2015-09-25 / Columns

It’s apple pickin’ time here in Maine

By Connie Wendell Special to the Leader

‘Tis the season for apple pickin’ – a great family activity – and when we pick our own the price per pound is less, plus we get fresh air and great exercise.

It’s also great to support our local farmers, who report this season has produced a banner crop of apples.

So get busy – get pickin’ and get cookin.’

Apple bread

The fragrance of this bread as it bakes is almost as good as it tastes.

Bread: ½ cup butter or margarine, 1 cup sugar, 2 eggs, 1 tsp. vanilla, 2 cups flour, 1 tsp. soda, ½ tsp. salt, 3 cups finely chopped apples (do not peel), ½ cup chopped nuts (optional)

Cream butter and sugar until light. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine flour, salt and soda and stir into egg mixture. Mix in apples and nuts.

Turn into greased loaf pans and dribble topping (recipe below,) on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 – 55 minutes.

Topping: 3 tbsp. sugar, 2 tbsp. butter or margarine, 1 tbsp. cinnamon.

Combine sugar, butter and cinnamon in a small saucepan. Heat until mixture starts to bubble.

Yield: three mini loaves or two regular loaves.

Apple crisp

Warm apple crisp and vanilla ice cream – it just doesn’t get any better.

4 cups peeled and sliced apples, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. salt, ¼ cup water, ¾ cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1/3 cup butter

Place apples in a baking dish and sprinkle with cinnamon, salt and water. Combine flour, sugar and butter with a pastry blender. Mix well. Turn mixture over apples and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Chicken with apple cream sauce

4 (4 ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, ¾ tsp. salt, ½ tsp. thyme, ½ tsp. black pepper, 1 tbsp. olive oil, 2/3 cup apple cider, 3 cups thinly sliced peeled apples, ¾ cup half and half

Heat oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper and thyme. Add chicken to pan, cook five minutes on each side or until done.

Remove chicken from pan and keep warm. Add cider to pan, scraping to loosen brown bits. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until reduced to ½ cup, about five minutes.

Add sliced apples and half and half, simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes until sauce has thickened and apples are tender, stirring occasionally. Serve sauce with chicken.

Enjoy the spectacular apples this season and until next time, keep Cooking on Purpose.

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

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