LittleJudeonFood

One kid's adventures in gastronomy


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Let there be apples

With the fall comes apples and apple picking. Being that it’s already past Halloween, we’ve gone a few times. We even picked pears in early September.

Imagine how much cider you could make with all those pears on the ground?

Imagine how much cider you could make with all those pears on the ground.

By now this apple picking thing is old hat for me. We pick the apples, and then we eat them. I sure do love apples.

I'm performing quality control on this apple.

I’m performing quality control on this apple. The brown on it means it’s russeted.

This past weekend, we picked more than 60 pounds! We’re stocking up for the winter, but we also want to make applesauce and apple pies. (Crumbles, rather, since they’re much easier to make than pies, as they don’t have a crust!)

It was sunny but really cold this day. The cold will be perfect for storing all the apples we picked.

It was sunny but really cold this day. The cold will be perfect for storing all the apples we picked until we can gobble them up.

I’m getting pretty good at making these apple crumbles. Mama hasn’t put in anything like raisins or cranberries or pomegranate arils, but don’t let that stop you from doing it. And don’t let anything keep you from making a crumble!

Love, Jude

Apple Crumble
(This is one of Mama’s loosey-goosey recipes, so feel free to improvise.)

4 or 5 apples (multi-variety*), peeled, cored, and sliced or chopped as desired
Brown sugar
Whole-wheat flour
Ground cinnamon
Ground cloves
Ground nutmeg
(other spices, as desired)
Rolled oats
2 tablespoons butter (or so)

Preheat oven to 350˚F.

Prepare the apples. I like to use this nifty crank to peel the apples, and then Mama sometimes uses a fancy apple corer to break the apple apart.

I can only use this with supervision because Mama says the peeler is sharp.

I can only use this with supervision because Mama says the peeler is sharp.

This corer is a lot harder to use than it looks.

This corer is a lot harder to use than it looks.

Once the apples are all sliced or chopped, put them in a bowl, and add some brown sugar (to taste), a handful of flour, and spices as desired. The flour will help thicken the juices as they seep out of the cooking apples.

Mama lets me add the spices. I like cinnamon, so I gave it an extra shake.

Mama lets me add the spices. I like cinnamon, so I gave it an extra shake.

Maybe Mama shouldn't entrust me with the spices...

Maybe Mama shouldn’t entrust me with the spices…

Mix with your hands or a large spoon. I had to wash my hands after doing this! Pour it all into a pie plate. Spread the apples so they lie relatively evenly. To the bowl, add more flour and brown sugar, a couple handfuls of oats, and more spices (if desired). Mama didn’t add any more cinnamon to our crumble topping. Stir it all up. (I happen to like using the whisk.

Get everything for the streusel good and blended.

Get everything for the streusel good and blended.

Now smoosh in the butter. Two tablespoons is just what we used. You can use more or less, but try to get at much butter covered by as much streusel mixture as you can. “I think I need to wash my hands again,” I told Mama.

Blend the butter into the topping any way you like. I didn't really care for getting butter all over my fingers.

Blend the butter into the topping any way you like. I didn’t really care for getting butter all over my fingers.

Then sprinkle the streusel topping over the fruit in an even layer.

I helped make this!

I helped make this!

Bake until golden and the apples are soft, about 45 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before digging in. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream. And, whatever you do, don’t hold it hostage until your kid finishes his dinner. That’s just mean.

Mama and I high-fived and told each other, "Good pie!"

Mama and I high-fived and told each other, “Good pie!”

Note: Mama likes to use several varieties of apples in both her pies and her applesauce. The tarter ones balance out the sweeter ones, and the softer and crisper ones add texture.


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“Crunchy granola” is a good thing!

I helped Mama make granola the other day. We like to eat it with yogurt, but it’s also pretty good on its own. And it’s so simple to make! The beauty of granola, as Mama explained it, is that you can add whatever you like to it.

Your base is going to be rolled oats, of course, but you can add any nut, seed, or grain that suits your fancy. I helped add sliced almonds and some wheat germ. Then you need something to bind it all together–remember, a little goes a long way–plus, a bit of oil to keep it from sticking to your pan (and to help it toast). We used honey and maple syrup, but you don’t even need both. And we added some flavorings like vanilla and almond extracts and cinnamon & cloves.

You spread it out in a single layer on 1 or 2 baking sheets, then bake for 25–35 minutes in a low oven (275–325°F), stirring once during cook-time and rotating the sheets, if you have more than one. When you stir it, it’s a good time to add any other dried ingredients, like raisins, cranberries, dried apricots, or shredded coconut. You could add it when you first mix your batch of granola, but you risk these add-ons burning or turning too hard. Or so says Mama. Cool the granola completely before putting it in an airtight container, otherwise it’ll get soggy. And nobody likes soggy granola.

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Ideas for granola add-ins:

  • sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds
  • walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, pistachios
  • white chocolate chips, dark chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, peanut butter chips, Heath toffee bits, M&Ms
  • dried apples, pears, cherries, cranberries, apricots, mango, pineapple, currants, figs, blueberries, golden raisins, prunes, crystalized ginger
  • crispy rice cereal, shredded coconut, chopped pretzels, wheat germ
  • maple syrup (the really good kind), agave nectar, brown sugar (in oil or melted butter), canola oil, coconut oil, peanut butter, cashew butter, almond butter
  • vanilla, almond, orange extracts
  • spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, allspice–or try something altogether different, like curry

Love, Jude