Apples

     One thing that I have always enjoyed living in Northern New Hampshire is the change of seasons, and without a doubt changing from summer to fall is my favorite.  I guess that is why I love the Fall harvest so much.  One of my favorite fall activities is apple picking.  I absolutely love apples!  I love picking them, I love eating them, and I love cooking with them. The apples are the best in the Fall months.

Apples are one of the most iconic foods in the world, and we just happen to live in an area that produces some of the best apples anywhere.  According to the local apple farmers it was a good crop this year despite all the rain during the summer, and I can attest that the quality of apples this year is excellent!  Fortunately for all of us, the rain came after the pollination season.  All the rain during the summer added to all the sunny days in September made the apples this year nice and sweet.

The first picked apples are always the best, tart and sweet at the same time.  For my family apple picking is an annual tradition.   This year we took a Sunday and went to Ward’s Apple Orchard and picked a bushel of assorted apples.  My favorites are McIntosh and Cortland’s.  I love eating and cooking with local products; I have built my life around using as many locally grown products as possible.  The quality of the food I eat and work with is incredibly important to me.  You should feel good after you eat and this can only happen if you are treating yourself to quality foods.  Picking apples off a tree is one of the best ways to insure quality.

Moreover apples are the original health food. Did anyone read the cover story article in Time Magazine a few weeks back on The Real Cost of Eating Cheap Food.  To many Americans are eating cheap food and the true cost of a poor quality diet is rising health issues.  Maybe if we ate better our health care crisis could be alleviated.  We are what we eat.  The better we eat the better we will feel.  I am trying hard to do my part. That is why I cook with only the finest products I can find.  Remember the old adage, “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away.”  Apples are so good to have in your diet.  I love cooking with apples.  I use them in so many recipes.   They make so many dishes taste so good!

Taste is so important, as tasting good food is one of life’s simple pleasures. I have in my kitchen a wide variety of spoons.  I guess you could say I love spoons.  I have all kinds, wooden spoons, slotted spoons, French spoons, sautéing spoons, and my favorite spoon, the tasting spoon.  I am a very lucky man as my job is basically tasting food all day long, and I love tasting food.  Tasting and tweaking recipes is what I do all day, and I love what I do for a living.

Speaking of delicious, we are going to feature a new dish to our menu this month, it is called Roast Duck with Apple Tatin.  My good friend Chef Stephen Hunn used to make this dish all the time, and I always loved the way he put it together.  The way I prepare a Tatin is by placing some maple syrup, brown sugar, and butter in a pan layering apples over that, sprinkle on some spices, and topping the apples with puff pastry.  I then bake this in the oven, and when fully cooked I invert the Tatin, top it with some duck confit and roasted duck drizzled with a maple raspberry glaze called Gastrique.

Here is a recipe you can play with at home.  If you need any help or have a cooking question on any topic please feel free to email me at bricoffey@gmail.com.  Bon appétit!  ~ Chef

Recipe for Apple-Cheddar Fondue  (4-6 servings) GF  

courtesy of Brian M. Coffey CEC,AAC

Ingredients:

1 cup               apple cider

½ cup              dry white wine

2 cloves           garlic, crushed

1 lb                  White Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated

1.5 tbsp           corn starch

3-4 each           Cortland Apples, cut into wedges

Salt and Pepper to taste

Method: In a 2-Qt sauce pan over medium heat add the cider, the wine, and the garlic.  Bring to a slow boil.  In a small bowl mix the grated cheese and the cornstarch by tossing the cornstarch into the cheese, using a wooden spoon, add the cheese mix slowly to the cider and wine.  Stir constantly, when the mixture is totally melted and blended, continue stirring until mixture is smooth and coats the back of the wooden spoon.  With a tasting spoon, taste and add your desired amount of salt and pepper.  Spoon fondue into fondue dish or bowl and serve with skewered apple wedges.  Enjoy!

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