11 March 2009

Homemade Applesauce

My friend Justine, who is a cooking fiend, is cutting back. She is the kind of person who can whip up scones without a recipe and bake them without a clock or timer, just by "feel." She can confidently make pretty much anything in any cuisine and not take too much time about it. At least, that's my impression. Furthermore, she was raised in Santa Cruz and is practically half hippie because of it. So I was surprised to find that she was so tired and pressed for time that she and her boyfriend Mario have decided to have peanut butter sandwiches, scrambled eggs, or canned soup for dinner for a while. We all know how she feels. We have all been in that place. So I am posting this recipe for all the Justines out there. This recipe is home cooking at its best. It fills the house with unbelievably comforting aromas, it's cheap, it's healthy, it takes about a minute to clean up, it looks like sludge and it tastes like candy. And it's really quick.

I don't know where I got this recipe from in 1999. I'm sorry if it's yours and I am not citing your work.

4 or 5 cooking applies, like Cortland or Stayman
1/2 C. apple cider or juice
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. allspice
1 pinch nutmeg
NO SUGAR (or you'll get a cavity instantly)

Peel apples. Chop very roughly. Meanwhile, heat up all other ingredients in a wide fry pan or saucepan. Swirl to combine. When the liquid is simmering, add apples. Simmer, stirring once every five minutes, until it's easy to mash apple pieces with a wooden spoon. You are allowed to forget about it for a while and do something else because it won't burn and it won't stick. Serve warm or room temperature.

This recipe is made insanely fast by the use of the ingenious device pictured above. It is called an Apple Peeler Corer Slicer, and that is exactly what it does. This is a good way to get gear-heads into the kitchen.

I have a philosophy of cooking implements. Maybe you are cheap and won't buy anything more than you absolutely need. But sometimes the addition of a special tool or two makes cooking something healthy so much faster and easier that it markedly improves your diet. My rice cooker is a case in point. It costs over $100 and is big but I think it's worth it. Doug does not cook anything because he thinks cooking's too hard and not worthwhile, but even he uses a rice cooker every day to make perfect, hands-off rice. He eats brown rice for breakfast and dinner, and he's lost a lot of weight and feels better. Now nobody bought this apple peeler corer slicer, Doug just got it from his best friend when his best friend still thought he might cook stuff sometimes. But because of it we can eat something healthy and warming for breakfast, dinner, and dessert in the winter and we do, often. I think that's a good thing.

Also it looks cool.

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