When I was little, I had a book called “Hurry, Hurry!” and in case you did not also have this book, I will give you a little spoiler-laden plot synopsis here.
“Hurry, Hurry!” (by Edith Thacher Hurd, and illustrated by Clement Hurd) is about silly old Miss Muggs, who comes to take care of little Suzie while her parents are away, and who is always in such a rush that she gets tangled up with all sorts of people–the milkman, the old lady walking her dogs–and causes them woe. They all warn her, “Slow down, or something worse will happen!” But Miss Muggs does not heed them. People like Miss Muggs just never heed warnings, thank goodness, or we would never have books to read. The foretold Something Worse turns out to be knocking into a workman with a pot of glue (this was back before billboards were made of vinyl and just manifested by the side of the road, so cast your mind back). Poor Miss Muggs is covered in the stuff. All the people she has collided with gather around, and they promise to help scrape it off as long as she promises to stop telling Suzie to hurry. But when they get to her shoes, Miss Muggs cannot help herself. “Hurry, or Suzie will be late for school!” she blurts out, and Suzie calls a stop to the cleaning. Leave the glue on her shoes, she commands. And so Miss Muggs learns a new pace.
I tracked this book down when my first daughter was little (speaking of casting your mind back), and she did not like it, not one little bit. She had enough of Miss Muggs live and in person, I think. She did like a book called “The Seven Silly Eaters,” (by Mary Ann Hoberman, drawings by Marla Frazee), which tells the story of a family of children whose extremely particular tastes in food run their mother ragged.
Creamy oatmeal, pots of it!
Homemade bread, and lots of it!
Peeling apples by the peck, Mrs. Peters was a wreck!
As a person of somewhat particular tastes herself at the time, this daughter found the whole thing entirely hilarious, especially the solution to their woes, which came when they discovered the pleasant result of combining their individual favorites. Combining foods! It had her rolling on the floor every time.
Life has been a little Hurry, Hurry around here. But mercifully, this has been a record-setting apple season. And peeling peck after peck has allowed enough applesauce to accumulate on the bottom of my shoes that I now move at a stately pace, with the result that I may soon perish under a landslide of apples. My parents’ orchard is unmoved by falling leaves or freezing nights, and continues to churn out bushels of apples; meanwhile, my husband’s car is a home for wayward fruit. If there is a tree by the soccer field, the library, the side of the road, he fills a bag or his shirt or a boot, or just parks under it with the sunroof open and gives the tree a good shake, and brings those home, too. There is a thin film of apple pectin on every surface in the kitchen, top-side and underneath, except where there are thicker globs.
There was a great deal of satisfaction, when the season got underway (especially given that last year was kind of a dud in this regard), in practicing a kind of nose-to-tail apple processing. I would make applesauce, and then make juice from the cores and peelings and reject apples, and then the pulp from the juicer became fruit leather, and other noses got to send the remainder down to their tails.
At this point, maybe 11 bushels in, maybe more, hard to say, I think probably more, yeah, it seems definitely like more than 11, more like 15 or possibly 90, I am ready to be a little more cavalier. I am generous with apples (bless the hungry soccer teams!) and eager to find uses for apple by-products.
I once called my dad at work and he begged leave to call me later—“I am up to my ass in alligators at the moment,” he said, which was a compelling image. Early testers tell me that even if you are not to up to your elbows in applesauce, this is a good use of your time. If time is at a premium, you could, of course, start with applesauce brought into existence by a person other than yourself. Or, if you find you are running low on apples or applesauce, you could swing by here. Just be patient after you knock. I may be slow getting to the door.
Apple Barbecue Sauce
I have a great recipe for BBQ sauce, which involves peeling and grating an apple, and also slicing and mincing and dicing a whole bunch of other stuff. This is not that recipe. This one could maybe be enhanced by some mincing and slicing and sautéing and the like, and you go right ahead if that’s your feeling. Enhance away. Add more heat, or some mustard, or make it sweeter. I was looking for plug and play satisfaction, and I found it. As to the uses of this substance, so far I have roasted some chicken parts in it, and also made a pulled chicken that ended up in burritos and sandwiches and was by far the tastier application. People have also been seen using it in place of ketchup on a potato, and looking pleased, and we got a little Tex Mex Italiano action going with a pizza using this as the sauce.
If you don’t have a little container of chipotle in adobo sauce in your freezer, (a) why not? and (b) you could substitute the hot sauce of your choosing–a few tsp or a T, depending on its heat and your tolerance for same. The chipotles get a little smokiness into play and it works well with the apple-ness, so add a little smoked paprika if you have that instead.
- 4-6 apples (or 2c applesauce)
- ½ c ketchup, or 1/3 c tomato paste, plus water to make ½ c
- 1 chipotle pepper
- 2T oil
- 1T cider vinegar
- 2T tamari or soy sauce
- 1T chile powder (aim for pure powdered dried chiles, and not the spice mix sold as chili powder)
- 2t ground cumin
Core the apples, but do not peel them, and chop into chunks. Put the apple chunks in a 2-quart saucepan with water or apple cider to come half way up the volume of the apples. Cook at a stead boil until the apples are quite soft, stirring as needed to prevent scorching the bottom, and use an immersion blender and good sense to get that nice and smooth without burning your eyeball.
Stick 2 cups of this applesauce in a blender with the other stuff. Taste for your preferred level of saltiness and sweetness and heat. Pow, you’re done.
- 2# boneless chicken thighs
- 2 c BBQ sauce
- 3-4T oil
Heat the oil, salt and pepper the thighs and and brown them in a heavy casserole on both sides. Cover with 1c. of the sauce, and toss to coat. Cover the pan, and cook at a low simmer, or (my preferred method) stick the covered pot in a 250 degree oven, and cook for an hour or two, until the chicken pulls apart easily (check it midway through the cooking; if it seems dry, add a little water). Pull it with two forks, and add the remaining cup of sauce; serve it sloppy on a bun, or over rice, or bake it uncovered at 350 for a half hour to let some parts crisp up. Pow, you’re done.