Apples add to Thanksgiving

The McIntosh apple, for which Canada is renown, turns 200 years old this year! What better way to celebrate the apple than at Thanksgiving? This sweet, juicy favourite has given us a number of offspring, among them the Empire and the Cortland. And there are the Crispin and Ginger Gold.  Why not plan an apple picking outing as a Thanksgiving treat? The apple route east on Highway 2 is picturesque with innumerable farmers’ markets and orchards for picking. Don’t be afraid to sample some new varieties of apples. You will find each has its own unique taste, texture, colour and shape. Any one of them would be a welcome addition to these recipes just in time for Thanksgiving.

Apple Herb Stuffing for Chicken or Turkey
For those of you who are having a roast chicken or capon for Thanksgiving, this apple herb recipe from Foodland Ontario is ideal. If you are having a turkey or simply love stuffing, double the recipe.
2 tbsp (25 mL) vegetable oil
1 large onion, diced (about 1 cup)
1 celery stalk, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp (5 mL) dried thyme
1/2 tsp (2 mL) dried sage
5 cups (1.24 L) white or brown bread cubes
1/2 cup (125 mL) dried cranberries (craisins) optional
1/4 cup (50 mL) chopped fresh parsley
2 apples, peeled and chopped such as Empire, McIntosh, Cortland, Crispin
salt and pepper to taste
1 chicken, 3 or 4 lb (1.5 to 2 kg)
2 tbsp (25 mL) butter, melted
salt and fresh black pepper
Preheat oven to 400˚F (200˚C). Spray roasting pan and rack with baking spray. Set aside. In large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and celery, cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, thyme and sage; cook for one minute. Stir in bread cubes and toss to coat. Stir in craisins, parsley and apples. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Pat chicken dry with paper towel. Fill cavity with stuffing mixture. Cover opening with piece of foil. Brush chicken skin with 1 tbsp (15 mL) melted butter; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place breast side up, on rack in shallow roasting pan. Decrease oven temperature to 350˚F (180˚C) oven and roast one to one and one-half hours or until digital thermometer registers 185˚F (85˚C) when inserted in thigh. Baste chicken halfway through with remaining butter.
Tip: To cook stuffing in casserole dish, stir in 1/2 cup (125 ml) chicken broth to further moisten stuffing. Place stuffing in lightly greased 4 cup (1 L) oven proof dish. Cover with foil or lid. Bake in 350˚F (180˚C) oven for 25 – 35 minutes or until heated through. If desired, uncover and cook five minutes longer to crisp top.

Apple Bars
Simpler to make than an apple pie, these are delicious served with a dollop of whipped cream or ice-cream as a dessert. They double as a noon time treat in a lunch bag too.
Apple Topping:
2 large apples such as Empire, McIntosh, Cortland
1 tbsp (15 mL) granulated sugar
1/4 tsp (1 mL) ground cinnamon
1/3 cup (75 mL) softened butter
1 cup (250 mL) packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
3/4 cup (175 mL) all purpose flour
1 tsp (5 mL) ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking powder
1/4 tsp (1 mL) baking soda
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
1/2 cup (125 mL) icing sugar, sifted
2-3 tsp (1 tbsp ) milk or cream
1/4 tsp (1 mL) vanilla
Preheat oven to 350˚F (180˚C). Line 9 inch (23 cm) square baking pan with parchment paper and spray with baking spray. Peel, core and slice apples about 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick. In bowl, mix sugar with cinnamon; add apples and toss to coat evenly. Set aside. In large bowl and using electric mixer, cream butter with brown sugar for about one minute. Beat in eggs and vanilla until smooth. In medium bowl, mix together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt; beat into creamed mixture at medium speed until well blended. Spread evenly in prepared baking pan. Drain any juices from apples that may have accumulated. Arrange apples on top of dough in neat rows slightly overlapping. Press apples into batter. Bake in preheated oven for about 35 to 40 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Let pan cool on rack.
Icing: In small bowl, stir together icing sugar, milk and vanilla to make thin icing. Drizzle over cake in zig zag fashion. Cut cake into 12 even pieces. Using pie lifter, ease pieces onto serving plate and serve warm or at room temperature.

CORRECTION: In the last issue I left out a key ingredient in the Cauliflower Mustard Pickle recipe. It was 2 tbsp (25 mL) dry mustard. Sorry for any inconvenience.

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