Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Apple Deluge

We went. We picked. We came home with a motherlode of apples.

Back in Brooklyn, that $25 bag of apples -- $25! for apples!! -- we handpicked reveals itself to be, not so much a means of ripping off New York City tourists who are so desperate for some real food experiences that they will pay extravagantly for the privilege of doing the work usually reserved for underpaid migrant laborers, but rather, a far larger apple harvest than we could possibly know what to do with. They have taken over our kitchen table.

We picked them. Now we just have to use them.

Apple crisp, apple pie and baked apples are the obvious ones. But one of my favorite apple recipes comes from Viana La Place's terrific cookbook, Desserts and Sweet Snacks. She is one of my favorite cookbook writers. Years ago, during a book purge, I threw away her book Unplugged, which is out of print, which I had found in a thrift shop. What a bad move. My thoughts as I held the book in one hand, standing over the Out Box, were, "Well, I only ever really cook her lemon parsley pasta..." Deep down I think I was offended by the part where she talks about being in some Italian hotel and having an upset stomach and ordering just a side of spinach. Who does that? Not me. I am of the "feed a cold, feed a fever, feed an upset stomach' camp. I have regretted ever since throwing away Unplugged, which is almost more of a manifesto than a cookbook.

But I still have Desserts and Sweet Snacks, which has recipes for beautifully simple desserts like Peaches in Red Wine, Pink Honeydew Ice Cream, and a Date Shake, which recalls her childhood in California: she writes, "During my childhood in southern California, my family and i would sometimes go for a drive to Indio, a small desert town near Palm Springs.

"Date Palms flourished there in the midst of miles and miles of sand. We would always stop at a stand that sold date shakes -- a rich, creamy blend of ice cream and dates. I can still see the little stand, bathed in the clear desert light -- the straggly rose garden in front with the most fragrant red roses imaginable, the scent of parched grass, and high above our heads, huge clusters of rusty-orange dates dangling from the tops of fringed dusty palms..."

Okay I'm totally off topic, and quoting a book without permission. Dude, it's the age of blogging, they'll have to come after me.

Try this: Warm Apple Panino.
Basically you take a fresh bread roll or slice of fresh good bread. If it's a roll you hollow it out. You butter one side, and spread apricot preserves on the other. Toast them under the broiler. Meanwhile, you peel, core and thinly slice a half of an apple. Saute the slices in a 1/2 tablespoon of butter, adding a teaspoon of sugar and a few drops of lemon juice. The apple slices should be tender but still hold their shape. Pile the slices into the panino. flatten slightly and eat while still warm. Delicious! Onward, apple soldiers. We can do this.

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