Flavors of Fall ~ Let’s Talk Apple

I echo the sentiments of family and friends as I breath deeply and welcome my favorite season, the fall. I have always looked forward to back-to-school and the cool, crisp air. I loved colorful leaves, new notebooks and packing lunches. I still pack Barry’s lunch every day. Now I also look forward to the flavors of fall.

When the girls were little we added new family traditions and fall had one of the best. We took them to the cider mill near our home and let them watch an old time wooden press at work. Then we bought the cider we had just watched them make and took it home to enjoy. This fresh and delicious cider was one of many tastes that became the flavors of fall. Sadly this lovely place is no longer operational, but the memories live on in the Greynolds Family! http://theoldnorthbranchinn.com/NorthBranchNewYork/NorthBranchHistory/slideshow24.html

Barry and I love to go on adventures. If you know us well, you know what that means. We pack up and explore someplace we have never gone before and see where the journey takes us. A few of our most recent and favorite adventures have been right here in NY state. One fall adventure took us to points north and back toward home, south along the Finger Lakes. Along one of the country roads (Who takes highways on an adventure?) we stopped and bought a bushel of big, red, beautiful New York grown apples.

That purchase started the pursuit of apple recipes. I made applesauce, apple pie, apple dressing for chicken, apple cider reduction for pork, and last but not least apple bread. I tried many recipes and some were variations on a theme. Though that huge bag of apples seemed ridiculous for just us two, it went much faster than I would have believed.

I still make Barry’s favorite ~ the ultimate keeper ~ all of the time. He loves apple bread with walnuts. I tried several recipes before I settled on this one. I tried many from www.foodnetwork.com and http://allrecipes.com/. I tried apple, banana, and zucchini bread recipes, of course putting apple in all of them. Finally I found a wonderful combination that makes easy apple bread. And I call this compilation: SIMPLE APPLE BREAD. Clever, no?

Here goes:

SIMPLE Apple Bread

In a large bowl, mix:
3 eggs ~ try to remember to take them out ahead so they are room temperature
2 cups sugar ~ white or organic, but my beloved agave doesn’t work as well here
1 cup oil ~ I use canola, but use a vegetable oil that is light
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt ~ I use kosher salt in everything, but any salt you normally use is fine

Take two large apples. After I used up the original bushel, I discovered Gala apples. They are big and meaty and make marvelous bread. Cut off the skin of the top and the bottom. This gives you a flat base to sit the apple down. Then peel it by running the knife down and removing skin, but as little of the meat of the apple as possible. Grate the apples into the mixture and stir them in. Be sure to stir pretty quickly, as you may be surprised how fast they will brown sitting on top.

To complete your easy ingredients you will need to add 3 cups of flour. Add one cup of flour at a time and stir each in. Now I put chopped walnuts in this. I mean, I put A LOT of walnuts in this, but that is what Barry likes. You may wish to add a teaspoon of cinnamon too but that is not to our liking.

Grease two loaf pans and split the batter between them. I use spray oil and they never stick. I also bake mine in ceramic loaf pans, not metal.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Now what recipes don’t tell you but you may want to know is this. Time in any recipe is a guideline. Different ovens may bake differently. They may also bake unevenly. Try to set a timer for ½ hour and move the loaf pans around for more even baking.

I cool these loaves and cut into slices. Each slice gets zipper bagged and these treats go to school with Barry for morning tea and cake during his planning period. He leaves for work by 6:30 AM, which is an ungodly early hour to eat breakfast. So this treat is his breakfast.

These slices are also perfect to toast and spread with butter, apple butter, or jam of choice.

There are so many more tastes of fall, like pumpkins and root vegetables. We will talk about them another day. And there will be talk of soups. There are so many delicious soups for fall. For now, go buy some apples and enjoy a taste of fall!

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