Homemade Backyard Apple Crisp from Super Scratch

Making Apple Crisp

Inspired by a guest who posted about making apple crisp from my first cookbook, now affectionately called “The Red Book,” it didn’t take long for me to decide to do the same. We do, however, need to back up a bit to start from super scratch.

Step one, plant the apple trees. Step two, wait five years. Step three, make apple crisp. That’s all. No worries, right? No one will think worse of you if you buy your apples at the store like most normal people.

Homemade From Scratch Apple Crisp

Apple Crisp
As it was cooling on the counter, Ella came into the house after school with the phrase of the day, “Okay!  What is it.  Where is it.  And can I have some.”

12 tart apples
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter (2 1/4 sticks)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel, core, and slice the apples into 1/4-inch wedges.  Toss them with the rest of the filling ingredients in a large bowl and transfer to an ungreased 9 x 13-inch pan. In the same bowl, combine the topping ingredients.  Cut the butter in with a pastry knife until the mixture is coarsely blended; mixture should be crumbly. Transfer the topping over the apple mixture and bake for 45 minutes or until lightly browned and the liquid in the apples is dark and bubbly.

Makes 12 servings

Houses that smell like baked apples and cinnamon are the best!


Risotto with Cherry Tomatoes, Green Beans and Basil

All of the seasons are lovely in their own way, but the fall is my favorite, partly because of how beautiful the changes in nature are.  On the other hand, fall is essentially a season of winding down and saying goodbye, really, to the wide-open busyness of summer and this always come with a certain amount of wistfulness for me.  Some of the signs that signal the beginning of the end are visible.  The darkness, of course, comes earlier in the evenings and the constellation Orion is in full view in the morning sky.   My mornings on our Maine windjammer are greeted by a deep darkness, punctuated only by stars and moonlight.  The air is crisp, cleaner, sharper somehow and the colors of ruby and amber are just starting to show amidst the dark green of the evergreens.

One of the dishes that is a favorite of mine when the weather turns cooler is risotto.  This one, however, still has several nods to the summer with the basil, tomato and green beans while still satisfying with it’s heartiness.

Cherry Tomatoes

Risotto with Cherry Tomatoes, Green Beans and Basil

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup minced onion
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups Arborio rice, short grain white rice
1 cup white wine
7 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3/4 cup grated Parmegiano Regiano cheese
2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
2 cups fresh green beans, destemed and cut in half lengthwise
2 tablespoons basil

Melt butter in stockpot over medium high heat.  Add minced onion and salt.  When onions are translucent, add rice and stir.  Add the wine and 1/3 of the stock and stir.  Reduce heat to medium low and continue to add water as needed.  It is not necessary to continually stir, just keep coming back to the pot and checking the liquid level occasionally.  When most of the liquid is incorporated, about 20 minutes, add the green beans and the rest of the liquid.  When the rice is al dente, meaning that you can feel the tiniest crunch in the center of the grain, add the cheese, tomatoes and basil.  Serve immediately.

Serves 6 to 8

Chef Annie
Wishing summer lasted a little longer

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