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  • Cooking with Hope: Versatile apple works in hundreds of recipes

  • The crisp fall apple is known for its health, weight loss, and blood sugar control benefits, besides being delicious and crunchy. One large apple, with the skin, contains about 5 grams of soluble fiber and ten percent of the daily value of vitamin C along with B-complex vitamins, which helps to maintain the body’s metabolism....
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  • The crisp fall apple is known for its health, weight loss, and blood sugar control benefits, besides being delicious and crunchy. One large apple, with the skin, contains about 5 grams of soluble fiber and ten percent of the daily value of vitamin C along with B-complex vitamins, which helps to maintain the body’s metabolism. The apples have no fat, cholesterol or sodium, and have only about 90 calories for each apple. The two most important antioxidants flavonoids and polyphenols, which are known for their heart health and healthy brain function, are found in the apple’s skin.
    The apple is a versatile fruit and can be used in hundreds of recipes. Liven up a favorite coleslaw recipe with crisp, chopped apples or layer thin slices of apple in a turkey or ham sandwich for extra flavor and crunch.
    The recommended all-purpose apples are:
    n Fuji:sweet, juicy and firm — good for pies and tarts
    n Golden delicious: sweet and juicy — best for sauces, pies or dishes to freeze
    n Mcintosh: sweet-tart, juicy, firm — best for eating raw or n salads, sauces or pies
    n Granny Smith: bright green, crisp, and tart — best for cakes and breads. Mixes well with other apples
    n Rome beauty: juicy and mildly tart with a rich flavor — good for pies and pancakes
    To prevent browning of sliced apples mix 2-tablespoons lemon juice and a cup or two of cold water. Place apple slices in water until ready to use. Drain excess water from apples before using, pat dry with paper towels if desired.
    Dried Apple Slices
    6 apples, thinly sliced
    2 tablespoons lemon juice
    ½ cup water
    In a large bowl stir together lemon juice and water, dip apple slices into mixture, drain, then place slices in a single layer on baking sheet. Bake in a 200 degree oven for about 2-4 hours.
    Apples with Pork Chops in a Skillet
    Serves 4.
    4 pork chops, about ¾-inch thick
    1 medium sweet onion, sliced
    2 cups button mushrooms, sliced
    2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    1 tablespoon canola oil
    1 1/4 cups uncooked white rice
    1 10 ½ ounce can chicken broth
    1 cup water
    2 cooking apples, cored and sliced
    ½ teaspoon dried crushed thyme
    In a saucepan add rice, broth, and water. Cook according to package directions using chicken broth and water. Set aside.
    In a large nonstick skillet spray bottom with a cooking spray. Add pork chops and cook on medium-high heat about 4 minutes on each side or until a golden brown.
    Add onions, mushrooms, balsamic vinegar, and oil; stir and cook another 3-4 minutes. Stir in thyme then add apple slices. Cook for 3 minutes then fold in cooked rice and simmer until cooked through.
    Page 2 of 4 - Apple Sauerkraut
    1 Granny Smith apple, cored and chopped
    3 tablespoons brown sugar
    1 teaspoon caraway seeds (Optional)
    Pinch of ground cinnamon, if desired
    2 tablespoons butter
    1 pound sauerkraut, drained, rinsed and pressed dry
    In a skillet add butter and sauté chopped apple for about 3 minutes. Stir in sugar, cinnamon, and caraway seeds (Optional). Fold in pressed sauerkraut and cook for another 5 minutes until heated through. Serve as a side or with hot dogs or sausage links.
    Apple Topping
    This sauce can be used for pancakes, waffles, pound cake, and/or ice cream.
    2 peeled cooking apples, cored and coarsely chopped
    ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
    2 tablespoons butter
    ½ cup maple syrup
    In a saucepan cook butter, chopped apples, and cinnamon over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Stir in maple syrup and simmer for 3-5 minutes. Serve warm or hot.
    For a sweeter apple sauce use Fuji or Gala apples and don’t use any sugar.
    4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into ½ -inch chunks
    ¾ cup granulated sugar
    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    Pinch of ground cinnamon
    Pinch of salt
    In a 2-quart microwave-safe dish with a lid, stir together apples, sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, and salt.
    Cover and microwave on high for about 10-12 minutes until tender. Stir halfway through. Mash apples with the back of a spoon. Serve warm or cover and refrigerate. Keeps for up to a week.
    Apple and Cheese Quesadillas
    1 Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced
    4 teaspoons EVOO, olive oil
    4 8-inch flour tortillas
    8 ounces sliced mozzarella cheese (about 8 slices)
    1 tablespoon maple syrup
    1 teaspoon whole-grain mustard
    2 strips smoked bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled
    Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Toss apple slices with 2 teaspoons olive oil and sauté, turning occasionally until tender, about 3-4 minutes.
    Lay the tortillas on a cutting board. On one half of tortilla top each one with ¼ of the cooked apple slices and mozzarella cheese, then fold the tortilla in half to cover the filling.
    Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, cook the quesadillas until a golden brown and the cheese melts, about 2-3 minutes for each side.
    In a cup mix together syrup and mustard, warm for 20 seconds in the microwave. Slice quesadillas into wedges, drizzle with syrup mixture and top with crumbled bacon.
    Apple Turnovers
    Makes 18 turnovers. The recipe may be cut in half.
    1 tablespoon butter
    2 Granny Smith apples, about 1-pound, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
    ¼ cup dark raisins
    Page 3 of 4 - 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
    Pinch of ground cinnamon
    4 ounces cream cheese, cut into pieces
    1 large egg, separate
    2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
    1 17.3-ounce package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add apples raisins, sugar, and cinnamon. Cook stirring 4 to 5 minutes or until apples are tender. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Stir in cream cheese, egg yolk, flour, and lemon juice.
    Unfold one pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Roll out slightly to measure 12-inches square. With a sharp knife or a pizza cutter, cut pastry into 9 equal squares, each 4-inches per side.
    Spoon 1-tablespoon apple mixture into the center of one square. Fold in half diagonally to form a triangle. Seal open edges with tines of a fork and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Brush with a little egg white. Repeat with remaining squares.
    Bake at 400 degrees for 13-15 minutes, until puffed and nicely browned on top. Continue making the other half of recipe with remaining ingredients.
    Remove turnovers from baking pans to a wire rack to cool, at least 15 minutes. Best flavor if served same day as baking. Reheat in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes.
    Apple Cake
    3 cups all-purpose flour
    2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    Pinch of salt
    1 cup butter, softened
    ¼ cup canola oil
    1 cup sugar
    2/3 cup brown sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    3 large eggs, room temperature
    3 large baking apples, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
    1 cup confectioners’ sugar
    4-5 tablespoons milk
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10-inch tube pan, dust lightly with flour, tap out excess, set aside.
    In a bowl whisk together flour, 1-teaspoon cinnamon, baking soda and salt; set aside.
    In a bowl with an electric mixer beat together butter, oil, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
    Working in 2 batches, mix dry ingredients into butter mixture. Fold in apples.
    Spoon batter into the prepared tube pan. Bake until top is golden and a tester inserted in cake’s highest point comes out clean, about 65-75 minutes.
    Allow cake to cool in pan for 15 minutes before transferring to a plate right side up; allow to cool completely. In a bowl whisk together confectioners’s sugar and milk to make the icing and drizzle over cake.
    Hope Cusick has won awards at the North Carolina Strawberry Festival in 2012; The North Carolina Blueberry Festival, winning first place for her Blueberry Cheese Danish Pastry in 2012, and placing on her blueberry spinach salad and dressing; and has won various other contest awards for her blueberry cheesecake, breads, cookies, brownies and jams. She resides in Hampstead.
    Page 4 of 4 - This column is celebrating its fifth anniversary this month and if you have had a special or favorite recipe or more from the column over the years please let us know at
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