Saturday, March 14, 2009

Here I Am

Apple Tree in Winter
Hi Victoria!

I just made the Zuni chicken. I think Olivia and my heads exploded; it was THE BEST CHICKEN I have eaten. Did marjoram and thyme and a smidge of rosemary and the cast iron skillet. Came out amazing. Thanks again for the great cookbook.

I don't think Christopher will mind my sharing his email with you. If there's anything better than Zuni chicken, I don't know what it is.

And it's a great way to get back in the swing of writing Zuni.

I've recovered completely from my surgery in November, got a totally clean bill of health after recent follow-up tests, and am ready to come here on a regular basis again.

So if you've stuck with me for all this time and know I've written this post, thank you. I owe you one. It's a little out of order, but here it is.

Spring is (probably) going to arrive soon in the Northeast, and I will be especially glad to see it arrive this year. And once it does, summer

with all its fabulous garden bounty is not far behind.

In late August and early September, there are tomatoes bright red and bursting with flavor ready to be picked from the garden.

The last of the zucchini and cucumbers make their appearance, and you might even be able to find an eggplant or two if you look hard enough.

But even if the days are hot and sunny, and a gin and tonic on the porch at 5:00 o'clock is still a treat, there is an unmistakable sense that fall is bound to make its appearance sooner rather than later.

And nothing makes me realize that more than the apple tree.

All of a sudden it's laden with fruit, and the air is heady with its fragrance. In a little while the Italian prune plums will hit the farm stands. Before the pumpkins show up, there will be butternut squash and turnips. Pureed potatoes, heavy with cream, come to mind. And roast loin of pork, which I haven't thought about for three months, generally tops the list of what I want to make as soon as turning the oven on actually becomes an option.

And really, does anything sound better in the fall than homegrown, homemade applesauce?

I don't think so.

Up until now, I've made delicious applesauce from a Marion Cunningham recipe in The Fanny Farmer Cookbook, which is the book I turn to whenever I need a basic recipe. It's not that I don't like The Joy of Cooking. It was my first cookbook, after all, and I learned a lot of indispensable basics by reading it. But I have those under my belt now, and as I'm rarely planning to cook something as obscure as a possum, which is one reason to have Joy on the shelf, Fanny Farmer usually has what I'm looking for.

And applesauce was no exception.

But once again I'm discovering as I cook my way through Zuni, old habits are changing, and new recipes are becoming instant favorites.

This one is another keeper.

Roasted Applesauce
Vegetables, Savory Fruit Dishes, Pickles & Preserves, Page 260

I peeled,

cored, and quartered the apples, tossed them with a little salt, and added about a teaspoon of sugar.

Then I spread them on a baking sheet

after which I dotted them with slivers of unsalted butter.

The pan was covered tightly with aluminum foil and baked in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes.

The pan was taken out of the oven, and the foil was removed.

The oven temp was raised to 500 degrees, which in the country is about as hot as it gets without broiling, since I cook with propane there.

The pan went back in the oven for about 10 minutes. When the apples were barely soft, I removed the pan, put the apples in a bowl, and mashed them lightly because the apples should be chunky.

(Remember, it's not DelMonte.)

Finally, I seasoned the apples with a little salt and a drop of apple cider vinegar.

This applesauce is not something you would want to eat on top of warm, treacle-y gingerbread, but it was definitely delicious with a thick Zuni pork chop, tomatoes in a light vinaigrette, Zuni creamed corn, and green and yellow wax beans fresh from the garden, cooked quickly in lots of salted water then tossed with butter.

And keeping me company, as usual, was my buddy, Sylvano.


cookitalian said...

Great Applesauce recipe! Is your cat a Silver Ocicat?

AnticiPlate said...

I just got this cookbook on Molly Wizenberg's recommendation. Keep those recipes coming!

EB said...

so glad you're back hun

Sheila said...

Welcome back.

I look forward to your next Zuni recipe experience.

Michael said...

Welcome back! I got the Zuni cookbook over the holidays and am looking forward to following along.

Valli Feldman said...

Do you leave the pan uncovered when you return it to the oven at 500 deg?

Victoria said...


Yes. Food52 posted the recipe in its Genius series.