Apples, Apples, Apples!
I decided to do an apple themed dinner last night to bid a fond farewell to Fall! Winter is sneaking in under the door frames and soon it will be all stews, soups and chilies to ward off the chill! But tonight it’s all about those apples!
My favorite to eat and cook with are Gala, but really it’s all about your preference and there are as many apple varieties as there are palates to enjoy them! So do a little taste test and pick your favorite – just be sure that whichever variety you choose will cook well. Some apples really are just for eating as is!
I always peel my apples when making applesauce but some people like to leave the skin on – again it’s really up to you and your taste buds. I use a Y shaped peeler and start with the top and bottom of the apple. I then peel in long wide strips all the way around. It’s a bit painstaking and requires some patience but it’s so, so worth it!
As long as I’m already elbow deep in apple peelings, I will go ahead and peel three times the amount I need for dinner. Applesauce saves beautifully and makes a great snack for the kids after school. It can even be warmed up and served over vanilla ice cream for dessert!
- 20 Gala apples (or baking apples of your choice) peeled and cored
- 2 cups packed brown sugar
- 1 cup boiled apple cider
- 1 cup apple cider
- Juice of two lemons
- 1 teaspoon each of cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom
- Cut your apples into chunks and place them in a large pot on the stove.
- Add in the rest of your ingredients, cover the pot, and cook over medium heat for an hour.
- Using a potato masher or hand held blender mash your applesauce until you are happy with the consistency.
- Serve warm or store in the fridge for later use.
Engelhardt Family’s Spareribs and Sauerkraut
4 to 6 hours
Serves up to 6 people
Spareribs and sauerkraut is an old family favorite in my house. I grew up eating this dish every winter in Connecticut. My mother got the recipe from her father’s sisters who emigrated from Southern Germany in the 1930’s. It’s a classic German dish and incredibly easy to prepare! You just throw all the ingredients together in a slow cooker or Dutch oven and let the heat do the rest.
By the way, your house will smell amazing while this meal is cooking!
- Full rack of spareribs
- One jar of sauerkraut
- ¼ cup caraway seeds
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup dry white wine
- ½ cup homemade chicken bone stock
- Salt and pepper
- Season the spareribs on both sides generously with salt and pepper.
- Empty the jar of sauerkraut into your slow cooker or dutch oven
- Season with caraway seeds, a pinch of salt and pepper and bay leaves.
- Pour the white wine and stock over the sauerkraut and place the ribs on top.
- Cover and cook on high for 4-6 hours in your crock pot, or place it in the oven on low heat for 4-6 hours.
My Mother’s Mashed Potatoes with a Brown Butter Twist
30 to 40 minutes
My mother’s mashed potatoes aren’t exactly low cal but you’ll be hard pressed to find creamier, more delicious mashed potatoes. Sometimes the extra calories are worth it!
- 2 lbs russet potatoes peeled and cut into quarters
- 1 package cream cheese
- 2 sticks salted butter
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Boil the potatoes until fork tender.
- Drain, rinse and put back in the pot on the stove over low heat for two to three minutes. Meanwhile place butter in a small space pan over medium heat.
- Bring to a simmer, swirling the pan occasionally until the butter turns a rich amber color.
- Add in cream cheese, browned butter, heavy cream and salt and pepper.
- Mash with a potato masher.
- Add in more heavy cream if the potatoes are too thick.
- Keep warm on the stove until ready to serve.
You can find a variety of apple fritter recipes online, but I like this one from AllRecipes.com the best for it’s ease and deliciousness!
- 1 quart vegetable oil for deep-frying
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅔ cup milk
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 3 cups of apples – peeled, cored and chopped
- 1 cup cinnamon sugar
- Heat the oil in a deep-fryer or electric skillet to 375 °F (190 °C).
- In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
- Pour in the milk, eggs and oil and stir until well blended. Mix in apples until they are evenly distributed.
- Drop spoonfuls of the batter into the hot oil and fry until golden on both sides, about 5 minutes depending on the size.
- Fry in smaller batches so they are not crowded.
- Remove from the hot oil using a slotted spoon and drain briefly on paper towels.
- Toss with cinnamon sugar while still warm.
Maple Sugar Glaze
5 minutes to prepare
A sweet maple sugar glaze drizzled across the freshly cooked apple fritters finishes them off perfectly!
- 1 cup powdered sugar, more if needed
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon very soft butter
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ cup good maple syrup, more if needed
- In small bowl whisk ingredients until smooth and creamy.
- Add more powdered sugar if too thin.
- Add more maple syrup, or heavy cream, a teaspoons at a time if too thick.
- Drizzle over the fritters while still warm.
Hot Apple Cider Toddy
These hot toddies are very reminiscent of the ones I get at the St. Regis in Deer Valley, Utah, after an afternoon of skiing. Well to be honest, it’s more like an hour or two of skiing cause I’m really just out on the slopes so that I can earn one of these hot apple cider toddies!
- 6 cups apple cider
- 1 stick softened butter
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon each of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 6 whole cloves
- 6 whole cardamom pods
- 1 orange peel, cut into strips
- 1 lemon peel, cut into strips
- 2 oz good quality whiskey per cup
- Pour the apple cider and boiled cider into a large saucepan.
- Place the saucepan over low heat for 1 hour, or until the cider is very hot but not boiling.
- Place the cinnamon sticks, cloves, cardamom, orange peel and lemon peel into the cider.
- Meanwhile mix the butter, brown sugar and ground spices together until well combined.
- Strain the spices out of the cider and return to the pot.
- Keep warm on low heat until ready to serve.
- Ladle the cider into big cups or mugs, add whiskey and stir to combine.
- Add 1 tablespoon of butter to each mug.
- Garnish with cinnamon sticks, orange peel or lemon peel.