Tag Archives: applesauce

Welcoming 2015!

Happy New Year everyone! For all of you I wish a healthy, happy and peaceful 2015. Now, let’s talk New Year’s Day traditions!

Here in Pennsylvania, it is traditional to eat pork and sauerkraut. I have never understood the logic so yesterday I went searching for the answer. This is the best I found:

http://seriouseats.com/2014/12/good-luck-food-new-year-pork-sauerkraut-lentil-herring-collards-hoppin-john.html

Now that I have read the story behind the tradition it makes perfect sense. In short, pigs scratch forward symbolizing moving forward in the new year. Cabbage was in abundance, so sauerkraut was the perfect pairing. The tang of the kraut balances the richness of the pork so nicely.

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I always make mine in the slow cooker. I find it keeps the pork tender and juicy. Dry pork is not happy pork! Two quarts of our homemade sauerkraut, two tablespoons of brown sugar and twelve ounces of my husband’s home brewed hard cider go into a six quart slow cooker. Feel free to substitute store bought sauerkraut if necessary but I would rinse it first to control the sodium level. You can also substitute any apple cider, with or without the alcohol. Stir well to combine. Make sure all of the brown sugar dissolves.

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We share New Year’s dinner with my family and I love leftovers, so this year we bought a six and a half pound pork roast. I already have plans for the leftovers! Before adding it to the crock pot salt and pepper the roast on all sides and sear well. Once seared on all sides nestle into the sauerkraut fat side up. As the fat melts, it will baste the pork. Turn on low for seven to eight hours until it reaches an internal temperature of 165*.

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Next, to make gravy with the pan drippings. I had chicken bone broth in the fridge, but you can use any broth or stock you have on hand. I added two cups of broth and deglazed the pan well. Next I mixed one tablespoon of corn starch into a few tablespoons of water until well dissolved. Add into the gravy and whisk well over medium high heat until thickened to desired consistency. This will take about ten to fifteen minutes of constant whisking. I seasoned with salt, pepper, and thyme.

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This is my exquisitely fancy gravy boat! Travels so well! In all seriousness, I got about a cup of gravy from the drippings and my hubby raved over it. I think he may drink the leftovers if I don’t use them fast enough.

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You can’t have gravy without mashed potatoes right? I served my dairy free mashed on the side. Simple to make and delicious. Peel, cut and boil two pounds of potatoes until fork tender. Remember, always think leftovers. The amount can be adjusted depending on need. A trick I learned recently is to mash the potatoes before adding anything to them. Once mashed nicely I add a dash of plain almond milk, tablespoon of earth balance butter substitute and one half cup non-dairy sour cream. If you are not dairy free feel free to use milk, butter and sour cream. Stir until nice and creamy.

We also served with homemade applesauce, but somehow I managed to forget to take a picture of that and my plate. Sorry! I was so involved with all the conversation around the table it completely slipped my mind. That is the sign of a good holiday meal!

Now, please tell me about your traditions in the comments, and again Happy New Year!


Fresh Homemade Applesauce

Another fall favorite has arrived at the farmers’ market! Beautiful, organic, red delicious apples! Five pounds came home with us!

Another couple of pounds each of gala and honey crisps came home with us as well. What to do with ten pounds of apples? Didn’t have to ponder this for long. Since my son gets his wisdom teeth out this week, applesauce it is!

After washing all the apples, the next step is to core them all. Thank goodness for the person who invented the handy little tool to do this. If I ever questioned whether this purchase was a smart one or not, I won’t anymore.

Next?? Peel them all. No cool tool for this, just a plain old vegetable peeler. You don’t have to be meticulous with this step, a little skin won’t hurt anything.

Now they need to be quartered and into a pot they go. Larger ones may need to be cut smaller than quarters.

The juice of two lemons and their peels also go into the pot. I used the vegetable peeler to peel the lemons so the pieces are easy to fish out.

Add in one three-inch piece of cinnamon, a whole nutmeg which has been cracked in half, one cup of sugar, one cup of brown sugar, and two cups of water. Put onto the stove top over high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat, cover and simmer for thirty to forty-five minutes.

The picture doesn’t quite capture it, but after the right amount of time, the apples will start to break down. Today’s batch took about forty-five minutes. Turn off the heat. At this point, fish out the lemon peel, cinnamon and nutmeg.

At this point, I chose to deviate from most of the recipes I have seen online. The majority of the recipes I read while researching called to mash the apples with a potato masher until the desired consistency. More power to the people with the wrist and arm strength to do this! I cheated, perhaps, and got out my immersion blender. Took about three minutes to reach the texture I wanted.

All that is left is to serve it up and enjoy. The beauty of making it yourself?? You can adjust the sweetness as you wish and you know exactly what is going into it. I added the cinnamon and nutmeg in while cooking. This step could be skipped and you could just sprinkle ground cinnamon and nutmeg over the applesauce at the end. The best part? The flavor is far superior to the stuff in the jar! Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself!


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