There are some things I just know to be true:
If there is a strange and delightful thing at the grocery store, I’ll be drawn to it like a moth to a flame. You know, like these strawberry cherries. No, they don’t taste like strawberries at all. But they are pretty tasty. And they are HUGE. Well done, packaging. You had me at hello.
I should never ever ever attempt to change a recipe taught to me by my mom. She never considered herself a great cook, but she really knew Southern cuisine. She could fry up some of the best chicken and pork chops I’ve ever eaten, and meals at our house included things like corn pone, greens, fried salt pork, sautéed squash, and freshly sliced tomatoes, onions and cucumbers. She taught me how to make a pretty fantastic roast, a miracle-working potato soup, and fried apples. It was the best kitchen therapy ever.
One of mom’s favorite meals was breakfast. She loved biscuits, country ham, fried apples, and a good cup of coffee. Breakfast is popular at CasaRock too, though we’d rather have it for dinner. In fact, BfD (breakfast for dinner) is one of the most requested meals with our friends. We’ll load up the dining table with things like French Toast Casserole, biscuits, sausage gravy, brown sugar bacon, and herb-scrambled eggs, and linger there for hours as we talk about life and faith.
Now, one thing I’ve not yet served for BfD is fried apples. Served on a biscuit with crispy bacon, it’s a special treat that tips just ever-so-slightly into the dessert world. The recipe is a simple one, according to mom (who never measured anything).
Get some red delicious apples. They’re not good for eating, but they’re great for frying. Slice ‘em up, and put ‘em in a skillet. Add a few dobs of butter. Sprinkle a bit cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves on the apples, to your liking. And cook them down on low heat until they are soft. Put a heap of them on a biscuit and eat.
A few weeks ago, while serving in McLoud, Oklahoma, I cooked enough apples for our team to make three large pans of apple crisp for disaster relief workers. Mom would have been proud. I vowed then that I would make fried apples for our next BfD.
Well, I spied a Granny Smith apple in my kitchen. Those bright green beauties are my personal favorite. I’ve used them in plenty of pies and cobblers, so I thought I could tweak mom’s recipe just a tad. Slices of Granny Smith apples went in a pan with a little Earth Balance Coconut Spread and cinnamon. Deep down inside, I knew better. But I did it anyway. And. That. Apple. Was. Awful. Even the bacon didn’t help, and bacon makes everything better, because it’s – well – BACON. After a moment of silence for the mess I’d made and a quick run to the store to get those “not good for eating” red delicious apples, fried apples were back on the BfD menu.
Now, if you don’t cook like my mom, with a “dob” of this and a “little” of that, here’s another fried apple recipe for you. And as a bonus, I’m sharing the recipe for brown sugar bacon because everything (OK, most everything) is better with bacon. Happy breakfasting, and thank you mom for teaching me well.
(makes 6 servings)
3 red delicious apples, cored and sliced (a thicker slice will yield an apple more like pie, and a thin slice will yield an apple with a caramelized coating)
1/4 cup butter, sliced
2 T. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. clove
2 T. water
Place all ingredients in a skillet, and over medium-low heat, cook (stirring frequently) until apples are tender.
Brown Sugar Bacon
(makes about 4 servings)
1 pound thick-sliced bacon
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 T. dijon mustard
Preheat oven to 375. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Set a cooling rack inside the prepared pan and set aside.
In a large Ziploc bag, mix brown sugar and dijon mustard. Add bacon and massage until every slice is covered in sugar mixture. Place coated slices on the rack (so the grease will drip away from the bacon as it cooks, and bake for 20 minutes or until crisp. Remove immediately from rack to serve.