Friday, January 14, 2005

Apple-A-Day

I love the smell of green apples. Last year, I bought them when Jason mentioned that we should make a conscious effort to eat more fruits, and you know the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” So I got two bags (a dozen in total). I should have known better.

We have this really nasty and wasteful habit of only eating at the most half of anything we buy before getting bored (very expensive if you know how much food costs in Tokyo). I am constantly throwing out omiyage (food special to a specific region) from our trips, because Jason can never resist any temptation. (I had to juice an entire case of Niigata pears once because he got tired of eating them after just a week and it was too wasteful to just throw them out) Our green apples didn’t fare too much better. We stopped eating them half way through the second bag. For a while, it was nice to just let them sit on my kitchen counter and enjoy the scent, kind of like fresh potpourri. Then the scent went away, and the apples started to wilt, at which point I put them away in the fridge and proceeded to forget all about it. (I am constantly throwing out things in my fridge that I had no idea when I put them in there in the first place.)

When we came back from the States this year, I decided it was time to organize my kitchen, starting with the fridge. Surprise! Green apples from a month ago are still sitting in the vegi drawer looking firm (makes you wonder, doesn’t it?). Normally I would have just tossed them out, but since I sort of made a promise to myself to be more frugal about food this year, I decided we should make use of them.

Since neither of us wanted to eat month-old apples and there were not enough of them to juice, I thought the best way is to use them in baking. I turned to my trusted recipe source: Allrecipes.com and chanced upon a pear bread recipe. Hmmm, apples, pears, what’s the difference, right? (Besides, I don’t see how you can shred pears without ending up with just a big puddle of pear juice.) Some modifications later (to make it healthier), I embarked on my first baking task of the year: making apple bread.

Let me just say that I am glad I didn’t throw the apples out because the bread was deeeelicious and the smell of apples while the bread was baking was heavenly. Here is my version of the recipe:

2 C all-purpose flour
1 C whole-wheat flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 C apple sauce
1/4 C vegetable oil
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 C white sugar
2 C unpeeled shredded apples *
1 C chopped pecans
2 tsp vanilla extract

* apple skin is an excellent source of phytochemicals which have antioxidizing and cancer-fighting properties, not to mention all the fiber it contains.

1. Preheat oven to 375 degree F (190 degree C)
2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the apple sauce, oil, eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Blend well and add to dry ingredients. Stir until just moistened, and fold in the apples and pecans.
4. Coat the inside of two 8x5x3 inch loaf pans with shortening (or butter, or oil), dust with flour. Distribute batter evenly between the two pans.
5. Bake in preheated oven until your kitchen is filled with such wonderful fragrance of apples that you couldn’t possibly wait any longer to taste a slice. (or about 30-40 minutes, but isn’t the smell method much more fun?)
6. Insert a skewer all the way into the thickest part of the bread to check doneness. Bread is ready to come out of the oven if the skewer comes out clean with no wet dough sticking to it.
7. Cool on rack for 10 minutes before removing from the loaf pans.

Apple bread, Yay!

4 comments:

Hsin said...

It looks so good. And sounds easy too, although I'm sure it's only easy for you and not for me. I'm feeling inspired. Do you think I can replicate your bread if I followed your instructions as is? I see you refer to applesauce but never said how your apples became applesauce. Call me an idiot, but I truly am when it comes to cooking/baking...

Lynn said...

Oh Hsin-li, I don't make my own apple sauce, not economical in Tokyo =( You can buy big jars of them at Nissin. And yes, you can definitely do it. You don't need any special equipment, just a big bowl and a spatula. Let me know how it turns out.

Rachel said...

Very pretty, Lynn.

Where do you find green apples? They're my favorite for baking, but I've never seen them in Japan.

In contrast, aren't chicken carcasses quite common? Even my little supermarket has them. It's usually in a plastic bag, about 100yen, and it's called "tori gara"...I think.

Lynn said...

grocery must be very regional then. Tons of green apple at the end of last year, but no chicken carcass ever at Peacock. We should do grocery swaps.