The Apple of My Eye

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We are deep into apple season, a delicious time of year. If “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” I should be free of medical intervention in the foreseeable future. Beyond snacking, apples can add a wonderful autumnal element to dishes, especially if you think beyond dessert. I’m a big fan of apples in salads as they add a welcome crunch and a sweet contrast to the vinegar in the dressing. But how about served as a canapé? Roasted with a chicken? Pureed in a soup? Simmered into a relish? These are all tasty ways to use the bounty of our local orchards.

Apple Goat Cheese Canapes

Makes about 20 canapes

Depending on the size of the apple and how thinly the slices are cut, yield can be anywhere from 8 to 12 slices per apple. Goat cheese is ideal for these because it spreads easily and delivers a strong flavor contrast to the sweetness of the apple, but any cheese can work. Blue cheese pairs beautifully with apples; for this dish use the creamier varieties such as Danish Blue or Gorgonzola. Crispest apples deliver the best results here — granny smith, honeycrisp, stayman or winesap.

  • 2 crisp apples, sliced thinly and evenly in flat, uniform pieces
  • 4 oz goat cheese, softened
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • ½ lemon

Slice apples and spritz with lemon juice.

Spread each slice with goat cheese, and top with a pinch of chopped pecans.

Autumn Vegetable Potage

Serves 4

A potage is a French soup that uses the vegetables available in “potage gardens,” small home gardens, also known as “kitchen gardens” or “cottage gardens”. The soup is a blended mixture that uses what is available for a light and nutritious meal.

Chicken or beef broth can be used to make this a meat dish, or ½ cup of cream can be added at the end for a dairy version. Any combination of seasonal vegetables can be utilized in this dish; it’s a matter of personal preference and what is on hand.

If you don’t have an immersion blender, a food processor or regular blender are both fine, just use caution with hot liquid. And, if you don’t feel like pureeing this, it’s perfectly acceptable to enjoy as a chunky soup!

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • generous sprinkle of fresh cracked pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dry thyme
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced
  • 1 potato, cubed
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 4 cups vegetable stock

Heat oil in stock pot and add onion, salt, pepper and thyme. When fragrant, add remaining vegetables.

Saute for about 5 minutes until vegetables are beginning to cook.

Add vegetable stock, and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes until all vegetables are soft.

Using an immersion blender, puree soup, adjust seasoning and serve.

chicken on a plate
SilviaJansen / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Apple Roasted Chicken

Serves 4 (ish)

The apples roasted in the bottom of the pan can be enjoyed both as a side dish with the chicken, and the next day, sliced, as an accompaniment to leftover chicken on sandwiches.

  • 1 4-pound roasting chicken
  • 2 apples, cored and sliced in quarters (peel if desired; I don’t)
  • 1 onion, halved
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Heat oven to 375.

Place apples around the edges of roasting pan.

Place onion inside cavity of chicken and lay chicken in roasting pan.

Coat chicken and apples with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Roast in oven until interior temperature reaches 170, 80-90 minutes.

Let rest under foil for 5 minutes, slice and serve with apples, onion and pan juices.

Sweet Apple Relish

Makes about 2 cups

This is delightful with cheese, on oatmeal, swirled into yogurt, served with granola or slathered on toasted challah. It can even be used as a sauce or dressing with meats and fish. I am not into canning, so I just put this in a jar or sealed container in the fridge; it keeps for a couple of weeks, but it is certainly something that could be done as a canning project if that is your preference.

  • 2 apples, cored, peeled and chopped
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup apple juice, apple cider or water
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Mix all ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan.

Bring to boil, then lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Keep an eye on it — if all of liquid evaporates and risks burning the relish, add some more water or juice and continue cooking.

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