November... for me it is truly the sign of the holiday season. Apples, pumpkins, foliage, and the scent of winter in the air. Oh, and my birthday. My birthday is in November as well. Since we moved to the Middle East fall is different. Instead of getting mentally prepared to spend the coming months inside, we start opening the windows and spending more time outside. The cooler weather (the days are around 80F instead of 120F) means longer walks outside, dinners by the water with cool Gulf breezes, and a break from the sweltering months of the summer. All of that aside, it is still November. While we might not have the threat of snow or frost in Abu Dhabi, in my kitchen I can still pretend that I am back in New Engand.
Cinnamon is one of my go-to spices when I think of fall and comfort cooking. It is a perfect complement to apples, especially when they are cooked. While the outside temperatures in the evening still hover around 70F, warm spiced apples remind me of home. This recipes is perfect eaten as is, with plain yogurt, or added as an ingredient in quick breads.
Fall Spiced Apples:
7 medium gala apples (I like the skins on, but feel free to remove)
2 tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 C water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Wash and cut the apples into 1 inch pieces. Put the water, lemon juice, and apples in a large pot, and cook over medium heat for about 45 minutes. You will want to check on the apples from time to time to ensure they do not stick to the bottom of the pot or burn. You can always turn the stove down. If the mixture is sticking to the bottom of the pot. Once the apples are soft enought to smash up with a wooden spoon, add in the cinnamon and vanilla. Allow to cook a few minutes longer, remove from the heat, and cover. Allow to cool for about 10 -15 minutes. Serve immediately, or allow the apples to cool completely and store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.