You say apple, I say ample.
     My kitchen could make Johnny Appleseed barf. I mean, really. They’re lined up like little red and green obese soldiers on a granite battlefield.
     When you go apple picking it’s easy to get carried away. Trust me. I could keep an entire hospital away with all that we plucked from the nearby farm. I’m not complaining, though. In fact, I love it.
     The opportunities are endless. I’ve been from cabbage to curry.
     It’s a choice of all out sweetness or a surgary sparkle in something so savory. You get to make the call. How cool is that?
     Remember pork chops & apple sauce? Or Pork chawps & apple shaush? Peter Brady wasn’t a moron. It really is a good combination. I used the theme and altered it. Pork chops got a nice sear and a healthy bath from my BBQish sauce. The side dish was a seared and sauteed cabbage mixed with apples and Asian pears.
    The Asian pears, by the way, came from Strawberry Hill USA in Spartanburg County. They are delicious. You get the crunch of an apple and the slight sweetness of a pear. Try them.
     The apples, which came from Nivens Apple Farm in Spartanburg County, soften up and the Asian pears, stay somewhat firm. Together they give a texture that really stands up, yet somehow blends with the cabbage.
                                                                                   I used the apple/Asian pear combination to craft a turnover, too. This mixture, though, lent itself to a trip overseas. Cardamom, which is used in Indian cooking and European baking, and curry powder, which often includes cardamom, supported the sweetness of the fruit. The first bite lets you know that this isn’t your typical turnover. It’s somewhat of a tongue-twister. The pastry is flaky and buttery. The filling is soft, smooth, somewhat crunchy. You get a floral spark from the cardamom and a smoky, zesty nudge from the curry powder, which also gives the filling a nice color.
     These are yummy served with vanilla ice cream.
     And, you know me. I just can’t leave well-enough alone. So, I decided to cook down some apple cider to make a sauce. I boiled 1 1/2 cups of cider and 2 dashes of cinnamon for 15 minutes. I know that’s a lot of boiling, but it gives the sugars in the cider time to thicken. I removed the sauce from the heat and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Then I poured it over the ice cream and the turnover. The leftover sauce went into the fridge. If it cools completely, it’ll thicken a little more. It almost resembles caramel – the look, not the taste. It’s really just an intense apple cider flavor.
     The leftover sauce, which had been in the fridge, went on top of a warm apple doughnuts topped with vanilla ice cream.
                       I didn’t make the doughnut, gasp if you will. I got them from SkyTop Orchard in Flat Rock, NC. They are ridiculously sinful. They look like typical cake doughnuts, but let me tell you, they’re not. You get that smell and flavor that’s synonymous with fried-foods. So you know it’ll be good. The outside is somewhat crispy. The inside is like a cloud that the apple angels call home. If you get to go to that orchard, get 12 dozen. If you don’t get to go, be sad. Be very, very sad.
     Think I’m done? Nope.
     I was dying to make apple butter. I mean, I only have 500 apples. Not really, but close. I promise.
     There’s no butter in it and it doesn’t come in a stick. It gets the name from its thick, soft consistency and the instant desire you have to slather it all over anything and everything. The color comes from the deep caramelization of the natural sugars in the apples. The hardest part was peeling and coring the apples. I have a corer (not a fan of that word, makes me feel like I have peanut butter on the roof of my mouth) and a soft-skin peeler (thanks, Aunt Karen!). You could also use one of those devices that cores and quarters, but then you have to peel each segment. The soft-skin peeler, by the way, has little teeth that just pull up the skin. You salvage more apple that way.
     The apple butter was done in the slow cooker. Dump everything inside, then cook all night (or all day) and then mash the apples. Do it. It’s golden delicious!
     As for the spices in the apple butter: Buying them in their ground form may be pricey. I used whole cloves and whole all spice (both can usually be found in bags in the ethnic section of a grocery store) and let my Magic Bullet do the work. You could grind them with a mortar and pestle (then you can skip the gym, because it’s a word that rhymes with witch) or use a coffee grinder. Just make sure to wash whatever you use immediately. Those spices can be mean to certain materials.
     Well, don’t be a granny smith! Get going, fast! This is a magical time of year. The colors are changing right along with the temperatures. Pick a piece of the season. Wave your corer, scream “Applecadabra!” and have some Fall fun!
     Tip: When you’re out and try someone’s specialty don’t let it end there. At the apple farm we could’ve just eaten a doughnut and left. Instead, we took some home and made dessert with them for days. At a bakery we visited we took home a big loaf of bread. It became bread for awesome caprese pesto burgers and it was great for snacking. If you love something you try, figure out a way to make it last and grow into something even better!

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