Midweek Inspiration No. 13: Apples! Whatever should we be doing with all of our apples?
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This is the story of a girl who was hungry
For what, I am oft unsure. But after decades of being luke-warm to apples, it appears I've changed my mind.
Since my husband came home with our first bag of apples this fall, I've pulled the following from my oven: a lovely and bubbly apple crisp for book club. Not to mention, the batches and batches of baked apples, which I've been gifting to anyone and everyone.
During the day, I've been snacking on slices of cheese and cheddar. Dinner, more often than not, has been the most delicious dark-leafy romaine salad with apple, cheddar, with a mustardy dressing — apple cider from the farmers market to wash it all down.
In truth, I can’t tell you what’s come over me, but here I am, none-the-less.
So I've taken to asking everyone what their favorite ways to use apples are. There are no rules: hot, cold, a side dish, healthy dessert, salad, soup, snack, etc. Anything where apples are the star of the show, I'm all ears!
I can only say that with a notebook full of great ideas, there are no plans to stop.
Today, I thought it might be fun to share a few. In case you're looking for ways to up your apple game
Applesauce! “It's ridiculously simple and amazingly tasty when homemade. Wash 10-15 apples, slice them in half, and put them in a pot with a cup of water and a bit of sugar (she liked to use 1/4 cup brown). Turn the heat on low, let the apples simmer for 30 min-1hour, stirring every 10 minutes or so. Once they've cooked down and mushy, dump the whole thing into a food mill to get rid of the seeds and stems and skins. Then put the remains back in the pot and taste it. Add more sugar, a bit of lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg to taste.”
“You should make caramel apples and hand them out to all your friends.”
Apple Butter – “An excellent project for a rainy afternoon and so much easier than it sounds.”
“Apples and cheese (of course!) – Pick up small quantities of several kinds of cheese and experiment with what you like best with which type of apples. (personally, I like Munster or sharp Cheddar with Gala or Fujis)”
“For breakfast (or dessert), cut cored apples into rings and saute them in a frying pan along with a small dab of butter. Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon. They're especially good on oatmeal.”
“Apple slices dipped in peanut butter – it never gets old.”
Smitten Kitchen's apple cheddar scones – “Have you heard of them? When my wife and I were first dating, she brought these on a picnic, and I couldn’t get enough!”
“It takes a bit of investment in terms of effort and equipment but, seriously, Cider, baby!”
“A big crunchy apple smothered in melted chocolate is one step closer to living my best life.”
“Salted popcorn is a good nibble alongside apples.”
“Last night I made a red cabbage and apple braise; it was delicious and highly recommended, especially with some pork, but I imagine it would be nice generally. I didn't follow a recipe, but it involved garlic, red cabbage, apple, apple cider, allspice, caraway seeds, lemon juice, vinegar, and brown sugar. Google has a few million recipes.”
“I know! Get some tart(-ish) apples and make a yummy apple salsa.”
“Pair apples with pork, specifically pork sausages. I love it with some of the milder English cheeses like double Gloucester or Wensleydale.”
“I never understood the whole cheddar cheese and apple pie thing until my great aunt cut me a slab of each one day. Great aunts know what they’re talking about.”
“One of my favorite things is to make a quesadilla with apples and sharp cheddar cheese; it’s divine.”
“I threw an apple tasting party (10 guests) a few years ago using 10 – 12 different types of apples from the orchard. I asked everybody to bring cheeses, bread, wine, nuts, or anything else that they thought would taste good with apples. It was so much fun!”
“The next time you bake a warm, apple pie, top it with a dollop of pimento cheese. I know it sounds weird, but somewhere in the South it must have become a tradition because my family would do that as a special treat, and it really is delicious.”
“My grandpa used to say that ‘apple pie without cheese is like a kiss without a squeeze'”
“If you love Honeycrisps and cheddar, try my fave sandwich in the fall/winter! Spread hot mustard on two slices of hearty whole-grain bread. Then put extra sharp cheddar cheese on each piece, along with slices of apples. Grill it like you would a grilled cheese. Seriously, it's the best combination of flavors!”
A list wouldn't be complete without soup, and this apple cheddar version has all of the best flavors of fall.
It's a hearty soup that's easy to pull together and filled with potatoes, chopped apples, and melty cheddar cheese. A piece of crusty bread or salad on the side never hurt anything.
It's warming, filling, and comforting; delightful topped with crumbly croutons and bacon (although I'm all for traditional bacon bits, too).
Here’s to licking the bowl, every last bit of it.
~ Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens
Apple and Cheddar Soup
- ½ cup finely chopped onion
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 2 medium baking potatoes, chopped and peeled (~ 3 cups)
- 2 cups chicken broth + more for thinning
- ¼ cup apple cider
- 1 tsp snipped fresh thyme (or ½ tsp dried)
- ½ tsp salt
- dash cayenne pepper, optional
- 1 medium apple, coarsley chopped
- ½ cup milk
- 2 Tbsp flour (any flour is great and use gluten-free, if you need)
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (~ 4 oz)
- apple slices
- black pepper
- toasted crusty bread, crumbled
- bacon bits
- Warm butter in a large saucepan and saute the onion until tender.
- Stir in potatoes, cider, thyme, salt, and cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes
- Add chopped apple; simmer, covered, 5 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
- In a small bowl, combine the milk and flour; stir into soup. Cook and stir until bubbly.
- Slowly add cheese, whisking until cheese is melted.
- Divide soup among serving dishes; top with apple slices, peppercorns, crumbled croutons, and bacon bits