Saturday, October 17, 2015

Apple of my eye!

       I had a really fun day Wednesday at the invitation of the Michigan Apple Committee!  This is apple season.  You can't go far without seeing an orchard (we're lucky that way) or huge displays at the grocery store or apple crafts coming home from school with the kids or apple pie recipes in all the magazines.  We all love apples, and even Adelaide, who won't touch a piece of fruit to save her life, will eat an apple.
     But back to the fun.  Our apple event was to take place in the kitchens above the Downtown Market.  We were met by Chef Paul Penney in the kitchen classroom and were given two recipes which we could follow - or not.  My partner, Renee and I chose not (of course.)
      The two dishes we were charged to make were chicken breast with stuffing - apples in the stuffing - and a butternut squash soup - apples in the soup.  We were given everything we needed and then some, we chose our stove top and set to work.  The idea of the day was to demonstrate how apples can be used in very simple cooking.

We gathered our ingredients and divided the duties.  Renee would do the soup and I would do the chicken breasts.
 Renee sauteed apples and onions and then added some bacon.
 I worked on a saute of  apples, onions and bacon for the stuffing
 Chef Paul prepared to roast vegetables.

 The apples and squash are combined.  We used chicken broth to loosen it but we decided - since neither of us really likes squash soup - that we would make it to our taste.  Instead of a very sweet soup we added some cumin, garlic, smoked paprika and bacon and then blended it all together.  Our measurements were in pinches.  Fat pinch for cumin, little pinch for smoked paprika. Not sure how much garlic Renee used, but if you cook like I do, you add it till you taste it.

  I reduced some balsamic vinegar and then added a dab of butter in the end.
 Not bad for lunch, huh? 

Dessert was a caramel apple pie that I think was really a salted caramel because every once in awhile I tasted a dabble of salt.   Not that we needed to eat one more bite but how do you say no to this?
 Our dessert came from the renowned Sweetie-licious pie company just downstairs from our work kitchen. 
      I don't know your favorite way to enjoy apples, there are so many things to do with them!  I like them out of hand, in applesauce and PH loves them covered in caramel and nuts.  Anytime I need a tinch of sweet in something an apple usually fits the bill:  coleslaw, muffins, cakes, in yogurt, in oatmeal, fruit salad, PH's mother's famous apple cake (two of which are in my freezer as we speak.) Kids love them sliced, dipped in peanut butter or of course, in applesauce or a pie and let's not forget apple juice.  I am even in the process of drying an apple for an apple doll head as a tie-in to a story I'm going to read to the kids next week at school. 
       You know what they say: An apple a day keeps the doctor away!  

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