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Apple of my eye

August 13, 2012

When life gives you apples, bake them! And that’s exactly what I’ve been doing over the last two weekends. Our prior house owners must have had a fondness for apples as we have two small but highly-productive apple trees in the back yard. With no work at all every year we get loads of apples. Most of the time we only notice them once they are rotting on the ground.


This year we caught the crop right in time and hand picked a giant bowl.


The worst part about apples is processing them, but my hubby loves baked apple goods, so there I was peeling, cutting and coring with a  throbbing neck and aching wrists, swaying from side to side to Carrie Underwood to prevent my legs from falling asleep. Sometimes you just need some Country to push you along. After all, it’ll always make you feel good. All country songs fall into two categories: cheerful (I love you so much, I’ll do anything for you) or heartbreaking (which puts everything else in perspective, at least you did not dump me in the rain).

When I was little, I would often spend time with my grandparents on dacha (Russian cottage). My grandma was big into gardening and we would often end up collecting buckets of fruit. She’d then spend weeks converting the harvest into jams and juices for the winter, and so anytime I’d come visit my grandma, she’d been prepping the fruit. She had a whole system going so she can do it in front of the TV without even looking at her hands. It started off with sharpening her special fruit knife. It was small with a smooth grip that she skillfully handled to take off the entire skin in one giant peel. The peel fell straight on the newspaper-lined floor and the bare apple was tossed into a bucket with water to prevent it from browning. Unlike my grandma, I have no grace or patience when it comes to prep work (which explains why I don’t bake much).


After an hour of whining, moaning and face-making, the apples were ready to go.


Never tasting these apples before, a smart person would have probably made a small sample batch to see if it’s worth the trouble, but not me! A safe bet is to start with apple sauce which ended up making a great topping for frozen yogurt and morning oatmeal.


Batch number 2 got turned into apple crisp a week later.


This time I was prepared and the tables were turned. Just like my grandma I developed my own system. Since the apples were small, I had to work with a paring knife: quarter the body, cut out the guts, strip the skin off (just like the Tower of London). Finish off by spreading the remains across the counter to set an example for others as I picked my next victim. Devil


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