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apples

Apple Ginger Cookies

I like Thanksgiving and all the traditions that go with it.  The one exception might be that pumpkin pie really isn’t my favourite dessert.  Once a year isn’t really enough frequency to complain about this seriously but it always just seems to be the same.  I challenged tradition this year by making these Apple-Ginger cookies.  (We also had some excellent pumpkin pie that our neighbours brought.)

The base recipe I used is from grouprecipes.com and can be viewed by clicking here.  As my first modification I axed the nuts.  Almost always with cookies (and especially with brownies) I feel that nuts are an unwelcome distraction both from a taste and textural standpoint.  I didn’t have any raisins on hand so they went too but weren’t really missed–might include them next time.

The recipe calls for finely dicing the apples and cooking them for ten minutes.  Grating always seems easier with something like that so that’s the route I took and cooked the apples much longer on very low heat.  This gave me an intensely-flavoured candied apple compote of sorts.  I can see apple sauce or even better apple butter working just as well.

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Pink Apple Sauce

Canned applesauce with a pink hue that comes from cooking the apples with their skins

Canned applesauce with a pink hue that comes from cooking the apples with their skins

Anybody who has visited this space regularly over the past month knows that I like apples.  I have posted stories about: discovering a wild apple tree; a recipe for skillet apple pie; the deep-fried apple beignets I made for Labour Day; and a spiced apple preserve made from apples picked with Not Far From the Tree.  Well, the apples on another tree belonging to one of our neighbours at the cottage have ripened and they offered to let me have some so I decided to make apple sauce.

A bag of great yellow-red apples collected from a neighbours (unsprayed) tree at the cottage

A bag of great yellow-red apples collected from a neighbour's (unsprayed) tree at the cottage

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Not Far From the Mason Jar

Canned spiced apple preserve ready for the cold room

Canned spiced apple preserve ready for the cold room

Thanks to Not Far From the Tree I have finally had the experience of picking fruit in an urban backyard.  Like many other Torontonians I was introduced to this organisation through Toronto Life’s 50 Reasons to Love Toronto article this spring.  The idea is so simple that I’m shocked it wasn’t implemented thirty years ago: Connect volunteer fruit pickers with the dozens of homeowners who have fruit trees in their backyards that go unpicked every year.  A third of each harvest goes to the tree’s owner, a third to the volunteer “gleaners”, and the final third is donated to a charitable community organisation.

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Apple Beignets: Won’t keep the doctor away

Two apple beignets with a scoop of vanilla ice cream

Two apple beignets with a scoop of vanilla ice cream

I would have to say that my favourite fruit is pineapple.  But only in a one-bite Pepsi taste test kind of way.  It’s too sweet to eat every day (though I tried while I lived in residence during my undergrad days) and definitely not convenient enough for midday snacking. So, if I were forced to commit to one fruit for the rest of my life it would have to be apples.  Apples are healthy, come in a variety of delicious flavours, and are extremely convenient.  Consider that my way of explaining this third post about apples in two weeks.

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Man Talk: Skillet Apple Pie

Skillet apple pie straight out of the oven

Skillet apple pie straight out of the oven

As an icon apple pie is associated with America and (laterally) with mothers.  With the help of Cook’s Illustrated I have developed an apple pie recipe that is far more masculine than the usual.  This recipe doesn’t require pre-baking with pie weights, or crimping one level of crust to another, and the portions are pre-cut to avoid the silliness of people asking for “just a sliver”.  Best of all, it is cooked and served in that greatest of kitchen workhorses: a cast iron skillet.

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