DancerEats: Harvest Edition

It’s autumn again!

This causes my heart to sing with joy.

So many things to love about fall: the sights and smells of changing leaves, cooler and drier air, and the food. Oh the food… pumpkins, apples, cranberries… all are on my list of favorite things!

So when I found this recipe for Savory Baked Apples I had to put it on my culinary to-do list. I like baked apples in general (particularly when baked into a pie… heh heh), but the idea of putting a savory spin on them tickled my fancy.

The stuffing is made up of all delicious things: brown rice, dried cranberries, sausage, onion, garlic, and walnuts, spiced with cinnamon and sage, and topped with melty Swiss cheese.

So I trotted off to the store today to purchase everything I needed. Except the sage. Realized this after I got home… forgot to put it on the grocery list. Drat. I ransacked my spice cabinet hoping that I might have had some sage hidden in one of the corners, forgotten, but ready to serve. Alas, I was wrong. So I put the rice and broth I’d already started to simmer on the back burner while I ran out to a different grocery to get the missing herb (I didn’t want to run into the same cashier twice and have her think I’m a bit daffy… I’ve already had that happen with that particular cashier in the past and don’t want to become known as That Girl Who Always Forgets An Item and Has to Come Back even though it would not at all be an inappropriate title).

Sage acquired, back to the task at hand.

This recipe, as many of my recipes do, came from Cooking Light and — as I’ve mentioned before — I do wonder if some of the “light” in their title is in regards to the food preparation. The recipe called for the apples to be cored and then the centers scooped out with a spoon. Much grumbling ensued.

Apples popped in the oven after my fight with them, and I finished cooking and assembling the filling, timer went off for the apples and…

$^@!

Damn.

Okay, so they called for Rome apples, which I didn’t find at the store. I went for some local Cortland apples instead based on their size and the fact that they usually fare alright in baked goods, at least compared to Macintosh and the like. They might make due for an apple crisp, but so not approps for stuffing. They came out of the oven all flopped over and looking miserable. There was no way I was going to be able to get stuffing IN the apple.

Fine then, be that way.

I put an apple in a dish, heaped some stuffing and cheese on top and popped it under the broiler.

It came out completely unidentifiable as a stuffed apple.

But my taste buds? They did not care on whit. They found the entire ugly concoction most pleasing, in fact. I had to have a stern talking-to with them about the fact that the other three apples were to be saved for future consumption.

So, if you wish to try this I suggest following the directions and going for a sturdier apple. Or, just do like I did, and turn it into a dump dish. It’ll still be yummy, I promise.

A delicious pumpkin ale makes a lovely accompaniment (just avoid that part if you’re eating this as pre-dance fuel).

The mix of the savory and sweet is just right for this autumn dish, the addition of toasted walnuts adds some lovely crunch to the texture, and the bit of cheese over the top is enough to satisfy dairy-hounds such as myself without going overboard on the fat.

This one is definitely headed for the permanent file!

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