A true sign of fall, apples are appearing everywhere right now. Think thick-caramel-coated-and-dipped-in-nuts or those sweet and tangy cups of fresh-pressed cider at the local market.
The Northwest has always been the Mecca for amazing apples from glorious Gala Apples with their wonderful perfume and sweet flavor under a lovely red and pink striped exterior, to the sexy pink ladies! The list goes on and on.
For pie lovers, nothing is as iconic as good ol’ classic American apple pie. Some of my favorite ways to switch it up is adding grated cheddar to the crust and tossing some fall cranberries into the filling. Yum!
Photo from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table
But in addition to treats and desserts, there are bushels of other great ways to cook with apples. Try a quick sauté of sliced apples, chopped bacon, and onions then finish it off with a quick vinaigrette and tossed with baby spinach leaves for a tasty and warm supper salad.
Photo by Kathy Casey Food Studios
Just remember, one of the most important tips is to always keep your apples refrigerated. At 70 degrees apples break down and become soft 10 times faster than if refrigerated. And we all like that crisp apple crunch! –Kathy
Apple Cranberry Pie With Cheddar Cheese Crust
Makes 1 9-inch pie.
Cheddar Cheese Crust
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup shredded Tillamook Cheddar cheese
1/3 cup shortening or lard
6 Tbsp. cold butter, cut in small pieces
4 Tbsp. cold water
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
3 Tbsp. flour
7 cups 1/8- to 1/4-inch-sliced apples, peeled and cored (about 2 – 2 1/2 lb.)
3/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
2 Tbsp. cold butter, cut in small pieces
milk and sugar for topping
To make the crust: In a large bowl combine flour, salt and cheddar and mix evenly. Cut in shortening and butter until particles are pea-sized. Sprinkle in cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and mix with a fork just until dough comes together in a ball. Do not overmix dough. (If dough is too soft to handle, press gently into a disk and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.)
Divide dough into 2 pieces then roll out into 2 circles.
On a lightly floured surface roll one dough piece out to a bit bigger than your pan. Brush excess flour off of crust, then gently roll up crust onto rolling pin. Unroll into pie pan and press/fit crust into pan. Roll crust over at edges, trimming off any excess dough, then crimp with fingers to make a pretty crust edge. With a fork poke the pie crust all over so crust doesn’t bubble up when baking.
Cover the other dough piece (the pie pastry top crust) with plastic wrap while making the filling.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
To make filling: In a large bowl toss together the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, flour, apples and cranberries. Mound apple mixture evenly into pastry-lined pie pan. Dot apples with butter and cover with top crust. Seal and flute edges with fingertips. Make several slits on the top to allow steam to escape. For a shiny, sugary top brush top crust lightly with milk and sprinkle with granulated sugar.
Bake in preheated 425-degree oven for 10 minutes then reduce the heat to 375 degrees and bake for about 50 minutes more or until crust is nicely browned and apples are cooked through.
Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®
Spinach & Apple Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
This salad is delicious as a starter, or serve it as an entrée topped with grilled chicken breast and crumbled blue cheese.
Makes 6 servings as a starter salad
6 cups baby spinach
1/3 cup fresh-squeezed Sunkist Lemon juice
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup finely diced raw bacon
1 apple, cored and cut into thin slices
1/2 cup thinly sliced white onion
2 tsp. minced fresh garlic
Place spinach in a large, heat-proof bowl and refrigerate until ready to dress salad.
In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, mustard, sugar, pepper, salt
and olive oil. Set vinaigrette aside.
In a small nonstick pan, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until three-quarters done, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the apple, onion and garlic and stir for about 1 minute. Add the reserved vinaigrette to the hot pan. Immediately remove from heat and pour over reserved spinach mixture.
Toss until salad is well coated with dressing, and serve immediately.
Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®