It is officially fall. Though we're in the middle of a heat wave in San Francisco, there is that difference in the air that comes with the change of seasons. The tomato plants have ceased to generate new fruit. The trees are beginning to redden. I'm sad to see summer go, but excited for the new crops that will ripen in the coming weeks and months. Kale. Butternut squash. Persimmons.
The farmers' market this morning featured primarily the remains of the summer crops - peaches, figs, zucchinis - they don't look quite as amazing as they did at the peak of the season. When I purchased my basket of figs, I was warned that this may be the last weekend they have them this year. Though the market in general looked more like summer on its way out than fall on its way in, there was one fall crop that looks like its already in full swing - apples.
I received an email from my friend Dave in Seattle about a week ago, in which he raved about the Gravenstein apples from Pike Place Market (I've been keeping my eyes open for them since reading this, but haven't seen any at our local farmers' market):
If you're unfamiliar, Gravensteins are only the best baking apples known to mankind. (If you or any of your readers don't believe me, have them ask their grandmothers. If grandma says otherwise, she's losing her memory.) Recipe? Core an apple 3/4 of the way through. Stuff it with a mixture of brown sugar, cinnamon, pecans or walnuts, and add a pat of butter on top. I'm trying a recipe that adds currants, so we'll see how that is, and I replaced part of the brown sugar with honey in one of my apples. I plunked the apples in a Pyrex dish that had some hot (almost boiling) water covering the bottom, then into the oven at 350 for 30-40 minutes. Nothing to it!
I came away from the market this morning with 6 beautiful Gala apples. JR announced that he no longer likes apples (not really sure where that came from, since he used to eat at least one a day). With this new knowledge, I decided that putting at least some of them into something would probably be my best way to ensure that all will be consumed. When scanning the pantry, pondering what to do with my apples, oats jumped out at me as the perfect match. I briefly considered making apple-oat pancakes, but landed on muffins, since they could be consumed over the course of a couple of days. The apple-oat combination made me think of the packets of instant oatmeal I used to eat as a child. You can consider this to be a grown-up, portable version of apple cinnamon oatmeal (wrapped in muffin paper, instead of a paper pouch). Enjoy!
Apple Oat Muffins
Makes 12 muffins
1 c. rolled oats
1 c. oat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. unrefined coconut oil
1/2 c. maple syrup
1 large egg
1 c. plain greek yogurt
2 large apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
1/4 c. walnuts, chopped
3 Tbsp. oats
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
Mix the dry ingredients (oats through salt) in a medium bowl; set aside. Mix the coconut oil, maple syrup, egg, and yogurt in a large bowl until well blended. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until just mixed. Fold in the apple. Spoon batter into a paper-lined muffin tray.
In a small bowl, mix the topping ingredients. Sprinkle over muffins.
Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes, or until muffins are golden.
Tonight, I may try out Dave's recipe. I'll let you know how it goes!