An apple a day for an entire month

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April 1, 2014 | 1:28 am

Weíve had quite a few baked goods in the newsroom featuring apples recently.

The pies and cake arrived courtesy of The Gazetteís arts & entertainment writer, Diana Nollen. She received a ton of apples from her familyís orchards and has been generous enough to share the bounty with her colleagues.

If we had an Employee of the Month Award, Diana would win. Then again, maybe we do have an Employee of the Month Award and Iíve never received it.

(Note to self: Bring more treats to the newsroom.)

If fall had a Flavor of the Season Award, it would be the apple. I donít write that easily. I love pumpkin and everything that is pumpkin-flavored this time of year, but the apple is so versatile. You can cook with it, you can bake with it. You can drink it and you can sautť it.

OK, you can do all that with pumpkin, too, but can you eat a pumpkin fresh off the tree -- er, vine?

Visiting apple orchards is a seasonal tradition in my family. I grew up with my parents taking me and my siblings to Community Orchard in Fort Dodge every autumn. The six years my husband and I lived in Missouri can be illustrated with the photos of our visits to Schweizer Orchards in the small town of Amazonia. Our son is a baby in the photo from our first visit, our daughter an infant in the second and so on.

Living in Eastern Iowa is fantastic because there are so many apple orchards to visit. Iíve been to two already, plus purchased apples from various vendors at local farmers markets -- and I still havenít satisfied my apple needs.

I made homemade applesauce for the first time this past weekend, but thereís a lot more cooking and baking I need to do to catch up with Diana. Being a competitive person, I decided to make one apple dish each day throughout October, otherwise known as National Apple Month. You can follow my progress on the Everybody Eats blog at thegazette.com/category/blogs/everybody-eats or on the Everybody Eats Facebook page: www.facebook.com/everybodyeatscr. Feel free to send me your favorite apple recipes, too.

Iíll see you at the orchard!

10-Minute Applesauce

  • 3 Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, and quartered
  • 3 Fuji apples, peeled, cored, and quartered
  • 1 cup unfiltered apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons cognac or brandy
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a sealable microwave-safe container, combine apples with all other ingredients. Close lid, leaving one corner of lid open to allow steam to escape. Microwave on high for 10 minutes.

Using a hand blender or potato masher, blend to desired consistency. Serve hot immediately or chill for later use.

Source: Good Eats: The Early Years by Alton Brown (Stewart, Tabori & Chang; 5th Printing edition (October 1, 2009)

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