Got my day of apple picking in over the weekend! We made a day of it with our local friends, Tania and Robert. We went to a local orchard out of town a ways to do the picking, but I don’t have any pics of the place because it was so dusty (no rain for awhile) and I didn’t want to bring my camera out in it. Plus, even though it was October, it was strangely about 90 degrees (not exaggerating) that day, so with two pregnant ladies traipsing through an orchard on a hill with a couple bags of apples in summer heat meant no one was interested in hauling a camera or stopping for pictures. Fortunately they did have an ice cream stand 🙂
We brought our haul (a variety of probably about 5 different kinds) to their house and Tania got started on her plans for putting some fruits in her dehydrator. Besides the apples, she sliced some heirloom tomatoes and peaches. The process was simple- medium thick slices of everything and the apples were topped with a splash of lime juice (to prevent browning) and a sprinkle of sugar.
All those slices looked so delicious and pretty!
After dehydrating overnight, here were the apple chips she ended up with. I’m told Robert couldn’t stop eating them so I think they were a winner! They definitely look great!
Meanwhile I got started on a pie. Three elements to my pie: 1) crust, 2) sugar-spiced apple slices, 3) crumb topping. I usually peel apples for a pie and I make the slices relatively thick because I think it’s nice to actually feel like you’re biting into apples when eating an apple pie, not too mushy.
I also like to use a mix of sweet/tart eating apples (try Honeycrisp some time) because a delicious apple to eat also makes a more delicious pie. Here I used a variety based on what we picked, a few granny smith, another green variety, some fuji’s and some others I can’t remember (or never identified because we were just picking all around anyway). I also like to use about twice as many apples as any typical pie recipe actually calls for.
It takes a little hand structuring fitting so many apples slices into a mound that stays put, but I usually get it about this high and then palm the crumb topping all over.
It bakes down a bit and then you end up with this beautiful mounded pie. YUM. Depending on the juiciness of your apples, it may get too liquidy. You can sprinkle some cornstarch into your apple mixture as you fill the crust, avoid pouring the juice from the mixture into the crust, and I always carefully tip out some of the juice while it’s cooling. Just don’t dump your pie into the sink or burn yourself trying that!! Always makes people nervous when I start tipping the pie over the sink… Tania’s oven is convection so I think that helped prevent it from getting to runny this time as well. It was sooo delicious! I just love apple pie 🙂
Meanwhile, the boys drank beer and ate chips and I think Robert was in anguish over my piled too high pie or something 😉
But we also got to see one of his most popular photos displayed in their living room. Isn’t this a gorgeous picture?! Robert Drake Photography now has a brand new, and very nice website where you can view different prints and place orders. Definitely check it out! Many of these would make great gifts thinking about Christmas coming around… we are stilling enjoying our beautiful fox photo from Robert’s collection.
All of the critters also had a nice day hanging out together. Ollie looks a little wary of her mom getting so close to a cat here… could be dangerous. She is so hilarious- totally transfixed on the cats, but won’t dare get too close!
We all ended the day with yet another greater dinner a la Chef Tania. She is such a great cook.
Our menu for this fall dinner was a new potato (dug from her own garden of course) and kale dish cooked with bits of bacon, a spice rubbed chicken breast and a really surprisingly awesome ‘paleo’ dirty rice. This ‘rice’ dish is actually blended cauliflower- no grain included. It’s all sauteed with bell peppers, celery, onion and spices and Tania added andouille sausage as well. It was sooo delicious. You could add anything you wanted into it and it would eat like a jambalaya. And the base is all veg so super healthy! I can’t wait to try it at home, and you can too because the recipe is conveniently right here. Trust me, this one’s worth a try. Even the boys gobbled it down.
And last but not least, a harvest weekend at the Drake household wouldn’t be complete without being sent home with a new jar of home harvested honey. This year we got an even bigger jar than last year– their bees are apparently really getting settled in and were working hard in 2013! Unfortunately we already ate a bit before I got this photo taken at home. It is so delicious, makes you wonder what that orange goo they put on grocery store shelves is actually made of 🙂 Hope everyone is enjoying a bountiful fall season as well!