Apple-Cinnamon Wontons

September 26, 2013

Bite-sized dessert: apple-cinnamon wontons

Bite-sized dessert: apple-cinnamon wontons

I got a free package of wonton wrappers from a Safeway promotion, so I cast about looking for ways to use them.  I’d never cooked with wontons before, so the giveaway was a good ploy to get me to try them.  I just might be hooked!

I found this recipe for Apple-Cinnamon Wontons a la Mode on the Weight Watchers website.  I liked it because it gave me one more way to use up some windfall apples.  I cooked my apples into applesauce before spooning them on to the wonton wrappers.  I made half a recipe, and one apple gave me enough filling for a dozen wontons.  I liked that I didn’t end up with a whole pie for dessert for just the two of us.

Here’s the recipe, copied from the above link, for your convenience:

Apple-Cinnamon Wontons a la Mode
from Weight Watchers

2 medium fresh apples, peeled, cored and minced
1 Tbsp packed light brown sugar
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
24 wonton wrappers
1-1/2 Tbsp powdered sugar
ice cream

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
  • In a medium bowl, combine apples, brown sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon; toss to coat apples.
  • Place wonton wrappers on a flat surface. Drop apple mixture by teaspoonfuls onto center of each wrapper. Moisten edges of wrapper with wet fingers, fold over one corner to make a triangle and press sides together to seal. Transfer filled wrappers to prepared baking sheet and coat surfaces with cooking spray.
  • Bake until wontons are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Place wontons on individual plates and sift powdered sugar on top. Serve with ice cream on the side. Yields 4 wontons, 1 teaspoon of powdered sugar and 1/2 cup of ice cream per serving.
Cutting the apple

Cutting the apple

Filling each wonton

Filling each wonton

The reward:  apple-cinnamon wontons a la mode

The reward: apple-cinnamon wontons a la mode

Fabio’s Fabulous Apple Cake

September 20, 2013

Watercolor sketch of apples

Watercolor sketch of apples

What to do with the gift of windfall apples from Colleen’s tree?  I tried this recipe for Fabio’s Apple Cake, which I found browsing the internet.  It’s very moist and did not taste like most of my traditional apple desserts because it lacks cinnamon.  I didn’t have an orange on hand for the zest, so I used the zest of one lime instead.  And this turned out to be a flavorful substitute.  You can find the recipe online at the above link, but I’ve copied it here for your convenience:

Fabio’s Apple Cake
3 cups of apple puree from pulsing in a food processor 3 or 4 peeled and cored apples
2 large eggs, plus one yolk
3/4 c granulated sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil
1 c all-purpose, unbleached flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp golden brown sugar for topping (I skipped this and sprinkled my cake with some leftover toasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds that I had on hand)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour a 9-inch round springform pan.

Beat together eggs and granulated sugar.  Add orange zest and vanilla and beat until eggs are foamy and light yellow in color.  Reduce speed to low and gradually add the olive oil in a steady stream.  Add the pureed apples and mix until combined.  Gradually add the flour and baking powder.  Do not over mix.

Bake for 1 hour, then cool in the pan for 10 minutes before placing on a platter.  Dust with powdered sugar and garnish with a mint sprig.

Planning my trip to New York City

Planning my trip to New York City

I have long wanted to take a trip to New York City and to finally see with my own eyes those sights and buildings made famous in so many movies and books.  And now my dream will come true!  Later this month, my husband and I will be traveling to NYC for four days in the city.

I’ve started a list of things I want to see and do:

  • Take a free ride on the Staten Island ferry for views of the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline
  • Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge
  • Buy a 7-day MetroCard for unlimited subway rides and use it to explore the city
  • Walk the High Line
  • Stop by the Union Square Greenmarket
  • Ride the Roosevelt Island tram
  • Visit the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue
  • Wander around Grand Central Station
  • Meander through Central Park
  • Visit the American Natural History Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Buy a hot dog from a street vendor
  • Search for NYC’s best pizza
  • Taste test some of NYC’s finest cheesecake
  • Eat a bagel (or two)
  • Score some tickets to a play

To get me in the mood, I’ve also re-read a classic, award-winning children’s book, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsberg.  It’s about two children, Claudia and her brother Jamie, who run away from home and hide out for one week in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

A classic juvenile novel that takes place in NYC

A classic juvenile novel that takes place in NYC

So, you can see, I am already enjoying myself as I plan for our trip.  I’d appreciate any suggestions from you, too.  What are your favorite NYC experiences and recommendations?

“A seed hidden in the heart of an apple is an orchard invisible.”
— Welsh proverb

Just-picked Fuji apples, Manson, WA

Chelan and Wenatchee are in the heart of Washington apple country, and the harvest has been underway for some time.  But we still saw many orchards laden with fruit, and hundreds of windfalls beneath the trees.  The rows of trees were a beautiful sight.

According to this Seattle Times article, “Washington state is the nation’s top apple grower and produces about 60 percent of the fresh apple crop.”  And this was an exceptionally good year.  We were driving the rural roads around Lake Chelan on a Sunday, so we didn’t see any pickers at work.

Here’s a look at what we did see:

Orchard supplies along Hwy 970 near Cashmere

Orchard along Hwy 97 nearing Chelan

Looking down the rows of apple trees, Manson, WA

Lots of fallen apples

“When the fruit is ripe it falls of its own accord.”
— Peter Loudon, Drawing Closer to Nature

Boxes of harvested Fuji apples, Manson, WA

Orchards along Hwy 2 near Wenatchee

Orchards along Hwy 2 near Leavenworth, WA

Apple Pie Coffee Cake

September 16, 2012

Apple pie coffee cake

I’m always looking for new ways to use windfall apples.  I had been saving this recipe for Apple Pie Coffee Cake ever since I saw it in Beth Hensperger’s Bread for Breakfast.  It fits this harvest season.

Bread for Breakfast by Beth Hensperger

Apple Pie Coffee Cake
from Bread for Breakfast by Beth Hensperger

2 large eggs
1 Tbsp vegetable oil (I substituted melted butter)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 c sugar
1 c flour (I used half whole wheat and half white)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice or nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
2 c thinly sliced tart apples
1 Tbsp turbinando sugar, for sprinkling on top

Preheat over to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 10-inch pie pan.

Combine eggs, oil, vanilla and sugar, beating until thick, about 1 minute.  Add the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg or allspice, and salt.  Beat vigorously.  Fold in the apples and mix until the apples are evenly coated.  There will be lots of apples, held together by a relatively stiff batter.  (I mixed the batter in my food processor, and when I added the apples, I pulsed a few times to coat them.  The apples got a bit crumbly, but that seemed to work fine for the finished cake.)

Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the center is firm when gently pressed.  Remove from the oven and cool for at least 1 hour in the pan on a folded tea towel.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Sliced apples

Finished coffee cake

Wedge of freshly cut Apple Pie Coffee Cake






Gifts from Garden and Coop

September 6, 2012

Pastel-colored eggs from Anne’s “girls”

Gifts from the garden and chicken coop.  I’ve already shared recipes for blackberry jam and zucchini pancakes, and here are just a few more garden gifts I’m enjoying right now.  This is truly a season of abundance, and I appreciate those who have shared this bounty with me.

Eggs from Anne’s chickens — they’ve been gracing my breakfasts

Eggplants from Katie’s container garden

I used the eggplants in this recipe: Eggplants with Chickpeas in Peanut Masala

Row of windfall apples

Windfall apples from Colleen’s tree

Rustic apple pie from windfall apples

A jogger encounters a Valentine's Day reminder along the path at Green Lake.

I love the idea of “Art in the Park,” and perhaps even more so when the art appears to pop up spontaneously without the sponsorship of a formal event.  So the Valentine’s Day art at Green Lake was an unexpected delight.  Here are some of the images from my Valentine’s Day walk around Green Lake:

A bouquet of real roses sheltered in the hollow of a Southern Catalpa tree at Green Lake.

Detail of Valentine's Day roses

Valentine garland circles a tree along the path at Green Lake.

I think the rowers were oblivious to this installation of hearts.

A curtain of red carnations dangles near a park bench.

The screen of dangling carnations wafts in the breeze off the lake.

Art in the Park on Valentine's Day

A spot of red, an apple in the crook of a tree at Green Lake

Apple art: another apple impaled on a tree branch at Green Lake

Even this lost fleece jacket, hung on the corner of a park bench, resembled a red Valentine's Day heart.

A heartfelt thanks to the anonymous artists who shared their lovely Valentine’s Day art in the park with us.  And a special thank you to my friend Lynne, who sent me an early morning email urging me to get out for a walk to see these creations in their natural setting.

“Surely the apple is the noblest of fruits.”
— Henry David Thoreau

Watercolor sketch of an apple

Henry David Thoreau wrote a long essay called “Wild Apples,” in which he extolls the virtues of this perfect fruit.  I drew my quote-of-the-week from this source rather than Walden.  I have apples on my mind.  There seems to be a bumper crop of apples this year in Seattle, and I have been busy gleaning the windfalls from a neighbor’s tree, perfect for fresh applesauce.

“There is another thinning of the fruit, commonly near the end of August or in September, when the ground is strewn with windfalls . . . All the country over, people are busy picking up the windfalls, and this will make them cheap for early apple pies.”
— Henry David Thoreau, “Wild Apples”

Windfalls from this year's apple trees

I especially like Thoreau’s observations about the colors of apples.  You can tell by how expansive he is that he has really looked closely at them:

“It is rare that the summer lets an apple go without streaking or spotting it on some part of its sphere.  It will have some red stains, commemorating the mornings and evenings it has witnessed; some dark and rusty blotches, in memory of the clouds and foggy, mildewy days that have passed over it; and a spacious field of green reflecting the general face of Nature, — green even as the fields; or a yellow ground, which implies a milder flavor, — yellow as the harvest, or russet as the hills. . . .  Painted by the frosts, some a uniform clear bright yellow, or red, or crimson, as if their spheres had regularly revolved, and enjoyed the influence of the sun on all sides alike,–some with the faintest pink blush imaginable,– some brindled with deep red streaks like a cow, or with hundreds of fine blood-red rays running regularly from the stem-dimple to the blossom-end, like meridional lines, on a straw-colored ground,–some touched with a greenish rust, like a fine lichen, here and there, with crimson blotches or eyes more or less confluent and fiery when wet,–and others gnarly, and freckled or peppered all over on the stem side with fine crimson spots on a white ground, as if accidentally sprinkled from the brush of Him who paints the autumn leaves. Others, again, are sometimes red inside, perfused with a beautiful blush, fairy food, too beautiful to eat . . .”

After reading this ode to color, I am inspired to paint a few more sketches of this season’s apples.

Another watercolor sketch of apples in various hues

“The breezes taste
Of apple peel . . .”
— John Updike, “September,” from A Child’s Calendar

Page from John Updike's A Child's Calendar

This is the season for apples.  We have plenty on our apple trees this year.  Yesterday morning I picked up those that had fallen over night and juiced them for breakfast.  I added three carrots, half a lemon, and some leftover blackberries.  Yum!

Apple growing in our side yard

Still life with apples



Apple Bounty

October 9, 2010

Watercolor sketches of windfallen apples

Apple Pie Coffee Cake

It’s the time of year when I try to find ways to use windfallen apples.  We’ve already eaten several apple pies this season.  For something new, I tried this recipe for Apple Pie Coffee Cake from Bread for Breakfast by Beth Hensperger.  I served it for dessert, not breakfast, with ice cream on a dollop of caramel.

Apple Pie Coffee Cake

2 large eggs
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 c sugar
1 c unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice or nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
2 c peeled, cored, and thinly sliced firm tart apples
1 Tbsp turbinado sugar, for sprinkling on top

Preheat oven to 375 degrees (350 degrees if using a Pyrex or dark-finish pie plate).  Grease a 10-inch pie plate.

In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, oil, vanilla and sugar, beating with a wooden spoon until thick, about 1 minute.  Add the flour, baking powder, spices and salt.  Beat vigorously until the batter has a crumbly consistency, about 1 minute.  Fold in the apples and mix until the apples are evenly coated and the batter becomes moist and smooth.  There will be lots of apples, held together by a relatively stiff batter.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.  Sprinkle the top evenly with the turbinado sugar.  Bake 30 to 35 minutes until the center is firm when gently pressed.  Remove from the oven and cool at least 1 hour before serving.

Apple Pie Coffee Cake served for dessert