7 October 2006
Last Wednesday, C-boy’s class was going to (our favorite!) local apple orchard. Z-boy’s class was supposed to walk to the Farmer’s Market, where our favorite orchard has a stand (but his trip got cancelled due to thunderstorms). And T-boy and Jonski Papa had to accompany me to the Farmer’s Market, since my immobilized arm couldn’t readily manage the CSA share pickup. The three of us stopped by the Wasem corner in the market to pick up our favorite cider, some honeycrisp apples (which I discovered and loved at least 2 years before they got noticed by the paper), and plums. Then I was tempted by some vintage / heritage apples at another stand, and picked up a quart of Greenings. We also bought some ginger gold apples at yet another stand, but they seem to have passed their prime as they have gotten pretty soft.
Friday was apple baking day in C-boy’s class. I’d volunteered to help before my accident. His teacher reassured me that they could probably manage without me, or I could come and help as much as possible. So I went, and helped C-boy’s group – 5 boys in an apple pie group. With the crusts pre-made, our task was pretty simple. We had an apple peeling machine, which was used with great gusto by our team. Once we had “apple slinkies”, we broke them up by hand into our mixing bowl rather than chop them. Given their enthusiasm with the peeler, I think I’m glad none of them were wielding knives! We mixed in some cinnamon, sugar, and cornstarch, then spooned onto the crust.
There were two pie groups (for a total of 4 pies), two crisp groups (apple crisp with flour, apple crisp with oatmeal), and one muffin group. Since I didn’t get to stay for the taste off, C-boy’s teacher sent a muffin home for me to try, and it was quite tasty.
So I’m not sure if I was inspired by the apple day muffins, or the overwhelming quantity of apples in our fruit drawer, but either way, I decided to make muffins on Sunday (using 1 Greening and 1 Ginger Gold). Since our apple peeler got left at school over the weekend, I had to chop the apples for these muffins by hand. I thought I’d use some apple cider as part of the liquid, to add an extra apple punch. And once I started mixing, I realized I was low on vegetable oil, so I did the “low-fat substitution” trick of substituting some applesauce for the missing oil. The result I named:
Triple Apple Muffins
1 cup milk + 1/2 cup apple cider
3/4 cup vegetable oil + 1/4 cup applesauce
2 medium apples, peeled and chopped
4 cups flour (I used 1.5 c whole wheat + 1.5 c white + 1 c wheat germ)
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 Tablespoons baking powder
1.5 teaspoons salt
topping: 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup chopped pecans, 1 tsp cinnamon
Tip: prepare crumble topping and apple before preheating oven.
Heat oven to 400F. Prepare 24 muffin cups (I usually use liners, but was out today so used non-stick spray).
Mix 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup chopped pecans, and 1 tsp cinnamon in small bowl and set aside.
Beat eggs; stir in milk (and cider), oil (and applesauce), and chopped apples. Stir in remaining ingredients all at once until flour is moistened (batter will be lumpy).
Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full. Put a spoonful of streusel topping on each muffin. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Immediately remove from oven.
Cooking with one arm immobilized isn’t as hard as I’d feared, but does take a little extra time. Some containers are really hard to open. Some tasks are nearly impossible, so I hand them off – such as lifting (or pouring from) heavy pots, dumping or scraping from a lifted pan, using our garlic press, etc. Knife work is possible but requires some extra attention. There are times when I wish the counter were higher, and times when it could be lower (like when i need to hold something still for chopping with my left hand). But I’m managing!