Each summer, I fill my freezer and pantry shelves with jam and pickles and applesauce and roasted tomatoes and pesto and all the tastes of summer that I think I’ll need to make it through the Seattle winter. And each year, right about this time, I either start wondering where it all went or wondering how we’re ever going to get through it all. This year it’s the latter.
So here we are: the chickens are laying again, green rows are peeking up in the garden, and although even the rhubarb is a few weeks off, all signs indicate that spring will come again. Which means that it’s time to be working through our winter stores.It was in that spirit that I hauled the last of our apple harvest out from the back of the fridge today. Last fall we borrowed two dehydrators from a friend and dried a few gallons of apples that lasted, oh, right until whenever the girls found them. They loved them. So today when the counter was piled high with apples and I started talking sauce, an intense lobbying campaign was launched from around the height of my bellybutton. Who could resist?
I came home from our trip to a fridge full of winter squash, and I’ve been roasting my way through it ever since. One batch I quite liked was a sugar pie pumpkin drizzled with olive oil, maple syrup, and ancho chile powder, roasted in wedges until caramelized and sticky.The leftovers went into a green salad the next day–really, any roasted winter squash chunks would have been good–with thin slices of sweet, crisp apple and red onion. A grainy mustard vinaigrette with honey fit the sweet-savory-sweet-savory pattern nicely. Hello, lunch for a sunny autumn day.
Green Salad with Roasted Winter Squash and Apple: Nestle a pile of roasted squash chunks into a bed greens. Scatter thin slices of apple and red onion around the squash. (A little sharp cheddar cheese wouldn’t be bad, either.) Dress with a honey-mustard vinaigrette (I like equal parts olive oil, white vinegar, grainy mustard, and honey).
By “panini,” as you’ll see from the photo below, I mean the American usage (any toasted or grilled sandwich) rather than the Italian original (referring specifically to a small bread roll, the panino). (At least if you believe what Wikipedia has to say, which, of course, I do.) And by “grilled brie and apple panini” I mean sweet and salty, gooey and crisp, crunchy, savory, wow, that’s good. Go ahead, have another. They’re tiny.Continue reading →
After all five of us have eaten an apple a day, and we’ve made gallons of applesauce, tray after tray of dried apple rings, yards of apple-based fruit leathers, and an apple pie—our fridge is still full of apples. So here’s a nice way to celebrate a fridge full of apples. Especially on a pancake day or when you have guests for breakfast over a long holiday weekend.Continue reading →
Apologies for the sugar rush this week, but ’tis the season.
There’s a sweet little pie shop in my neighborhood that boasts a bakery case full of the cutest little pies you’ll ever see. Pies in jars, lollipop pies, handheld pies. Little deep-dish pies piled impossibly high with whipped cream or meringue. Itty-bitty mini muffin bite-sized pies. And, of course, the classic larger size.
I love them all, but my special favorite is the Cutie Pie, made in a standard-size muffin tin. It’s substantial enough, but you can get away with eating one all by yourself. In fact, I recommend that you do so. Make them for your holiday table, sure, but be sure to set aside a few moments and at least one tiny pie to enjoy alone as well.
I always make at least one apple pie a year, on Thanksgiving, with the last of the apples from our trees that are tucked away in the fridge. I always use this recipe.Today, Election Day here in the U.S., seemed to call for an extra apple pie. There’s the Americana kitch of apple pie, of course, and there’s the fact that a pie is always welcome at a potluck. But making a pie is also meditative, soothing, distracting. By the time I arrived at our usual Election Day party with three little girls and a warm pie in my hands, I was calm and confident and I had stopped obsessively refreshing polling data on my phone. This was our fourth Presidential election in a row with the same savvy, snarky, deeply caring group of friends, and I rather think that we all deserved an apple pie tonight. So do you. Continue reading →
I have a book in which I record, from time to time, the big and small adventures in our family’s life. I mean to write in it every day, just a sentence or two. More often, weeks or even months go by between entries. I try to catch the important stuff, though, when I do sit down to write–milestones and anecdotes from our daughters’ lives, travels we want to remember, loving moments with our extended family. And, of course, what’s happening in the kitchen.Our family’s book begins with applesauce. It was an October when I started the family journal (abandoning, in the process, my girls’ individual baby books) and we had just turned our three trees worth of apples into a year’s worth of applesauce. So in a way, I think of making applesauce as the beginning of each new year. At this time of year I often flip back through the years contained in my book and marvel at how fast life changes. And how each chapter is even better than the last.
Applesauce, though, is a constant in our lives. Every year we lighten the groaning branches of the apple trees in the fall, piling box after box of apples into the house. We sort the apples, setting aside the unblemished best for eating and sharing. We eat and bake and dry as many apples as we can. And the rest become applesauce for the year ahead.Continue reading →
We have peeled many, many apples recently.A few years ago this handy little gadget came into our lives. It peels, cores, and slices the apples all at once. These functions are handy, of course, but the thingamajig’s real value lies in its ability to produce a lengthy, swirling, snaking apple peel that can stretch clear across the kitchen and be used as a jump rope. Continue reading →
Today J picked the apples from our three backyard trees. It’s been a good year for the apples, and box after box came inside. Red, crisp, sweet. Hundreds of apples. The big girls posed proudly for a photo in front of the pile. The baby held an apple in each hand and seriously applied herself to the task of trading off bites.
Our plan to make applesauce all day went out the window, the boxes went to the cool basement, and now every time I go downstairs the sweet smell of fall wraps around me. One day soon we’ll be making a year’s worth of applesauce, but today we settled for a enjoying just a taste of the season’s bounty in our salad.Continue reading →