by Nancy Sweet, director, culinary programs and operations, LLCC
Though the season for the Farmer’s Markets may be winding down, this time of year in Central Illinois is still very abundant with local products. Cabbage, squash and greens are all typically available right now, but for me, my mind always goes to apples this time of year. Golden Delicious, Fuji, Gala, Granny Smith, Braeburn and Arkansas Black are just a few of the varieties you often see. In the United States alone though there are some 2,500 varieties of apples being grown!
As a cook, I like to use apples in more savory applications – salads, crockpots and quick pan sauces. Below are some recipes like that plus a good standby, your classic apple pie.
Fall Spiced Quinoa Salad with Apples and Butternut Squash
*1 cup quinoa, cooked according to package directions, drained
*½ butternut squash, peeled, cubed, and blanched or roasted
*1 granny smith apple, diced
*2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
*¼ cup apple juice
*½ teaspoon cinnamon
* ½ teaspoon cumin
*1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
*¾ – 1 cup canola oil
*½ cup Blue cheese, optional
Sauté squash, apple and onion until just wilted. Put into large mixing bowl with quinoa. In a small bowl, whisk vinegar, apple juice, cinnamon, cumin and Dijon Mustard. Slowly whisk in oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add dressing to quinoa squash mixture and mix. Season with salt and pepper. Add blue cheese if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Pork Chops with Sautéed Apples and Sweet Potatoes
*1 cup apple cider or juice, plus more if needed
*1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
*Salt and pepper to taste
*2 boneless pork chops, about ¾ – 1 inch thick
*2 tablespoons olive oil
*1 medium sweet potato, peeled and thinly sliced
* 1 Braeburn, Gala or other sweet-tart apple, cored and thinly sliced
*1 shallot, minced
*1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, smooth or whole-grain
* 2 teaspoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley and/or chives
Season the pork chops with salt and pepper on both sides.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. When the oil shimmers, add the seasoned pork chops to the pan and cook until lightly browned one side, about three minutes. Turn and cook until browned on the second side, about two minutes longer. Transfer the pork chops to a plate. (They will not be cooked through at this point.)
Add the sweet potato, apple and shallot to pan and sauté until starting to soften, about five minutes. (If pan is really dry, add 1 more tablespoon olive oil). Season with salt, pepper and cinnamon. Add apple cider to pan to deglaze. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and reduce the heat to medium-low to low. Cook about five minutes.
Return the pork chops to the pan (along with any juices accumulated on the plate) and nestle them into the potatoes and apples. Cover and cook until the meat is cooked through and the potatoes are tender, about five minutes longer.
Transfer the pork chops, potatoes and apples to two warmed plates. Stir the mustard into the remaining pan juices. Once combined, add the fresh herbs. Taste the sauce and add more salt or pepper for seasoning if needed.
Spoon the sauce over the pork chops.
Walnut and Apple Quesadilla
From Chef Sean Keeley
Culinary Specialist, Lincoln Land Community College
*4 each flour tortillas, 10” nice quality
*1 cup walnuts, rough chopped
*2 each granny smith apple, sliced
*2 cups mozzarella, shredded
*2 cups provolone, shredded
*1 cup goat cheese, crumbles
*1 cup sour cream
*1 each jalapeño
*1 each lime, juice of
*4 oz mixed greens or spring mix
For the sauce, grill or broil the jalapeño until just charred all around. Let rest long enough to handle then peel, seed and mince fine. Add to the sour cream and lime juice, mix well, cover and refrigerate for up to one week.
For the quesadilla, warm a 12” skillet over medium-low heat. Blend all three cheese together in a bowl. Working with one tortilla at a time, lay in the skillet and top with 1 ¼ cup of the cheese mixture. Sprinkle some walnut over the cheese and add apple slices to one half of the tortilla; be sure to reserve a ¼ cup of walnuts for garnish. When the cheese begins to melt, fold the tortilla over the sliced apples. Heat for one more minute and then cut into wedges. For a crisper quesadilla, heat each side to your desired liking. Repeat for remaining tortillas.
Arrange each quesadilla on its own plate, garnish with a pinch of greens, drizzle some roasted jalapeño sour cream and top with remaining walnuts.
For added depth of flavor try roasting the walnuts in the oven or making candied walnuts.
From Denise Perry
Chef Instructor at Lincoln Land Community College
Owner, Copper Pot Cooking Studio in Springfield
One of our favorite things to make after apple picking, this will fill the house with a wonderful aroma that reminds us of the beginnings of fall.
Yield: about 3 cups
3 ½ to 4 pounds apples
Pinch of salt
1 to 2 teaspoons sugar, or to taste
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into slivers
1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, optional
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Peel, core and quarter the apples. Put them in a baking dish just large enough to hold them in a crowded single layer. Toss with a little salt and one teaspoon of the sugar. Dot the apples with butter, cover with foil, and bake until the apples start to soften, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes. When the tips of the apples are golden and the fruit is tender, remove the pan from the oven, and coarsely mash the apples. If you like, season the applesauce further with salt and sugar or a bit of cinnamon to taste, and then add apple cider vinegar to brighten the flavor.
Dutch Apple Pie
From Terri Branham
Chef Instructor at Lincoln Land Community College
1 each 10″ deep dish pie shell (recipe below or use frozen)
3 apples peeled and sliced thin
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 pinch cayenne pepper
2/3 cup flour
2 tablespoon butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup quick cooking oatmeal
3/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick chilled unsalted butter, cut into little chunks
Heat oven to 425°F.
Mix all filling ingredients, except butter and topping ingredients together in a large bowl and toss to coat. Allow to sit, and toss again. Repeat until no dry ingredients are left in bottom of bowl.
Add all topping ingredients to a food processor and pulse several times until mixture just begins to clump into pea-size lumps.
Empty filling into pie shell and dot with butter. Bake for 10 minutes in center of oven. Remove from oven and sprinkle topping over pie, reduce heat to 350°F, and continue baking 35 minutes.
For regular apple pie use top and bottom pastry instead of streusel. The cayenne pepper should be completely in the background and noticeable as no more than a slight tingle on the tongue. However, this tingle really sets off the flavor of the pie.
Perfect Pie Crust
Dice the butter and return it to the refrigerator while you prepare the flour mixture.
Place the flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse a few times to mix.
Add the butter and shortening. Pulse eight to 12 times, until the butter is the size of peas. With the machine running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse the machine until the dough begins to form a ball.
Dump out on a floured board and roll into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Cut the dough in half. Roll each piece on a well-floured board into a circle, rolling from the center to the edge, turning and flouring the dough to make sure it doesn’t stick to the board. Fold the dough in half, place in a pie pan, and unfold to fit the pan. Repeat with the top crust.
Want to know more?
Lincoln Land Community College offers associate degree programs in Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management and academic credit certificates in Culinary Arts and Baking/Pastry. For more information call 786-4613 or visit www.llcc.edu/hospitality-culinary-arts.