November Cooking Challenge!

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Okay, folks, here’s the deal.

In the USA, November is a very awkward month for complicated home cooking, because of Thanksgiving. Now in previous years, we’ve had mushrooms, comfort food, leftovers, food from TV or movies, and soup. I figure there’s a theme there: this is all stuff that we want to eat and make when we’re NOT making Thanksgiving dinner.

This year, I thought I’d approach sideways. You can include a Thanksgiving thing, but not anything obvious like turkey, stuffing, potatoes, and whatnot. And I also wanted something that you could potentially deal with very quickly, with minimal planning, since we have a somewhat foreshortened month for this challenge.

Hints…

I live in semi-rural New England, and my wife is from Vermont, pushing the rural New England territory pretty far. At this time of year, there’s one thing that leaps out at me. It’s something that can be savory or sweet; it can be served at Thanksgiving but people will eat it at other meals happily; it’s good for you; it’s insanely open to all kinds of wild brilliance while at the same time responding beautifully to the most old-fashioned approaches.

And so… the theme for November 2018 is…

APPLES
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The usual rules apply:
- The challenge begins on the 1st [4th!!!] of every month and the last entry must be made by the last day of the month.
- You may post multiple entries.
- All entries must be cooked during the month of the challenge.
- If you use a documented recipe, please cite your source.
- Entries should include the name of your dish and a picture of the final product. Sharing personal recipes and pictures of the process are not mandatory but extremely helpful.
- The winner is chosen by the person who posted the challenge, and is announced after the last day of submissions. The decision is final and falls entirely at the discretion of the challenger.
- Submitting an entry makes you eligible to win. If you do not wish to be considered for the win you may still participate in the challenge, but make your wishes known to the challenger.

The winner’s bounty includes praise, virtual high-fives, and the responsibility of posting the next month’s challenge. That entails choosing a theme, posting a Challenge thread that includes the guidelines, checking in on the submissions regularly during the month, and promptly choosing a winner at the end of the challenge.

Let the apple-cooking begin!
 
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Nice one Chris!
Looking forward to the entries.
All apples here are imported, but at least I can get them ;)

Is it pure apples, or are things like apple cider allowed as well (I was contemplating pork chops stewed in apple cider)?
 
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First thing I thought of was a whole roast pig with an apple in its mouth. But the apple isn't really the star of that show.

We'll see what happens.

mjb.
 
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Fresh unpasteurized cider! Yay!

I actually live in a town that was, until the end of the nineteenth century, one of New England's most important cider brewing towns. Recently a craft brewery has opened to try to get back some of that magic.
 
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Apples are a good choice. I am in Kent in the UK which happens to be the home of the National Fruit Collection (Brogdale) just down the road from me. There are so many things you can make with apples, both sweet and savoury.
 
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My mother was raised on a farm in southern Michigan, and we would often go visit the farm. During fall we'd often stop by this one place that had fresh, unfiltered apple cider for sale. My dad would buy 5 - 6 gallons of it. One of them would stay in the kitchen where it would be quickly consumed by us kids, there were 6 of us.

The other jugs would get stashed in the basement, basically forgotten by the kids. But I worked on my model cars and stuff in the basement, and every week or two my dad would come down and take a small taste from one of the jugs. I was on the order of 10 years old during those years, and I had no idea what my dad was up to when he took such a small taste from the jugs. Now as an adult I know what it was he was doing with the jugs stashed away, why he would fuss about with them. It was probably pretty good stuff once fermented for a while.

mjb.
 

pete

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We have a couple of places around me that sell unpasteurized cider. What I really enjoy about it is tasting how the cider changes throughout the season, depending on what apples are available when. I find that I, generally, don't care for early season cider. It tends to be thin, and rather boring compared with later season stuff with has a much rounder mouthfeel, and a much more complex flavor.
 
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Very true, P pete . The several local orchards here demonstrate the effect admirably, though I think this is turning out to be a c**p season.
 

pete

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Very true, P pete . The several local orchards here demonstrate the effect admirably, though I think this is turning out to be a c**p season.
That's a bummer! Here, in Wisconsin, we've had an "ok" season. Not great, but certainly not even close to our worst season. The summer was cool and rainy-hottest weather really seemed to come in June, and our Fall has been mild, but rainy
 
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I got granny smith and another bag of apples (can't remember what I bought)
I got an idea for the granny. Hopefully manage today.
So the games can begin....
 
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this isn't the best pic as I took it in hindsight after the event. still waiting on pics to come back from it, but it is a brown sugar and cinnamon panna cotta with apple gelee, apple blossoms, and ginger snap tuille. The blossoms really packed a punch and made apple the star of the show.
 

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OK - I like apples!! Last night I made an old favorite, but with a nice twist. I sauteed red cabbage with bacon, small German bratwursts and Macintosh apples. This is usually a side with kielbasa, but I added the brats and it was our main dish. Fry some bacon, remove to drain, add sliced/shredded cabbage, salt, pepper and sautee. Meanwhile I par cooked the brats in a pan then deglazed with cabernet and poached some apple in till tender then added that to the cabbage. Finally I did another apple and added that near the end to play off the crunch of any thicker cabbage bits and the snap of the brats. For a side I did some crispy small potatoes. Unfortunately no plating pics, but we tore into that meal and I'll post one when I have leftover. I urge y'all to try it - hey it's GF too.

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It was not quite as sweet as you might think - The roasted garlic while sweet in its own rite is more savory than "sweet". My stock is salt free so it's neutral in that respect till seasoned for use. My two favorite apples are Mac's and Northern Spies.
 
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