Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Vaughan Family (Papa is in the middle of the back row)
Papa Vaughan, Apples, Applesauce, and 
Apple Bread

It's funny how certain things bring back great childhood memories.  Every year going to get apples in North Georgia bring thoughts of my Papa and Mima Vaughan.  As you read this little story my hope is that it also brings happy memories for you.

My Papa was what people today call a 'Renaissance Man'.  There wasn't anything he could not do (and didn't even finish elementary school); a master gardener, fisherman, master carpenter, plumber, and a barber.

But, as a small child I remember one special thing Papa could do and I thought it was magic.  He could take an apple and peel it without breaking the peel.  He would grab an apple, pull out his pocket knife (which he always carried).  Sitting in a lawn chair with a garden bucket between his feet he would peel the apple going round and round until at the end the whole peeling would fall into the garden bucket (today we call it compost).  I can't remember a time when he ever broke the peeling.  Then we would sit and eat the apple piece by piece. 

Another memory was knowing I could visit my grandparents whenever I wanted; all I had to do is walk the path from my backyard to their backyard.  I was lucky that my grandparents lived on the next street.  Both in their backyard and mine were apple trees (green apples and crab apples).  We would gather them in baskets for canning apple sauce, jelly, and baking apple bread.  In honor of my Papa and Mima Vaughan I would like to share these are recipes for you to enjoy. 

 Homemade Apple Sauce

3 lbs. of apples (I use golden delicious)
(about 6 to 8 apples)
1 cup water
1/2 cup granulated sugar or 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
(the sugar is optional and to taste)
1 teaspoon cinnamon

 1. Core, peel ,and slice the apples. 
2. Boil the apples and water in a pot for 15 to 20 minutes until soft.  For chunky applesauce mash with a potato masher; for smoother applesauce puree with a food processor.

3. Gradually add cinnamon and sugar to taste. The amount really depends on personal preference and the natural sweetness of the apples used, so add slowly and taste before each addition. Some apples may require no added sugar at all.

(If you would like to make a larger batch of applesauce for canning just triple or quadruple the recipe.  

There is nothing more gratifying than going to the pantry and seeing your very own canned applesauce.  Well, your very own canned anything really.  

Apple Quick Bread
(makes 2 loaves)
*This might possibly be the best apple bread you have ever eaten

1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
4 eggs
4 teaspoons of vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cloves 
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups diced peeled tart apples

In a mixing bowl, beat oil, eggs and vanilla.  In separate bowl combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, cloves and baking powder; beat the dry ingredients into the egg mixture.  Stir in the diced apples.

Pour into two greased 9-in. x 5-in. x 3-in. loaf pans.  Bake at 325 degrees for 60 to 70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center come out clean.  

Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans (this is very important) to wire racks.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Garden of my Own

This is every foodies dream - to have a garden of ones very own.  While I do have an herb garden and raised beds for my vegetables, I have found it is not easy to grow ones own food.  I do have a reasonable amount of success with herbs, but alas, my vegetables are touch and go.  Yet, I continue to try for that perfect crop of tomatoes for canning or beans to lay-away in the freezer for winter.  I continue to dream and plant.

Recently I was able to visit a dream garden in the beautiful Napa Valley.  It is a garden that provides the food for the famous restaurant of renowned Chef Thomas Keller, the French Laundry.  His restaurant delivers the perfect earth to table cuisine that you could ever experience.  Imagine a 9-course tasting menu with ingredients that have been freshly picked that morning, farmstead butter from a small creamery in Vermont, and cheeses from a dairy that is exclusively for your restaurant.

I know the main reason for this blog is to provide food photos and recipes but I could not resist the pictures of the gardens of the French Laundry.  As you look at these photos I hope that they will help inspire you to continue to dream and plant and harvest.  There is no better feeling than picking that tomato and using it in a salad or going out your back door and cutting a handful of thyme to add to a sauce.  So, let this be your mantra . . .

Dream, Plant, & Grow!!!

Another favorite was the chickens

Then, there was the Wine Train that traveled through the countryside.

Thanks for Dreaming along with me.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Happy February

I have been away from my food blogging for a few weeks.  During this away time I have been quite busy.  I have seen my youngest son graduate from boot camp and he is now officially a Marine. 

I have graduated from college; we celebrated Christmas and New Years; and I have been on several trips - Oklahoma (visiting my oldest son, my daughter-in-law, and my grandson) and to West Palm Beach to visit my son Matthew and attend the Ferrari Car Show.

Now, it's time to get back to workI have been photographing, cooking, and writing.  So, 
Let's Talk Food!

Happy Thanksgiving

  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Many Blessings and Love to All