I’m not sure how long it has been since I’ve been apple picking, but inspired by my grandson, who went apple picking for the first time this weekend, I decided that instead of doing chores all day Sunday, we too should venture out and pluck some crispy deliciousness from the orchard’s bounty.
NOTE: If you can, do NOT go as late on a Sunday as we did. The locusts had already descended and it was a sad scene of apples strewn carelessly all over the ground and the trees in the ‘ripe’ rows were already barren.
One of our local farms has a nice deal where you buy a ’season’ pass to pick throughout the picking season. They have many rows of different varieties of apples in various stages of readiness. They open the farm for our grubby hands from Friday – Sunday for a few weekends in the Fall. We went late on a Sunday and as noted, I’ll be there first thing on Friday this week . . .
It was fun winding around on the side of the rambling hill among the trees in the orchard. While we found a few remaining apples actually on the branches way at the top of the hill, there were actually some lovely ones that had been abandoned because they had fallen to the ground in the frenzy to ravage these giving trees.
We walked off the hill with a heavy load and I had the daunting task of now finding a couple of recipes to use most of these apples. Apple crumble is a no-brainer, since berry crumble is one of my signature recipes and can be easily altered to accomodate a more Fall flavor to go with these crispy delights.
So, I got out the old-fashioned apple corer (really not sure what it is called) that is made of cast iron and got busy. It hasn’t stopped amazing me yet, how this old, seemingly simple contraption works, but it does! By adding a little cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla to my basic crumble recipe.
I went to one of my favorite cookbooks, The White Dog Cafe Cookbook. If you haven’t experienced Judy Wicks’ amazing place in Philadelphia, it is worth the trip or making sure to stop there the next time you are in Philly. Jen and I met Judy and spent an afternoon with her – what an inspiration! If you want to learn about getting active to create a strong local economy, check her out.
Here’s her recipe for Curried Apple Bisque with Minted Yogurt – yum.
1 cup low-fat plain yogurt*
2 tsp minced fresh mint leaves
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced (about 2 cups)
2 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp + 1 tsp good-quality Madras curry powder
5 granny smith apples**, peeled, cored, and diced (about 6 cups)
3 cups apple cider
2 cups water
1 tsp salt
1. Prepare the Minted Yogurt: Combine the yogurt, mint leaves and salt. cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to use, or for up to 1 week.
2. Prepare the Bisque: Heat the oil in a large sauce-pan set over medium heat. add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and cook until soft, 2 – 3 minutes. (Do not let the garlic brown or it will give the bisque a bitter flavor.) Stir in the curry powder and cook, tossing and scraping the bottom of the pan so the mixture doesn’t scorch for about 1 minute. Add the apples, cider, water and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the apples are completely soft, about 30 minutes.
3. Puree the bisque in batches in a food processor, blender, or food mill. Return to the saucepan and season with additional salt to taste. Serve warm, or let cool to room tempurature, cover, and refrigerate for up to 3 days (or freeze for up to 3 months).
4. To serve, divide the bisque among 6 bowls. Top each portion with a generous dollop of the Minted Yogurt.
*I used greek yogurt – almost like sour cream!
**I used a combination of Cortlands and Winesaps for this particular batch. again, Yum.