Savoring the Seasons: ‘Tis the Season for ‘I Wonder…’

The Recorder, October 6th, 2015, by Mary McClintock.

“I wonder how this recipe would taste with plums or pears instead of peaches?”

I’ve said that a lot recently. First, I asked Kris Pelis about her peach cobbler recipe. Kris tried it with plums and said “Plums are even better than peaches.”

Then, I heard from Robbie Lauter. She said: “I’ve meant to send you this recipe for weeks, but I’ve been swamped with using and preserving apples (and working at my paying job). Our apple tree is obscenely fecund. I’ve made apple crisp, apple pie, apple pancakes; put up apple butter and applesauce; and given away more than a bushel. The tree is still loaded! We have the fattest rabbits I’ve ever seen — they can barely waddle out of the driveway to prevent getting run over! I just bought a dehydrator and will attempt apple leather, plus dried apple slices. How did you make the dried apples we had on Mount Sugarloaf? They were perfect.”

The dried apples I’d shared were Goldrush apples from Clarkdale that I dried in the dehydrator for 12 hours at 135 degrees. Goldrush are a later-season apple and my favorite for drying.

Robbie’s recipe calls for peaches. Again, I said, “I wonder …” Robbie said pears would be fine, although the texture would be different.

Then, I ran into Norm Hirschfeld at the Greenfield Farmers Market who said he’d made the apple cake recipe from last week’s column. He said it tasted great. He’d cut back on the sugar quantity, used some brown sugar, combined honeycrisp and cortland apples for different texture and next time will add nuts and cranberries.

I said, “I wonder …” and Norm and I agreed it should work with other fruit.

What recipes are making you think “I wonder …” this season? Please share!

This week we’re eating…

By Kris Pelis, Greenfield (original recipe from “The Junior League of Atlanta Georgia Cookbook”)

To modify for plums: I used Long John plums from Clarkdale. Cut plums in quarters, use scant ¾ C. of sugar with plums, and use 4 C. of plums.

3/4 C. flour

1⁄8 tsp. salt

3/4 C. milk

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 C. butter

2 C. sugar, divided

1 tsp. cinnamon

2 C. fresh peaches, sliced

While oven is preheating to 350 degrees, melt butter in 8x8x2 pan. Mix peaches with 1 C. sugar and cinnamon. Sift flour, salt and baking powder. Mix with 1 C. sugar. Slowly stir in milk to make batter. Pour batter over melted butter. Do Not Stir. Carefully spoon peaches over batter. Do Not Stir. Bake 1 hour or until golden brown and bubbly. Serve hot or cold, with cream, if desired. Serves 6.

Chicken with Fruit

By Robbie Lauter, Sunderland.

This is my traditional Rosh Hashonah meal and it celebrates the bounty and sweetness of our fall season — a perfect way to start the Jewish New Year.

1/2 C. butter 5 lbs. chicken pieces (bone-in) 1 onion, sliced 1 1/2 C. chicken broth 3 T. lemon juice 1 tsp. salt 1/4 tsp. ground cloves 1/4 tsp. ground allspice 1 T. molasses 2-3 apples, cored and cut into chunks (peeling is not necessary) 2-3 peaches, pits removed and cut into chunks (or pears since it is past peach season)

Melt butter in large heavy skillet with a lid (or Dutch oven), add chicken pieces and brown on all sides (you may need to do this in batches). Add onion and cook just until softened. Add broth, lemon juice, salt, cloves, allspice, and molasses. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until chicken is tender. Add apple chunks and cook 5 minutes until just softened, add peach chunks and cook until heated through. This can be eaten as stew, or on top of rice (I cook rice with a pinch of cinnamon and a handful of raisins for this dinner). Serves 8.