Tag Archives: apple

We can all cook!!!!

21 Mar

Some of us love and enjoy cooking… Some of us just like to eat and would very willingly skip the cooking part because they find no joy in it at all. Or they just believe they do not have the skills necessary to cook delicious and healthy meals.

Such is the case of my friend Alison, the executive director of KarmaNYC’s Karma Life & Style Magazine. Alison loves to eat and she actually wants to follow a more healthful diet but feels her skills in the kitchen are an obstacle to her goal. She does not feel comfortable in the kitchen, AT ALL… not even her own kitchen. She doesn’t even know what kitchen appliances she owns!!!

She came to me for help… “Madelyn… I can’t cook to save my life!!! Where do I start??” Alison is not alone… I get this same question all the time from friends, family, even people I meet randomly. And what I suggest all of them do is start SMALL.

I now love cooking… but this wasn’t always that way. I remember there was a time when all I knew was to make things in the microwave. But it’s all a matter of exposure… exposure to flavors and techniques and ingredients that make your life easy and delicious.

I went to Alison’s home recently and created a whole dinner party menu ANYONE can put together, even kitchen-challenged Alison!!!! This menu is all about ASSEMBLY – mixing, layering, pureeing, tossing together ingredients which in the end all look and taste delicious. And on the best thing… it’s all good for you. Look at the directions of each of these recipes… lots of assembly, very little tending over a stove.

Here was our menu:

White Sangría

Hummus

Baked Goat Cheese in Tomato Sauce

Queso de Cabra Tapa - KFC

Asparagus Tart

Mesclun Greens, Figs and Blue Cheese Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Apple Crisp

I hope Alison and some of you “eaters-not-cookers” find the confidence to make at least one of these recipes at home. You don’t have to make them all for a dinner party… start small. Pick one and start building your self-confidence. You’ll see that in very little time you’ll slowly start enjoying cooking, or at least “assembling” a whole lot more.

Stay positive… I am rooting for all of you. Right, Alison???

Apple Tasting at Union Square Street Market in NYC

25 Nov

It’s apple season… and coming from the tropics, the only apples I am familiar with are the traditional Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Granny Smiths and if you want to get exotic, some Galas once in a while.

From my local experience, I prefer to use Granny Smiths or Golden Delicious in most of my cooking applications – to make an apple crisp, to eat with Brie en Croute or Camembert Chaud and to enjoy in a picnic with the Laughing Cow’s cheese wedges…  I like their flavor and look much better than the Red Delicious. To me, the typical red-skinned apple tends to be too mealy and not very appetizing, although it tends to be ubiquitous in any local potato salad recipe.

Given I was going to be in apple country during apple season, why not expand my horizons to trying other types of apples, which I have certainly heard of but never ever tried before???

So during our 2 visits to Union Square Street Market, we visited a few stalls who concentrated in selling apples and apple cider and juices. There were sooooo many to choose from so we concentrated our efforts on a few types only:

Fuji Apples

Macoun Apples

Macintosh Apples

Sonata Apples

Cameo Apples

 

The results of our research derived the following conclusions:

  • The ones my mom and I kept trying over and over again were Fuji and Macoun. They were both sweet and crisp tasting.  They were both good!!!
  • I  think my tastebuds are not as developed in apple knowledge to detect much difference in most of the apples. Sonata, Macintosh and Cameos all blended in the mix. Maybe I needed to cleanse my palate in between tastings???
  • After tasting so many pieces of apples, they all kinda tasted very similar to me. An apple is an apple is an apple…
  • I was told that Macoun apples were particularly juicy, even much so that the juice would drip down my arm, but that was not the case with the apples we had. Maybe it was the 50F degree weather that kept all that juice trapped inside the fruit, but I’ve only had that “juice down the arm” experience with mangos, peaches and nectarines. Sorry apples…
  • I do love apple cider and I do not particularly care from what apple it’s made of.

So, after much deliberation I am glad to say that I can add Fuji and Macoun apples to the list of preferred apples in my domain. If I ever see them on sale here in Puerto Rico, most probably in Costco, I will gladly add them to my shopping cart.

Do you have a favorite apple???  Do you have a favorite apple recipe you would like to share???

Apple Crisp

10 Nov

We’re staying with my sister to accompany her and her husband for the birth of my first nephew…  it’s a whole family gathering here – my sister’s mother-in law, my mom, my dad, my uncle are all here, just to name a few.

Sio, my nephew’s grandma is staying here too and she looooves apples.  Good thing we’re in apple season and in every farmer’s market we go to there’s apples on sale.

To be honest, I know little about apples.  I am only familiar with Granny Smiths and Golden Delicious, my favorites and Red Delicious, which I know I do not like very much.  But the rest of the names, I have heard of – Macintosh, Gala, HoneyCrisp, Fuji, etc. – but I am not familiar with their distinctive tastes.

We found these Gala apples on sale for $1 a bag at The Boys Farmer’s Market.   I found Gala’s to be not as tart as Granny Smiths but crisper than Golden Delicious.  I can really say I can add Galas to my list of apples I like.  And to please Sio and her apple cravings I decided to use these newly appreciated Galas to modify my Plum and Blueberry crisp recipe to apples. 

 

APPLE CRISP

5 Gala apples, peeled, cored and sliced
5 tbs cornstarch
Zest and juice of 1 yellow lemon
1 cup of brown sugar
Sprinkle of cinnamon
½ tsp of vanilla extract
Canola Oil Spray

 For the Crisp Topping

1 cup of spelt flour
1 ½ sticks of unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 cup of brown sugar
Sprinkle of cinnamon
2/3 cup of sliced almonds
½ cup of quick cooking oats

 

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375F.
  2. In a large glass baking dish sprayed with canola oil, dump the cut apples and mix in the cornstarch, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla extract.  Mix well to combine.  Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl mix together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, almonds, oats with the pieces of cold butter.  Using your fingers, combine the butter with the rest of the ingredients until it becomes like the consistency of wet sand.
  4. Pour the topping over the apples evenly.  Bake in oven for about 30 minutes…  the apples will bubble and the topping will look cooked and somewhat golden.

 

I usually turn off the oven and leave it inside until we’re ready to eat… to me, it’s best served warm with a side glass of milk or vanilla ice cream.   

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