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In the Land of the Big Red Apple

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Remember I promised you apples in my last post? Well, Jessie promises, Jessie delivers! ( … We’ll ignore the salmon incident of last April.)

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:

[source]

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 😀

Ingredients:
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?

36 Comments

  1. Both of these look delicous! And my mom has one of those apple gadgets, it was her grandmother’s. I’m not a big microwave user – usually just to heat up water for tea or cook instant popcorn. Although I did have an oatmeal explosion in it earlier this week. Reminded me why I prefer not to use it! hehe

  2. Oh my goodness, that is a very cool gadget!!! I never saw apple so beautifully cut! haha , I bet you enjoy this way a lot!!! normally I will just eat it (even not peeling). it was kind of food that I can not skip every morning 🙂

  3. My mom has one of those apple corer/slicer thingies! She got it from Pampered Chef a long time ago.

    My GOODNESS! That apple crisp looks amazing!! I have got to find some sage cheddar!! I bet it’s out of this world combined with the apple crisp… drooooooolllllll!! 🙂

    I am totally making a microwaved apple tonight for dessert! That looks awesome and will be a healthy way to tame my sweet tooth! 🙂

  4. Those recipes look delicious! I might have to try that microwave apple at work..sounds great!
    I am glad you are enjoying your clinical rotation. I learned so much while doing mine. Although I learned a lot, I definitely knew working in a hospital wasn’t my cup of tea.
    Do you know what area of dietetics you want to work in?

  5. hey Jessie!

    um… salmon incident? what salmon incident? there was no incident ;-).

    glad you had fun and met a lot of fabulous and interesting people during your clinical rotation. a hospital can be a depressing and scary place to be in, but i’m sure you brought some sunshine and many smiles onto peoples faces there. after all, you ARE Happy Jessie :-D.

    don’t get me started with gps. i have a love-hate relationship with the one on hubby’s car. i’ve even turned around and went back the same route just to prove it told me to turn the wrong way. yup, that’s how mature and anal i can be.

    so exciting that you’ll be doing food service in a public school next week. i miss teaching and working in a school. at least that way, at the end of the day, i know those screaming kids won’t be going home with me…teehee.

    oh, i’m all about simple, easy recipes too. the less ingredients, the better. and i never even knew there was such an occupation as a menu engineer – interesting.

    i want that apple machine thingy! my kiddies would have so much fun with those spirals. your recipes ARE super easy! now that’s my type of recipe. i have all the ingredients too so if i make these, i’ll definitely let you know. both recipes sound delicious Jessie, but i think i like the first one more.

    i use my microwave for leftovers mostly. and i love my apples dipped in a mix of garlic chili sauce and salt. can’t believe i just admitted that on your site (blush). word out gangsta girl 😀

  6. Awww thank you for the dedication Jessie!!! I love everything about you and your blog and I’m so happy to be mentioned in this post about beautiful crisp apples!! 🙂

    I will definately try the first recipe (hopefully in time for hallowe’en), though um.. cheese? I mean I love apples and cheese (and mature cheddar too!) but the combination sounds a bit strange! But I know many people who enjoy eating grapes with feta cheese so I guess I could give it a try!

    I’ll keep you posted about the results of the recipe! 🙂

    Favourite way to enjoy apples is sliced with cinnamon and perhaps a litle honey drizzled over. Or just bite into a plain washed but unpeeled apple, which is both delicious and good for your teeth I’ve heard!

    Microwave? No, everything cooked in a microwave sounds plain cheap to me. I even re-heat my food in the oven or stove. Takes longer, but I feel it tastes much better too!!

    The first apple orchard pic is incredibly beautiful!! 🙂

  7. Oh my goodness, gorgeous. The only apple dish I make regularly is sour cream apple pie– and I can’t even make it w/ low fat sour cream because then it’s too soupy. It’s my absolute favorite, though, so I have to make it once a year anyway.

    1. I’ve never heard of sour cream apple pie, but it sounds fabulous! Do you have a favorite recipe? I’d love to try it!

      1. I have to admit that I generally wing it… but generally I make a half whole wheat, half all-purpose flour pie crust and blind bake it for a little bit. I peel and slice 2.5-3 c of apples, dry them a little, toss them with a few TB of flour to keep them from getting too liquidy as they bake, mix them up with 2/3-3/4 c sugar (depending on how sweet the apples are), cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, lots of vanilla, an egg, and 1 c sour cream. Put it in to bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. While it’s baking, make a streusel topping (preferably a very cold one or freeze for the rest of the time.) After 25 minutes, top the pie and bake for another 20. So delicious.

        By the way, maybe you can write a post or give me some advice on this– I know a decent amount about nutrition, but my husband (weird!!!) doesn’t and is just starting to get interested in learning. Because it’s so intuitive to me at this point, it’s difficult for me to teach him in any sort of methodical or useful way. I assume you have some suggestions? (P.S. last month he tried to tell me that his enormous chocolate chip muffin bought at a street cart was (a) healthyish and (b) ~300 calories. So we’re starting at that super-basic level.)

  8. Apple pie and cheddar cheese are a match made in heaven…love how perfect you peel your apples! I need to get that wonderful contraption.

    I use my microwave grudgingly. I am usually in a rush to do things on the stove but the entire time I eat something from the micro I have to stop myself from wondering what random iodes (or whatever) might be in my food…

  9. Jessie, my darling, you are a girl after my own heart. My absolute favorite apple is Cortland I love how you used Cortlands in both your recipes! For the first recipe, your idea of adding a slice of cheddar to eat alongside the crisp is brilliant! One of my favorite snacks is apple and cheddar slices, but I never would have thought to eat cheddar with a crisp. Seriously inspired, and I can’t wait to try that! For your second recipe, I have to confess you caught me, I’m a microwave-user too! 😉 My go-to fall dessert is similar — I dice an apple, sprinkle on some cinnamon, and microwave it until it’s starting to soften — soooooooo good. I’m definitely going to try it your way too.

    Love your gangsta look, lol! I think the blue plastic bag might be essential. 🙂

  10. I like apples raw.. but also ovenwarm with vanilla sauce 😛 mmmm! I’m seriously jealous of your cool little apple gadget, I’m obsessed about kitchen gadgets and that looks like a lot of fun!

    The microwaved apple sounds like my thing, I never thought about making a dessert in a microwave, I almost never use ours 😀

  11. I love apple recipes, especially ones that are simple — just like these! My kitchen mentality is the same as yours. Quick, easy, and not a lot of ingredients.

    I would definitely eat your apple crisp! It sounds pretty enticing. I think you may have found your future calling. 😉 I’ve never had apple crisp with cheddar because I just can’t break away from my favorite crisp + ice cream combo. And, to be honest, it makes me a bit nervous…

    And sometimes I do use the microwave when I’m in a rush. Even for things like oatmeal. While I prefer to make it on the stove, sometimes the microwave is just so much more time-effective!! I’ve microwaved apples with cinnamon before, but I’m going to have to try your recipe!

  12. Congrats on wrapping up your lastest rotation! Working in a hospital would certainly be an interesting and possibly stressful experience! I am definitely interested in hearing about your time in the public school system. With all the politics surrounding school lunch programming in the US right now, I’m sure you’ll have a very unique and eventful experience! 🙂

    Those apple recipes look yummy ummy…

    Oh, and I like your awkward stance…character 😉

  13. Jessie,

    What up Gangsta?! Working in the public school system and dealing with their food…good luck!

    What an awesome day in sun picking fresh fruit.

    I gotta say I love your paring of the apple crisp with the sharp cheddar. It is such a flavorful paring. My kind of dessert.

    Love your KISS err KISM kitchen philosophy. Most of the time simple is best. Mind you this is coming from the guy who’s food is not in KISM’s neighborhood. Yeah, I am a typing contradiction.

    Have a great weekend!

    Peace out G…

  14. I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed your hospital rotation! I’m getting increasingly used to asking patients awkward questions (like asking 70 year old men how many sexual partners they have…) and it’s definitely something that comes with practice. I’m so excited to hear about your food service rotation though! That’ll be awesome.

    These apple-y treats sounds amazingly excellent. Man do I love apples.

    1. Oh man, now I don’t feel so bad about asking people if they have diarrhea …

  15. Ahhh the apple crisp looks to die for! I have seen one of those peeler-corer-slicer things. My childhood friend had one. It was so fascinating and god, do I want one. XD

    I use my microwave to cook alll the time! I don’t know what I’d do without it, honestly!
    My favorite way to enjoy an apple is fresh, with a spoonful of peanut butter. Bite the apple, lick the peanut butter, eat and repeat. 😉

    1. That’s my favorite way to eat apples, too! Nothing better than apples and PB 😀

  16. We actually don’t own a microwave! We got rid of ours a few years ago, so no more microwaving for me. But that apple crisp looks heavenly (especially with a scoop of ice cream on top) Thank you for sharing your pictures of your apple-picking adventure too. I would love to do that this weekend! And thank you for your kind words on my blog, they mean so much to me.

  17. Jessie!
    I am with LeQuan on the salmon incident???
    1. I just used an apple peeler, corer slicer last night to make apple pies (lots of them) and could not believe how fast it was. I have seen these little gadgets around forever, but was not at all interested until a friend brought hers over to help with the pies. I am HOOKED!
    2. Picking your own apples was an important post on its own. Good for you to get our and harvest your own fruit, and then prepare it!
    3. Apple crisp is a family favourite forever. Nothing better except maybe apple pie. It depends. When I was a child, everyone served apple pie with cheddar. That is the way it was sold in restaurants, too. Now, it appears a novel idea that most have never heard of.
    4. Microwave for cooking? No. Never. Reheating, always.
    🙂
    Valerie

    1. It certainly is important for everyone to know where their food comes from, if possible! Thanks for drawing attention to it, Valerie 🙂 I got the idea for cheddar and apple pie from the The Boxcar Children children’s books (that’s a strange sentence!), but have since found out that the combo used to be quite popular – and for good reason!

      The salmon incident was when I promised a new salmon recipe on the blog for a solid week, but didn’t deliver for days. Shame on me! 😛

      Have a great Sunday, Valerie!

  18. I am sorta not falling for the Gangsta…afraid you are a bit too pretty to pull that one off, lol 🙂 Love the crumble and I so want that gadget, I don’t even own a traditional apple corer 🙁
    I’m not to good with the microwave, but those apples do look fresh 🙂

    1. Aww, you are so sweet! 😀

  19. WOW!! I WANT that apple thingamajiggy and your apple crisp! Love the slice of sage cheddar you serve it with. I’m no food snob and can’t live without my microwave (though I use it mainly for reheating) so I too love recipes that you can basically write on the back of a queue ticket 😉 Your microwaved apple rocks, in my book 🙂

    Those Cortland apples are real beauties! I’m not being lazy but seriously, my favourite way to enjoy a good apple is to eat it as is….

  20. Dr. frybaby says:

    try a little maple syrup in the baked microwaved apple. Adds a certain whatsis.

  21. Yum yum – apple season is so awesome and comforting 🙂 Right now I think apples are my favourite fruit 🙂 Alas, I feel so lazy I don’t think I’ll be doing anything with my apples besides eating them fresh off the tree (or fresh off the truck).

    That hospital looks huge! You’re such a pro 🙂 Have a great week Jessie!

  22. I think that sometimes when you go too crazy with the ingredients then the flavours of the dish seem to get lost in it all. Dishes with a few ingredients are often the best! (Except when it comes to Indian food — but that type of cuisine is all about the spices.)

  23. I love your KISM recipes! I agree, if a recipe looks too complicated or has too many ingredients, I don’t care how delicious it looks, I won’t save it.

    Can’t wait to hear about your public school experience!

  24. hahaha i love you. you’re too cute- gangsta apple picking 😀
    this brings back so many memories when i was a kid and having to help my mom peel and core apples before my aunt bought us an actual apple peeler. before it was all by hand and took hours! i never actually microwaved an apple, ive tried one tho- its amazing how much a microwave can do when ur pinched for time or just dont feel like waiting as long. i agree with katie, ive always noticed that ur KISM are the perfect things to have on hand- they make life so much easier!! <3

  25. I haven’t made an apple crisp yet this year! Love the microwave idea!

    It’s funny, growing up, I didn’t really care for apples as my parents had several apple trees and all we ate was apples it seemed (even when they weren’t nice and crisp anymore, which I think turned me really against them for a while). So I took a little “break” from apples but recently gave them “another chance” and realized that I really enjoy them.

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