This year I'm going apple-picking no matter what. Last year we missed it. We waited way too long then on the day we finally went, it started to rain, so we detoured to the bowling alley instead. It was still a great family day, but I swear that half the reason I moved to back to Maine was to go apple-picking. We always went at least once when I was growing up - usually to an orchard in Hope, Maine. I loved to climb the trees, and I'm still a sucker for the cider. I remember storing the apples on our three-season porch, and they seemed to last forever. My kitchen is almost as cold as a three-season porch, so I wonder why my apples don't last as long?
I did a little prep work for apple picking tonight by trying to use up some of the almost-rotten apples we had in our kitchen. I wanted to try to duplicate this Apple Onion soup I had recently on a Wine Flight Training "Run" (I walked) culminating at The Salt Exchange in Portland. I started with an onion soup recipe from one of my favorite cooking sites, 101 Cookbooks. It calls for roasting the onions in the oven before chopping them. I added two peeled and quartered apples to this. The smell alone was worth making it. The apples and onions roasting together was just heavenly - almost the exact smell of my husband's Thanksgiving Turkey that he always stuffs with an onion and an apple among other things.
It brought me back immediately to our wonderful Thanksgiving last year. It was the first time in who-knows-how-long, probably never where we didn't have anywhere to go and didn't have anyone to entertain but ourselves. It was the perfect commitment-free day of cooking and eating and relaxing. Not that we haven't loved every minute of being with friends and family on Thanksgiving, but it was a perfect be-yourself, do-what-you-want kind of day.
After the onions and apples were done roasting, (I didn't time it, but I think it was about 30-45 minutes, and I probably should have done a bit longer.) I continued on with the 101 cookbooks recipe, but also sliced the roasted apples thin and added them in the last few minutes of the wine step. Then after simmering with the broth for the 20 minutes, I put about half of the soup in the blender with about 1/4 cup of cream. Oh, and I replaced 1 cup of the broth with 1 cup of apple cider. It was delicious, but not quite what I had at The Salt Exchange. I'll have to experiment a bit more.
Since I was on the apple bandwagon, I decided to whip up a batch of apple crisp. I'm sure there's a gazillion apple crisp recipes floating around on the Internet, but I posted mine - actually my grandmother's - here. It's simple and delicious - I've never had any better. (I like apples and all, but have you ever thought about just making the crisp? I swear that in the photo above, I wasn't using that fork to shovel in the uncooked crisp - really.) I call my grandmother "Gommy". Apparently that was the best I could do for Grammy when I was learning how to talk, and it stuck. I have a lot of recipes that start with the word "Gommy".
So - come hell or high water (or should I say come CCD or soccer or dance or out of town visitors - no sacrilege intended) - we're going apple-picking this weekend. I don't want to miss another year. Hopefully, my next post will have some photos of our apple adventures.
Gommy's Apple Crisp
4 cups peeled and sliced baking apples (6 medium)
1 cup brown sugar
¾ cup flour
¾ cup rolled oats
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
¾ teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup softened butterPlace sliced apples in a greased 8“ x 8” x 2" pan. Blend remaining ingredients until mixture is crumbly. Spread over apples. Bake 30 - 35 minutes at 375° until apples are tender and topping is golden brown.