Sunday, May 20, 2012

Apple Chips


"An apple a day keeps the doctor away", but what about 15 apple chips? When I was younger, there was one thing I always got at the McChord AFB Commissary and that was Apple chips. Why? No clue. To think that Apple Chips are sold in essentially every store and yet the only time I got them was from a place 40 miles away from my home is crazy. It became somewhat of a ritual, something that felt more special then.

These days, my family rarely goes there; it's sort of an "out of the way" kind of thing. Gone are those days but those tiny food memories are something I will always remember. So, in a time where I purchased mealy apples and was set to throw them in the trash, this memory inspired me to use up the apples and create new memories.

Slowly cooking the apples in the oven until crisp, having that intense sweet apple flavor with a hint of spice and the disappearance of that "mealy apple" texture, not to mention the health factor, these are a great alternative to the store bought Apple Chips or potato chips in general.

Apple Chips
Recipe by Me

2 large apples
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 cup water
Juice from half a lemon

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. In the meantime, line 2 baking sheets with silpat non stick baking mats or parchment paper to prevent the apples from sticking. In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar and set aside. Next, place your water and the juice of half a lemon into a medium sized bowl. This will prevent the apples from oxidizing and turning brown.

Once everything is set to go, with a knife or using a mandolin, begin to slice the apples into 1/8 inch slices and place the slices directly into the water and lemon juice mixture. There is no need to peel the apples before hand. If desired, you can core the apple as well. If you are not coring them, make sure to remove the seeds before baking.

When everything is sliced, pat the apple slices dry and begin putting the slices on the the baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle the top with cinnamon sugar and place in the oven for 2 1/2 hours, flipping halfway through the baking process. Remove from the oven when the apples are not pliable and crisp all the way through. If not crisp by 2 1/2 hours, turn up the heat to 275 degrees and bake for 5 more minutes while keeping an eye on them!

-Aaron John

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

What screams "lounging in the sun, that warm tropical breeze running through your hair, warm sand between your toes, the sound of waves crashing onto the shore and an ice cold drink in one hand" more than Canned Pineapple?! Uh, an actual Fresh Pineapple? Yes, yes, a Fresh Pineapple screams all those things 10X better but what are you to do when all you have is the canned stuff?

Ok, maybe for a Canned Pineapple it's more like sitting on your couch, an electric fan running, your feet up on the coffee table, the sound of a great movie and a soda in one hand.

The two may be different but they both encompass being relaxed and the pineapple both encompass a Pineapple Upside Down Cake. However, we can all agree that sometimes one method packs more of a punch than the other. In this case, Canned Pineapple will just have to do.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Recipe by Eva Longoria

2/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature (1/3 cup for topping, 1/3 cup for cake)
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
7 slices pineapple
7 drained maraschino cherries, or as needed (optional)
1 1/2 cups cake flour or all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a flameproof 9-inch cake pan, melt 1/3 cup of the butter over low heat. Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the butter and cook, stirring, until the sugar and butter are blended and there are no pools of melted batter, 2 to 4 minutes.

Arrange the pineapple on top of the caramel. Decorate with cherries if desired, placing them in the center of each pineapple slice. Set the pan aside.

In the work bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl with a handheld mixer, place the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt and mix on low speed until well combined. Add the remaining 1/3 cup of butter along with the milk and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour the batter over the pineapple.

Bake until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and carefully tilt it in all directions to release the cake from the sides of the pan. Let cool in the pan for about 3 minutes. Turn the pan over onto a serving plate and let stand for 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully lift the pan off the cake. Use a spatula to remove any fruit that is stuck to the pan and place it on the cake. Serve warm or at room temperature.

-Aaron John


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