Someday, I will create an organization that takes food from food banks that’s too ugly to serve to the people the food gets sent to (and my department sends food to kids, so anything with the slightest blemish qualifies as “too ugly”) and reinvents it. Ugly tomatoes become tomato sauce, delicious and healthy. Ugly bananas become banana bread. Stale bread becomes bread pudding (and, in a particularly genius flash, get this- the unhealthy dessert-y things, rather than given to food-insecure people who already get crappy unhealthy food, can be marketed as treats and sold as something benefitting a nonprofit. This will create an income stream, use up unwanted food, and let people feel good about themselves for buying bread pudding).
In the meantime, I will do it on a small scale in my own house. Lately, with apples. Billions of apples.
Fact: when you get a large produce donation at the food bank, it often means that produce is kinda busted. It still tastes good, it’s still healthy, but it’s not winning beauty contests. Let’s be honest, that’s why they’re donating it.
Thanks, Quebec! Still generous!
So here’s what you do for a MINIMUM of effort:
Who doesn’t love ‘em?
Slice or chop up as many apples as you can cram in there (about 12, in my case). No need to peel; they get super soft and it’s easier not to and it improves fiber. So to me it just seems insane to peel them. But I guess you can if you really hate being healthy and having your life be easy. Chopping the apples makes it more puree-y, keeping them in slices makes it more like pie. A personal choice.
I like to throw in a cinnamon stick and perhaps some orange peel for seasoning. I’ve tried a cardamom-ginger-nutmeg variation that was good. The pineapple core I threw in one time added a certain je ne sais quoi. (Yes, I HAVE made this a lot!)
Regardless, the end result, after, say, four hours on high or 8-10 hours on low, will be delectable.
Amazing combo: homemade applesauce with Greek yogurt! Apple pie a la mode, practically, ish; ‘cept with protein and fiber. Packed it for lunch many a day.
I’ve also just in general been throwing together random creations with sliced/chopped/grated/pureed apple in them for various social occasions.
These I threw together ridiculously haphazardly and they tasted like APPLE FRITTERS. And they weren’t even that unhealthy! Holy cow!
2 T butter
2 T canola oil
2 T molasses
2 T sugar
1 cup plain ol’ white flour
2 T spelt flour
2 T wheat germ
2 small apples, finely chopped
Beat together butter through sugar. Stir in dry ingredients. Fold in apples. Form blobs and bake at 350 for 13 minutes or so. Makes 9.
Amazing texture. The egg/molasses/butter thing just… worked, man.
So, there were more. Many more. There are still more. There will still be more.
Frankly, the pressure is starting to get to me. If anyone has any thoughts on what to do with these (or suggestions for what to bake with them :D), send them my way!
In the meantime, I will chop. Chop and slice.
As directed in the recipe for Vegan Apple Ring Cake. I am so not a vegan, but I am always reluctant to use my delicious farmer’s market eggs in a way that they and their extraordinary flavor will largely disappear into a batter and they’ll be used simply for their leavening.
Anyway, this wasn’t vegan because I used real buttermilk :D
But I just decided that I really wanted to make a bundt. I think they’re so cool looking; we inherited my grandma’s bundt pan; and the one and only time I made a bundt in my life I was in probably high school and we’d gotten a bundt baking mix but it was a layered bundt with like a crumb topping type thing… except in the middle… anyway upon inverting it from the pan it promptly fell apart.
Mind you, it was delicious, but consider this my bundt redemption recipe.
Reasonably healthful, with some whole wheat flour; healthy fats; and apple chunks folded in…
… and apple slices atop, sprinkled with sugar (they said turbinado; all I had was brown).
Gorgey porgey out of the oven.
And the smell! That little bit of rum you put in really gives it a special oomph!
Waited a safe interval of time to invert it, and held my breath given past experience…
Gorgeous! Very pleased.
I actually froze it for a shindig I’m planning next week. Per my grandma’s freezing methodology: in plastic wrap, then foil. Cakes generally freeze beautifully.
Not just apples, I’ve also brought home a few bruised and busted pears.
Ginger pear preserves, from Cooking Light, sounded swell.
I combined the ingredients, with a few substitutions (2/3ded everything; was outta lemons so used grapefruit; didn’t have the liqueur so I used some old stale ginger ale; reduced the sugar and accidentally added too much water. I am klassy.)
Things seemed to be bubbling along nicely in the second round of boiling (when the recipe said wait 12 hours, I waited… 19? But that shouldn’t matter, right?!)
Anyway… it was suddenly… mahagony.
Proving not for the first time I was not an expert jam maker in a past life; I made caramel.
So I shrugged, threw some sea salt in there (duh, salted caramel) and pretended it was deliberate. Can’t quite summon up the nerve to taste it, but the boy is excited.