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This was the last entry I wrote and never got around to publishing last autumn. As you may have noted, Goldie and I have been silent for quite a while. This has been due to the addition of an infant to our household. Very little thought has gone into creating dinners these past few months when we tended to rely on recipes that I have repeatedly made. The picture is of Rancho La Puerta in Tecate Mexico where they make excellent chiles relenos.


When I was growing up a dish that was in regular rotation in my home was stuffed peppers. These were made with ground beef and rice placed into halves of green peppers, the only kind that were readily available in those days. Neither I, nor most people I know like green peppers so I used an orange, yellow and red one. That gave me 6 halves to fill. I mixed 1 pound of chopped beef with 1 egg and 1 cup of rice that was par boiled, a chopped garlic clove, salt and smoked chipotle pepper. I divided the mixture to fill the peppers and put them in a heavy casserole. It was a tight fit but that didn't seem to matter. I poured a can of tomato sauce over and around and set it to cook over a medium low heat. After about an hour, I grated some cheddar cheese over the peppers and let them cook, covered for another 5 minutes. They are really good with mashed potatoes but I didn't feel like making any. So I cut up some mini Yukon golds and tossed them in to cook with the peppers.


If these instructions seem maddeningly vague, that is because the amounts don't matter very much. You can make the stuffing meatier or with more starch and you can add whatever spices appeal. I wanted to move toward Mexican but anything is possible.


I decided this dish was too spicy for Goldie so instead of giving her the plates to lick, I gave here an empty peanut butter jar. She really cleaned it out.




Years ago I read a novel called The History of Tractors in Ukraine about an elderly war refugee living in England. His diet consisted of something he called Toshiba apples because he cooked them in his Toshiba microwave. He cut up apples and put them in a bowl in the microwave until they were softened. I have done this often, usually peeling the apples and adding some cinnamon. Sometimes I even add a few raisons. I prefer this to baked apples because I can cook several apples at a time and have various serving sizes, rather than one apple per serving. Also, when I cut the apple up I discard the core and don't have to deal with it while I am eating. I recommend the book as well as the apples. The author is Marina Lewychka.


The other thing I love to make with the abundant apples is apple sauce. For this I use an old fashioned food mill, identical to the one my mother used to make pureed food for me many decades ago. I cut up many apples - judging the quantity according to the size of the pot I plan to use. This depends on the size of the apples and I use a mixture of many sizes and types. I cut the apples in quarters and remove as much of the core as can easily be cut out. Then I put all the apples in a large pot with some cinnamon, if you like, as well as nutmeg. I prefer not to sweeten the apples but you might want to add a small amount of sugar or honey or even maple syrup. Add a small amount of liquid, water or apple cider and cook slowly, stirring occasionally to get the cooked apples on top and the top uncooked apples closer to the heat. When it all seem soft, scoop into food mill placed over a bowl. Turn handle and continue to add apples and the sauce comes through the bottom.






This has been an exceptionally beautiful foliage season in Connecticut and the local apple orchard has a bumper crop of apples. My favorites here are Macouns and Honeycrisp. They do not have Winesap apples, which seems to be a New Jersey apple. It was always my favorite as a child when we had a rustic house there. Coincidentally, my daughter discovered this apple at the Brooklyn farmers market where they are trucked in on the weekend and it became her favorite.


There are so many things to do with apples that it might require two entries to cover them all. My hands down favorite is apple pie. I always like to use a mix of apples for this. I find that with a food processor, crust is very simple to make.


I like to use very cold butter, and only butter, no crisco or lard. I take 1/2 lb very cold butter and cut it into very small pieces and put it in the processor with 2 1/2 cups flour. I process it until there are still bits of butter visible. With the machine on, I slowly add up to 1/2 cup ice water until the dough begins to come together. When the processor first came out, Julia Child instructed followers to process until it forms a ball. Over the years the wisdom has changed, feeling that this makes a somewhat tough dough.


Empty the dough onto a silicone mat or other flat surface and gather it into a ball, kneading a few times. Divide in half, form into two discs, wrap and chill for at least an hour.


To make pie, butter a nine or ten inch pie plate. Roll out one disc as thin as you can and place in pie pan and return to refrigerator.


Peel and cut 8 to 10 apples into pieces. Mix with cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice and some honey, according to taste. Put into pie plate. Roll out second disc and place over apples. Trim edges and pinch them together. Make slits in top layer of dough to let steam escape. I like to do this in the shape of an apple. Brush with milk. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes and at 350 for another 45.


If you prefer a rustic tart you can use one disc of dough and freeze the other for another time. Roll out the dough and place apples in center, leaving at least a 2 inch margin of dough. Bring the ring of dough to the center, pinching it together as you go around. Brush dough with milk and bake as above.


Goldie loves visiting the orchard; here she is getting ready to drive there. She will not eat raw apples but rather prefers them cooked.