First of all, a quick update for the two of you who are interested in the goings-on of a dietetics student: when last I left you, I was finishing my community nutrition rotation and getting ready to start my clinical rotation in a hospital. How’s it been, you ask? Well, working in a hospital has been better than I expected (people don’t call me Jessie-the-pessimist for nothing – and actually, people don’t call me that). My classmates and I had a little experience in hospitals and long-term care settings last year, but this year we jumped right onto the hospital floor, so to speak. Seeing patients (and talking with them about, er … personal matters), and charting nutrition assessments was intimidating at first, but now I feel more comfortable in a hospital setting. And heck, I’ve met a lot of fabulous and interesting people, and you can’t get much better than that.
I obviously can’t take pictures inside the hospital, but here’s a picture of the outside:
If you just imagine little Jessie running around that enormous hospital, you can see how on my first day, I wandered out of the ICU while looking for my patient, found myself on a different floor, and then somehow ended up in the ICU again. That’s right, folks – Jessie needs a GPS just to find her patient.
I’m sad to finish my last day at the hospital today. Next week, my group of students is beginning our Food Service rotation in a public school – now THAT should yield some good stories 😀
So! Apples. Those of you who know me, know that I tend to go for KISM recipes (Keep It Simple, uh, … MyFriends). Some of my favorite bloggers are so creative in the kitchen that their recipes are unexpected yet delicious (I won’t name names, but I’ve mentioned this fact many times in the comments I leave on their blogs). However, much to Peter’s everlasting sorrow, I like to keep my dishes to ingredients I can count off on one hand AND that won’t keep me away from my current tome (has anyone guessed the reference in the title? That’s right: I’ve always cherished a love for LIW and her books. You could probably deduce that from the subject of this post).
In this current post, I will present you with apples two ways, the second of which may cause some of your to turn your noses skyward. That’s ok, I respect your opinion … but mine’s better. Kidding! 😛
Ok, I think I’ve stalled long enough. Let’s see if we can fancy up this recipe title (which, as I’ve learned recently, is just part of what menu engineers do):
Warm and Spicy Apple Crisp: made with fresh, local Cortland apples, topped with a buttery crumble and slow-baked until sweet and tender.
What do you think? Would you order this? 😉 (Incidentally, if you were watching your weight and you saw the word “buttery” in an item’s description, I would say split it with a friend or order something else.) Also, I’d like to dedicate this recipe to my wonderful Greek friend, Christa, who persuaded me to get these apple recipes up sooner 😀
10 Cortland apples (or any baking apple), about 8 cups chopped
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp honey
1 tsp cinnamon
Topping (adapted from Rose’s Heavenly Cakes):
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
4 tbsp melted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
First, put all your topping ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend until crumbly. Refrigerate the topping for about 20 minutes to firm up. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Have you ever seen one of these before?
This handy little device peels, cores and slices apples with one twist.
See how the actual core of this apple is not lined up with the corer? That’s because my aim is SO GOOD.
Lovely corkscrew apple slices:
Arrange apple slices in large baking dish and add the sugar, honey, and cinnamon. Toss. Take the topping out of the fridge. Now, pay attention! This part is important. Make lima-bean sized chunks of topping by squeezing a small amount of topping in your hand and setting it carefully over the apples. Make topping “chunks” from about 3/4 of the topping, then sprinkle the remainder over the top of the apples.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until top is browned and you can’t stand the delicious scent wafting from the oven. Remove apple crisp and mourn the loss of natural daylight in pictures.
Try some apple crisp with a slice of sharp cheddar:
It’s delicious, I promise! I inhaled this apple crisp with a slice of sage cheddar that I featured in my first ever post. The crumbled topping is filled with just enough buttery chunks to satisfy any dessert craving.
For my second apple “recipe” … a shortcut to a quick dessert that’s good ‘n’ good for ya: baked, er, microwaved apple. Yep, you read that right. Normally, I scorn microwave-“cooked” foods, but this microwaved apple surpasses description. Check it:
How does one make this glorious treat? Start with one beautiful baking apple (Cortland again):
If you prefer, you can first peel the apple. I left the apple skin on to enjoy all its fiber and micro nutrients. Next, find the melon baller you used once and tossed in a drawer. Use it to scoop out the apple core. (Alternatively, if you don’t have a melon baller, you can cut up the apple instead.)
Use a peeler to take a little skin off the top, then sprinkle with a little brown sugar and cinnamon and drizzle with honey:
Microwave for one minute. If your apple is enormous, you might need to microwave it a bit longer, but I’ve never microwaved an apple for more than one minute. After microwaving, the apple will come out soft and sweet, with a nice tartness and a little “bite”.
Can’t get more KISM than that.
I’ll leave you with a few photos from the apple-picking adventure that preceded this apple party:
Preparing for my gangsta look:
There’s nothing hipper than an awkward stance and a blue plastic bag hanging out of your pocket.
Q: Do you ever use your microwave to cook? What’s your favorite way to enjoy apples?