Red Apple Delicious
Madison’s recent detour into the dreary weather not only soaks my shoes, but also wets my appetite for warm comfort food. I want that soul-soothing food to emanate the flavor of fall so I can at least be reminded of those wonderfully rustic autumn days I’ve been missing. The following recipes combine seasonal favorites like fresh apples and spices like cinnamon and nutmeg to give you at least the illusion of sunshine, crisp air and crunchy red leaves.
Caramelized Apple Melt with Aged Cheddar and Arugula
Makes 2 sandwiches
This first recipe comes to us from Vegetable Matters blog, which utilizes homegrown food in a unique way. My coworker raved about this dish she tested out at home with her boyfriend. After reading the description, I recognized a perfectly festive fall sandwich that incorporates a Wisconsin favorite—cheddar cheese! And you don’t have to be a vegetarian to find this melt juicy and satisfying.
1 medium red delicious apple
6 Tbs unsalted butter
2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
6 thick slices extra sharp white cheddar
8 big arugula leaves
4 slices pumpernickel bread*
*I am personally not a pumpernickel fan, so I plan to take advantage of our Dane County Farmers’ Market bread stands to pick up a dark wheat loaf Saturday.
- Peel and dice apples into 1/2″ cubes.
- Melt butter in large skillet over medium.
- Add sugar and stir until sugar begins to melt, about 1 minute.
- Add apples and sauté until brown and tender, and juices form, about 10 minutes.
- Remove from pan with a slotted spoon, leaving juices in the pan.
- Add cinnamon and nutmeg to juices in pan and mix well.
- Return pan to medium heat, then add bread slices. Brown well, then flip and repeat.
- While second side of bread is toasting in pan, place cheddar slices on two of the bread slices so the cheese will melt.
- When bread is browned, removed from pan. Add caramelized apples and arugula (3-4 per sandwich depending on how strong your arugula is), and assemble sandwiches. Eat while still warm.
Macintosh Rice ‘N’ Beans
Serves about 4
Recipe #2 comes to us from a Wisconsin Badger living in Tampa, FL. Nostalgic of the changing seasons from her alma mater, my sister added unexpected flavors to her meal staple to bring the harvest to her new home. Like us, she’s been missing the wonder of fall.
*Note: Must prepare ahead of time. Beans take 6-8 hours to soak.
Ingredients (best to use a “little of this, little of that” mentality)
2 cups dry black beans
1 to 2 jalapenos
1 green pepper (diced)
1 small Macintosh apple (chunks)
Handful of shredded carrots
Onion (small) chopped
2 bay leaves
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
Salt/pepper (to taste)
Crushed red pepper flakes (to taste)
Dash of onion powder
Dash of cayenne red pepper
Balsamic vinegar to lightly coat the rice
Cilantro (to taste)
Salt/pepper (to taste)
- Rinse dried beans
- Place beans in pot with 6-8 cups (?) of water (when you periodically check on the beans ensure that they are covered fully in H2O)
- When beans have been soaking 6-8 hours, place on stove and begin to heat at low temp
- Add olive oil (maybe a TBS), grated jalapeno, diced green pepper, chunks of apple, 2 bay leaves, carrots, onion
- Bring beans to a boil*
- Reduce heat to simmer
- Add spices
- Continue to heat until beans are tender and have the flavor you desire
- Cook brown rice as directed.
- When cooked, add balsamic vinegar to lightly coat the rice and cilantro to taste with salt/pepper
- Before serving remember to remove the bay leaves (I removed the apple too). Place rice in a bowl and pour beans over. Remember to include some of the liquid! Snuggle up and stay warm as you enjoy the food!