2014-09-12 / Columns

Cooking on Purpose

The time is ripe for apple picking
By Connie Wendell
Special to the Post

Now that fall is here, with cooler weather, it makes us all think of apples. They are plentiful this year and just ripe for picking.

We usually think of apples related to dessert-type recipes, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Apples are so adaptable they lend great flavor and texture to any recipe. I’ve included a few of my new favorites. I hope you try them, I’m sure your family and friends will want seconds.

Brie, apple and Arugula quesadillas

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard; 2 teaspoons apple cider; 3 (10-inch) flour tortillas; 6 ounces Brie cheese, rind removed and cut into ¼-inch slices, divided; 1 Fuji (or your favorite apple) cored and cut into ¼-inch thick slices (about ½ pound), divided; 3 cups arugula, divided; and ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.

Combine mustard and cider in a small bowl. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Spread each tortilla with about 1 ½ teaspoons mustard mixture. Place 1 tortilla, mustard side up, in pan.

Arrange one-third of cheese slices over half of tortilla; cook 1 minute or until cheese begins to melt. Arrange one-third of apple slices over cheese; top with one cup arugula. Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon pepper.

Fold tortilla in half; press gently with a spatula. Cook 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove from pan. Repeat procedure twice with remaining 2 tortillas. Cut each quesadilla into 4 wedges.

Serves six.

Spiced pork tenderloin with sautéed apples

3/8 teaspoon salt; ¼ teaspoon ground coriander; ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper; 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg; 1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut crosswise into 12 pieces; cooking spray; 2 tablespoons butter; 2 cups thinly sliced Braeburn or Gala apple; 1/3 cup thinly sliced shallots; 1/8 teaspoon salt; ¼ cup apple cider; and 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves.

Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Combine first salt, coriander, pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg; sprinkle spice mixture evenly over pork. Coat pan with cooking spray.

Add pork to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until desired doneness. Remove pork from pan; keep warm.

Melt butter in pan; swirl to coat. Add apple slices, shallots and 1/8 teaspoon salt and sauté for 4 minutes or until apple starts to brown.

Add apple cider to pan and cook for 2 minutes or until apple is crisp-tender. Stir in thyme leaves.

Serve apple mixture with the pork. Serves four.

Apple cinnamon coffee cake

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour; 1 cup granulated sugar; 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder; 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon; ½ teaspoon salt; ¾ cup lowfat milk; 2 tablespoons butter, melted; 1 teaspoon vanilla extract; 1 large egg, slightly beaten; 1 cup diced peeled Granny Smith apple (about 1 apple); and cooking spray.

Streusel

¼ cup packed brown sugar; 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour; ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon; and 2 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To prepare cake: Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Make a well in center of mixture. Combine milk, melted butter, vanilla and egg, stirring with a whisk; add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist.

Fold in apples. Pour batter into an 8-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray.

To prepare streusel: Combine brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and ½ teaspoon cinnamon, cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle streusel over batter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes on a wire rack before serving. Serve warm.

Serves 12.

Happy apple picking. Until next time, keep Cooking on Purpose.

Connie Wendell can be reached at conniewendell27@gmail.com.

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