All posts tagged: apple

Here’s to Apple Frankie

When I started Kitchen Kat in 2007, I wasn’t thinking about social media followers, book contracts or sundry other motivators that drive bloggers today. My intention was, and remains, to share favorite food stories, photographs and recipes. Frequently the posts have been inspired by travel. Equally often they have originated from conversations and experiences with my old neighbor and friend Frank P. Wilmer Jr. a/k/a Apple Frankie. As is the case with many of our encounters, my earliest memory of Frank involves food. In my early 20s, newly married and new to Southeastern Pennsylvania, I was surprised when a cherubic faced, stout man with a shock of white hair on his head and a plastic grocery bag in his hand showed up on our doorstep one spring evening. Introducing himself as our next-door neighbor, Frank handed over the bag and prompted me to open it. Peeking inside, I saw a jumble of long, beige, honeycombed mushrooms. Wild morels, Frank explained, plucked from the woods behind his farmhouse. A product of the suburbs, I had never …

apple strudel

Two Spoons up for Apple Strudel Light

What do you do with three unplanned days in Vienna? If you enjoy immersing yourself in a country’s culture and possess a hearty sweet tooth, you might decide to eat your way through your stay. That’s certainly how I spent my time there, sampling variation upon variation of the Austrian national dish apple strudel. In Austria strudel is often served with a pitcher of vanilla cream, in a pool of crème anglaise or with a side of whipped cream. Contrary to my husband’s fervent hopes, it usually doesn’t come with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. That’s fine with me. When it comes to strudel, I prefer either to eat it with just a dusting of sugar or with whipped cream added to the side. A fair amount of time, effort and space goes into making a traditional apple strudel. It’s the dough, rather than the filling, that requires the work. My short video, taken at the Café Residenz adjacent to Vienna’s Schönbrunn Palace, explains the basics of authentic strudel dough. If you lack the …

Apple Pie Aquavit

The word aquavit means “water of life” and for Scandinavians that definition holds pretty true. In Denmark no traditional lunch or smørrebrød (open-face sandwich) would be complete without a shot of chilled ‘akvavit’ followed by a cold beer. A common accompaniment to the country’s beloved pickled herring, this potent liquor reputedly aids in digestion. In Sweden it’s known as “snaps” and downed in one gulp with beer and drinking songs to follow. In Norway it’s sipped alongside the evening meal. What is aquavit? It’s a potato- or grain-based vodka infused with caraway seeds. Caraway not your thing? Take heart — depending upon the region and distiller, dill, fennel, coriander seeds or star anise may stand in for the customary spice. Warned by Swedish friends of the high cost of alcohol in their homeland, my first taste of aquavit came courtesy of a hastily purchased sampler pack at Arlanda Airport. Pulling out one of the tiny bottles and twisting off its cap, I took a swig of the clear liquid and shuddered. It was horrendous. In …

Scoop up Mulled Apple Cider Ice Cream

This time of year, along with a surplus of apples, I usually have a refrigerator crammed full of apple cider. In my twenties I could blame this excess on my next-door-neighbors and their prolific orchard. Every fall they’d collect the grubbiest apples, take them to a cider mill and press bushel upon bushel into sweet, murky cider. What they didn’t freeze, they gave away to family, friends, colleagues and me. Although I ended up with more than I could ever consume, this distribution barely put a dent in their cider supply. What did my neighbors do with all that apple cider? They roasted meats and sautéed vegetables in it. They poured it over dry cereal and, of course, drank it. Think of any creative way to use this beverage in your kitchen and, chances are, they did it. Inspired by their resourcefulness, I occasionally cook with cider. As this practice is more rare than regular, I have multiple jugs of cider hiding out in my fridge. When I do dig out a half-gallon container, I …

Doubly Delicious, Double Apple Muffins

Walk out your front door on any given day this week and what do you see? Withered leaves scattered everywhere. Portly pumpkins plunked on stairways. Colorful mums planted here and there. On the sidewalks people stroll by in coats and scarves, warming their bare hands with take-away coffee cups. For me, these sights can only mean one thing. Apple-picking time is here. Whether you raid your old neighbors’ orchard as I brazenly do or come by your apples honestly, you may soon find yourself glutted with this pome fruit. What to do with that extra pound, peck or bushel is an age-old quandary. When you’re tired of baking apple pies and tarts and boiling down applesauce and apple butter, I’d suggest moving on to moist cakes, breads and muffins. Back in March I shared an apple cake recipe inspired by a winter trip to Switzerland. As its name suggested, apple-almond kuchen was packed with tart apples and sweetly savory almonds. Want to reduce your apple supply by a few pounds and enjoy a deliciously fruity …

Awesome Apple Kuchen

One of the many things that I love about travel is how it opens my eyes to other cuisines. Prior to a recent trip to Switzerland, I hadn’t considered how the country’s cooking has been influenced by its proximity to Germany, France and Italy. Then I traveled to Geneva and beyond and started ordering from Swiss menus. Alongside the expected Swiss fondue, raclette and roesti were Italian pizzas, French tarte tatins and German pretzels and kuchens. Not exactly what I had imagined when I thought of Swiss food. While in Switzerland, I did have a ridiculous number of meals featuring locally produced breads and Appenzeller, Gruyere and Emmental cheeses. Although I could happily eat bread and cheese seven days a week, I needed to balance out the abundance of these dairy-based dinners. Forget Swiss muesli, cabbage salads or barley soup. I went straight to the country’s fruit-filled offerings. Out of the myriad of fruit treats available, my favorite was the German-inspired apple kuchen. In Germany kuchen means cake. In Switzerland it refers to a sweet …

Apple-licious!

Growing up in a small town in western Pennsylvania, I loved fall. Along with picture-perfect foliage, marching band practices, and Friday night football games I adored all the apples and apple butter, sauce and cider that the season ushered in. While my fruit treats came from the local temple to all-things-apple, Apple Castle, you could find a fresh, crisp, juicy apple virtually everywhere. Although I now live far away from Western Pa., I’m still crazy about fall and, of course, a good apple. Considered the most important fruit in North America and Europe, the apple has been cultivated for at least 3,000 years. Early trees produced hundreds of tiny, sour fruits. These little orbs resembled crabapples and possessed a large core with little flesh. During classical Roman times people discovered that they could produce heartier, tastier and more consistent apples through grafting. To do this, they took cuttings from healthy, productive trees and transplanted them onto sturdy roots. Their horticulture methods worked for today we have close to 8,000 varieties in existence. In the U.S. …