Friday, October 16, 2020

Into the orchard

At the end of September, I took myself on a date to an apple orchard. 

Our little WA house sits in valley full of u-pick farms, with everything from beans and pumpkins to dahlias and lavender, and I spent some very happy hours in berry patches when we lived there. I've not done anything like that since we moved away six years ago, and I've missed it, so finding the orchard was a treat.

There were five or six different varieties ready for picking the morning I was there, and I brought home a gigantic bag of two I'd not heard of before: Senshu and Snow Sweet. Both are delicious; I know this because I've managed to eat almost all of them. 

Besides the experience of winding my way through the trees and picking the apples with my own two hands, I had very specific plans: applesauce and apple crisp. 
I thought I might share my applesauce recipe, which is the easiest, least precise thing on the planet:

I chopped seven or eight apples and tossed them into the Instant Pot (without peeling; I enjoy chopping but I do not enjoy peeling.) I added the juice and zest of a lemon, the juice of an orange, and about a cup of water. I let it all cook for a few minutes until the apples began to soften, and then came the spices: cinnamon and nutmeg, both without measuring (but in hindsight I should have paid more attention to the nutmeg). I stirred in half a can of pumpkin and then two large handfuls of raisins (jumbo-sized; those are my favorite) and then set the lid loosely on top just long enough to put some dishes in the dishwasher. 

Jan Michael is not a huge of applesauce to begin with, but the fact that this is more like an apple stew with his arch enemy the pumpkin means he will not touch it, so I have it all to myself. I like to eat it both warm and cold, and if we had walnuts lying around, I would sprinkle them on the top. 

Saturday, October 10, 2020

A new leaf

Welcome back to me! And let's hope this time there will be some semblance of consistency. 

I took my weekend walk along a new trail this morning, and it was lovely. This is a beautiful time of year in northern Illinois, and I've enjoyed the transition from summer to fall so much these last weeks. 

It was cool enough while I was motoring along for a sweatshirt, but warm enough for shorts, and the breeze meant that leaves were fluttering through the air from the trees to the ground, which we all know is magical. 

I walked long enough that I now have an enormous blister on my left foot, and my right knee is complaining loudly, but it was worth every wince and hobble, and I plan to do it again next Saturday.