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Food a La Carte

"Apples For The New Year"

Apples

"Apples For The Month Of January"

Welcome to the January 2018 edition of Food a La Carte! Here it is, the start of a new year once again. The holidays are in the recent past, along with all the indulgent, calorie-packed foods of the season. Many of us are now looking for some lighter, yet still satisfying fare for the remaining winter months. We're starting off 2018 at Food a La Carte with amazing apples!

Apples are delicious in so many different ways, from right off the tree fresh, to cooked, canned, baked, eaten almost any way, apples are great. Did you know there are over seven thousand different varieties of apples? Apples are grown in over thirty states, so we are lucky and can enjoy apples year-round. Red and Golden Delicious apples are among the most popular for eating out of hand. Jazz apples are great to eat out of hand, too. For cooking, including this month's recipes, I find Gala or Fuji apples work especially well, in addition to the typical Granny Smith apples.

Apples are the second most consumed whole-fruit in the United States, right behind bananas. We love apples; the average American eats 19 pounds of apples every year and the health benefits of apples are numerous. All varieties of apples are fat and sodium free, packed with fiber, vitamin C, potassium and other nutrients to help lower cholesterol and ward off illness. So, it's not just an old-wives saying, "An apple a day will keep the doctor away." Be sure to eat the skin of the apple whenever possible, as the skin has the highest concentration of nutrients. And it tastes good, too!

Our first recipe is Pork Chops with Apples and Onions. This recipe is a winner for so many reasons. Pork, combined either with apples or onions is wonderful, but combine all three and things go to a whole new level of eating! The ingredients really are perfection when combined... Dijon mustard, classic winter savory seasonings sage, rosemary, thyme, oh my! Pure heaven.

In addition to tasting fabulous, Pork Chops with Apples and Onions only dirties one pan. Don't you just love that? I know I do! As always, please feel free to adjust the recipe to your family's tastes. And use what you have on hand, boneless pork chops would work just fine, too. Just adjust your cooking time so that the boneless chops don't dry out. And dried herbs work fine, if you don't have fresh ones.

The second recipe is Apple Fritter Bread. Ok, I can't just go "cold turkey" from the holiday sweets. I love them just too much! This recipe combines two delicious treats, apple fritters and sweet bread, into one mouth-watering loaf of wonderful. This recipe works really well with Granny Smith, Jazz or Gala apples, or any combination of these apples. The addition of cinnamon apple sauce really intensifies the apple cinnamon flavor of this loaf. The glaze really is reminiscent of an apple fritter; be sure to poke holes in the loaf before glazing if you'd like the glaze to penetrate the entire loaf. You're welcome.

I hope you enjoy this month's recipes. I am adding the Pork Chops with Apples and Onions to the regular rotation. I had made this recipe many years ago, but lost the recipe. I'm so glad I found it for the cold months to come. This recipe is so flavorful, just simple boiled or baked potato would suffice for a side dish. The Apple Fritter Bread is a combination of favorite flavors, how could it possibly go wrong? If you feel the need to lighten it up, you could substitute whole milk for the heavy cream in the glaze. But, I'm thinking addition, rather than substitution; a layer of walnuts on top of the apples, maybe? Definitely. Use your imagination, make the recipe your own.

This month's edition ends our Food a La Carte article series here at LouisaOnline.Com. Thank you for reading. Look for my future articles periodically in our "Perspectives" section.

We hope you have enjoyed Food a La Carte!

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Pork Chops with Apples and Onions

Pork Chops with Apples and Onions

Prep. time: 10 minutes; Cook time: 16 minutes - Servings: 4

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil divided
  • 4-4 oz bone-in pork chops
  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard or whole-grain Dijon
  • 1 Tbsp fresh sage chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh rosemary chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (to your taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (to your taste)
  • 2 medium apples thinly sliced
  • 1 small red onion thinly sliced

DIRECTIONS:

  1. 1. Season both sides of pork chops with kosher salt and black pepper. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to large heavy bottomed pan and heat over medium-high heat. Add pork chops to pan, leaving at least an inch between the chops to ensure even cooking and browning. Sear 3-5 minutes per side, until pork chops are mostly done. (Pork chops will finish cooking in the sauce later.)

  2. Remove pork chops to a plate.

  3. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together chicken stock and mustard, set aside.

  4. Add remaining 1 Tbsp oil to the pan, then add apples and onions. Cook 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt, pepper, sage, rosemary, and thyme. Stir to combine.
  5. Pour in stock mixture and stir, gently scraping the bottom of the pan to release any brown bits (those are full of great flavor).
  6. Slide pork chops back into the pan, nestling them down in between the apples.
  7. Cook 2-3 minutes, until pork chops are finished cooking and liquid has reduced by half.

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Apple Fritter Bread

Apple Fritter Bread

Prep: 15 Minutes - Cook Time: Aprox 1 hour - Serves: 8

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 apples, peeled, cored and finely diced
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon applesauce
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons butter, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons heavy cream (may need more)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven 350 F.

  2. Grease and flour a loaf pan. Set aside.

  3. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon and set aside.

  4. Sprinkle apples with 3 tablespoons of cinnamon sugar mixture, set aside.

  5. In a large bowl cream together butter and granulated sugar.

  6. Add eggs and vanilla extract.

  7. Stir in applesauce.

  8. In a separate bowl stir together flour and baking powder.

  9. Add flour mixture into the wet mixture until just combined.

  10. Stir in buttermilk. (Batter will be slightly lumpy. Do not over stir)

  11. Place half of the batter evenly into the loaf pan.

  12. Spread on half of the apple mixture.

  13. Sprinkle some cinnamon-sugar mixture over apples evenly. (Save any leftover mixture for another loaf)

  14. Press apples into batter very slightly.

  15. Lay a few pieces of thinly sliced butter on top.

  16. Repeat layers, pressing the apples gently into the batter very slightly.

  17. Bake on middle rack for 50-60 minutes.

  18. Let loaf rest in pan for about 15 minutes, remove from pan and place on a cooling rack to cool completely.

  19. While loaf is cooling, stir together the powdered sugar and heavy cream until a glaze forms.

  20. Poke holes in top of bread and drizzle glaze over cooled bread. Let sit for the glaze to firm up.

  21. Slice and serve!

ENJOY!