RSS Feed

Category Archives: Apples

Super Sneaky Zucchini Apple Pie

Forgot to take a picture of the whole pie, but managed to get a pic of a slice before we devoured it all!

Many people have a mental block when it comes to zucchini. Take my dog sitter, for example. I had baked up a batch of perfectly delicious zucchini muffins and offered her one. She declined, stating that she hated zucchini. Now, hate is a pretty strong emotion for such an unassuming vegetable, and both my husband and I sensed that she had never experienced the yummy versatility that zucchini can offer. My husband started his persuasion technique with the tried and true, “But you can’t even taste the zucchini!” She looked at him dubiously. I followed up by asking her if she liked banana bread and carrot cake. When she said that she loved both of those, I explained that the muffin was similar. After a bit more coaxing, she took a bite, and was a very happy zucchini convert. In the future I may just refer to them as Cinnamon Muffins when sharing them with zucchini-phobes.

If you don’t have twenty minutes to talk your guests into trying baked zucchini products, but you have zucchini covering your countertops and must sneak them into food at every opportunity, then I have discovered an ideal recipe for you: Zucchini Apple Pie. Faced with a freshly picked monster zucchini last week, I found this recipe that would use a large quantity of zucchini and give me an easy dessert to top off a barbecue with friends.

However, I was not sure how well the pie would go over if I explained what was in it. So I didn’t. I made coy comments, such as “Bill made pickles today, and I did some baking. Now the kitchen smells like a weird combination of pickles and apple pie.” Then, when I brought out the pie, everyone assumed it was apple pie and eagerly dug in, giving it rave reviews, including, “This is the best apple pie I’ve ever had!” At that point, my husband gleefully broke the news that there was not a single apple in the pie, just zucchini. Nobody believed him. At all. So I had to fess up and show them the recipe.

Don’t they look like apple slices???

It was truly fabulous! Actually, it was a combination of two recipes. I followed this Zucchini Apple Pie recipe, but since I only had one deep-dish frozen pie crust on hand, I didn’t put a top crust on it. Instead, I made the crumb topping from this Cinnamon Crumble Apple Pie recipe. The final result tasted very similar to my husband’s favorite brand-name Dutch apple pie, which he will no longer allow himself to eat because it contains trans-fats. So, now we have a tasty alternative!

At the same barbecue, I tried out this Cucumber Zucchini Salad recipe as well.  It was also a winner, crisp and refreshing, and I was asked to bring it to another event the following weekend.

A nice summer side dish!

And, after trying several pickle recipes over the years that we haven’t much cared for, we like this one: Homemade Zesty Dill Pickers and Peppers, and so did our guests. It makes a flavorful, crunchy refrigerator pickle.

Well, what are you waiting for?  Time to get busy with those zukes and cukes!

Caramel Apple Pork Chops with Butternut Squash Risotto

What a gorgeous week we’ve had here in Michigan!  If you are like every other person I’ve talked to, chances are that you’ve taken advantage of this lovely weather by braving the swarming yellow jackets and visiting a cider mill.  Besides feasting on some of those crispy-on-the-outside-warm-and-fluffy-on-the-inside donuts (insert Homer Simpson drool here), you probably also picked a bunch of apples.

Here is an idea for dinner that practically screams “Autumn!” and will allow you to use up some of those apples.  It’s basically a take on the Peter Brady “pork chopppssshh…and appleshaush” that turns the pork chop into a vehicle to be slathered with a buttery sweet and tangy homemade apple topping.  Your house will smell heavenly while this is cooking!  I served it this evening with a side of butternut squash risotto from (gasp!) a box.  Yes, since I was making one dish from scratch already, I went for the easy and tasty accompaniment of boxed Lundberg Butternut Squash Risotto.  I already had two pans going on the stove for the Caramel Apple Pork Chops, so the microwave directions for the risotto were way convenient, and the hint of ginger in this side dish played nicely with the nutmeg and cinnamon in the apple sauce.  I do have some plain arborio rice in the cupboard, so perhaps I will feel ambitious one day and try a risotto recipe with fresh butternut squash.  If I do, I’ll let you know how it turns out. 🙂

I found this recipe for Caramel Apple Pork Chops online a couple of years ago and now look forward to making it every fall!   Speaking of fall flavors… I think I will now have to pour myself some Witches Brew wine, warm it up, and toss in a cinnamon stick…

CARAMEL APPLE PORK CHOPS: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/caramel-apple-pork-chops/detail.aspx

Here are a few notes:

  • I choose to make the apple sauce first, then let it simmer while cooking the pork chops, rather than the other way around as suggested in the recipe.  I’m sure it would work fine either way.
  • When making the apple sauce, I first saute’ about 1/4 cup of slivered onions in the butter for a couple of minutes before adding the apples and spices.  The onions give the sauce a bit of tang and keep it from being too sweet.
  • Since I am cooking for two people, I only fry up two pork chops, but make the full amount of sauce, so that we can really load up on the deliciousness–so if you are cooking for 4, double the measurements for the sauce if you want lots of it!
  • Use real butter in the sauce.  Yep.  No margarine or olive oil substitutions this time.