Farm Fresh Pick of the Week: Apples

Friday, November 11, 2011 15:01

Creative Uses from Appetizers to Cocktails

by: Casey Pukl

There are so many great fall flavors, that I’m starting to think I have too many favorites. When I head into the kitchen to discuss the Farm Fresh Pick of the Week with Chef Todd, it can be tough for us to narrow down which ingredient to feature. This week, the stars aligned and our beverage manager, Marc Canzoneri, presented us with a phenomenal cocktail made with fresh apples. If only one would magically appear on my desk, it would truly be the greatest Friday of my life. It would’ve been a crime not to share it with you, so Chef Todd decided to help plan an entire meal from start to finish featuring apples!

Apples can give new life to any recipe- throw a few slices on a salad, bake them with a little cinnamon and sugar for dessert, coat them in caramel, or make a savory stuffing with apples, bread, walnuts, thyme, pears, and more. These crispy, sweet tarts pack a big punch that’s sure to please.

For this meal, Chef Todd recommends starting with an Endive and Apple salad. Throw in some golden raisins, bleu cheese, and candied walnuts, and voila! (Chef Todd actually loved this one so much that he decided to include it on our special New Year’s Eve menu!)

For a main course, Chef Todd recommends braising apple slices in a little white wine with some sautéed onions.

Season with some salt, pepper, a little cinnamon, and nutmeg. Serve the braised apples on top of a grilled pork chop, and prepare to be impressed. This recipe is not only incredibly easy, but balanced and comforting. It almost felt like a guilty pleasure.

Now, I’ve got to warn you. The finale I’m about to tell you about is both ridiculously addictive and really simple. Once you try it, it’ll be tough to forget. 

Chef Todd is currently featuring an apple crisp on our dessert menu that is every bit as sophisticated and classic as his food has always been. It’s the perfect ending to a meal. Todd adds cranberries to the crisp, and the topping is made of toasted oats and pecans. I can’t forget to add that there’s also a scoop of caramel swirl ice cream on top that is what puts this dessert over the edge.

Are you drooling yet? Because there’s more. I’ve got two words for you:

42nd Street

Buffalo Trace Bourbon, muddled apples, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, cinnamon. Throw some ice in there, give it a shake, strain, and serve up. This drink is like a goldmine full of fall garnished with a cinnamon and sugar rim. It’s perfectly balanced; not too sweet, not too tart, just right.

If you’d prefer to have it hand crafted by a pro, be sure to come on down and have Eric (see right) make one for you. Look at how much fun he has muddling those apples! If you want to make it yourself, just be sure you have as much, if not more, fun than Eric.

As always, you can come in to taste the dishes featured from our menu, and be sure to send us your photos of your farm fresh experiments! Our Facebook page is always open, and we’d love to see what you come up with!