One of the area's local treasures is growing in the rich soil just north of the airport: Fort Dodge's Community Orchard. Open from August 1 through Christmas each year, the Community Orchard offers residents 20 varieties of apples. From tart to sweet and everything in-between, apples are one of nature's best gifts during late summer and fall. From our recipe box and that of Bev Baedke (who owns the Community Orchard along with her husband, Greg), Fort Dodge Today brings you recipes featuring the flavorful fruit.
Apple & Blue Cheese Salad
1 large Granny Smith apple, cored and sliced thinly
Apples can be served in dishes from sweet to savory.
(brush on or dunk in lemon juice to prevent browning)
c. toasted, chopped pecans (may use walnuts if desired)
1 head of Romaine lettuce, washed and torn
1 bunch baby spinach, washed
to 3/4 cup of bleu cheese, crumbled
4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
Dressing (whisk together):
6 T. olive oil
3 T. balsamic or raspberry vinegar
salt & pepper to taste
When ready to serve, toss greens with dressing and arrange on serving plate. Arrange apple slices around the edges, sprinkle with cheese and bacon crumbles, top with nuts and serve immediately.
Optional: for a heartier meal salad, poach a skinless, boneless chicken breast in apple juice, slice and add to top of salad.
From Community Orchard . . .
2/3 c. apple juice or milk
c. vegetable oil
1 t. vanilla
2 c. flour
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar, packed
1 T. baking powder
c. chopped nuts
1 chopped apple
In a bowl, beat egg with the juice, oil and vanilla. Stir in flour, sugars, baking powder, and salt just until flour is moistened. Batter will be a little lumpy. Stir in nuts and chopped apple. Fill greased muffin tins or paper muffin cups about 2/3 full. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
*To make cinnamon sugar, blend about 1 t. of cinnamon with 1/4 c. sugar.
Caramel Apple Pork Chops
4 (3/4 inch) thick pork chops
1 t. vegetable oil
c. brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste
t. ground cinnamon
t. ground nutmeg
c. unsalted butter
2 tart apples (Jonathon or Haralson) - peeled, cored and sliced
3 tablespoons pecans (optional)
Set crockpot to low heat. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brush chops lightly with oil and place in hot pan. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, turning occasionally, until browned on both sides. Transfer to crockpot.
In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, salt and pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add butter to skillet, and stir in brown sugar mixture and apples. Cover and cook until apples are just tender. Remove apples with a slotted spoon and arrange on top of chops. Continue cooking sauce uncovered in skillet, until thickened slightly. Spoon sauce over apples and chops in crockpot. Cook on low heat for 4 hours. Just before serving, sprinkle with pecans.
(Alternate cooking method: Preheat oven to 375. Place browned chops in 9x13 baking dish. Add a splash of apple juice to pan. Cook apples and sauce as written. Add to dish, cover and bake 20 to 25 minutes at 375. Sprinkle with pecans before serving.)
From Community Orchard . . .
Apple Bread Cake with Raisins
3 cups apples, peeled and chopped
1 c. brown sugar, packed, divided
2 c. sifted flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1 c. oatmeal
c. seedless raisins
c. chopped pecans
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 c. melted shortening or oil
Combine the chopped apples, water and c. of the brown sugar. Cook for about 5 minutes or until apples are almost tender and then cool. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice, oatmeal, raisins, and pecans; stir in the cooled apple mixture, eggs, remaining brown sugar and the oil. Mix together until just moistened. Bake in a 10-inch tube pan for about 40 minutes at 350. Cool for about 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Serve the bread warm or cold. May be frosted with mixture of 1 c. powdered sugar and 2 or 3 t. of warm water.