You skipped us.
It’s ok, though. I’m still going to get super personal with your delicious flavors.
Why have you over taken Fall?
You’re the Lance Bass of the autumnal boy band of flavor.
Why do people remember you… Because you refuse to go away?
It’s not that pumpkin is gross or unusable, I just think it’s so over appreciated in the fall that other, better (in my opinion, naturally) flavors go on ignored. Furthermore, when most appreciated, pumpkin isn’t even the one doing all the flavor work.
Now call me weird, but I belive less in food by season, and more in spice.
Spice describes a season more than one might think.
*Please pause and take this time to visualize a CSI type crime lab. Pumpkin’s flavor face is projected in front of a room of serious, but sassily dressed 30 somethings too attractive to work in a crime lab. Alpha male #1 steps towards the projection and leans in to get a better look at something on Pumpkin. ‘Hey Chad, there’s something here. Can you enhance this area?’*
Enter the clove.
For years, it has been seasoning your autumnal favorites in a flavor that matches the swan song of the leaves on your fruit trees outside. It has been making those pumpkin breads smell less like moldy scotch tape (go ahead, smell pumpkin bread batter prior to seasoning, and then disagree with me), and more like the warm, sweet-spicey scent of pre-winter indulgence you’ve sat an enjoyed with some black tea and a tablespoon of milk. And here you thought it was all about the pumpkin.
Being that I’m clearly a nutty kind of crazy for the wonderfully rich flavor of the clove, I figure I’ll take this time to share one of my clove based concoctions.
I’ll keep it simple, as these days I need to keep my cooking on a plane of simple deliciousness. I’d like to remind you that my recipes designed to be executed in the kitchen while occupied (whether with work, stress, or a critter on your hip), I encourage you to step away from being constantly busy when having kitchen time. Slip off your shoes, get comfy and post a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign in your brain space. Make clove cooking your meditation time, because really… you need it. And so do I.
Hot Honeycrisp Apple Spread
Things you might consider having on hand:
- A larger baking dish
- A paring knife
- An apple corer (this is a luxury, not a necessity)
- 2 mixing bowls, one large and one not so large
- A wooden spoon (if you’re afraid to use your hands…in which case… this frown I’m now wearing is for you)
- Measuring cups and spoons
- A fine strainer or sieve
- Paper towels or counter wipes to help you clean and you go along
- Someone else that is not you on stand by to do your dishes when you’re done being a culinary genius.
What it takes:
- 6 honeycrisp apples – peeled, cored and sliced
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 cup soy milk (you can substitute dairy based milk. Soy is simply my preference.)
What you do next:
Oven gets cranked up to 350 degrees (Fahrenheit, because I live in Americaland).
Grease down – or up, depending on your preference – a semi large baking dish with either unsalted butter or pan spray.
(Semi large in this instance means I’d like you to use one capable of holding around 2 quarts of delicious business on any given day.)
In case the ‘peeled, cored and sliced’ part on the apple ingredient wasn’t explanatory enough… you need to peel, core and slice up those apples. The thinner the slice, the better the bake. Plop those in a large mixing bowl and set them aside until I tell you to get them.
In the apple-less, not so large mixing bowl, grab your sieve and sift together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
Now collect your large bowl of apples (the time is nigh!) and sprinkle the dry mixture over them.
Using that wooden spoon or those trusty mitts of yours, mix apples with the dry powders until they’re all uniformly coated.
(If your brain just put provided you with a mental picture of a tiny Apple Man in Navy uniform, I applaud you.)
Next up, empty this mixture of happy, enlisted Apple Men into your prepared baking pan. Spread them out evenly, and then pour your soy milk across the lot of them.
Then, into the oven.
Oven times vary by location, elevation, and how generally finicky your oven. Start at about 45 minutes, and then check for tenderness.
Tenderness is determined by taking a dull object (like a wooden spoon) and poking to see if the baked apples have crisp to them, or if they’re nice and soft. Soft is what you’re going for. Soft, but not soggy.
If they’re underdone, give them another 7 – 10 minutes.
Out of the oven they come, and then you have some options.
Take some warm fresh bread (like my Pain au Lait, pictured above) and lightly butter it with salted, sweet cream butter. Then smear on some of the hot apple spread.
Or, chill the spread first. Hot or chilled, the spread can be paired with breads, ice cream, pork, yogurt… and even (if you want to spite me for my above listed anti-Pumpkin appreciation) improve some pumpkin pie by using it as a pie topping. (I know. That does sound amazing. You’re welcome).
Post Script: Because I feel I must do this – please remember that ovens are hot and so is the food that comes out of them. Please act accordingly and be careful. If you burn yourself or your hands or your mouth… please exit the kitchen and leave future endeavors to Marie Callender.