wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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Apple of my Eye

I was disappointed to read that “apple of my eye” probably refers to the pupil of my eye. It has been used in many Biblical quotations, usually in connection with protecting someone. For example, in Psalm 17:8 7:8: “Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings”.

I prefer to think of the expression as meaning someone you like very much.
“She’s the apple of my eye.

As I peeled many, many apples, the wheels turned in my head.

“What a silly expression! Do I want to be the apple in someone’s eye? How dumb is that?”

But old expressions are often like that, and the meaning changes over the centuries.

Luckily, the apple hasn’t changed much. It is still tasty enough to tempt anyone to risk being tossed out of the Garden of Eden.

In my little garden, far from Eden quality, I have lots of apples. Too many to eat all at once, even after sharing many with friends (without tossing them out of the garden).

It is time though, to do something with the last of the apple harvest. I have enough frozen apples, and I’ve eaten all I want for the moment. I can only bake so much before we have to go to Weight Watchers. So what to do?

Last week we had friends over for a visit and they brought us apples they had dried in slices. The light came on in my dull head. Didn’t I have a dehydrator in my pantry? I hauled it out and got busy.

The dehydrator has five trays that sit over a little heater and fan.  Load the trays with fruit, stack them, put the lid on, open the vent on top, plug in the dehydrator, and then go read a book while they dry (for several hours). You might want to choose a nice long book like “War and Peace” or “Gone With the Wind.” It takes a while.

I peeled my apples, but it’s not necessary. Personal choice. As the bottom tray had some dried  apple pieces ready, I took them out and put them into a bowl and re-filled the empty space on the trays with some banana slices.  I suppose you can try drying just about anything. Herbs from the garden, for example.

The dried fruit makes a delicious and healthy snack when it’s done.


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Winter Apples

As it snowed heavily all around today, the Captain brought in some of this fall’s apples we had stored in our workshop. How bright they look against the snow. I think the smaller red one on the left is a MacIntosh, and the other three are called Wilmuta, which is a cross between Jonagold and Gravenstein. The Wilmuta is a great winter apple. It matures in October and keeps well in a cool place. What a treat to see them today in a January snowfall. The rest of my garden is asleep under the snow, but the apples are still edible after a sleep in the workshop.

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What sleeps in winter garden beds?

Some kale and wilted lettuce heads,

Carrots tasty, shriveled chard,

In soil that’s frozen very hard.

The chives are shivering with cold,

But in the springtime they’ll be bold

And send up shoots that say to me

Your salad’s where I’d like to be.

One day the sun will warm the soil

And Anne-li will go out and toil

Turning over weedy dirt

While working in her short-sleeved shirt.

She’s anxiously awaiting spring

So she can go and do her thing.

 

 

 


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Apple Pie

The apple trees are overloaded with fruit this year. Branches threaten to break under the strain of the weight. I’m sure the trees breathe a sigh of relief every time an apple falls and lightens the load. I’ve had to get out there early each morning to get the fallen apples before the rabbits do. But what am I going to do with all those apples? If I have to go to all the trouble of peeling them, I might as well get the benefit of some apple pies.

These are Gravenstein apples, great for eating, and not bad for pies. The bigger apples are still on the trees, so peeling the little ones is a bit of a pain but worth it in the end.

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I’ve peeled and cut enough apples for two pies. No point in making only one. Now I’ll mix up some brown sugar, cinnamon, and a bit of flour in a small bowl. (About two tablespoons each of the sugar and flour, and a teaspoon of cinnamon.)

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I put that into the bowl of apples and stir to coat them with the mixture.

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Now to make the crust. I use about a cup of butter with my two+ cups flour, 1/4 cup of sugar, and add a pinch of salt. Give it a few pulses with the food processor to cut the butter into the flour. SO much easier than in the old days with a pastry blender.

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Then I separate an egg and put the yolk into a cup so I can add cold water (about 1/2 cup). The egg white goes into a little dish with a splash of milk, or cream. Today I happened to have some whipping cream handy so I used that.

The egg yolk and water is added to the crumbled pastry in the food processor and this is where you have to be careful to give it only enough pulses to mix the dough so it starts to stick together.  Later, the egg white and cream gets whisked with a fork and spread on top of the pie crust just before we put it in the oven. This helps it brown. 005

I poured out the pastry, which is now in lumps, onto a board and pushed it into a ball of dough. Don’t be tempted to knead it or  do much of anything with it at this stage or you’ll end up with a pie like the first one I ever made. You had to use a chainsaw to cut it.

For two pies, I cut the dough in half. Then I cut each of those halves; one piece for the bottom of the pie plate and a smaller piece for the top. You see that one piece is slightly bigger than the other?

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Rolling out the pieces of dough with a rolling pin is not an exact science. It’s a challenge to make the pieces come out round. Doesn’t matter. The excess will later  be cut away with a knife all around the edge of the pie plate.

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Turn the oven on to 450 degrees. While it is heating up, cut slits into the top of the pie crust and then take a pastry brush and paint the top of the pie crust with the egg white and cream mixture. Put the pies into the hot oven for 12 to 15 minutes at 450, checking to make sure they don’t burn. The tops should be just starting to turn golden brown at the end of that time, which is when you turn the oven down to 350 degrees. Another 35 minutes should do it. To be sure the pies are done, I wait until I see the syrupy juice trying to bubble out through the cuts.

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At last the pies are done. I take one to the neighbours and cut myself a piece from the second pie. I sit on the deck and watch the bay for a glimpse of the Captain who is coming home soon. I know it won’t be today, but I can imagine. And I’ll soon have to bake more pie when he does come home.

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Pie in the Sky?

They say good things come in small packages, but in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia and its continuation (with a slight spelling change), the Okanogan Valley of Washington, they come in large crates.

Boxes piled up to the sky,

A crane is needed just to try

To bring the top ones down.

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The pickers work to fill the crates,

They laugh and joke among their mates,

But soon the job is done.DSCN4016

The driver checks the tie-down straps,

Avoiding possible mishaps,

Before he hits the road.DSCN4017

Green or gold, or maybe red,

They all taste good I’ve heard it said,

There’s just one way to know.015

So bite me!


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An Apple a Day

 

It’s time to pick the MacIntosh apples. I’m sorry now that I didn’t spray them with lime sulphur dormant spray last winter. They have the odd blemish here and there. But the damage is only skin deep and doesn’t affect the flavour of these sweet apples.

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I picked them carefully and put the apples into the bucket, but some of the riper ones fell to the ground. Before I could get to them, Emma rushed in to help.

“Here you go,” she said. “Oh wait! Let me just have a taste to see if it’s good enough for the bucket.” DSCN2287

“Yup! It’s pretty good. Guess there’s no point in leaving it half eaten. Best if I lean into the job!”

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“What are you looking at, Ruby?”

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“Getting down to the last bit. Takes a serious molar workout.”

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“Oh Lawdie, that was some good!”

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“Apple pieces falling out of my mouth. So what? I know…. I’m not supposed to chew with my mouth open, but who’s going to tell? Just Ruby over there. She’s being good, but I think she has some mischief in mind.”

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 “Sure do, Emma. While all the attention is on you – as usual – I’m hiding a hazelnut under my chin. I’ll crack it when no one is looking. So what if my teeth get cracked too. The hazelnuts are so good. They’re worth it.”

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“But you’re a growing child. You just go ahead and eat your apple a day, like a good little girl.”