Apple season means...applesauce!

Living in an apple orchard has it perks, especially this time of year.  We have a variety of apple that isn't that popular anymore, Gravensteins.  They're tart, crisp, and delicious right off the tree.  If you let them sweat (rest after being picked for a length of time) they sweat out some of the water and the sugars concentrate.  That's when they're PERFECT for apple pie, apple crisp, and my favorite...applesauce!  

The beauty of apple sauce with Gravensteins is all you have to do is peel, core, and COOK!

Check out the home page for more info on the family orchard.

What You'll Need

  • Apples - Gravenstein or Pippins are my FAV
  • Apple Peeler
  • Pot

Preparateion

  • All you need to do is peel and core the apples.
  • Put them in a large pot on the stove at medium
  • Stir every so often and wait for them to break down!

Sooooo good and soooooo easy!

Chris Zach's Mushroom in Oil and Garlic

As promised, here's one of many recipes from my dad's best friend Chris Zach.  Before we get into it, I want to give you a little background, to this great cook.  

He was born in born in Vienna, Austria in 1946.  Apprenticed at the Spanish riding school age 15.  Came to the United States, my dad thinks in 1966, where he served in US Army and went on two tours in Vietnam.  He trained horses until 1975. Then went to school received a bachelors in International Finance.  From there he worked for Bank of America for around 10 years.  Then landed a job as bank president for a small bank in Sacramento.  While working there, he received his doctorate in finance.  He passed away July 4, 1998 age 52.  Though he left us too early, he knew how to live life to the fullest.  He enjoyed the little things in life, like cooking for his friends and family.  Here's a quick recipe of his for you to try. 

A quick side note, he wrote recipes assuming you know how to cook, so I'm following suit.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1lb mushrooms
  • 5tbl evoo
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 handful curly parsley
  • 4tbl bread crumbs
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

PREPARATION:

Rinse, scrub, and slice mushrooms. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of evoo and toss to mix evenly. Chop garlic and parsley.  

Add the rest of the evoo to the frying pan and add mushrooms when the oil is warm, not hot.  

Cook Gently for 4 minutes.  Add garlic, parsley, salt and pepper, and gook gently for 5 minutes.  

Add breadcrumbs to soak up juices.  Turn up heat for a moment - DONE!

Serve with toothpicks as an appetizer, or top your favorite steak or even pasta!  This versitle dish can be by itself or a flavorfull compliment to your favorite entree.

Baby Food Sesh

Now if you're thinking I'm nuts for making baby food, let me assure you, it's not because I think it's fun.  Baby food is EXPENSIVE!  Not to mention, I like the baby food that I can pronounce the ingredients.  As a result, I make Lucy's food.  I make a few batches every other week or so...and actually, it's not that bad.  I'm going to list 3 different things I made today.  It took some time, but I am doing things in between: laundry, feeding Lucy, changing Lucy, vacuuming, etc.  

I'd say Lucy likes her food!

I'd say Lucy likes her food!

Before I jump into the baby food, I have to tell you about my obsession!  The Cuisinart hand mixer is a MUST HAVE!  It's like having a boat motor in your hand and it obliterates anything in it's path.  I've had it for years and now that I'm on the baby bandwagon, it's a LIFE SAVER!  Click here to go to the Whatnot section for more details.  

One more thing I LOVE is teh Kiddo Feedo baby food storage.  Basically you scoop the food into the tray, freeze, then I pop them out into freezer bags and I have serving sized portions all ready for the busy week ahead.  Click here for the Whatnot section for more details.

Green Beans

  • a couple pounds of green beans
  • a knife
  • a colander or strainer thingy
  • a steaming pot (is that what they're called??)

First, trim the green beans and rinse them.  Then add them to your steaming pot.  Once they're the texture you want (you want a fork to easily go through them...about 30 minutes), put them in a plastic bowl and puree.  BAM!  That simple.

Sweet Potatoes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

  • about 3 pounds of sweet potatoes
  • paring knife
  • a scrub brush
  • a cookie sheet, covered in foil (to help with clean up)

First, scrub the sweet potatoes.  They tend to have dirt on them.  Then take a paring knife and poke the sweet potato about 3-4 times (I go length wise) and I poke it between 12 to 15 times per potato.  The goal here isn't to penetrate much, you're just wanting to allow steam and juices to escape, so it doesn't explode.  Pop the sweet potatoes on the cookie sheet and bake at 350 for about an hour and a half.  Take them out and let them cool.  Peel the skin off with your hands and puree with our trustee hand mixer.

 

Butternut Squash

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Now, if you're a fan of butternut, you'll appreciate this little trick.  I cut butternut squash one of two ways.  If you've got a really good sized squash, I find cutting it width wise helpful.  If I have a small to medium squash, I can handle cutting it length wise.  You'll need:

  • two butternut squash
  • a knife
  • a spoon
  • a cookie sheet covered in foil (are you noticing a trend here?)

First things first, cut this puppy.  Like I mentioned above, you can cut it anyway you want.  I did both here, so you can see.  Use your spoon to clean out the seeds (kind of like when you're carving a pumpkin).  Then place it on a your cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour and a half. Let cool to the touch.  Use your spoon again to scrape the flesh from the skin.  Use your hand mixer to pulverize until smooth.