Monday, August 23, 2010

Apples Put the Crunch into Fall


Grab your knife and fork and enjoy Nana’s Oat n’ Apple Waffles

A friend of mine, who has asked me to leave her identity at that, inspired me to write about apples this week. She sent me an e-mail enthusing about a Growing Cooks program at her favorite grocery store chain “Jorj, it’s the cutest thing,” she wrote, “you really ought to bring the grandkids if the Whole Foods or local fresh market in Charlotte hosts something similar. They pass out these little white chef hats the kids get to decorate—then, a chef comes out and does this funny demo with a featured recipe. Yesterday my daughter and I made apple, peanut butter and granola sandwiches.”

Intrigued, I asked if it was a back to school theme, and indeed she said it had been; they were learning to pack a healthier lunch. She went on from there about another community event she was going to try to attend, on plastic sandwich bags leeching chemicals (yikes!) and how toting our food via more natural methods ought to be something we—those of us who like to “brown bag it” anyway (hmmm…future blog post here in organic, tasty lunch box menus?) should do; while I whole-heartedly agreed and wished I had time to attend that event with her, I still think she brought it up in an effort to change the subject. She must have known it was only a matter of time before I asked her to send me a photo of someone in her family—I didn’t care who—wearing that personalized paper chef hat.

We have to get in the spirit of these things, now don’t we, dear : )?

Anyway, I filed away her idea for future fun with my own rowdy (and always hungry) grandkids. We could play dress up in the kitchen sometime—and those paper hats are cheaply bought from Growing Cooks—but what really seized my imagination was our talk of apples. Like it or not, summer is basically over. If I’m not mistaken, this last weekend was the last one for kids at their summer leisure. Fall is on the way and I can actually smell it. It smells heavenly—some have said, no, no that’s the next-door steakhouse you’re smelling, and I insist that they are wrong; that it’s wood smoke in autumn. Goodbye cherries jubilee and hello gourds, pumpkins, squashes and apples, oh my…! Life is good. I do not exaggerate when I say that I have more than a baker’s dozen worth of recipes in which apples are the sweet and crunchy star.

And I actually had to toil over which one to present with this blog post. For a while I thought I should do Whole Grain Apple Muffins w/Walnuts, but changed my mind because they don’t lend themselves to a nice, big family breakfast the way my Oat n’ Apple Waffles do.

Now, the traditional fall apple makes you think of a McIntosh apple—mostly red with little spots of green. You would be pleasantly surprised (shocked even) at how many different varieties of apples there are; my waffle recipe, luckily, is not so exotic you’ll need to shop in Japan. It calls, actually, for the popular tart n’ juicy Granny apple. No jokes, please, about how appropriate those are in my kitchen. I’m just so happy that the recipe asks you to use FOUR of them—that’s a lot of apple, folks.

Now, if you know anything about my cooking and the terminology I like to use about “kicking it up,” you can kick up the waffle recipe, here, with Grapples instead of plain, but delicious, Granny Smiths. A “grapple” has been naturally altered so that it tastes almost grape-like. I like them so much—even at the ridiculous price of $6 for 4—that I added them to Nana’s Favorite Things this week. If you’re not “grappling” too bad with the price, tee hee, use a Grapple to kick things up at breakfast this coming weekend. Nothing like a tangy, sweet apple/grape hybrid to curl the toes in a happy way along with your morning cup of joe.

I’m sure if you invite your grandkids over, you’ll hear a story or two about school between requests to pass the syrup.

TOP NANA

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