Monday, October 15, 2007

The Days Are Just Packed

Sweet Autumn! So much to do but lots of it fun stuff. Harvested a huge basket of English walnuts before the rains came. Still picking the last of the summer tomatoes, plus I put in a dozen green bean plants. Not sure if I'll get any beans, especially if this cool, rainy weather keeps up, but who knows? Fun to try. We also installed another window in the farmhouse to keep grandma warmer this winter, did some pruning and pulled some depleted squash plants. Imagine my surprise when, after pulling a spent squash plant out of some tall grass, I found a zucchini the size of a baseball bat at the end. I had thought that the plant was dead weeks ago, but it had this hidden asset growing larger and larger. Now that fall has come, I'm very busy with the scholarship group, P.E.O., raising money for scholarships for women. We just awarded over $5,000 to women students who will be in college this fall. It takes a lot of time, but is very rewarding. The title of this post is from Calvin and Hobbes, the old comic strip. Calvin said that very thing so enthusiastically, that it makes me smile, even when I'm feeling a bit exhausted from what is being packed in the days.

The sky was a deep blue and the sun was bright and the air was clean and sweet on Sunday as we drove through the autumn colors of dun colored hills and bright orange, gold, yellow, and red foliage on the trees. We visited three artist's studios as part of Art Trails, an annual event in our area. There are so many participating artists that we can only get a taste of the talents. We purchased a mouth blown glass pitcher which the artist said is perfect for maple syrup; it can even be microwaved. We also purchased a salt glazed bowl just perfect for fall side dishes like mashed potatoes or polenta. It has warm, earthy colors...very fall like.

In keeping with the fall theme, I have a recipe for Apple Crunch, made with apples from our tree, walnuts from a different tree in the yard, and lots of good, healthy rolled oats. Since it is a sweet baked good and pretty healthy, it makes a good addition to the event by Joanna called Heart of the Matter. This time the heart healthy recipes should be baking recipes. This one uses fresh, unpeeled apples for lots of vitamins and fiber, plus a crisp topping that uses a tiny amount of butter, but that butter could be replaced with a heart healthy kind of spread or margarine. The nuts and oats add more fiber and good vitamins and minerals. Serve it with hot apple cider that has been seasoned with a little sprinkle of cinnamon and you have a fall treat that is good for you.

Elle's Apple Crunch

tart apples, unpeeled, washed, quartered, and cored, then each quarter cut into slices about 1/2 inch thick to make 4 cups
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter or heart healthy spread or margarine
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 cup rolled oats, quick cooking if possible
1/8 teaspoon each baking powder, salt, & soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg or allspice
1/4 cup coarsely broken walnuts
Stir together apples, lemon juice and the 1/4 cup of brown sugar. Place in a shallow baking dish that has been sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Place in a preheated 350 degree F oven and bake, covered, for 25 minutes. The apples will be soft and some juices will form.

While apples are cooking, melt the butter or spread or margarine in a small pan. Combine the 1/2 cup brown sugar, flour, rolled oats, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg or allspice in a medium bowl, mixing well. Pour the melted fat over the dry ingredients and stir well to mix completely. Add the walnuts and stir them in.
Remove the hot apples from the oven, uncover, and spread the crumby mixture over them, spreading evenly and covering the apples.

Bake another 25 to 30 minutes until the crunch topping is golden brown and crunchy.
Serve warm or cool and serve at room temperature or cold. (I think it tastes best warm)
Serves 6-8

9 comments:

Cheryl said...

OH I bet your house smelled amazing after making this. This would be so nice on a cold day all warmed up with some ice cream on it. Now look what you have done, I'm drooling.

Deborah said...

I love the fall, and recipes like this make it really feel like fall!!

Peabody said...

All of your produce always makes me so jealous.
What a great looking apple crisp.

Kelly-Jane said...

I was hoping for a picture of the hidded treasure! Your veg does always look so fab...

Is a crunch the same as a crisp? Looks great and I'm sure it smells so homey. I've been craving Ina's apple crisp / crumble can't remember it's actual name, but know where tio find it!

Anita said...

Your entry made me feel so autumn-y...so lovely. All that's happened here in SF is that it's turned grey and rainy. I need to get out of the city and do some fall activities before it's too late!

Elle said...

Cheryl, It did smell so good. Ice cream would undo the heart healthy thing, but would be tasty.

Deborah, Love the fall, too, and apple recipies are great for fall.

Peabody, Thanks! You will soon have a place to plant lots of things. I hear apple trees do very well in Washington State :)

Kelly-Jane, Got me!...I forgot the hidden treasure that went with 'the days are just packed'...love Calvin & Hobbes! A crunch is similar to a crisp, but most crisp recipies I've seen use unmelted butter, cut into the dry ingredients and this one uses melted butter. Give it a try...it's delicious.

Anita, I know what you mean...lots of gray and rain here except for one sunny Sunday.

The Passionate Palate said...

This looks perfect for fall and mouthwateringly good!

Kristen said...

Delicious looking "crunch". This is perfect for fall.

Elle said...

Jeni, It is a good fall dish and pretty yummy.

Kristen, It really does have a good crunch when you eat the toppig.