Apples are original “healthy foods”: Oldies and surprises
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away” is an old adage that still comes close enough to the truth. The new and refined fruits hitting the market and making it into food magazines still can’t beat the apples’ well-deserved reputation – and their delicious, satisfying crunch. Today’s column provides some old favorites that just can’t be beat. Enjoy.
Old-fashioned apple / cheese salad
Firm, crunchy and tangy apples (1 per person)
1 cup of chopped walnuts
1 1/2 cups diced sharp cheddar cheese cubes
3/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip Dressing *
Wash and seed apples and do not peel them unless the skin is hard or damaged. Slice, then cut into half-inch dice. Place in a bowl and mix with the vinegar or lemon juice, then add the rest of the ingredients and stir in the dressing to your liking.
• Mother made a boiled vinaigrette ahead of time and let it cool for the salad, but when Nalley’s released the Miracle Whip in the 1940s, she switched to that. Your choice of mayo works very well.
Cabbage salad with apples
2-3 cups seeded and seeded apples, cubed
3 cups shredded and chopped green cabbage
1/2 cup finely chopped dates (or raisins)
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
2 tbsp lemon juice, separated
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon of cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Salt, pepper to taste
Prepare the apples, mix them in a small bowl with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to prevent them from turning brown. Pulled cabbage; place in a large salad bowl; toss with dates and walnuts.
Make the dressing: Combine the remaining tablespoon of lemon juice, mayonnaise, sugar, ginger. Add the apples / lemon juice to the cabbage, stirring to combine the ingredients. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well; salt to taste. Cover and refrigerate before serving.
Here’s an old favorite from the 40s that is still satisfying today. We had a large transparent apple tree, perfect for this snack anytime.
Grilled Apple and Peanut Butter Sandwich
4 tablespoons of softened butter
8 slices of raisin bread with cinnamon (or other)
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 Golden Delicious apple (or other large, tender / crunchy apple), peeled, thinly sliced
Arrange slices of bread for making sandwiches. Spread the butter evenly on one side of each slice of bread. On four of the ungreased sides of the bread, spread equal amounts of peanut butter; place apple slices evenly over peanut butter and spread cream cheese on top slice. Top with remaining bread, buttered sides out, making four complete sandwiches ready to toast. Preheat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat. Bake sandwiches in batches, if necessary, for 2-3 minutes per side, or until both sides are golden brown. Serve immediately, sliced on the diagonal.
Note: This sandwich is good as is, without toasting, but is better with plain mayonnaise than with cream cheese.
Apple and oatmeal cookies
1/3 cup EACH vegetable oil, brown sugar, molasses
1 cup of white flour
1/2 teaspoon EACH baking powder, baking soda
1/4 teaspoon of salt (if desired)
1/4 teaspoon EACH nutmeg and cinnamon
1 cup of peeled apples, grated
1/2 cup of raisins
1 1/4 cups quick rolled oats
Preheat the oven to 400F. In a large bowl, whisk together oil, sugar, molasses and egg.
In another bowl, sift the dry ingredients and mix. Add to the oil mixture. Stir in the apples, raisins and oats and mix the ingredients well. Drop by rounded teaspoons about 2 inches apart on lightly greased baking sheets. Bake 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned; remove to a wire rack to cool.
My Norwegian grandmother Davidson stayed with us for a happy summer in Chilco in the 1930s. She happily took over the kitchen for many savory treats. One of his delicacies was this heavenly memory of his old cast iron pan (which I inherited and which I still use regularly). It works for breakfast, brunch or dinner.
Baked Apple Pancakes
2 large, firm apples, peeled, cored, sliced
2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
4 tablespoons of butter
1/2 cup whole milk or light cream
1/2 cup of flour
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of salt
Preheat the oven to 425F. Mix the apple slices with the maple syrup and lemon juice and set aside. Melt butter in a medium cast iron skillet and remove from heat.
Beat eggs and milk in a bowl with 1 tbsp of melted butter. In another bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon and salt and stir in the egg mixture until smooth.
Return the pan to the heat and brown the apples in the remaining butter over high heat. Mix and turn with a spatula for even cooking; don’t let them get mushy. After 2-3 minutes, spread them evenly over the bottom of the pan and slowly pour over the dough. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes until very puffed and lightly browned. Serve immediately in quarters (it will soon fall like a soufflé) straight from the pan and drizzle with hot maple syrup or cream.
Apple and nuts cake
4 cups peeled, cored and finely chopped apples
1 cup of cane sugar
1 cup of chopped walnuts
2/3 cup butter, melted
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons of vanilla
2 cups of flour
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 teaspoon EACH baking powder and baking soda
1/4 teaspoon EACH ground allspice and cardamom
1/8 teaspoon of salt
Set the oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine apples, sugar, nuts and melted butter; stir in the eggs and vanilla. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon and all remaining dry ingredients. Mix well and add to the apple mixture, stirring until combined.
Butter and flour a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish and pour in the dough, spreading it evenly. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool 10 minutes before serving lukewarm. There is no limit for the toppings: whipped cream, ice cream, topping with fresh apple slices, more chopped nuts or just powdered sugar, as you wish.
Valle Novak writes the Country Chef and Weekend Gardener columns for the Daily Bee. She can be reached at [email protected] or by phone at 208-265-4688 between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m.