Sunday, October 01, 2006

Pumpkin & Apples

Whew - yesterday's cooking kept me so busy that I didn't even have time to get it all blogged and ready for reading.

It's a cool, drizzly weekend here in PA, perfect time for baking. I picked up a couple of bags of apples at Wegmans this week and I need to make sure that they get used.

First up yesterday, apple pancakes. As I mentioned earlier, we have a running whole grains thread over on the CLBB. I knew I wanted to bake some muffins this weekend, but when I saw this recipe, I knew I had to try these - today!

These are delicious. I did not have Granny Smith, so I used Ginger Gold - I think a tarter apple like the Granny Smith would probably work better to contrast the sweetness of the pancake and the syrup, but I wasn't disappointed with the Ginger Gold - really any kind of apple would produce a tasty result.

The original poster is quite correct - these really do have the texture of a flat muffin and they are just as delicate too, so you need to take care in making these. I started out on an anodized griddle, but they started sticking too much, so I switched to a nonstick saute pan. I was limited to making 3 at a time this way instead of 6, but it made flipping them much easier.

For years I have seen no reason to invest in an electric skillet, but I think I see one now. Trying to cook pancakes on a stove is just not working for me. I need a larger workspace, but the anodized skillet not only sticks a lot for me no matter how much oil I use, it also doesn't heat evenly because of one burner being smaller than the other, etc. I've considered getting a nonstick griddle, but I think an electric skillet would provide nice, even heating. Time to go shopping.......

The only thing I would like to tweak with these pancakes is the texture. Tall, fluffy pancakes are less attractive to me than the thinner ones. However, I don't know if that kind of texture can reasonably be expected with this type of pancake. I'm also very interested in trying a baked apple pancake - like this recipe from Epicurious.

Next up were pumpkin-apple muffins. Pumpkin and apples - what could be more representative of fall? The boys moaned several oohs and ahhs at the prospect of me making these muffins, so once I presented them as a possibility, there was no turning back.

These muffins were a big hit. My only disappointment was that the pumpkin overwhelmed the apples. Perhaps using Granny Smith would help the apples shine through more. Still, I did get hints of apple here and there and these were delicious enough to make again. For the full original recipe, please see this post on the CLBB - it includes suggestions for turning these into a vegan recipe, along with other notes.

It was my plan to make apple butter yesterday too, but I was a whirlwhind/disaster in the kitchen last night cooking dinner, so the apple butter didn't even enter into my consciousness until this morning. No worries, dinner was a success, I just made a big mess getting it on the table and felt like I was having an out-of-body experience, watching myself whirl around the kitchen, trying to make sure we got dinner on the table before bedtime!

Last night's dinner brought two more new recipes to the kitchen with a baked polenta dish with wild mushrooms and collard greens. I'll post those later today or tomorrow, depending on how much time I have to devote to it.

On the menu today (to be posted in the next day or two): apple butter, marinara, beef meatballs, and cranberry muffins. Whew.

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