Sunday, November 1, 2009

Apple Oatmeal Crisp

Can you believe today is Nov 1? The beautiful beguiling weather the past week feels more like summer. Except Saturday morning. Stacy and I went to the market early Saturday morning groping our way up the Peninsula in the heavy fog that draped the roadways. The traffic was light on the highway and at the stalls around the market as it seemed the cool, damp weather kept folks tucked away somewhere warm. The Bay Bridge closure may have also discouraged people from making the trek to the market. Too bad because they missed the fall seasonal fruits and vegetables at their peak. Squashes, lovely Brussels sprouts, all sorts of root vegetables including turnips are available all around the market. The highlight for me, the apples right now are incredible. We stopped at the Apple Farm (Philo) stand to buy apples for an apple crisp that would punctuate our dinner with our friends Rich and Ann at our home Saturday night. We bought six Sierra Beauties, which are a wonderful cooking apple. Another really good apple is the pink lady which is available now through April from a farmer with a stand in the front of the Ferry building. The pink lady is a good snacking apple and really stands out in apple stuffing that I make to complement a crown pork roast that takes center stage at our family Christmas dinner. We also bought a dozen kumamoto oysters to go and two to eat there from George at Hog Island. The oysters are a creamy, briny treat this time of year. The dozen would be our appetizer at dinner with Rich and Ann.

We started the meal at 6:30 PM with oysters on the half shell from Hog Island accompanied by Hog Wash and cocktail sauce, Bellwether cresenza cheese and Acme baguette rounds which were complemented by two chardonnays, one from Lodi that Rich and Ann brought, and the Landmark Overloook that we served. We slurped the oysters and smeared the cheese on the bread rounds as Rich barbequed a 2.5 pound chateaubriand that he had marinated in cabernet and garlic for 24 hours. Meanwhile I boiled some purple potatoes from Zuckerman’s farm and steamed some dry-farmed haricot verts from Dirty Girl Produce in Santa Cruz. The meal was hearty and delicious.

Earlier in the afternoon Stacy and I did the prep to mis en place a tasty apple crisp using the sierra beauty apples. Stacy popped the desert in the oven when the meat went onto the grill so that it would be done and piping hot when we finished our entrĂ©e. It was served with a dollop of homemade vanilla ice cream that I froze after lunch. The apple crisp is a home dessert that was commonly served in the fall at family dinners. It’s easy to make.

Here’s the recipe:
Apple Oatmeal Crisp
6 firm apples (Sierra beauty or pink lady work well) cored, peeled, and cut into ¼ inch slices
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 lemon minced
¼ cup calvados (or a high quality brandy)
¾ cup light brown sugar
½ cup unsalted butter
¾ cup flour
½ cup regular rolled oats
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground nutmeg

Mix together apples, lemon juice, lemon zest, and brandy. Place in a buttered 9-inch round cake pan. Mix sugar, butter, flour, oats, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg until crumbly. Scatter evenly on top of apple mix. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Serve warm (it’s really good with vanilla ice cream).

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