One of my greatest childhood memories is of the June apple tree in our back yard. The apples tasted like no other -- strong, sharp, juicy -- and they were tops for cooking.
June apples come and go quickly, but as shoppers, we are lucky to have a wide variety of apples available to us year-round.
Here are some recipes from the U.S. Apple Association.
PEANUT BUTTER APPLE S'MORES
2 Pink Lady apples, cut into 1⁄2-inch slices
6 oz marshmallow cream
4 oz dark chocolate bar
6 oz chunky peanut butter
On a cookie sheet or plate, lay out your apple slices.
Spread marshmallow cream and chocolate on half of apples.
Spread peanut butter on remaining apples. Sandwich each pb-apple with a marshmallow/chocolate apple and enjoy.
BRAINY APPLE AVOCADO BREAKFAST SALAD
1 tablespoon raisins
1 tablespoon walnuts
1⁄2 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1⁄4 tsp cinnamon
Peel and chop apple. Place in bowl with a drop of water. Microwave on high for 1 minute.
Stir, microwave for 30 seconds longer.
Cool apples! This step is to make them the same texture (soft) as the avocado.
While your apples are cooling, mix together honey, vanilla, and cinnamon, until well combined.
Drain any water from your bowl of apples.
Chop your avocado and add it to the apples.
Pour honey sauce over avocados and apples.
Add raisins and walnuts, and stir gently.
Add a hard-boiled egg and some whole wheat toast strips to make this a balanced breakfast, or serve as a side dish any time of day!
CIDER-BAKED CHICKEN AND SAUSAGE
1 large onion, cut into eighths
1 large lemon, sliced into rounds
2 cups apple cider
1⁄4 cup olive oil
1⁄4 cup chopped fresh sage, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 bay leaves
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 chicken legs
4 chicken thighs
1 12-ounce package chicken-apple sausage
2 large apples, each sliced into eighths
1 lb. small, red skinned potatoes, halved
Place a gallon size heavy-duty zip-top bag into a large bowl. Place the onion and next 9 ingredients into the zip-top bag, combining well. Add the chicken and chicken-apple sausage to the marinade. Close the bag, place in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Arrange the chicken pieces in a large roasting pan, skin-side up. Pour all of the marinade, including onions and lemons over and around the pieces.
Tuck the sausages, apples and potatoes around the chicken. Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, turning sausages about halfway through to cook evenly.
Arrange chicken, sausages and potatoes on a platter and sprinkle with chopped fresh sage.
PERFECT FALL APPLEBOURBON COCKTAIL
1 oz. David Nicholson Bourbon
.75 oz. Christian Drovin Calvados
1.5 oz. Spiced Apple Cider (cold)
.25 oz. St. Germain
Red apple, sliced in thin wheels, for garnish
Combine all ingredients. Stir until cold. Serve with large ice cube and garnish with a thinly-sliced apple wheel.
WILD RICE AND APPLE STUFFING WITH SAGE
1⁄4 cup wild rice
4 cups whole wheat bread (10 slices), dry
1⁄8 cup butter or margarine
1⁄2 medium onion, medium dice
11⁄2 medium Granny Smith apples, 1 cup chopped
11⁄2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon thyme
1⁄2 teaspoon marjoram
3⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 cup walnuts, optional
Oil a 2-quart baking dish or casserole pan and reserve. In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup of water to a boil and cook the wild rice in it. It will take 30-45 minutes, depending on the type of wild rice. When tender, drain and reserve.
Cube bread and put in a large bowl, toss to dry out while you prepare the other ingredients. Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium high heat and add onion, celery, and carrots. Stir, reducing the heat to medium as it starts to sizzle. Cook until the carrots are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the apples and sage and stir until the sage is fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add stock and dried herbs, then pour the contents of the pan over the bread cubes. Add the cooked wild rice and fold all the ingredients together with a big spoon. Press into the prepared pan and top with walnuts.
Bake at 400 degrees for about 35-40 minutes, until the top is browned and an instant read thermometer inserted into the center of the pan reads 150 degrees F.