I Don't Care If You're Sweating, We're Drinking This Apple Cider And We're Liking It

In an unsurprising display of immense unoriginality, I would like to announce that my favorite season is fall. Fall? Autumn? Which should I have said there? I realized yesterday that I've lived full-time in the states for exactly ten years—plus six part-time years before that—which means I probably shouldn't feel such a fraud saying "fall," and yet I do because it's not what I grew up saying. I mean, what if I'm turning into Madonna, except the opposite? Would somebody tell me if that was happening? Can we elect a committee right now to tap me on the shoulder and roll their eyes at me if I ever decide it's okay for me to say the word "y'all"? (Listen, I was born 15 miles from the Thames. It is never okay for me to say the word "y'all.")

(Slight aside, but here is a very good article about the Britishization of American English, which I hope you will find as fascinating as I did. Also, if you have Madonna's email address, you can pass it on to her.)

So anyway, my favorite season is fall (or autumn, if that makes you uncomfortable). It used to be summer, but then I got older and finished university and realized, first of all, that summer wasn't ever going to be the long, unencumbered swathe of freedom it used to be, and second of all, that there's a definite cut-off age for being able to wear a bikini top with a pair of shorts, and then right on cue fall stepped in and said "You know, I have butternut squash and jeans tucked into boots!" and so that was that. 

Actually, now that I think about it, fall replaced summer as my favorite season the exact same year I moved to America full-time, and I don't think that's any coincidence. America is very, very good at fall. It's mostly because you have pumpkins, I think—not such a big thing in England—and definitely because you have pumpkin-flavored foodstuffs. My god, the number of pumpkin-flavored foodstuffs I've purchased recently. Pumpkin-flavored coffee creamer! Pumpkin-flavored cream cheese! I'm the person who buys right into that Starbucks hype and treats myself to a pumpkin-flavored latte the minute there's the merest hint of a chill in the air. I even got some enormous pumpkins a few days ago and insisted to Sean that we sit down at the kitchen table and carve them on Saturday night. You know, like wild and crazy people who really know how to live. That's how Lady Gaga spends her Saturday nights too, I'm sure. 

Before: 

After: 

I bet you any amount of money you can guess which one is Sean's and which is mine. 

On Sunday, a group of friends invited us to go apple-picking, and this is where we really—pardon my French—grabbed fall by the balls and swung it around a little. Apple-picking! Doesn't that sound delightful? Doesn't that sounds autumnal? I mean, look at this orchard! It's like you went to your bookshelf and pulled down your dictionary and scrolled through the Os until you found October and there was this: 

Well, apart from the fact that it was 80 degrees outside, of course. Minor detail.  


Whoa, Sean, try to contain your enthusiasm about apple picking. It's getting embarrassing. 

At the orchard, we picked apples until our arms hurt and then we went to look around the rest of the farm. The rest of the farm was mostly for children, which was fine because we had three children in our group, but the woman giving us the tour was suspicious of us all the same. You could see her doing the math in her head—hmm, three children, seven adults, now this doesn't make sense—and as we walked through the gates into the sheep pen, she narrowed her eyes and said "Wait, stop, who are the couples without children?" and four of us had to raise our hands and shuffle off to the side like kidless pariahs. What, like adults don't want to see the baby lambs too?

Collecting the freshly-laid eggs from the chickens, in particular, seemed to be a kids-only activity, but I'd already paid my three bucks to do it, so luckily my pal Zuri stepped in and helped me out of a jam. 


"I think you'll find that I chose you a nice selection. A few speckled, a few non-speckled. I tried to mix it up." 

I ate a couple of those eggs last night with a slice or two of toasted sourdough, and I have to admit that they were the best damn eggs I've ever had in my life. The apples, though? Well, apart from putting them in a bowl and taking artsy pictures of them while standing on a kitchen chair, I've got no idea what to do with those yet. 

Any ideas? 

1
Allie
Oct 28, 2012

There's a lovely apple tart recipe up on Smitten Kitchen! I'm waiting to try it., as there are few apple-picking opportunities in Phoenix. ;)

2
Liz
Oct 28, 2012

I made a really amazing slow cooker apple butter last week from One Hungry Mama. It was so easy. If you have a slow cooker, that is. There are plenty of stove top recipes around too.

3
Elizabeth
Oct 29, 2012

Apple crisp. Oh lord, apple crisp! Sweet, crunchy apple crisp on top of vanilla ice cream. I'm from New England, which I like to think is the capital of fall (autumn!), and no fall is complete without it.

I use the recipe from Fannie Farmer, because how can you not trust a recipe for something like that from a woman named that? But any recipe will do, it's pretty hard to mess up: apples, sugar, oatmeal, cinnamon, etc. Deliciousness.

4
Sandra
Oct 29, 2012

I vote for apple pie topped with piping hot Bird's Eye Custard just like my my mum makes!!!!!

5
Nicole
Oct 29, 2012

I second Allie's comment. I made it two weeks ago and it's really delicious. My mandolin doesn't work right so I hand cut the apples and it was still just fine. Highly recommend it

6
Sonja
Oct 29, 2012

Getting to go into petting zoos is one of my favorite perks of having children!
Smitten Kitchen also has a fabulous recipe for whole wheat apple muffins.

7
Ris
Oct 29, 2012

Make the tart from smitten and tell us how it turns out!

8
Mir
Oct 29, 2012

I recommend against breaking your hand on them, but the recipe I was making at the moment of the Great Hand Massacre was this one and it's the best damn crisp I've ever had. Almost---not quite, but almost---worth breaking my hand over.

9
Lori
Oct 29, 2012

This is the one I've been making with all the apples from the farmers market:

http://www.kidspot.com.au/best-recipes/Cakes-and-Baking+20/Apple-meringu...

Easy to do for a quick dessert.

10
Lori
Oct 29, 2012

oh well, tried to post a link to a super easy apple meringue but your hyper vigilant spam filter flagged it.

11
Jen
Oct 29, 2012

Two words: apple crisp. Any simple recipe will do. To be eaten just out of the oven, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

12
rachel
Oct 29, 2012

i just slather caramel on mine and call it a day! but then....i'm lazy in the kitchen.

13
Lindsey
Oct 29, 2012

Pumpkins! Apples! Autumn!
I love fall, too! Of course, in Alabama, we don't hit fall until around December, but we do know how to drink a PSL and wear a terrific pair of boots and sweat while we we do it with a smile.

14
jen
Oct 29, 2012

Smitten Kitchen's apple crisp recipe is seriously awesome. Once apples hit the peak, I make it about once every couple of weeks.

15

Cider is awesome, and that farm sounds odd. Not letting you do things because they geared them toward children? I can see reminding adults of the rules if they got too rowdy, but I like lambs! and eggs! and pumpkin patches!

16

I have about triple that quantity of apples from the same farm. I'm thinking of making some slow-cooker apple butter, for starters. And maybe a galette or two.

17
Danielle
Oct 29, 2012

Apple sauce? Apple Crisp? Baked? Sometimes I just core an apple, fill the middle with brown suger, put a teaspoon of butter on top and bake it for an hour. It tastes great with ice cream.

18
Julie
Oct 29, 2012

A second, or third, or whatever for Apple Crisp! With the most decadent vanilla ice cream you can find on top.

19
Amber
Oct 29, 2012

You could make this 'Galette' I posted about but with apples instead of pears!
http://www.nanajunes.com/2012/10/rustic-pear-galette.html

Here you go, a recipe for the, I kid you not, "Best and Easiest Apple Pie You Will Ever Make."

http://www.accidentalolympian.com/the-accidental-olympian/2011/10/the-be...

Please try it. And then tell me what you thought!

21
Gesci
Oct 29, 2012

Oh, one AMAZINGness I made whilst living in England was to make Apple and Wensleydale-with-cranberry pie. It's best if the apples are tart, though. If they're sweet, use a sharp cheddar. Do a double-crust like normal for apple pie, but instead of all the flour-cinnamon-sugar tossed with the apples just sprinkle a big of dark sugar (muscavado or molasses sugar is best) on the apple slices, toss, let them sit for about 15 minutes, then layer them with slices of the cheese- maybe 1/2 cm thick- inside the pie. Sprinkle a tiny bit of flour in to soak up any juices- but just grab some with your fingers, not a whole handful.
Poke holes in the top, do a water-wash over the top crust and sprinkle with raw sugar/demerara, bake, and eat. Plus it's a meal. Because of the cheese and apples and such.
YUM.

This is, of course, assuming you've found Wensleydale cheese in the States. I just found some with blueberries at Whole Foods, but it's not actually Wensleydale Creamery... it's from Somerset. *sigh* I miss England.

22
rachel
Oct 29, 2012

Homemade applesauce! There's a super easy recipe called "Sarah's Applesauce" on allrecipes.com.

23
Sarah
Oct 29, 2012

Applesauce! That's what I did this weekend with the piles of apples I got from a friends tree. It was uber-easy. For every 3 lbs of apples: rough chop (no need to skin-bonus!) and put in a big pot with 1/2 cup of water and 2 T of lemon juice. Bring to a boil and then simmer until the apples are soft--about 20 minutes. Then you run it all through a food mill. Oh. I forgot to mention the food mill part. If you don't have one then its not so easy, I guess. But they are easy to find and not very expensive and also useful for other things. I suppose you could also run the soft apples in a food processor to make them saucy. I considered that option, but had a food mill so I just used that. Good luck!

24
Andrea
Oct 29, 2012

Crisp! Apple Crisp is the best. The Joy of Cooking's recipe is easy and delicious: http://www.recipesforlaughter.com/2008/12/joy-of-apple-crisp.html

25
edj
Oct 29, 2012

They look sweet so they might not make a good pie. Crisp should be okay though (with custard or whipped cream or ice-cream or, all 3, why not, celebrate your mother and her foot surgery). I have a decent apple cake recipe somewhere that comes out nicely with sweet apples. I suppose you want it now.

And you can say fall if you want. Won't bother me. I myself am a mess--British mother, American father, born in Lebanon, grew up in Canada, lived in France. Half the time I feel I'm being pretentious, but I really do say "toMAHto" even though I basically have an American accent--except when my Welsh cousin calls me. Then I sound like some sort of mid-Atlantic (ocean, that is) creature, with a bizarre accent that is no longer American but certainly isn't Welsh either.

26
Margie K
Oct 29, 2012

Apple crisp -- yummy!

A friend posted this recipe for crock pot apple sauce on Facebook: http://www.food.com/recipe/Crock-Pot-Applesauce-69127
I haven't tried it yet, but I think the apples get soft enough, there's no need for further mashing. If you prefer a smoother consistency, a blender would do the trick.

I'd never tried apples with peanut butter (you just dip apple slices in the peanut butter) until a few years ago -- great snack.

When making apple pies, crisps, etc., it's sometimes fun to add other fruits like blueberries, raisins, craisins, etc. Of course apples -- or applesauce is great in oatmeal muffins.

27
Kelly P
Oct 29, 2012

I'm an American married to a Brit. He's lived in the US for 8 years now and has only just stopped saying 'American' in front of football whenever he talks about our version. He says it makes him feel like a complete fraud. On the other hand, I have completely been colonized and find myself sounding like Madonna on occasion, except in my own country. Which is obviously worse.

Also, that's total bs that you need a kid to look at baby lambs.

28
Rebecca Wood
Oct 29, 2012
29
kat
Oct 29, 2012

the easiest thing to make is pioneer woman's apple tart which is slicing the apples thin, mixing them lemon juice and brown sugar (let it sit for awhile, place the apples on puff pastry and then bake.

SO EASY. and so good.

30
Jamie
Oct 29, 2012

Make the apple cake from Smitten Kitchen! I think it's actually called Jewish Apple Cake. It's super easy, and the end product is dense and moist and amazing. If you don't have a tube pan (I do not), you can halve the recipe and make it in a loaf pan.

31
Erin
Oct 30, 2012

Unfussy Apple Cake: http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/unfussy-apple-cake-recipe.html
It tastes like fall in New England. Simple & delicious.

I've also been making apple sauce in my slow cooker- apples, a cinnamon stick & lemon zest, a few tablespoons of brown sugar if you like and cook on low for 6 hours. Tastes like warm apple crisp, but without the calories and also delicious on oatmeal.

32
Marcheline
Oct 30, 2012

Autumn vs. Fall is like Samhain vs. Halloween. I'm firmly in the Autumn/Samhain camp. And it's also my favorite time of the year.

P.S. You forgot PUMPKIN BEEEEEEEEEEER!

We didn't carve punkins because we were too busy trying to keep from screaming and crawling under tables (Hurricane Sandy). As my hair is still standing straight up on my head, I don't need a costume, either. Sheer terror comes in handy sometimes.

33
Hart
Oct 30, 2012

Alcohol! Cut them up now and soak in rum over night with sugar or keep it classy with apples red wine and ice. Handing out candy is much more fun with a (fall) cocktail in your hand.

34
Karen
Oct 31, 2012

Another vote for apple crisp - but this week I'm using that recipe Mir posted because the idea of the crispy-oatey stuff *sandwiching* the apples just blew my mind!

Also, if you only have a few minutes and need a quick hearty snack, apple slices slathered in peanut butter are simply delicious.

35
Sarah
Nov 01, 2012

There is nothing easier than coring and peeling a few apples and tossing them the oven at 350 for 30-45 minutes or even an hour depending on the size. You can sprinkle the pre-cooked apples with butter, honey, cinnamon, brown sugar, nutmeg--or none, any and/or all of the above in any combo and you will get an awesome treat at the end.

This is the way to treat awesome apples so you can enjoy the appleness of the apples with as little else to get in the way.

36
judi
Nov 03, 2012

well my first idea is kind of a buzz-kill for your artsy-photo-taking, and that is - get those apples in the fridge!! they'll last a LOT longer.

my second idea is an apple crisp - crazy easy and delicious. the recipe in 'joy of cooking' is wonderful.

my third idea is cookie butter. (cold) apple slices & cookie butter is mind-blowing.

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