Guest Post: Elizabeth Returns with Apple Crisp

Happy Labor Day weekend, foodies!  Hope you have some great end-of-summer plans to help wrap up this awesome season.  As I mentioned before, I am road tripping to my new home in Miami.  Currently I am in Salisbury, MD (home of the steak maybe?) and will be heading to Ocean City and then to Virginia Beach.  I will have so much to blog about and can’t wait to share!  Until then, Elizabeth is back with another great recipe!  Warm apples are such a comfort food for me and always the first sign of fall!  Bring it on Liz…

So, Irene. You blew through town and left me with a small stream in my basement, an intense barometric headache, and a cat who suddenly prefers the comfort of his carrier to anywhere else. You also left me with no way to get to work and one really long, weird, plasticky white hair growing right out of the top of my head. I need some comfort food. Bring on the apple crisp.

My husband is a huge fiend for apples. So much so that when he saw a bag of the first locally grown Ginger Gold apples of the Fall at the grocery store the other day, he couldn’t resist it. When we realized that neither of us would be going to work for a few days due to mudslides and floods, he innocently said, “Ya know, we have a lot of apples,” and then he hopefully peeked around the kitchen door at me. The beauty of an apple crisp is that you almost always have everything you need for it already in your kitchen. And since we’ve got a lot of apples, we’re going to have an apple crisp.

This recipe has been in my mom’s family for generations. Most apple crisp recipes are pretty similar: apples + a crumb topping (I’d eat almost anything in the world if it had a crumb topping. I’d even eat my own feet if you baked them with a crumb topping). Some recipes call for seasoning the apples with
a cinnamon sugar mixture, while others call for seasoning the apples and starting them off on the stove before going into the oven. Some recipes also get jazzy and throw dried cranberries in with the apples and chopped pecans in with the crumb topping. All of this sounds delicious. But my recipe doesn’t call for any jazz. It is tried and true, rustic and delicious, and exactly what I need right now.

Ordinarily, I’d use McIntosh or Cortland apples, especially since Ginger Golds might still be a bit firm this time of year. But hey, desperate times.

1/3 cup butter, cubed (mine was somewhere between cold and room temperature)
½ cup oatmeal
¾ cup brown sugar (I used dark brown, but light brown is also fine)
½ cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Four or five apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thin (I used five apples since Ginger Golds are a bit wee)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 x 9 baking dish. Kind of embarrassed to admit I don’t have a 9 inch x 9 inch baking dish, but my 11-ish inch x 8-ish inch CorningWare dish works fine.

Peel and core the apples. A neat trick to removing apple seeds involves using a melon baller. See? You get a much nicer shape.

Slice your apples between ¼ inch and 1/8 inch thick. The thicker they are, the longer they take to bake.

If they’re too thin, they could turn into mush. The most important thing is to try to make the slices as uniformly sized as possible, so they bake consistently. Also, the tidier your apple slices are, and the tidier you keep the apple slices after you cut them (i.e., keep ’em stuck together), the easier it is to deposit them in the baking dish. You just pick up the whole thing, plop it in the dish, and then fan it out a bit. I decided to double-decker my apples. There are no rules with apple crisps.

Whisk together the dry ingredients for your topping. Once everything is well mixed, use your hands to rub in the butter. This doesn’t have to be super well mixed; different size pieces of butter are fine. If your butter’s on the colder side, you’ll have lumps of butter. If your butter’s on the warmer side, you’ll have streaks of butter. Again, there are no rules. Sprinkle the topping evenly on the apples.

Bake that bad boy for 35 minutes or until the apples are tender (I use a skewer to test the apples). The topping will be brown and crispy and delicious. Your house will smell like Fall, which is especially handy if your basement has recently flooded and might be on the verge of releasing some pretty gnarly smells.

I like apple crisps the most when they are warm. I will probably eat this for lunch. There probably won’t be enough left over for dinner.


Earthquakes, Hurricanes, and Moving..oh my.

Just a quick post while I’m waiting for my coffee to kick in…

All I have to say is that Jon and I are going out with a bang!

Eathquakes and Hurricanes all in one week!

The EARTHQUAKE happened while I was in the midst of packing.  I felt something under my feet but had no clue what it was and then I saw the TV, computer, and speakers shaking.  I thought maybe I stepped on a lose board to make them shake.  I grabbed the TV to steady it and then I got a text from my husband asking me if the house shook.  So I knew he felt something at work too.  My first thought was a gas line explosion because they are doing gas work and Jon’s work is close to home.  Then I heard someone run outside and scream “Earthquake!”  I couldn’t believe it.  Everyone was buzzing about it the next few days.

The HURRICANE had been talked about all week of course, but weather always changes so no one knew what to believe.  By Friday, when we found out the MTA was shutting down the subways, we started to get concerned.  Our city started asking people to evacuate and even put a ban on driving for Saturday night into Sunday.  Let’s just say that the best way to get packing done is when you think a giant hurricane is coming.  I’ve never packed so fast in my life!  We wanted to get it all off our floor because we are in a ground level apartment.  Saturday afternoon we drove to a friends house who lives farther inland and stayed with them.  (Thank you, Chris and Megan, for letting us stay with you!) I couldn’t sleep that night because they wind and rain was loud.  We woke up the next morning and it was silent.  A few trees were down and power was out in half of the house.  We found out the eye was right over us.  We decided to head home and see if there was any damage.  We had a few obstacles, road closures from flooding and downed trees, but it was a lot easier than we expected.  We arrived home to a dry house!  We got lucky because a lot of people around us had water in their basements.  Here a few pics I took around the neighborhood:

The wind really picked up after the eye passed over!  I read that most of the hurricane related deaths were from tree branches falling on people.

This tree fell after we had already arrived home.  It landed about 50ft from our car.  Phew!

Lots of leaves everywhere!

I have more pictures on my camera but unfortunately the cord’s packed up so maybe I’ll post them when I’m in Miami.  Only 3 more days of packing left!  Better get to it!

P.S. Soon we will have a guest blogger but bear with me!  Her basement wasn’t so lucky!

P.P.S.  Don’t tell my husband that I posted, he’s going to ask why I wasn’t packing (Love you honey!)

You do not have to be a hurricane, to turn things around. -Loesje

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