I’m a city girl through and through. But on weekends, especially in the fall–when you know that everywhere outside the smoggy city the leaves are turning crimson (like leaves in nature tend to do, when there isn’t a snow storm in October)–I just got to get me some of that country air.
Earlier last month, the change of seasons coincided with a visit from my good friend Steph. At the time, she was weeks away from her wedding and had come back to the East Coast for her final dress fitting. This past weekend, said wedding took place in Santa Barbara to much sunshine and fanfare (and fabulous food), and Steph and Rodrigo finally tied the knot. (You might remember them as the poster couple of our second post, as well as this one too.)
But back to the matter at hand: apple picking.
Even though Steph had been away from New York for over a year, upon her visit, Whitney and I decided it would be a great idea to scoop her away from the hustle and bustle of her old home, in favor of a fall day in the Jerz. Thanks to Whitney’s boyfriend, Tom, who went to school nearby, we ended up at Terhune Orchards just in time to ravage their last few meager rows of unpicked apples and to partake in their fall festival afterwards. In addition to a lot of nostalgia, the orchard included the following attractions:
Barnyard cut outs, appropriately sized for a child’s face. We managed anyway.
Fresh caramel apples, which we communally gnawed at, one by one, in the most graceful way possible.
And finally, my favorite: GOATS!!! (Also, pretty sure that kid is picking his nose behind me).
A bag of cider donuts, 10 pounds of apples, and one sorry excuse for a corn maze later, we piled into our Zipcar and headed back to the big city. After lugging home my spoils on the subway, I was in a predicament that many a fall leisure lassie has experienced: what the heck do I do with all these apples?
Later that week, after I had ensured that the doctor would stay away for a long, long time, I replaced my apple-a-day breakfast with these slim, slightly sweet-and-sour chips. If you make it home in time from your journey to spend some weekend hours in the kitchen, slice up a few apples as thin as you can, and bake them low and slow in the oven until they become caramelized and chewy.
While it won’t do much for your load if you’re as prone to over-picking as I am, these apple chips will certainly be a welcome break from your fruit routine. You can serve them as finger food before a meal (they will go fast), or use them as an interesting topping for salads–especially to jazz up boring Thanksgiving greens, which always seem to be the last thing left on the table.
Now that Mother Nature has decided to go rogue and wintery out East, I might have to wait until next season for another fall Sunday fun-day. In the meantime, I’ll be eating apple chips, and wishing my dear friend were here to flaunt her wedding ring and eat them with me.
From my kitchen, where pickings are slim (and delicious), to yours,
Phoebe, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOK
Homemade Cumin Apple Chips
Makes about 3 dozen chips
2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1 Granny Smith apple (or other tart, sweet variety. We used Stayman Winesap)
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and spices until combined. Using a fork or a sieve, dust the baking sheet with half of the sugar mixture.
Cut the apple into 4 large pieces around the core. Discard the core. Cut the apple quarters into thin, 1/16 inch thick slices (use a mandolin if you have one). Arrange on the baking sheet in even layers. Dust the apples with the remaining sugar mixture.
Bake in the oven for 1 ½ hours, until the slices have shrunk and become golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet. Carefully remove the slices from the parchment paper.
Serve as finger food, or an elegant topping to a Fall salad.