I keep repeating things of this nature as I mope over lovely fall foliage pictures and mental whiffs of baking from the sweet Midwest. It is a pretty good consolation, but I'm not easily convinced. I think when I come home for an Iowa Christmas I will be fully (Pain-fully) convinced, but until then I'll probably pout a little longer.
Recently, I've been thinking a lot of the trees and baking I've enjoyed during past falls in the Midwest, Louisville (if you consider it the Midwest) in particular. Louisville has gorgeous fall colors and I had the most gorgeous little kitchen (that included an oven) while I was there. It is kind of like pushing a bruise--it hurts to keep messing with it, but it's oddly satisfying, so I'll keep pressing.
I've been reveling in a destructive daydream where I walk around Old Louisville and Cherokee park before going home and warming up by making a dinner of acorn squash with lots of butter and brown sugar, wild rice, and chicken with a lemony-dijon sauce. I accompany this with a bourbon barrel stout from BBC or a Schlafly coffee stout, and finish with a warm pan of apple crisp. Now, I am sorry, my Louisvillians, because I never made you a meal as seasonally delicious as this one. Don't, however, let my absence stop you and I won't let the lack of fiery trees and an oven stop me.
My desire for fall and baking has been manifesting itself into refrains of "Big Yellow Taxi" (Joni was talking about not appreciating fall and ovens enough, right?) and lots and lots of applesauce. It's a nice stove-top substitute for my favorite baked dessert, my great grandma's apple crisp. It also keeps well, is delicious cold, and tossed with some granola has a nice crunch like the apple crisp. Add a little plain yogurt or milk (if you have something other than the weird irradiated box kind) and granola for a substantial breakfast.
Now, I don't really have an exact recipe for this, my cooking style is as disheveled as my person, so take my instructions loosely and see how you like it. I like to put in any number of spices with the apples, pretty much anything that smells like it would be in pumpkin pie or a strongly scented candle called "Autumn" will be good. I've been using these little things called 'pimientas negras' that I thought were black peppercorns, but taste like cloves.
2 lbs of apples (preferably a tart apple like Jonathans)*
1/2 C of sugar
1 C of water or brewed chamomile tea
2 Tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
If you want the apples to really break down and be more of a traditional applesauce you will need to peel them. I prefer them chunky and with skins.
Quarter the apples and remove stem and seeds. Chop into quarter sized chunks. Toss in saucepan with sugar, water or tea, and spices. Cook over medium-low heat until desired tenderness.
*If you don't have tart apples around add a couple splashes of orange juice.
Also, for you of the oven-elite, here is my great grandma's apple crisp recipe.
Grandma Dorothy's Apple Crisp
4 C sliced apples (I use more and a tart apple is best here too)
1 C sugar
2 T flour
1/4 t cinnamon ( I use more)
1/4 t nutmeg (random combinations of the aforementioned spices would fit well in this recipe)
dash of salt
Mix and place in greased 9x9
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 C oatmeal
1/2 C flour
1/2 C butter
Mix till crumbly, place on top of apples, bake at 350 for 30-40min. So easy, so delicious!
Shoo de dooo dooo bop bop bop...