Saturday, October 25, 2014

Warm Baked Apples

warm baked apples

Baked apples are like an apple crisp contained in a reasonable on serving size vessel. Because if you're like me...one spoonful of apple crisp leads to 10 and then 20...and then I've eaten half of it before I even realized.

I used Rome apples for these which are a great baking apple and I also enjoy eating them fresh. They never get enough love because they don't store that well.  But fresh Rome apples are in my top 3 favorite apples.

Baked Apples
8-10 baking apples
1 cup oats
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup cold butter
apple cider
Optional: add chopped walnuts
Optional: honey for the bottom of the apple

Use a heavy duty melon baller or paring knife to hollow out the apples.

In a bowl add oats, flour, brown sugar, and cold butter cut into cubes.  With your hands work butter into the oats/flour/sugar until there are just small crumbles of butter.

If you want drizzle a little bit of honey into the bottom of the hollow apple. Stuff with oat/butter mixture.

Place stuffed apples into a baking dish.

Pour in enough apple cider to cover the bottom of the dish.

Bake at 400 for 40 minutes.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

No Spray Fruit

I get asked quite a bit during peach season if they are "no spray" peaches.

No spray.

What does no spray look like?

Well, rest easy knowing that unless you have a peach, apple, pear, etc. tree in your back yard that you most likely haven't seen or consumed true "no spray" fruit (there is a very short list that can be an acceptation to this but let's stick with apples, pears, and peaches for this post). Even the organic guys are spraying something. Most likely copper to control disease and then what ever approved insecticides they can to help control loss. Or they might be using a clay to coat the fruit to help save them.

The reality is in a commercial setting there is a lot of money on the line.

But beyond that my question to you is:

Is what we want...really what we want?

Well by today's standards, I'm going to say "No!"

How do I know this...well, for example, week after week I have watched every single heirloom tomato get handled and turned over because we are looking for the "best" one...the most perfect, un-cracked, unmarked heirloom tomato.

"No spray" and aesthetic perfection as far as orchard fruit goes...don't really go hand in hand.  

To demonstrate, please feast your eyes on this photographic display of no spray apples (courtesy of my Mom's back yard) and low spray pick-your-own apples....

no spray apples vs. low spray apples

left: low spray and right: no spray

low spray apples

no spray apples
Now just to be fair to the "no spray" apples I ate one...I didn't eat the skin but I cut it open, sliced it and took a bite....

It was delish!  We have no idea what variety they are but they are very good. So just goes to show you can't judge a "book by it's cover."

But my question to you is...if we had the no spray apples and the low spray apples sitting next to each other on our table at the farmers' market, which one would you buy?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Chocolate Sweet Potato Pie

chocolate sweet potato pie
Chocolate sweet potato pie is a great way to mix things up. I love how it starts with the chocolate and ends with the sweet potato.  

I used my Mom's Pumpkin Pie recipe as a base since that's what we use for all pumpkin, butternut, and sweet potato pie and made some adjustments to accommodate the chocolate.

Chocolate Sweet Potato Pie 
1 1/2 cups sweet potato puree
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Add dry ingredients to a bowl followed by eggs and sweet potato. Gradually mix in cream.  Pour into a pie shell and bake at 400 for 45 minutes to an hour - until when knife tested the knife comes out clean. 
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