Sweet Potato, Apple, Cranberry. Perfect Trifecta.

Sweet Potato Side2

Because I have an undying love for apples, I have decided to continue the trend and share another recipe featuring these autumn beauties. 

The other day I was talking with a friend and she mentioned how overwhelming it can be in the produce department with all the new apple varieties. “What ever happened to Yellow Delicious, Red Delicious and Granny Smith?” While I agree that it can be confusing, please remember that in general, apples are apples. I know, I know. I am about to be burned at the stake by foodies near and far. But, I really do think that some of us (even me, on occasion) get hung up on the small stuff. This is the time of year apples are cheap, so if you haven’t heard of that-variety-over-there before, pick one out, take it home and give it a taste. Is it sweet? Sour? Bitter? Crunchy? Soft? Most importantly, do you honestly like it?

My friend listened to my answer, smiled, then asked if I could just help her skip to the end of the process and tell her what to buy. I figured she is not alone, so I put together this list to help.

 There are over 7,500 apple varieties.

I have scavenged my local grocery stores and listed the most widely available here in the mid-west.

* Indicates variety can be used for either baking or sauce, but they appear in the category where they perform the best.

Baking Apples

*Braeburn, *Cortland, Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Melrose, Mutsu, Northern Spy, Pink Lady, Rhode Island Greening, Rome Beauty, *Winesap

Sauce Apples

Gravenstein, Ida Red, *Jonamac, *Jonathan, Liberty, *Maiden Blush, McIntosh, *Newtown Pippin (should be cold-stored for 1-2 months before eaten to reduce bitterness), *Snow

AND NOW FOR THE RECIPE…

Sweet Potato Side

Sweet Potato, Apples & Cranberries

Makes 4 (small) servings

Ingredients:
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bit-sized pieces
1 medium granny smith apple, cored, peeled, and diced into 1/2 inch pieces
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
1 1/2 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

(sugar and cinnamon for dusting)

Preparation A:
• Mix all ingredients together.
• Place in a Ziploc brand steamer bag and seal.
• Microwave on high for 8-9 minutes or until sweet potatoes are fork-tender.
• Allow bag to stand for 1 minute before pour contents into a serving dish.

Dust with sugar and cinnamon to taste.

OR

Preparation B:
• Mix all ingredients together.
• Place in sauce pan and add 1/4 cup water. Cover.
• Steam over medium heat for 20 minutes or until sweet potatoes are fork-tender.
• Remove from heat and let stand for 1 minute before transferring to a serving dish.

Dust with sugar and cinnamon to taste.

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Spiced Applesauce Snack Cake (Gluten Free)

Applesauce Cake

I often wonder why pumpkins get all the glory in the fall. Maybe it’s because the green mermaid company started squirting the flavor in everything, or maybe it goes all the way back to that little cartoon-kid and his obsession with the ‘great’ one. However it started, I find it disheartening that the ‘other’ fall flavor doesn’t get much credit.

Growing up at the farm house, my spring, summer, and fall were filled with visions of apple blossoms, bees, buds, and finally tiny round green promises that I watched grow into big beauties.

In the fall our lawn was never mowed in the straight lines and patterns that I so often enjoyed creating on the John Deere. Instead, there where zigzags. Swaths of grass cut on strange angles were evidence of my trips back and forth to the tree line so I could pick another snack off a low branch. The neighbor’s horse benefited, too. A handful of imperfect apple always made it across the fence to old JoAnn as I roared by.

We had many varieties of trees. Early apples, mid-season, and late, we were rarely without the fruit from August through October. This translates to a lot of apple recipes in my family. Here is one of the most recent – don’t let the Gluten Free label put you off, it will surprise you, and delight you. Maybe we can all work together and give the apple her glory days back.

John Deere

Spiced Applesauce Snack Cake

Ingredients

7 ½ ounces gluten free flour blend*

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon xanthan gum

3 large eggs

½ cup granulated sugar (3 ½ ounces)

¼ cup light brown sugar (packed) (1 ¾ ounces)

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon cloves

4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

¾ cup applesauce (unsweetened)

1 teaspoon vanilla

(Optional – local apple butter for topping.)

*Gluten Free Flour Blend

24 ounces white rice flour (4 ½ cups, plus 1/3 cup) (one bag of Bob’s Red Mill brand)

7 ½ ounces brown rice flour (1 2/3 cups)

7 ounces potato starch (not potato flour) (1 1/3 cup)

3 ounces tapioca starch (also called tapioca flour) (3/4 cup)

¾ ounce nonfat milk powder (3 tablespoons)

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and set oven rack in the center position.

Lightly grease one 8 inch square cake pan, or two bread loaf pans. Cut parchment paper to fit the bottom of pan(s) and line the bottoms. Lightly grease parchment as well.

Whisk together gluten free flour blend, baking powder, baking soda and xanthan gum in a small bowl. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl (do not use stand mixer for this recipe) whisk eggs, sugars, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves until well combined and eggs are light in color. Slowly add melted butter while whisking until combined. Incorporate apple sauce and vanilla. Last, add the dry flour mixture and thoroughly combine. Mixture should be smooth.

Pour batter into prepared pan(s). Bake until cake tester comes out clean – about 30 minutes – rotating pan(s) half way through baking time.

Cool completely before storing. Cake can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored for up to three days in the refrigerator.