Day 293–Sauteed Cabbage and Apples

Various apples

Apples combined with cabbage? Yummy and soul satisfying!

I am simply loco for apples and pumpkins this time of year. I think Trader Joes has about 20,000 new pumpkin flavored foods this fall and I’ll probably try about 5,000 of those before December. Yum.

In spite of our late freeze this year, which took a major toll on our NC apple crops, we’re still finding delicious, local apples at our farmer’s markets. The prices are higher, but they are so delicious that I’m willing to splurge on apples to eat in hand and to use in recipes, but making apple butter or canning apples probably won’t happen this year.

We made this recipe a couple of weeks ago when we received a lovely head of green cabbage in our Produce Box. Not only is this dish a  delicious way to enjoy local cabbage, but it also is very economical and deeply satisfying. Unlike some vegetable dishes, this seems to taste even better warmed up later, so make plenty! We served this with pan seared pork chops from Mae Farm in Louisburg, NC and it made for a simple, but incredibly good meal! You could also serve this as a main course with some crusty bread and have a terrific rustic winter meal! If you want a vegetarian version, omit the bacon and use 3 tbsp. of olive oil and replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock.

Sautéed Cabbage and Apples

  • 8 slices thick cut bacon, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 medium head green cabbage, cored and coarsely chopped
  • 3 large apples (granny smith or gala), peeled, cored and sliced thick
  • 1/2 c. chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander seed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, cook bacon pieces over medium heat and stir often to keep them from sticking. Cook until browned, but not too crisp (about 6-7 minutes).
  2. Remove bacon from pot and set aside. Reduce drippings to about 3 tbsp.
  3. Add onion and carrots to the pot and cook over medium/high heat about 4 minutes until onion is translucent.
  4. Add apple cider vinegar and scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen any brown bits.
  5. Add the cabbage and stir to combine. Cook about 10 minutes until cabbage softens. Add apples, stock and coriander. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes. Check frequently to make sure the cabbage is not sticking. Add a bit of water or more stock if needed.
  6. Add bacon back into the pot and cook an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat and serve!
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Day 269–Squash and Apple Soup

I love, love, love to roast vegetables. Roasting is one of those techniques that is easy and makes great use of any vegetable from the farmer’s market. Roasted vegetables are terrific on their own as a side (or main) dish, served over pasta, worked into risotto or pureed and used in baked goods. There is something wonderful about how roasting brings out the natural sweetness and nuttiness of fresh, ripe vegetables. This soup is warming and satisfying and it takes advantage of fresh, local acorn squash and apples. Chock full of roasted goodness, thick and creamy. Great for one of those drizzly fall days when you want to hibernate. To save time, I roasted the vegetables and apples the night before so dinner the following night was super quick! This recipe makes about 8 cups–some for eating now and some for freezing to eat later!

Squash and Apple Soup

  • 2 acorn squash
  • 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3 medium, crisp apples, peeled, cored and quartered
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tbsp. or so of olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1 tsp. coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Cut acorn squash in half and compost the seeds. Drizzle cut sides with a bit of olive oil and put cut side down on the baking sheet.
  3. Toss the onion, garlic and apple with remaining olive oil, salt, pepper, coriander, red pepper and rosemary. Add to baking sheet.
  4. Roast vegetables for 45 minutes until soft and golden. Remove from oven and let cool.
  5. While vegetables are cooling, put pumpkin seeds in a small cake pan and toast in oven for 3-4 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.
  6. Scoop pulp from the acorn squash and compost the shells. Add pulp and all roasted vegetables to a large bowl. Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth (you can also do this in a standing blender).
  7. Add puree and stock to a Dutch oven. Stir well and heat. Add cream just before serving and adjust for seasonings.
  8. Ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle with roasted pumpkin seeds for garnish.

Day 265–Crock Pot Applesauce

I’m not sure who invented the crock pot, but I love them. I mean, I enjoy getting in the kitchen and cooking, but there is something magic about putting ingredients in a crock pot in the morning and coming home from work to find something wonderful…and finished! And while I find stirring risotto to be soothing, standing around cooking apples doesn’t have the same appeal to me. Not sure why, but there it is.

So I am loving this crock pot applesauce recipe that came with my Produce Box this week. I’m not a huge fan of cold applesauce, but I do love it warm. And mix it in with some steel cut oatmeal and I feel like I’m wearing a warm, fuzzy Snuggy all morning long. Except people aren’t rolling their eyes at me. I think it would be great with the Maple Oatmeal Bread from Sugar Dish Me also (note to self: stop dreaming about this bread and make it already).

You can alter the sugar and spices (I added clove to mine) to suit your taste. This recipe makes about 8 cups of sauce–enough to eat now and freeze some for another day!

Crock Pot Applesauce

  • 4 pounds of apples, cored and sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  1. Put sliced apples (I leave the skins on–more fiber is never bad, right?) in a large bowl.
  2. Sprinkle lemon juice over the apples.
  3. Mix sugar and spices together in a small bowl and sprinkle over apples. Using a spoon or your very clean hands, toss the apples and the spiced sugar together until coated well.
  4. Put all in your crock pot. Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3 hours.
  5. Mash with a potato masher for chunky sauce or use an immersion blender (careful–sauce is hot!) to blend all together.
  6. Store in refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze in freezer bags to enjoy up to 1 year later.

Day 248–The Apple Situation

English: An apple tree with apples.

Eating locally means eating big when you have a surplus (can I tell you how many peaches we ate this summer?) and paying attention to shortages when crops fail or the weather doesn’t cooperate. Take apples, for example. A few months ago, I was talking with a farmer at the market and he mentioned that apples would be in short supply this year. Although we had a wonderfully mild winter, we also had a hard freeze very late in the season. So late that the apple trees had already started to flower. That is bad. Very bad. North Carolina lost 80% of its apple crop in 24 hours.

I’ve talked with several apple vendors at the State Farmer’s Market and those who have apples are from areas a little east of the mountains or high up in the mountains. Apparently, the coldest air sank into the valleys, destroying those crops, but leaving some other orchards at higher elevations untouched.

I saw this blog from one of our favorite restaurants, Lucky 32 and thought I would share it with you. It really shows how a committment to eating locally (or cooking locally) can translate into revising your entire fall menu. Sure they could go to Super Walmart and get apples from Mexico, but that’s not what they’re all about. And that’s why we love them! Enjoy the read!

http://lucky32southernkitchen.com/2012/09/06/the-locavores-guide-to-this-seasons-apple-shortage/