It had been raining all day on our last day in Vermont. I loved the grey skies and how they brought out the intensity of the colors. Before heading home, Nadia had one more stop planned for us. We were to visit her good friend’s orchards. It was the pinnacle of our trip. A farm filled with apple and plum trees, grape vines, raspberry bushes, horses and so much more we didn’t get to see.
As soon as we arrived, the skies turned bright blue, clouds dissipated, leaving us with a beautiful summer-like afternoon. I knew how excited the kids would be to pick fruit right off the tree.
The orchard provides much more fruit than the family can consume and Nadia goes often to pick whatever they do not want. “Will they mind if we take some home with us?” I asked feeling a bit shy about taking from someone else’s orchard. “Believe me, they are happy we are picking it” she replied.
So we went at it.
There were so many different varieties of apples. The intense dark plum skin on some really drew my attention. I had never seen apples quite that dark. Inside the flesh was white with streaks of pink. Absolutely gorgeous. Do you know which variety that might be?
We loaded a box with apples and plums that we brought back home with us. My mom made vanilla bean, cinnamon and lemon-flavored apple and plum jam as soon as we returned, which she is still enjoying every morning for breakfast.
Needless to say, I cooked a lot with apples last week. One of my favorites, this savory red kuri squash, apple and quinoa crumble with goat cheese, sage and parsley. We ate it with a green salad. It was lovely.
For dessert, one of my childhood favorites that is included in my upcoming cookbook. Gluten and dairy free vanilla and cardamom flavored natillas with sauteed apples. Natilla is a light custard that we grew up eating. My grandmother made it perfectly every time with raw milk and cinnamon. Always makes me think of her.
You can see Nadia’s post with images from our visit on her blog. So beautiful.
Red kuri squash, apple and quinoa crumble
serves 4 to 6
1/2 cup (70 g) superfine brown rice flour
1/2 cup (70 g) quinoa flour
1/2 cup (70 g) cold cooked quinoa
1/2 ounce (15 g) finely grated Idiazabal or Manchego cheese
3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 tablespoons (90 ml) olive oil
In a bowl, whisk together the first six ingredients. Add olive oil and stir until a sand-like crumble forms.
Chill the crumble while preparing the filling.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 medium leek, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 medium red kuri or hokkaido squash, peeled and diced (about 3 cups diced)
1 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
3 sage leaves, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
2 medium Gala apples, peeled and diced
3/4 cup (185 ml) chicken stock
1 ounce (30 g) goat cheese, crumbled
Preheat oven to 400F (200C)
In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the leek and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes until tender, but not browned. Add the squash, parsley, sage, salt, pepper, and coriander. Increase heat to medium high and stir. Cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
Add the chicken stock and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the apples and cook another 5 minutes until soft but not mushy.
Transfer the filling to a greased baking dish or individual over-proof bowls. Top with the goat cheese and the crumble.
Bake the crumble until topping golden and filing bubbling, about 30 to 40 minutes for a larger dish and 20 minutes for individuals. Serve warm.