Sunday, October 9, 2011

you like apples?

When we were kids my grandfather would take me and my brother apple picking at Och's Orchard in Warwick, New York. Like everywhere else he took us, he always knew someone and there was some type of special treatment. On the way home we would stop at Rockaway Sales . Grandpa would give us each one dollar. That used to mean a matchbox car. Then they raised the price, so with tax it came to $1.06. Grandpa wouldn't budge, if a dollar wasn't enough pick something else. I think that is when I started to carry my own money. Just so I could kick in the extra cash and get what I wanted.
I don't remember picking many apples on those trips. It was more about hanging out with grandpa's friends, drinking cider, walking around in the different barns and out buildings.

Fast foward to the first time I went apple picking as an adult.
I think there were 15-20 of us. We decided that Thanksgiving was to far away. We should have a big feast after a day of apple picking. We all met at the orchard, set up our blankets and layed out snacks. we threw the football around picked some apples drank some wine. I can still remember the smell in the air. It was a perfect fall day, just a hint of a chill in the air, clear skys and a warm sun. the smell of over ripe apples starting to ferment right on the ground. The bees to drunk to bother with the likes of us.We all went back to a friends house to enjoy our pot luck Thanksgiving. Peeled apples, made pie and crisp, carved pumpkins. Then it came time to sit down for dinner. My friend (bachelor) had three forks and two knives. Luckily he had plenty of chopsticks. So the knives were passed just like gravy, even with chopsticks we all ate to much anyway.

Fast forward a second time, and now I am bringing my own kids on the annual pilgrimage in search of the perfect apple. The past two years we've gone to Windy Brow right in Newton. I know a few people there and when I see the owner it always reminds me of grandpa and his cronies. The kids (all of us) love the cider donuts. We still bring a picnic, and throw a ball or a Frisbee. This year Rob and Kate joined us with their kids. My brother and one of his two, my cousin and his wife with their kids and a couple of friends. Some awesome cheeses, a hunk of smoked duck breast, some moonshine, beer and wine. Afterward we all headed back to our house. We enjoyed a big feast. Rob left his camera in the car. But, I personally witnessed him and walked him through, the apple crisp preparation.
Oh and now that we are grownups, everyone had their own knife and fork.

Here's the recipe for the crisp topping. It's my version of the one grandma used to make.

1 cup flour
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
spice as you like, I use cinnamon

Combine the ingredients and cut the butter into pea size.

This mix gets spread evenly over apples that have been peeled, sliced, and seasoned with sugar, lemon juice and more spices. Bake at 425 until golden brown and bubbling.