Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Apple Picking in Chesterland - Acorn Squash & Apples with Roasted Brussels Sprouts

I admit it I've been a celiac slacker. A celiac-er. Celi-slacker. Whatever. The point is, I've been lazing on the job. I've been having gluten free adventures out in the world and in my kitchen and I've been keeping them to myself. Not cool. I'm working on catching up as fast as my little fingers can carry me, but in the mean time, I give you...

Apples. 

Yes apples. I've written about these crisp fall delicacies before, but one article simply won't do. They're iconic. From their biblical symbolism in the Garden of Eden, to their part in William Tell's daring attempt to save his son's life by shooting one off the boy's head, to the their surprising role in Sir Issac Newton's discovery of gravity, apples have infiltrated our cultural lives. 

But for me, above all else, apples mean autumn. The fruit shares the warm hues of the season, it's crunch is reflected in brittle leaves that scatter on the ground. From cool apple cider to warm apple pies, this versatile fruit personifies all things fall. Maybe that's why people in this area love to go apple picking, to get a part of apple season first hand. Ohio is farming country after all, and from Cleveland, you'll find yourself in the thick of it if you drive about 45 minutes in any direction. 

We decided to go apple picking on what was sure to be the last warm Sunday of the year. In the 80 degree heat and beating sun, we pulled up to Patterson's Fruit Farm and we're pretty surprised to find hundreds upon hundreds of other cars doing the same. As it turns out, it was one of their Family Fun Fest Weekends, complete with a pick- your-own pumpkin patch, made before your eyes kettle corn, face painting, and hayrides. Great for the kids. Not so great if you just want to pick some apples or buy some apple products. 

We headed over to Eddy's Fruit Farm, where, with a much more manageable crowd of about ten people, we opted against picking our own and perused the bushels of pre-picked apples. From golden delicious to empire, the dozens of tempting varieties stared back at me with all their red and gold glory, daring me to choose one over another. In the end, we settled on macintosh. And galas. And jonahmacs. And apple butter. And kettle corn. And a farm grown, freshly picked eggplant. 

If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, I shouldn't have to see the inside of a hospital 'til June. (Sadly, this has not been the case - but who cares, I have farm fresh apples.) Next came the difficult task on just what was to be done with these apples. So far...

I've dipped slices in crunchy, organic peanut butter. 
I've quartered them, spreading creamy marscapone cheese over the pieces, sprinkling them with cinnamon. 
I've added them to gluten free oatmeal. 
I've eaten them plain and simple. 

But most deliciously, I've baked them. Once for dinner - with acorn squash with a side of roasted Brussels Sprouts, as inspired by Ina Garten's salty Brussels Sprouts (two dishes that were naturally gluten free and vegan, too!) - and a second time, as a desert, a really good gluten free apple pie. 

I've probably got over fifteen apples left. I was thinking of making some applesauce - so I could experiment with it in my own baking as a substitute for oils. So what about you? What are you favorite apple dishes? Your favorite things to dip apples into? Or even just your favorite types of apple? 

These recipes turned out great. And I got good reviews from the family. I wouldn't be surprised it they made an appearance at my Thanksgiving table. The apple pie recipe will follow soon, once I take better pictures. Besides, dessert is always worth the wait. 

Acorn Squash & Apples 

2 apples, peeled and sliced
1 acorn squash, cut into chunks*

2 tablespoons of brown sugar
1 tablespoon of maple syrup
1 tablespoon of butter **
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon (more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup of water  

*Those more into cooking than prep work, like me, will be please to know you can get precut, pre chunk-ed acorn squash at Trader Joe's. And at a really reasonable price, too. 
**As always, I use smart balance in my recipe - no trans-fats, less calories, omega 3s, and vegan to boot.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In an oven safe casserole dish, spread the squash and apples in one layer. Dot the squash and apples with butter evenly, using a little more than a tablespoon if need be. Combine the brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice (if you don't have any, you can use another 1/4 teaspoon or cinnamon...and a 1/4 of nutmeg if you have it). Sprinkle the sugar and spices over the top. Drizzle the maple syrup over the top and add the half cup of water before sticking it in the oven. 

Bake, uncovered, for 45 - 50 minutes. Serve warm. 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts 

1 bag of Brussels Sprouts
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of pepper
2 - 3 tablespoons of Parmesan or Romano cheese 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 

To prepare the Brussels Sprouts, rinse them, cut of the ends, and cut them in half. You'll loose a few of the top layers of leaves, but that's okay. Place them in a large bowl and add the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Give everything a good toss to make sure the Sprouts are thoroughly coated. Let marinate at least 5 - 10 minutes. 

Spray a sheet pan or large casserole dish with GF cooking spray and place the Sprouts flat side down. Sprinkle the cheese over top. Bake for 25 - 35 minutes depending on your desire of roasting. 

Serve straight from the oven to your mouth. Okay, you can put them on a plate if you must.

7 comments:

jacobithegreat said...

I love apples.

I eat them straight up, gala or honeycrisp are my favorite.

Rachel said...

Roasted Brussels Sprouts are so divine.

FYI: You are now listed on the GF Blog List on the Crispy Cook.

VeggieGirl said...

Fabulous recipe!!

I'm going to Patterson's Fruit Farm with my family in about 2 weeks!!!! :0)

Emily said...

I love apples too! I could eat a Honeycrisp dipped in caramel sauce every night for dessert!

Dana Wax said...

jennifer and emily: apples really are the best, aren't they? Last year though I found myself getting a little sick of all things apples come mid winter, when every other fruit is 3x their price. ah well. that's what frozen fruit is for :)

VeggieGirl: Have a great time! A friend and I are going to try to go out for the maize man (corn maze) before it gets too cold. Maybe we'll see you there, haha

Rachel: Thanks so much for the listing!!! :)

edegra online. said...

HI,
Nice blog... I like the recipe posted by you. Thanks for posting this blog..

Anonymous said...

Yes I would like to know if Patterson farm has gluten free pies. I love there really on but I would like a gluten one if they make it. I hate to drive all the way over there and they don't make it

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