Savoring the Seasons: A solution for apples late in the season

For the Recorder
Published: 3/8/2016 5:36:57 PM

What are your “usual” foods? Food that shows up on your plate often, and that you always have around.

When I asked that question last week, my sister, Martha, told me about her “chook/veg/beans melange du semaine” (AKA chicken/vegetable/beans stew of the week). Sounds like my chicken-soup-du-week!

I didn’t hear from other readers about “usual” foods, but I heard from Jake Krain and Sharon Pleasant. Jake told me about Red Gate Farm’s upcoming dinner and presentation by photographer Gregory Thorp. When I saw Spiced Apple Soup on the menu, I thought, “What a perfect use for late season apples!”

Sharon and I talked about the March 15 annual breakfast auction to benefit the Franklin County Community Meals Program. It will be great to see friends, enjoy the maple breakfast, and bid on items, including tasty ones donated by local farmers and food producers.

What I really look forward to is witnessing the great generosity of our community as we pull together to help the community meals program feed our hungry neighbors. I hope to see you there!

This Week We’re Eating…Spiced Apple Soup

Jake Krain, Red Gate Farm, Buckland (from "Moosewood Restaurant: Cooks for a Crowd" by The Moosewood Collective)

Note: This recipe serves 50!

1/4 C. vegetable oil

1 1/3 qts. onions (from our farm garden)

7 qt. apples, cored, peeled, cut in chunks (our apples come from Clark Brothers Orchards right down the street)

1 gal. vegetable stock

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. cloves, ground

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1 qt. milk

1/4 to 1/2 C. maple syrup (we use our syrup made at the farm)

salt and pepper to taste

Saute onions in oil until they are softened. Add apples and stock and simmer until apples are tender. Puree with remaining ingredients until smooth. Serve warm or chilled. If desired, top with yogurt, sour cream, or whipped cream if you want more of a dessert dish!

Chook/Veg/Beans Melange Du Semaine

Martha McClintock, Melbourne, Australia

My chook/veg/beans melange du semaine is my usual food all the time now. I make it about once a week and eat it one or two times a day for the week.

Saute finely chopped leeks/chopped up ginger/chopped up chicken meat (usually 1 leek and 1-2 boneless chicken leg-thigh meat) as flavor base, with bits of water to get everything melded as I chop vegetables, deglazed with water and dumped in a big stew pot.

Then, one can of drained black beans, one can of drained “mixed bean salad” beans, and about 4-5 C. of whatever vegetables are available. Right now, it’s zucchini, tomatoes, corn cut off the cob, sweet potatoes, snow peas, kale or swiss chard. All those chopped into random bits and tossed into stew pot on top of flavor base stuff. Add about one liter of water, covered/stewed for 20-30 minutes, stirring a few times during cooking. It’s done when the vegetables are sort of falling apart, particularly the sweet potato. Allow to cool and put into freezer containers.

To serve, add a big ladle full of melange, a bit of cooked grains of choice, a bit of extra protein — like tofu chunks (I saute in butter til a bit crispy), or a bit of cooked chicken meat, all tossed into a microwave-safe glass bowl, microwaved for about two minutes until hot, and then flavoring stirred through. 

I enjoy mild sorts of flavoring these days, anything from a tablespoon of fabulous local fresh ricotta or chevre, or a solid drizzle of local brilliant reduced balsamic vinegar. If I am feeling Japanese-y, a tablespoon of concentrated soba noodle dipping sauce.

It is soupy or stewy, depending on how much water I put in during the cooking process.

One batch will get me through the week, one or two meals a day, no fuss, no muss! Especially for those moments when I am working and my stomach suddenly shouts “FOOD NOW!”

Local food advocate and community organizer Mary McClintock lives in Conway and works as a freelance writer for Greenfield Community College and brand promoter for Goshen-based local food company Appalachian Naturals. Send column suggestions and recipes to: mmcclinto@yahoo.com


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