Who knew fruits and veggies could be so easy?
Most of my life I have shunned fruit and vegetables like a particularly healthy strain of plague. But times have changed, and I am gradually building a trust-based relationship with both fruit and vegetables. I eat a banana, it doesn't take like ass nor kill me, and so I start to learn that it won't hurt me. Ditto with veggies. I steam some spinach, it tastes good with a bit of Earth Balance and salt, and before you know it, i'm telling the carrots how I really feel about the time I ate a strawberry that turned out to be rotten. It's like we're growing, together.
But both fruits and vegetables seem so boring. I thought the problem was me. Something wrong with my taste buds, or some childhood trauma (looking at you, sneaky rotten strawberry). Like something must be wrong with me that I can't appreciate the flavors and textures.
But i've come to realize that the problem is actually with the fruits and veggies. Who wants to eat the same spongy banana-y banana every day? Or the same bitter steamed broccoli with its little feelers tickling the top of your mouth? Well, this is why we invented cooking and recipes. So I guess the problem really was with me - with me being too dumb to realize you can cook fruits and veggies to improve them, just like with any other food.
This will be the first in a series of posts on tasty and easy recipes to gussy up Fruits and Veggies.
The 5 minute Baked Apple
1 TBSP Raisins
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Earth Balance
1 tsp Water
First you need to core your apple. This is by far the hardest part, although it is made stupidsimple if you have an apple corer. An apple corer is totally on my Kitchen Want List, as it will save me at least 5 minutes a day.
If you are corer-less like me, take a sharp knife and stick it in the top of the apple and cut around the core. You don't want the knife to go all the way through the bottom of the apple, btw. Now use the knife, your hands, a spoon, whatever to pull the core and seeds out from the apple.
You should now have an apple with a nice cavity in it and no seeds and no remaining core. Take your knife and chop off a thin slice from the top or peel off about 1/4 inch of skin from around the opening. You may also want to chop a thin slice off from the bottom of the apple so that it sits flat.
Pour your tsp of water into a custard dish or another small microwaveable bowl.
Place the apple in the water, in the bowl.
Sprinkle half the cinnamon and nutmeg into the hole of the apple. Stuff with raisins. Sprinkle the rest of the cinnamon and nutmeg on top. Top with the Earth Balance.
Place the microwaveable bowl on top of a microwaveable plate (in case the water/juices boil over a little this will keep your microwave clean). Microwave the apple for 6 minutes.
Remove, let cool enough that you don't kill yourself, and enjoy. PS do not eat the bottom stem of the apple. After you've eaten the insides you can cut this out or just eat around it. Or eat it I guess, but eww.
You can fill the apple with anything you want. Raisins, dates, walnuts, maple syrup, chocolate, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, rum, schnapps, jam/jelly, anything you can think of. NOTE: If you are using a liquid such as rum, please cover the apple with saran wrap and poke several holes through it. This way the steam can escape but the rum won't boil over everywhere.
You can even fill the apple with onions that you've sauteed to a deep brown and fake bacon and fake sausage. Add in a splash of dark rum or red wine and you're ready to go.
NOTE: You can also make this dish in the oven. In fact, for the "dinner" style option with the fake meat, it may even be preferable. It just takes more time. But it's certainly the best option for making several apples at once.
To prepare in the oven:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place the cored apples in a square or rectangular casserole dish. Score the apples a little bit with a knife so that the skin doesn't break apart during baking.
Fill the apples with your fillings.
Pour 3/4 cup to 1 cup of water over the apples around around them into the baking dish.
Bake for 35 minutes.
After removing from the oven, baste with the remaining liquid from the casserole dish, or if you're lazy like me just spoon it over the apples.
Oven-baked apples have a slightly different texture and appearance than ones cooked in the microwave, but both methods are a tasty treat. Experiment and enjoy.