Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My Ever-So Weird and Well-Read Family; and, make your own recipe!

Dear judgmental reader,

Only I can call my family weird!  But don't worry, I do it enough for everyone. 

My mom and sisters were at home the other day and decided they needed to clean.  This is the conversation they held ...

The family that cleans together ...
Mom: This house is a mess.  Addresses daughter, Mandatory. Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country.

Mandatory: I regret that I have but one life to live.

Mom: Give me chores or give me death!

Second daughter, Mel-Belle: I have not yet begun to clean!!

If we are a product of our environment, and some would argue we are, then you now see why I am so strange ...


Mrs H

The Craving Cure: Applesauce

If reading the last post left you hungry for the real deal, let me leave you with a solution.  This is not a recipe - just instructions.  You are going to learn how to make your own recipe!
Apple selection: Technically, any kind will do. But some varieties are better for saucing than others; for instance, a Granny Smith will be tart, and might not be exactly what you had in mind.  If you like, use one-third Granny Smith, one third Golden Delicious, and one third of Red Delicious, for a flavorful blend.   There are many other sweet apples that lend themselves to saucing such as Gala, Fuji (Mr H's favorite), Jonathon, and others you may have in season in your area.  If they are a sweet snacking apple, chances are they'll work well for sauce. 

Water or cider
Heavy-bottomed pot
Optional: sugar, cinnamon, other spices of your choice

Write down the varieties of apples you use, and the weight before peeling/coring. 
Thoroughly wash the apples; peel (if desired) and core. 
For chunky applesauce: Cut into slices somewhat thicker than you would for apple pie; halve and put into the pot.
For smooth applesauce: Chop coarsely - eighths will do, but the smaller the pieces, the faster they'll cook.
Write down which option you used.  Did you peel them?  How finely did you chop them? 
Pour a little water or cider into your saucepan to prevent scalding (this is not strictly necessary, but I suggest it as all too often I turn around for thirty seconds and they stick!).  Throw in the apples.  Cover; let them cook and steam, stirring occasionally or constantly, depending on how high your heat source is, until they are as soft as you like.
Note the time they started cooking, and how frequently you lifted the lid to stir - a lot?  Once?  Every ten seconds? 
As they break down and begin to fall apart, add the sugar and cinnamon, if desired.  For the chunky sauce, break them down further with a potato masher if you want.
Add the sweeteners in measured increments - use a tablespoon, or a quarter-cup measure, etc; note how many times you added this measure. 

You can use applesauce to replace oils, or to halfway replace oils,
in quickbreads like johnnycake or spice cake.  Just use the same
measure, 1/2 cup sauce for 1/2 cup oil.  The cake will have a
somewhat denser crumb, and be slightly less moist. 

For chunky applesauce: remove from the stove when they are bubbling, falling apart, and juicy to the tenderness you desire.  Taste, and add additional sweetener if desired. 
For smooth applesauce: when they break apart readily with a fork, scoop them into a blender and blend until they are as smooth as you like. BE CAREFUL - if you overfill a blender with hot ingredients - i.e. much more than one-quarter/one-half full - it will explode on you.  I have scars to prove it! 
Return the blended apples to the pot on the stove - it will now want to bubble up and pop like Paint Pots of Yellowstone!  Taste and stir, adding any sweeteners you desire.
Write down which method you used, anything you found desirable or undesirable about the process, and how much additional sweeteners or spices you added.
Serve your delicious applesauce! 
Use your applesauce in recipes for cake,
muffins, breads ...
When you serve it, ask for a rating (use a letter grade, a five-point scale, or whatever works best for you) and for comments.  "Too sweet!  Perfectly smooth ... I like it chunky ... I like it less chunky ... I hate cinnamon ... Why is there peel in here ... You are a terrible cook ... Is this from that stupid blog ..." Be prepared for any comments, and never ever criticize the commenter for disliking your food - or you'll never get their honest opinion again!

Review your handwritten recipe and make changes, additions, or try it again the next day to test a new idea.  Make sure you name it after yourself, so you can be famous!!

Maybe this is the real appleasuce attack!



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