When I had the opportunity recently to buy a bushel of fresh-picked Jonathan apples, I jumped at the chance.
We're talking homegrown Jonathans, my favorite fall apple. Jonathans are not good "keepers" and are available only in the fall so must be enjoyed in season.
My beautiful bushel of apples had not been waxed and polished, monogrammed or labeled, nor screened for uniformity. Nope, they were ordinary orchard apples. I even saw a few specks on a couple of them, but to me, they were gorgeous. I could not resist, so I bit into one and savored the juicy, crisp and tart taste.
I peeled, cored, sliced and turned out a multitude of fragrant baked goods — a homey cobbler that I baked in a cast-iron skillet, then a picture-perfect apple pie, and some delightful French tarts that I served with a scoop of vanilla-bean ice cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce to a roomful of culinary students.
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Next came the fresh apple cake followed by homemade applesauce. Eyeing my basket, I noticed that I had made a big dent in my Jonathans, but still had a good amount left. What was I thinking buying a whole bushel?
Pondering my dilemma as I cleaned up the kitchen, I put my paring knife away: It was time to visit friends and share my bounty.
I have a recipe for apple pie that calls for cinnamon and nutmeg, but I notice there is something called apple pie spice in the grocery store. Can this be used instead of the cinnamon and nutmeg? If so, what amount? And can it be used in anything else?
Apple pie spice is a blending of spices, usually cinnamon, nutmeg and sometimes allspice or other spices. It is fine to use as a replacement for the spices called for in the apple pie recipe. If your recipe calls for 1 1/4 teaspoons of cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg, you would add them together and substitute 1 3/4 teaspoons apple pie spice. If you do not normally have cinnamon and nutmeg in your spice cabinet, apple pie spice is a good option as you only need to purchase one item rather than two or more. Apple pie spice may be used in apple cake, apple cupcakes and other baked goods with apples.
Could you explain the difference between soy sauce and tamari sauce? They seem the same to me, but my friend insists tamari is the better choice.
Soy sauce originated in China and is primarily made with soybeans. When soy sauce was introduced in Japan, it was called tamari and was made with miso, a Japanese seasoning produced by fermenting rice, barley and soybeans. Tamari is Japanese soy sauce but is very similar to the Chinese soy sauce as it usually does not contain wheat. However, some commercially prepared soy sauces contain wheat in addition to soybeans. If a wheat allergy is present, read the label as ingredients will vary by the producer.