Healthy, delicious, a symbol of Americana and Autumn, apples are surely the favorite fruit harvest of the fall. (OK, I hear you, pear people, and I love pears, but apples are historically so happy and appley.)
As crunchy and juicy, whether tart or sweet, as apples are straight from the tree, they do an equally praise-worthy job of brightening and flavoring cooked dishes. Use cooking apples like Granny Smiths, or Winesaps or Rome Beauties, all of which hold their shape after cooking, to spark a meal and add variety to ordinary eating.
While you may be thinking “apple sauce” for meals, how about letting the apple shine a little more in its original shape, adding slices rather than sauce to a dish. The recipes here are easy and bright for the fall gatherings, where the apple has earned its place on the menu from breakfast to dessert. And they ripen before pears.
S’MORE CANDY APPLES
Just right for Halloween or Harvest party
8 large Granny Smith apples, or cooking apples of your choice
8 wooden lollipop sticks
2 Tbls butter
2 packages (16 oz each) large marshmallows
2 C coarsely crushed graham crackers
1 package (11-1/2 oz) milk or dark chocolate chips
Line a baking sheet with waxed paper; generously coat waxed paper with cooking spray. Wash and dry apples; remove stems. Insert lollipop sticks into apples.
In a large heavy saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add marshmallows and stir until melted. Dip apples, one at a time, into the warm marshmallow mixture, allowing excess to drip off. Place on the lined baking sheet and set aside.
Put graham cracker crumbs in a shallow dish. In the top of a double boiler or a metal bowl over barely simmering water, melt the chocolate chips; stir until smooth. Dip bottom half of marshmallow covered apples in the warm chocolate. Then dip the coated bottoms in the cracker crumbs; roll to evenly spread. Place on a baking sheet and refrigerate until set. Serves 8.
EASY CHEESY HONEY APPLE HORS D’OEUVRES
A snack, appetizer, or party starter in less than 15 minutes
3-4 oz. goat cheese
2 honey crisp apples thinly sliced
Honey to drizzle
1/4 C glazed walnuts or pecans
Fresh rosemary finely chopped
1 pkg large crackers
Lay the crackers on a platter. Evenly distribute goat cheese on top of each cracker.
Layer apple sections on top of the cheese. Drizzle the cheese-apple mixture with honey.
Lightly sprinkle the nuts and rosemary on top so they can stick to the honey. Will serve about 6.
Note: Any soft cheese, such as cottage cheese, whipped cream cheese, etc., can substitute for the goat cheese. Try a fruity cream cheese to add another dimension. Store leftovers, covered, in the fridge.
SEARED SAUSAGE AND APPLE SIDE DISH
Perfect fall fare for any meal
1 Tbls extra-virgin olive oil
4 sweet Italian sausages, about 1 lb, pricked with a fork
1/2 C water
2 Granny Smith or other cooking apples, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
1 Tbls cider vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Using a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the sausages and cook over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until browned but not cooked through, about 5 minutes.
Add the water to the skillet. Cover and cook until the water is nearly evaporated and the sausages are firm, about 7 minutes. Add the sliced apples and fennel seeds and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender and browned, about 8 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and season with salt and pepper.
Use as a side with eggs or grits for breakfast or lunch, with scalloped or baked potato for a hearty supper. Makes about 4 servings.
Tip: Fennel not in your pantry? Try rosemary or ground cinnamon.
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