{FOUR} simple applications for apple bliss

As our first week of our series {1 food 1 week} comes to a close , I will tackle apples with not one, two or three apple-based recipes but four moderately simple applications.

1. Juicing.
When I lived in Los Angeles, I did A LOT of juicing. Daily. Blame it on the 98% sunshine and the ocean breeze. Now I juice maybe say once a week as its a great refreshing way to use some odds and ends sitting in your crisper. This recipe isn’t simple if you don’t have a juicer, and many don’t. I believe I was given it as a gift, but honestly, I wanted it badly because I love the taste of beets and carrots and celery all spun together. Yum.

This recipe is easy-peasy, as Amanda would say. Take 2 apples, 1 beet, a few small carrots, a 1 inch nob of ginger, and two small leaves of kale. Peel (if you’re into that sort of thing- I’m not- I just rinse) and cut into small pieces to be able to fit into the juicer shoot. Juice away. Stir and enjoy.

2. Grated Apple on Carnitas, Sandwiches and Salads.
I grate apple into carnitas for a touch of sweetness along with chopped napa cabbage for some crunch. I do this often and my husband Chuck thinks I’m nuts. In addition, we have turkey deli meat (made in-house by a local butcher) so I sometimes shred apple onto my sandwiches with turkey & arugula (FYI: Kilpatrick Family Farm BEST arugula!!). Here’s a pic of my crockpot beef carnitas BEFORE the meat & its stewed veggies- just the apple & napa cabbage base.

3. Apple Chips
If you have a mandolin this apple chip technique can be as quick as two hours start to finish because you are slicing the slices really thin. Don’t be dismayed by the two hours, 99% of it is not active work time but time for the water to leave the slices while tanning in the oven. I usually process TWO apples at a time as I only have two cookie sheets. Slice the apples along the mandolin (use the guard, I just cut my palm VERY badly) using the widest setting. On my mandolin, 3.0 is the widest. Preheat oven to 170, that’s usually the lowest setting. After slicing, dip in a bath of either crushed vitamin c pills & water (2 crushed pills and 4 cups of water) OR a dash Fruit Fresh and water. I always keep Fruit Fresh on hand since we eat a TON of sliced fruit around these parts. This step is to keep them from browning, although the browning isnt’ too bad so you can skip this step and go right to cooking. Once dipped, place on a wire rack on a cookie sheet or place parchment on a cookie sheet. Arrange on the sheet. As you see above, I only have one wire rack so I do parchment on the other. Place in oven and cook for about 2 hours. They are done when they are not sticky. If you are hand-cutting the slices, they will be much thicker so this step will take like 3-4 hours of dehydrating,  like regular apple chip recipes call for. If you don’t have a mandolin, but are thinking of buying one, check out my review.

4. Add to Soups. Recipe for Borscht Soup.
First thing I will say is this: This is the first recipe that I will publicly admit to feeling pissed that we can’t have plain yogurt or sour cream for borscht soup. There are no substitutes, that are also soy-free, so I must admit I would rather see a creamy dollop than chives-as-garnish in that picture (and in my mouth). Fair warning, get some cream to cut the acid in this soup, if your family can have dairy or soy-based sour cream or plain yogurt as the healthier choice. That whiney-rant aside, the soup is yummy. I am a HUGE fan of borscht soup as I lived on it for the much of my 20’s. I lived in the polish neighborhood of Brooklyn, Greenpoint. Back when I lived there, mid to late 90’s, it was NOT the hipster haven it is today. No no no, at that time, the only restaurants in the area was two chinese restaurants and a bunch of polish diners. I had no complaints, I’ll take homemade traditional borscht and some perogiis or cheese blintzes every day.This recipe, that I have recently adapted from Seasonal Ontario Food, to have a more herbaceous component, is a non-traditional take on the classic.

I’ve slightly adapted the Beet & Apple Borscht recipe from the blog, Seasonal Ontario Food.

4 large beets
2 medium onions
2 small carrots
3 celery stalks
1/2 head of large napa cabbage
4 apples
2 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil
4 cups broth: I mixed 1 cup mushroom broth with 3 cups chicken
beet cooking water
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon caraway seeds, ground
1/4 t celery seed
1/2 t dill
1/4 fennel seeds
salt & black pepper to taste

Wash, peel and chop the beets. Put them in a pot with enough water to cover them (around 4 1/2 cups) and boil until tender. About 20-30 minutes. Since you are peeling and chopping them into cubes, the cooking time should a little shorter than 30 minutes.

While the beets are cooking, wash, peel and chop onions, celery, cabbage, apples and carrot. In a skillet, heat the neutral oil in a large skillet and gently cook the onions, carrots and celery until soft, add the red cabbage and apples, and cook for a few minutes more, stirring regularly, until they are soft. Take off burner and let it rest.

Once the beets are cooks, fork tender, add the 4 cups of broth mixture, and the apple cider vinegar to the beets and their water. Add the sugar, bay leaves, and all the herbs, s&p. Let that all come to a rolling simmer. Add the skillet mixture, stir, let simmer for a few minutes, maybe 10, get all those components to shake hands and sing together. Take a taste, if it needs more salt or pepper or a dash more dill- do it now! once satisfied, take out your immersion (stick) blender and pulse until pureed. Scoop into bowls and please put a dollop of something on that gorgeous fuchsia pink goodness. The chives are great, but after a while the sweetness and tartness start to ruffle my feathers. I still ate it everyday for lunch for a week, don’t get me wrong…but that cream would make this soup SING!


8 Comments Add yours

  1. Alexis says:

    Ok, right borscht. I totally need to get beets this Saturday from Kilpatrick!

  2. Kyla says:

    Must get beets. By the way, I used the FB share button.

    1. Christina says:

      I KNOW- I just saw the shared link. Wow- Thanks Kyla! Again, with this recipe cut some of the acid with the creamy goodness of yogurt or sour cream. Last Wednesday, I got a sour cream packet at Wendy’s just so I could try my soup with it since I would be at work- delish!

  3. Emma says:

    Chris- Can you serve this soup coldish?

    1. Christina says:

      Hey Emma, I didn’t serve it to others cold but I ate it cold and its delish.

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