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Archive for September 8, 2017

RECIPE: Autumn Apple Spritz Cocktail

Appletinis evoke spring and summer; mulled cider is for the chilly fall and winter.

In-between, how about an Apple Cider Spritz?

We adapted this recipe from one from Elegant Affairs Caterers. The basic recipe is very versatile, and a lesson in the ease of substituting ingredients.

  • Don’t have apple-flavored vodka? Use regular vodka and hard apple cider.
  • Don’t have apple juice or cider? Use hard cider or apple schnapps.
  • Don’t have club soda? Perrier or other sparkling water will work. So will 7-Up or Sprite, but it makes a sweeter drink.
  • Don’t have a Lady apple? Cut small round slices from the apple you do have with a cookie cutter.
  • Don’t have star anise? Use a cardamom pod or a whole clove.
  •  
    RECIPE: AUTUMN APPLE SPRITZ

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 2 ounces apple flavored vodka
  • 2 ounces apple juice
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) club soda
  • Squeeze of lime wedge
  • Garnish: 1 slice lady apple topped with 1 star anise
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the vodka, apple juice, club soda and a squeeze of the lime wedge. Shake with ice until mixed and strain into a Martini glass or a coupe (the “sherbet champagne” glass).

    2. TOP a slice of apple with the star anise and float atop the drink.
     
     
    THE HISTORY OF LADY (API) APPLES

    The Lady is an old French variety, which remains popular in Europe and the U.S. It is known in Europe as the Api, after the forest of Api in Bretagne, in western France, where it is thought to have originated.

    It is a petite apple—an adult can finish it in three large bites—with a pleasing aroma and flavor. In photo #2, you can see how many fit into a pint container.

    Throughout its history, the Lady apple has been used as much for decoration as for eating apple. Baskets of Lady apples were used to mask unpleasant odors.

     

    Apple Spritzer
    [1] An Apple Sprizer bridges the gap between warm-weather Appleton’s and cold weather Mulled Cider (photo courtesy Elegant Affairs caterers).

    Lady Apples
    [2] Lady apples, called Api (their original name) in Europe (photo courtesy Simply Beautiful World | Tumblr).

     

    Records suggest that Api appeared as a seedling some time before the early 17th century. It soon became popular in France, England and the U.S.

    Records also show that the U.S. exported large quantities to England in Victorian times under the name Lady Apple [source].

    In modern times, Lady apples are popular in the fourth quarter, as in centerpieces and other holiday decor, along with clementines, evergreen branches and pine cones.

    The Lady apple/Api is not directly related to either Pink Lady or Lady Alice apples.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Another Way To Serve Cheese & Apples

    marinated-apples-aged-havarti-castello-230
    [1] Serve a cheese board with three different of apple preparations (photos #1 and #2 courtesy Castello Cheese).

    apple-chips-castello-230sq

    [2] Make your own apple chips, or buy our favorites from Bare Fruit.N

     

    What’s new about cheese and apples, you say? Apples have been served with cheese for thousands of years.

    But this tip, courtesy of Castello Cheese, goes in a different direction.

    Instead of (or in addition to) wedges of crunchy apples, serve your cheeses with an array of apple condiments:

  • Apple butter
  • Apple chutney
  • Apple chips
  • Apple jelly
  • Marinated apples or quick-pickled apples
  •  
    Some recipes are below.

    What cheeses should you select?

    The best pairings are semi-hard cheeses such as Asiago, Blue, Cantal, Cheddar, Comte, Edam, Gruyère, Havarti, Idiazabal, Jarlsberg or Manchego, among others.

    For four people, offer two selections. You can include more choices for larger parties.

    You can acquire any of these items at a specialty food market, or make your own. Don’t forget the crackers (Finn Crisp (photo #1) goes well here).

    A ROSH HASHANAH SPIN

    Whether or not you’re Jewish, serve this apple and cheese plate for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year.

    This year, the celebration runs from the evening of Wednesday, September 20th through the evening of Friday, September 22nd.

    Apples and honey are a traditional snack to usher in a “sweet” new year.

    If you make the Marinated Apples & Raisins recipe below, you’ve got the honey. Otherwise, simply add a jar of honey with a honey dripper, or a piece of honeycomb, to the plate.

    Here’s more about the honey and apples tradition.

     

    RECIPE #1: APPLE CHIPS

    Apple chips are a deliciously sweet snack chip. They’re low in calories, yet have natural sweetness from the fruit.

    Serve them with a cheese board, and also toss some onto a salad with crumbled blue cheese.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 3 apples, any variety
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar mixed with 1/2 cup water
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
  • Optional: 3/4 teaspoon fine salt for sweet-and-salty chips
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 300°F. Wash and dry the apples. Remove the cores and cut the apples into thin slices. As you slice the apples, place the slices in a bowl with the vinegar-water mix so they don’t brown (add more water to the bowl as needed).

    2. BRUSH the apple slices on both sides with the melted butter and spread them out, without overlap, on three baking trays covered with parchment.

    3. PLACE the trays in the top, middle and bottom of the oven. Cook for about 25 minutes. When you take the apple chips out of the oven, they will still be soft. Let them cool off on a griddle or other flat surface, and they will become crisp.

    4. SPRINKLE the apple chips with salt as desired, and serve quickly afterwards to maximize crispness. One of the benefits of store-bought apple chips is that they’ve been dried in a long, slow process that keeps them crisp.
     

     

    RECIPE #2: SPICY APPLE JELLY

    This recipe takes store-bought apple jelly, spices it with ginger and glams it up with golden raisins (sultanas). You can substitute conventional raisins if you prefer.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 3.5 ounces apple jelly
  • 2 tablespoons golden raisins
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  •  
    Preparation

    1. STIR the jelly, raisins and ginger together. Cover the jelly and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.

    2. TASTE and season as desired with more ginger, or some allspice.

     
     
    RECIPE #3: MARINATED APPLES & RAISINS

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 2 red apples (approximately 12 ounces), cut into very thin wedges
  • 6 tablespoons honey
  • 4 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons raisins
  •  
    Preparation

    1. FOLD the apple into wedges into the vinegar. Add the honey and raisins and marinate for at least 15 minutea
     
     
    RECIPE #4: QUICK PICKLED APPLES

    These are so good, you may want to double the recipe.

    Ingredients For The Brine

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, maple syrup or table sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pickling spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  •  
    Plus

  • 2 large red apples
  • 3 star anise or cardamom pods
  •  
    Preparation

    1. ADD the brine ingredients to a medium sauce pan, bring to a boil and reduce the heat heat to low. Cover the pot and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes.

    2. WASH and core the apples, leaving the skin on. Cut into 1/8th-inch-thick slices, and cut again as desired (we prefer half-moon/wedge shapes).

     

    Homemade Apple Jelly
    [3] Homemade apple jelly is lovely, but it’s just as easy to use store-bought (photo courtesy US Apples).

    Apples & Honey
    [4] When making pickled apples or homemade apple jelly, red skins add color to the final product. They also look nicer when simply serving with honey—the traditional Rosh Hashanah treat (photo courtesy Good Eggs).

    Pickled Apples

    [5] Pickled apples. Here’s another recipe from Best Apples.

     

    3. TASTE the brine (don’t burn your tongue!). Adjust the seasonings add more sweetness or tartness as desired.

    4. TRANSFER the apples to a quart container and add the spice pods. Pour the brine through a strainer onto the apples, cover and allow to come to room temperature, turning the container regularly to ensure all apples sit in the brine.

    5. REFRIGERATE until ready to use.

      

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