Sunday, February 24, 2008

Now We're Cookin'

I love to cook. I really do. For more than thirty years, I've been stirring, mixing and experimenting in the kitchen. I get excited about things like Santoku knives, fresh herbs and colorful Kitchen Aid mixers. My cookbook collection is well over a hundred volumes, and I've been known to DVR Iron Chef America. I did pause this morning in church and wonder if I'm not watching too much Food TV when I disposed of my gum in a piece of paper torn from the bulletin and realized I was shaping it like a perfect piece of homemade ravioli.

I got an early start on cooking because Mama had a series of ear surgeries when I was about twelve that laid her up in bed for a while. Fast food was not common in those days, and we had to eat. Daddy had his hands full trying to work, take care of three kids and a sick wife, so we all had to chip in and help any way we could. I would sit beside Mama on the bed while she made out a grocery list and explained how to make stuff, then Daddy would drop me off at the grocery store with a $100 bill and the list. He ran other errands while I bought a week's worth of groceries. I felt really important. My family was very patient with my early attempts at supreme cuisine like runny spaghetti sauce and chili that made you sweat bullets. Then there was my cake decorating phase. I bought cake decorating tubes and made enough roses and swag borders to cover cakes for just about every relative within a thirty miles radius one year. I still have about 200 decorating tubes and if pressed into service could whip out a decent decorated cake. It's a disease, I'm tellin' ya. Teen Angel has caught it, too. I came home the other day, and she had whipped up a wonderful chocolate cake from scratch. I was so proud.

I've always been fond of making desserts, and one of the earliest that I learned to make was apple crisp. During Mama's recuperation, I found a recipe for apple crisp in her worn Betty Crocker cookbook and whipped up a batch or two...or three. Even though I've moved on to much more difficult desserts, I still have a soft spot in my heart for apple crisp (and chocolate no bake cookies). It's perfect on winter days when you're in the mood for comfort food. I made up a big batch to take to church tonight and thought I'd share the recipe with you for several reasons. First of all, it tastes good. Anything with three sticks of butter can't be bad, right? Also, this recipe is easy to make, and it's very kid friendly. It's a hands on recipe that's great for making some memories in the kitchen with your kids or grand kids. It's versatile, too. You can use any kind of canned pie filling for this recipe. It feeds a crowd. If you double this recipe and use one of those big silver disposable pans they sell at Sam's Club, you can feed thirty people with this dessert. Here we go.


2 cans sweetened apple pie filling
2 1/4 cups flour
2 1/4 cups quick oats
2 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
3 sticks melted butter
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder

Mix all of the dry ingredients in a bowl and crumble them until they're well mixed. It should look like this.

Next comes the melted butter. Is there anything more lovely? I think not. Look at all of that milky goodness. You can use margarine instead of real butter, and it will taste fine. Once you've made it with the real stuff though, you'll never go back.

Add the melted butter and mix. This is the part where Paula Deen would recommend that you throw away the spoon and mix with your hands. She would be right. I suggest taking off your big diamond rings first.

It will look like this when it's properly mixed. You will be tempted to stop right here and eat this with a spoon until it's gone. Whatever makes you happy. You'd miss out on the really good stuff, the apples....and ice cream. Did I mention we're going to eat this with ice cream when it's done?

Take about two-thirds of the mixture and press it into the bottom of a 9 X 13 pan. Don't press it too firmly though.

Pour your pie filling on top of this. Mmmmm. If you want to get really crazy you can sprinkle some cinnamon on the apples.

Now, crumble the rest of the oat mixture onto the apples. The finished product will look like this.

Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour or until the top is golden brown.

Don't you love it when gooey stuff oozes over the sides? And if you make it in a glass dish, you can see the layers.

Now, this dessert is fine standing alone on a plate, but it's really nice when it's served warm with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream and if you're feeling really over the top, a little caramel sauce. There you go. Go forth and make apple crisp. You won't regret it. Your hips will, but your taste buds won't. And hang in there, Oreneta, one of these days we'll make fried potatoes.


Jason said...

That. . is. . beautiful. And I don't even like desserts that much.

janjanmom said...

Erika is so making that next potluck!!

oreneta said...

Ooooh you're torturing could also psot that no-bake chocolate cookie recipe???

and Fried taters...???