Thursday, November 24, 2011

an apple a day

It's that time of year again when the market stalls are filled with barrels of local fall apples. Until a few years ago, I can't say I was a fan. I'm not saying I hated apples or anything but it certainly wouldn't have been my first pick in the produce aisle. And if I did happen to pick one up, it would have been the characteristically sweet red delicious. But now, after gaining an appreciation for the rosy fruit, it's rare that there aren't apples in the fridge. I have come to love so many other juicier, crispier varieties that these days I wouldn't dream of eating the ol' mealy standby. In fact, I am munching on one right now. A sweet, juicy honey crisp. Talk about inspiration!  Our last trip to the market got us an entire box for $8. Awesome. But what to do with all those apples?

apple cherry almond crisp

Make crisp of course! Apple crisp for us has long been one of those lazy Sunday breakfasts. It's easy to prepare and you get to laze around, enjoying your cappuccino while it fills the house with that warm fruity aroma. I've made many a crisp in my day, primarily in planting camps. Apple cranberry, ginger pear, peach, berry, blueberry, almond, strawberry rhubarb, coconut mango. We made it all. That's one of the great things about crisp. It's so versatile. Pick any fruit, fresh or frozen, toss it with a little sugar and flavor of your choice like cinnamon or even some lemon zest, and top with a mixture of brown sugar, butter, and oatmeal (some folks add flour too). Or if you wanna get crazy, use two fruits, say local honey crisp apples and cherries, then throw some chopped almonds, flax, vanilla, and a hint of almond extract in to the topping, and viola. Our last crisp. Warm, fruity, nutty, delicious. It's got Sunday morning written all over it.

And, while I did mention butter, fruit crisps can be healthy breakfasts as long as you don't go crazy with the sugar. Fruit is naturally sweet and once you add yummy flavors like lemon zest and vanilla, you'd be surprised how little sugar you actually need. Of course, it is the fruit and oats that offer the most nutrition. Oats provide an excellent source of soluble fiber, important in lowering cholesterol and reducing your chance of heart disease. The fruit, well, being fruit, is always generally good for you. Apples, with the skin on, are a great choice, providing antioxidants that help maintain blood sugar levels and prevent heart disease. Other good bets are blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, any berry for that matter, and cherries

If only I wrote the recipe down while I was making it.....someday I'll remember. But in the meantime, Google yourself a recipe, head on down to the market for some local apples (it IS today!), and use this Sunday to relax while dining on some warm homemade apple-y oat-y goodness. It's like apple pie for breakfast. Only better.