This last December, like all Decembers I packed up my knife, micro plane, husband and puppy and made the long journey upstate to Ithaca, New York to cook and spend another delightful Christmas holiday with my family. Ithaca, besides being a borderline boring place to grow up, I realized after moving away to NYC; is a place of great, fresh food with an abundance of locally made goods and farm fresh produce. With the seasonal hiatus of the union square green market, it has been weeks since I had seen a good apple. Upon leaving Ithaca, my mother in true Mazzarella fashion proceeded to give me a verbal tour of the refrigerator asking what I would like to bring back to brooklyn. I have assured her that although we are without a Wegman's, we are with a Wholefoods. During this listing of condiments and snacks I did learn that my parents purchase apples BY THE BUSHEL at a nearby farm and were willing to part with said bushel. A lovely farewell present.
I eat at least one apple a day. Whether its crunchy slices pressed onto a peanut buttered toast for breakfast or a giant whole one for an afternoon snack or shredded into a carrot apple cake for dessert or layered into a tart also for an appropriate anytime snack or meal or as my favorite midnight snack: Apple sauce. Possibly one of the easiest snacks to prepare and (as most homemade foods, much better than its store bought counterparts.
Recipe for Gingered/Black Peppered Apple Sauce:
- Apples (any type and amount)
- Pinch of Salt
- Black Pepper
- Ground Ginger (more) + Nutmeg (less) + Cinnamon (less)
Wash, Peel, Core and Cut apples into Quarters.
Place apple pieces in a pot with about half and inch of water. Cover and bring to boil then uncover and cook on medium heat for about 20 minutes or until apples are soft. Add fresh ground black pepper and spices to taste. (I made this batch a little peppery and quite spicy with the ginger. The cinnamon will help bring out the sweetness).
Mash. Cool. Try to resist eating the entire batch.