels. Let it dry completely before freezing.
2. For larger fruits, like strawberries, apricots, and plums, core, pit, and stem them, then cut them into smaller pieces, which are easier to store and defrost.
I was struggling with this problem just the other day at the grocery store. Then in related indecent, I was at a party over the weekend and someone whipped out a Clementine for their child to snack on and it caught me totally off guard. For me, these delicious little orbs have always been synonymous with winter and the coming of the holiday season. To see one, ripe and juicy, in the middle of hotter-than-hot July, I was baffled. I felt like I needed to check the calendar. Was that nap I took on the couch really a summer hibernation?!?
This is just one illustration of how imported produce confuses and blurs the perception of what is actually currently in season in your local growing area, disconnecting us from our local growing region and the organic world in our immediate vicinity. I have been making an effort over the last few months to increase the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables I include in my diet for several reasons; improve my overall health, develop better eating habits, support the local economy, and put myself in a position to set a good example for my child. In part, I feel we are spoiled for having such a great variety available to us at any given time, but then I am also shocked at times when I go to the store and they don’t have the fruit or vegetable I’m craving. Nothing like finding a great-looking recipe only to discover that the star ingredient isn’t really in season and will either cost me more then I want to spend on a single meal or is completely unavailable. (I’m looking at you, fresh artichokes!)
All that being said, I have a terrible memory for when specific produce items are actually in season, but leave it to the internet to have a solution! There are now several easy to use sites available that will give you lists by region and time frame as to what should be in season and available in your area. Also, it is suggested (and seems logical to me) that you can also lower your over-all grocery bill by buying in-season produce rather then more expensive imported out-of-season items. Not to say you shouldn’t give in to that Christmas-in-July Clementine craving, but you might end up paying a lot more for the privilege in Summer.
Ever wonder what your favorite fruits or vegetables looked like inside before you hacked into them? Well wonder no longer. The site InsideInsides has a set of MRI videos showing scans of several popular foods. Warning: it does take a few seconds to load all of the animation. One they are going though, it is so cool!
At first look, you’re probably thinking the same thing I did…”What the heck happened to these Strawberries??’ These are not, if fact, Strawberries but are a close cousin called Pineberries. I know, crazy looking, right?
Per their commercial producer, VitalBerry:
Pineberries are actually the oldest strawberry variety and were brought from Chile to France in the 1700’s. Originally strawberries were white in south America and Red in north America (known as scarlets)…
Pineberries are much smaller than the strawberries we are used to seeing today and what makes their appearance so distinct is their white flesh which is studded with red seeds. The aroma and flavour of pineberries never disappoints – the striking berries have a pineapple flavour.
I must get my hands on some of these. They combine two of my favorite flavors in a cool looking exterior. My mind is already whirling with reverse-color recipe ideas. Any one ever seen these in person? Wonder if there is a pineberry recipe database out there somewhere…