Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Walk in the Woods, Part 2

I've been workin' on the raaaillroad, all the livelong day.....

During a break in the recent rains we've been enjoying, we got out and took a hike in the woods near us. It was a beautiful fall day, warm in the sun with cool air, bright blue sky, everything I've been missing for the past several years.

Look at that sky!

I find nature can be so inspiring, even if it's manmade.
That's a joke, son.

At a glance, everything seemed to have come through the rains and flooding just fine.

But upon close inspection, we could see that the forest got flooded up to our waist height.
All the leaves were muddy.

But near the river, it was obvious the water had risen over our heads, as this bridge is that high. You can see it's covered with debris washed up by the floods.

Fall is on the way!

A Walk in the

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Last weekend, we went with some friends of ours from Singapore, the Bridgemans, to go apple picking. This was an outing I looked forward to every fall when I still lived in California, and missed terribly while I lived in Singapore. And, being the kinda tech-saavy girl that I am, I brought my camera with no batteries. So, I don't have pictures of the tiny little orchard we went to, or of how beautiful the blue, cloudless sky was, or of how wonderful the weather was. I can't take pictures of the temperature, anyway. But it was a lovely day and I was so happy.

We were warned that the orchard had suffered a hail storm (on May 15th!) so the apples were pocked, but still tasted good. We found that to be very true.

So with a huge quantity of apples (and a gigantic pumpkin, to boot), I started hunting for recipes. Apple butter is a bit too complicated, I think. So my first apple endeavor was applesauce.

I pulled all the winesap apples from the basket for this recipe; they are tart and perfect for cooking.

The flesh is almost hard, and very white. And the peels can be so dark, I almost thought they were plums when I went to pick them.

The recipe called for 3 or 4 pounds, and by hitting a conversion site online, I found that that was about 2 quarts, peeled and cored and quartered.

Here they are with the rest of the ingredients: a 3" piece of cinnamon stick, 4 peels of lemon rind, the juice of a lemon, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup white sugar, and a cup of water. The recipe allowed that not all of the white sugar need be added, but I had tasted these apples and knew they were tart and so I added the full amount. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes, and voila!

Apple mush! Now remove the cinnamon stick and the lemon peels which are hard to find but also hard where everything else is mushy.
Last year, when I went to clean out my mother's house, I inherited a food mill. I use it to make mashed potatoes now and then, and it is great! Now I used it to make applesauce, and it worked like a charm.

Have you ever had hot applesauce? I never had, but I have found a new love.

Home made applesauce is very similar to store bought, except perhaps it's a bit denser. I think Motts says they use gravenstein apples, but the winesaps make such a great flavor contrast: tart/sweet.
This was such an easy recipe, I hope you will try to make your own applesauce. I have so much, I may try to make an applesauce spice cake with some of it. We'll see. It was delicious with cottage cheese and walnuts for breakfast this morning, too.