Hot Spiced Apples
By Summer Miller, author of New Prairie Kitchen
The sky was yellow — a combination of haze from wildfires and the glow of the sun. My husband and I debated opening the windows in our home. We often debate these things. It’s part of marriage. The mundane daily details of whether the house is too hot or too cool. These become matters of great importance when you share your life with someone. We opened the windows. The air was cool, and a light breeze blew across a field of golden rod. We stopped trying to tame that field years ago, and it’s become my favorite place.
There is value in learning to let things go, and to let them become what they will be. When we first bought our home and the land that came with it my husband spent hours mowing it. Then we visited a bison rancher named Dave who stopped mowing the Kentucky Blue Grass around his lawn that summer. He didn’t have the time so he let it go. It grew long and flopped over. I thought it was beautiful. We came home and stopped mowing most of the acreage. I wondered what would become of it. How wild would it get? Would the grass just grow long and flop over? Would something native grow in its place? Would I see more pheasant or possibly the imprint of a deer who had bed down for the night?
At first we just looked like bad neighbors. The grass was long and unruly. I loved it even more. The seed heads shot up and dried. In the winter ice formed on the long stalks creating small cylinders my children used as straws for the five seconds they lasted. The weeds grew. I didn’t see a pheasant. Then seemingly out of nowhere our state flower arrived. First, just a little patch – an oasis of gold in a sea of green and brown grass. Then the milkweed arrived. I had hoped to be a stop for a monarch or two, but nothing yet. At least not that I’ve noticed. Now the field is mostly filled with the yellow, towering plums of goldenrod and it’s stunning. Beautiful things come from letting go, but it takes time.
Fall is approaching, which means the apples trees at the bottom of the goldenrod field are ready. I’m not easily contained so I spend as much time outside for as long as I can. I sit in the black rocking chairs on our front porch wrapped in blankets, sipping tea and eating hot spiced apples well past the time reasonable people relent to the changing of seasons.
Serves 2 to 4
This apple dish can be made fresh the morning you want to eat it, or doubled and reheated as needed for breakfast throughout the week.
4 apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1 cup frozen cherries, sweet or tart, it’s up to you
¼ cup apple cider or juice or water
1 tablespoon honey
1 ½ teaspoons almond extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of kosher salt
Combine everything in a medium sauce pot. Cook over medium heat for 15 minutes until apples are soft, but still hold their shape, stirring occasionally. Spoon what you want to eat into a serving a bowl. Most of the time I eat the apples on their own without any accompaniments, but they are also delicious with a dollop of yogurt, some toasted almonds or sprinkled with a bit of granola. Breakfast is served.
Transfer leftovers into a jar to cool. Store in an airtight container in your fridge for up to a week. Spoon over ice cream or stir into your morning oatmeal. Reheat as needed.
Check out Summer’s website!