Rotten to the core

I’m in a multimedia training class at work. They are teaching all of the print journalists how to live-breathe-think-eat digital first.

Don’t tell my editors, but it’s actually pretty fun. We just wrapped up slide show presentations and I did mine on the apple challenge — to date. I think it turned out well, but one of my colleagues had a smartass comment every time a picture of a less than challenging recipe flashed (the Instant Energy Fruit Cup, for instance).

Granted, not every apple recipe has been baked, cooked or fried. A few have been as simple as chopping up an apple and tossing it with something else, but it isn’t easy having the time, enthusiasm or ingredients on hand for a new apple recipe every day. There have been days I just want to have a bowl of Apple Jacks and call it good.

I didn’t say anything to him. I think he was just bitter he missed out on the Morning Glory Muffins I brought in that morning.

Day 22: Chicken with Tomato & Apple Sauce

I love chicken.

I’m not doing a chicken challenge.

Not next month, anyway.

Chicken with Tomato & Apple Sauce

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 eg
  • ¾ cup breadcrumbs
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, to garnish

Tomato & apple sauce

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and diced
  • 1 14-ounce can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Brown sugar, to taste
  • Pinch of grated nutmeg
  • Scant ½ cup of water
  • Salt and pepper

First, make the sauce. Melt the butter with the olive oil in a pan. Add the shallots and apple, and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, until softened. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar to taste, nutmeg, and water and season to taste with salt and pepper. Increase the heat to medium and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes, until thickened. Remove the sauce from the heat and let cool slightly.

Put the chicken between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and beat until thin and even. Put the flour into a shallow dish and season to taste with salt and pepper. Lightly beat the egg in the separate shallow dish and spread out the breadcrumbs in a third shallow dish.

Dip the chicken, 1 at a time, first in the flour, then in the egg, and, finally, in the breadcrumbs to coat. Melt the butter with the sunflower oil in a large skillet. Add the chicken, in batches, and cook over medium heat for 1 minute on each side, until golden brown. Reduce the heat and cook for an additional 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until cooked through and tender.

Meanwhile, gently reheat the sauce. Transfer the chicken to warmed individual plates and pour the sauce over them. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from 1 Sauce, 100 Recipes by Linda Doeser

Day 23: Apple Crepes

I was skimming through photos on my phone and came across a screen shot of a recipe for apple crepes. I have no idea where I got the recipe, but I know I took the photo more than a year ago because the next image was a picture of my kids with apples from last year’s trip to the orchard.

My phone makes it seem like we spend a lot of time at apple orchards.

I made the crepes for my family’s breakfast Tuesday. That’s right, I made crepes on the school day ’cause I’m awesome.

At least, that’s what I posted on Facebook. The fact that I forgot the kids’ lunches today totally negates any Mom of the Year points these crepes racked up in my favor.

Dammit.

APPLE CREPES

Crepes

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

Filling

  • 8 apples (I used Golden Delicious and Granny Smith), peeled and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 orange rind, grated
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • Powdered sugar, optional

Beat together crepe ingredients. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes. Cook crepes in a small pan.

Cook apples in a large pan until tender. Add remaining ingredients.

Place filling in center of crepes and roll into crepe shape. Dust with powdered sugar.

Day 24: Apple Butter

I love apple butter. It is one of those foods that signifies fall. I love it on toast, on English muffins and on biscuits.

I usually buy apple butter at the farmers market, but for this challenge I took the plunge and made my own. Turns out, it isn’t that hard to do. You just need to have time, patience and the foresight not make it on a fluke fall day where the temps soar over 70 degrees and humidity is out of control.

The next time I make apple butter, I’ll do it in February. Not that I’ll need to make some any time soon. This recipe makes A LOT of butter.

APPLE BUTTER

  • 2 pounds McIntosh apples, cored, quartered and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 pounds Fuji apples, cored, quartered and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 cup Calvados or applejack
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Combine apples, cider and Calvados in a large Dutch oven, and bring to a boil, over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until apples are very soft, about 30 minutes.

Working in batches, transfer apples to food mill and process. Discard skins and transfer puree to now-empty Dutch oven. Stir in granulated sugar, brown sugar, lemon juice, and salt. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture is browned and wooden spoon or rubber spatula leaves a distinct trail when dragged across the bottom of the pot, 1 to 1.5 hours.

Transfer apple butter to jar with a tight-fitting lid and let cool to room temperature before refrigerating. Apple butter can be refrigerated up to 1 month.

Recipe courtesy of The America’s Test Kitchen D.I.Y. Cookbook

NOTE: If you don’t have a food mill, you can skip that while step by peeling the skins from your apples before putting them in the Dutch oven. That’s what I did, as my husband is still giving me grief about the juicer and probably wouldn’t appreciate my bringing a food mill into the house.

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