A Local Apple Relish Recipe

by Anne Maxfield on October 6, 2016

Accidental Locavore Red Hook ApplesThis apple relish came last year when I was playing golf with friends, it’s simple and a nice way to use up a couple of apples.

The Accidental Locavore decided on a condiment to go with the two chèvres I had from Goat Cheeses of France. The Red Hook Golf Club was originally an apple orchard, and hundreds of apple trees still line the fairways. This has been a terrific year for apples and there are literally thousands of them, ripe for the picking. I grabbed a bunch of Romes and McIntoshes from my favorite trees (around the tee box on the fifth hole) and made a simple relish for the cheeses. This made about 2 cups:

Apple Relish Recipe:

  • ½ cup of sugar, more or less depending on your apples
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • Salt
  • 1 ½ pounds tart, crisp apples, peeled and cut into 1/2” chunks
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated ginger

Accidental Locavore Apple RelishIn a medium sized pot over medium heat, heat the sugar and vinegar, stirring to dissolve.

Stir in the apples and cook for about 5 minutes, until the apples are cooked but still hold their shape. Stir in the ginger, taste and add salt as needed.

Cool to room temperature. Serve and enjoy!

My verdict: Although I’m not generally a fan of “stuff” other than bread or a plain cracker with cheese, this was a nice addition.

The apples had a nice fresh flavor that contrasted well with the rich funkiness of the cheeses. Leaving them in chunks kept them from turning into mush (aka apple sauce).

The ginger added a hint of spice and some brightness. Now that I’ve done my posts for the Goat Cheeses of France, I can sit back, relax and enjoy their wonderful chèvres my way, with a baguette. The rest of the relish I’ll use to garnish a duck, or go more traditional with some pork chops or smoked pork tenderloin.

What would you use it with?





3 Reasons Your Kitchen Isn’t Perfect

by Anne Maxfield on October 3, 2016

Accidental Locavore Clean Kitchen

Admit it.

You’ve drooled over perfect kitchens.

Real Simple organized pantries (with everything you need to make dinner in a flash).

Accidental Locavore Kitchen Pantry

Catch-all drawers perfectly organized.

Refrigerators (the Accidental Locavore’s nemesis) with room to spare.

Accidental Locavore Fridge InteriorIf only…

Let’s get real!

You’ve tried and you’ve tried. Even Marie Kondo (The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up) doesn’t dare go there.

Come on, it’s a kitchen.

And while everyone has theirs organized to some degree, all it takes is a husband, kid, guest, cat or dog rummaging around to make all that organization go straight down the drain (figuratively, if not necessarily literally).

So, how do perfect kitchens exist?

  1. Remember, any kitchen you see in a magazine has had an army of interns, assistants, stagers, stylists etc. going over it with a fine-tooth comb. They’ve done the lighting, polished a pile of Granny Smith apples, found flawless flowers – none of which last for more than a few hours.
  2. They’re for sale (or the house is). My kitchen looked like that. It was so beautiful, with tons of counter space, gleaming appliances (the big bowl of apples) and I barely recognized it! Our broker had staged it for the photo shoot for the open house. An hour later, it was back to normal and I was once again cursing the lack of counter space.
  3. No one uses them. Yes, there are people who never cook. Probably not reading this, but they do exist. A couple of clues—there is nothing in the refrigerator except beverages. The only thing on the counter is a coffee maker and those pod things. You’ve never been invited over for dinner and…there are shoes in the oven.

Accidental Locavore Freezer InsideWhile, I’ve managed to tame my freezer, my refrigerator is still/always a disaster area. And while Marie Kondo would tell me to get rid of it because it (certainly) does not bring me joy, that’s not going to work.

Hmmm, maybe that’s why she doesn’t go there.



Plum Cake Recipe

by Anne Maxfield on September 29, 2016

accidental-locavore-plum-tartWhat to do with a plethora of plums?

And a plethora of plums that won’t stop coming.

Most of the time it’s zucchini or eggplant people complain about when they have a CSA.

We thought a fruit share sounded like a good idea, but knew eight pounds of fruit a week would be too much so decided to share it with friends.

It’s still too much, and we’re not eating enough of it so the Accidental Locavore is trying to figure out what to do with it all (and in ways that don’t necessarily involve desserts).

But this one does.

Billed as the most requested recipe from the NY Times, they refer to it as a Plum Torte, but it’s more like a cake (IMHO).

Plum Cake Recipe

Serves 8.

  • ¾ to 1 cup sugar (depending on your sweetness tolerance and the sweetness of your plums)
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup unbleached flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt (optional)
  • 2 eggs
  • 24 halves pitted purple plums
  • Sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon, for topping

Heat oven to 350°.

In a mixer, cream the sugar and butter.

Add the flour, baking powder, salt and eggs and beat well.

Spoon the batter into a 9” spring-form pan. Place the plum halves skin side up on top of the batter.

Sprinkle lightly with sugar and lemon juice, depending on the sweetness of the fruit.

Sprinkle with about 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, depending on how much you like cinnamon.

Bake 1 hour, approximately. Remove and cool; refrigerate or freeze if desired. Or cool to lukewarm and serve plain or with whipped cream. Serve and enjoy!

accidental-locavore-plums-halvedMy verdict: Moist and buttery – well there was a stick of butter…

Make sure to add the sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon to top it off. Just go easy on the cinnamon unless you’re a big fan (I’ve learned the hard way that a little cinnamon goes a long way!).

The plums give a nice tartness to what is a rich treat, but as the Times says, you can use almost anything; I’m going to do it with peaches and then maybe apples.

While it’s a great dessert, it’s also a pretty fine breakfast!

My only issue was that my (cheap)spring-form pan leaked and I ended up putting a parchment-lined baking sheet under it to catch the drips. Not sure you need a spring-form, just butter any sort of cake pan (or buy a better spring-form).

The paper of record says you can freeze it, and to serve a torte that was frozen, defrost and reheat it briefly at 300°.


Apples: What Are Your Favorites?

by Anne Maxfield on September 26, 2016

accidental-locavore-farmers-market-apples-and-pearsWhat’s your favorite apple?

Do you like them sweet and Delicious (pun intended)?
A classic McIntosh?
Or do you just want to have a good time with a Gala?

It’s time to put down that pumpkin latte and reach for an apple.
An apple is one of those very rare, sweet treats that is almost calorie-negative. That means you burn almost as many calories eating it as you take in.

Good stuff, right?
A large apple has only 116 calories, and, not to depress you, but that pumpkin latte? 420 (160 from fat).

accidental-locavore-farmers-market-applesIf, in most years, you think there are a lot of apples here in the Hudson Valley, you’d be right. While this year a lot of areas got hammered by that April frost, normally this is one of the largest apple growing areas in the state and only Washington state beats New York for apple production.

Whether your idea of picking apples is to go point at a box and say “I’ll take that one,” or hike out to an orchard, what you really want to know as is what to pick from a pile of pommes.
Since all apples are not created equal, the Accidental Locavore is going to break down some of your favorites into a few categories to make it easier for you.

For more details and photos of the varieties check out the NY State Apple Country site.

Ginger Gold
Red Delicious

Northern Spy

Granny Smith

Good for baking:
Golden Delicious
Northern Spy
Granny Smith

Accidental Locavore Red Hook ApplesDo a Google search for “pick your own apples Hudson Valley” and you’ll come up with lots of suggestions all over the Valley. Call or check on the individual websites before you go to make sure they’ve got apples (and what types).

If your preference is for pies, why not sample a few at the Apple Pie Café at the Culinary Institute? Remember that (sadly) they’re only open Monday through Friday.
Wrights Farm in Gardiner has lots of pies to choose from, apple cider doughnuts and a “Help, I Picked Too Many Apples!” page on their website if you’ve overindulged.
For some adult entertainment, why not sample some of the local distilleries?
Hudson Valley Distillers, Tuthilltown Spirits Distillery and Harvest Spirits all are working with local apples to make new versions of old favorites like vodka and applejack.
Find a designated driver and go to a tasting at any of their facilities. They’ve got some great cocktails that let you take advantage of apples in a whole new light.

Let us know in the comments how many different apple varieties you’ve tried and what your favorites are.