It's Fall and what's the first thing that comes to your mind...after brilliant colored leaves? For many it's pumpkins and other squashes or hearty kale and Brussels sprouts. Don't get me wrong, I love all those and more. But the true standout for me... is the apple. Late August through October is the only time of year that you find me munching on an apple. The first bite through the skin with that awesome spurt of juice squirting everywhere. The tang and crunch of them. There is nothing like a fresh apple. And really, by the time November comes around, I'm finding lots of wintery ways to cook them. But I'm a fair...or should I say cold... weather friend when it comes to apples.
Lucky me, I received a copy of The Comfort of Apples: Modern Recipes for an Old-Fashioned Favorite by chefs Philip & Lauren Rubin at the perfect time of year. True... we all have personal favorite apple recipes that we grew up with - mom's apple pie (my mother's apple crisp), roast pork with apples....I'm sure you can think of more. But these chefs have come up with a hundred apple recipes! ... great for breakfast - apple pancakes, potato & apple latkes, poached eggs and apple butter; snacks, sandwiches, salads, meat, poultry, fish...and everything else all the way to desserts including apple ice cream (too cold for me, but I'm sure someone out there will love it).
So I made a few...chosen randomly by flipping the pages, because they all looked awesome. I decided to go a different route. I chose sauces and dressings from the book and then used them to make some quick and easy recipes of my own.
Apple Vinaigrette inspired my take on Waldorf Salad (a dish I never liked, especially in High School Home Ec class) made with Arugula and shaved Parmesan Cheese. I licked the bowl clean.
Apple Cider Vinegar BBQ Sauce was not what I expected. When I first saw the recipe and ingredients, I thought it would be like most traditional BBQ sauces - thick and tomatoey. But that was not what I got.
It's a heavenly, syrupy sauce that's the perfect baste for Sticky Chicken Wings. It will be our staple for the weekends for this coming winter!
I've shared some less than traditional apple recipes, but how could I review a cookbook about apples and not share a good old fashioned Apple Cake? This slab cake is the perfect mid-morning or tea time snack. One word.... delicious!
Hopefully, my favorite beef purveyor - Chris of Getaway Farm - will have some hanger steak (they go quickly since there's only one per cow) at the Farmers Market so I can make the Miso & Apple Marinated Hangar Steak. If not, I'll have to make some cider ribs with the BBQ Sauce and how about some Smoked Trout Mashed Potatoes, made with apple cider!
Bottom line: whether you want to experiment or try for the more traditional... if you love apples, check out this book.