Sunday, February 25, 2007

Oscars and Applesauce

The Oscars are just finishing and I'm wrapping up all of my multi-tasking activities. During the show I: sorted through my mail, did laundry, fed the dogs, marinated sea bass, worked on some documents that are due Monday, prepared grilled sea bass, roasted asparagus, and buckwheat soba noodles in miso sauce, posted to the blog (twice now), washed dishes, read two magazines, responded to email, and made applesauce.

Huh? You say, applesauce? Aren't you a modern girl living in a big city -- why on earth are you making applesauce? Isn't is hard? Don't you have better things to do?

Answers: Yes, applesauce. Yes, I live in LA, though my modernity is still up for debate (note that I bake bread, wash dishes by hand, and have a collection of aprons). No, it isn't hard. And, clearly, no I don't have better things to do (at least not tonight).

Let me tell you about making applesauce. It is easy. Really easy. And, your result will be better than what you can buy in the store. The first time I ever participated in applesauce making, I was about ten years old. We were visiting my Aunt's farm in the Pennsylvania Dutch Country one summer, and I was eager to help around the farm. I picked peas, helped make pie, weeded the garden, and ate a whole lot of fabulous food. One day, my Aunt asked me if I wanted to help make applesauce. Clearly, my answer was yes. It turned out that my primary job was to taste the sauce as it progressed and determine if it needed more sugar or cinnamon. I had quite the sweet tooth at the time, and I kept insisting that she add more sugar. My poor Aunt never protested, but I'm sure that the applesauce was too sweet for anyone but a child to enjoy.

Fast forward about 15 years to tonight. We had about eight Pink Lady apples getting a little soft and unsavory looking sitting on the shelf. We also had another ten apples (newly purchased from the farmer's market today) to replace them. The choices were either to throw the old Pink Lady apples away (For shame! Did I mention my father was raised on a farm? Under no uncertain terms, other than mold and actual rotting, do we ever through any food away) or make something with them. I thought about making pie for about two seconds, but decided that that was too ambitious to make while also watching the Oscars. Applesauce it was.

To emphasize how crazy easy this dish is, I'm not going to give you an official recipe. If you do something approximately like what I'm about to tell you, you'll get great applesauce. I promise.

Peel, core, and dice about eight apples -- any kind, mix and match if you want. Put them in a big pot with about an inch or two of water in the bottom. Bring to a boil. Add about 1/4 - 1/2 cup sugar to taste. Add a few dashes of cinnamon and a bit of nutmeg. Squeeze in the juice of half a lemon (beware of seeds). Stir. Boil until apples are soft, stirring occasionally. When almost all of the liquid has been cooked off, turn off the heat. If you like chunky applesauce, like I do, mash with a potato masher until they are the consistency that you like. If you like smooth applesauce, let mixture cool and then blend in a blender (carefully).

It is that simple. And, believe me, oh so delicious. Plus, a serving might keep the doctor away... (Which reminds me, I should go eat a bowlful. I have laryngitis and maybe the medicinal qualities of the apples will bring my voice back). I'll let you know how it goes. :)


Anonymous said...

Veracity police here. "I" grilled sea bass while watching the Oscars? Admittedly, you did all those other things, but this enforcement officer suggests that someone else might have had a hand in the grilling.

Nice applesauce.


Kristel said...

Okay fine, you've got me. Yes, D, you did in fact place the fish upon the grill. However, I did make the marinade, put the fish in the grill basket, take the fish out of the gril basket, and serve the fish....just to keep the record straight. :)