In support of eating locally, my daughters and I decided to go apple picking this fall. I consulted our local pick your own website and found dozens of farms offering apples. Since we also needed to buy some bake goods we decided to go to Chudleigh’s Apple Farm in Milton, Ontario. It is only an hour from downtown Toronto, where we live.
Chudleigh’s offers a number of activities for families including a petting zoo, hay stacks for climbing, and hay rides to the picking site. Most importantly, they offered a very large selection of apple varieties. We decided to pick Honey Crisps for eating, Galas for cooking as well as a bag of Northern Spy for baking pies.
When we arrived we were already hungry so we ordered an apple bumble and some coffee at the snack bar before heading out to the fields. Once we were ready we were driven out to the fields on a tractor pulled hay wagon. It was very well organized. Every section of the orchard was segmented for a specific apple variety. Depending on the time of year that the apples are ready for picking, you are able to pick the varieties offered during that week.
We had so much fun riding around the orchard and seeing the families wander up and down the rows. Children were so excited to be able to pick an apple and taste it right away. We spent the day enjoying the crisp fall weather and the charming surroundings.
it had been years since the last time we went apple picking. I enjoyed the day so much I think I will make it an annual event. Next year I will try a different orchard.
The thing I liked the best was bringing home 3 large bags of apples. First, I baked some apple pie for our Thanksgiving dinner. Then, I made some pork chops with grilled apples and finally, I made this delicious Apple and Provolone Risotto. I modified the recipe to use apple cider as part of the liquids which gave the risotto a sweet and salty taste with the cheese. I would serve it on its own or as a side dish with lamb or chicken.
Apple and Provolone Risotto
Makes 6 servings
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Fine sea salt
2 firm, sweet apples (such as Gala or Braeburn), peeled, cored, cut into ¼-inch dice
1 3/4 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 cup apple cider or apple juice
1 cup aged provolone cheese, coarsely grated
Freshly ground black pepper
In a large saucepan, combine onion, 1 tablespoon butter, oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 7 minutes.
Add apples; cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes more.
Add rice; cook, stirring frequently, until rice is translucent, about 4-6 minutes.
Add white wine, reduce heat to medium-low and cook until liquid is mostly evaporated, then add 1/2 cup apple cider. Cook, stirring constantly, until broth is mostly absorbed.
Continue adding the rest of the apple cider and then the broth in 1/2 cupfuls, stirring constantly, and allowing each addition to mostly absorb before adding the next, until rice is tender yet firm to the bite (you may have broth left over).
Remove pan from heat. Stir in remaining tablespoon butter, cheese, 1/4 teaspoon salt and generous pinch pepper, then cover and let stand 2 minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve immediately.
Recipe modified from La Cucina Italiana-November 2013