Friday, May 27, 2011

An Apple(sauce) for a great teacher (and other grownups)

Even though teacher appreciation was May 3 this year, we never need a date on the calendar to appreciate fine teachers. Growing up as an Army brat, I had quite an extensive sampling of teachers, good, bad, and every stripe in between. Today's post is dedicated to one of my very favorite teachers, Miss Lynn E. Peters. Miss Peters was my second grade teacher in Fulda, Germany, and she was everything an educator should be. She was creative, kind, patient, and she opened the world to her students. Every morning we started the day with poems from Shel Silverstein or with song. I particularly remember us singing "Chicken Soup with Rice" based on the book by the same name by Maurice Sendak, and that Miss Peters had the illustrations for each month lined up under the chalkboard.

Miss Peters taught us to sew (and even to create our own ‘designer' fabric using crayon drawings that she reversed and ironed onto white squares of fabric), that we could make gifts from salt dough (she then baked our creations and applied some sort of laquer), and she was the first person to introduce me to the idea that applesauce came from apples, and not just from jars in the grocery store. She was also the first teacher to say that I had a talent for writing. She holds a special place in my heart for all these reasons and more. I heard she was married a year or two after I moved on from her classroom, so I have no idea where she is or what her name is now, but I hope that life has been kind to her. Wherever you are today, Miss Peters, you made a huge impact on me, and I thank you.

I never see an apple, or even applesauce, that I don't see a kind smile in my memory. Today I offer you my own version of applesauce for grownups. This is not your average store variety, it is cooked with wine and spices (similar to my Baked Apple recipe). Obviously this recipe makes a fairly small amount, but next time I will make a bigger batch. As much as possible, I use organic ingredients, but I especially recommend organic wine.

3 apples (I used a variety of apples that we had left from the last few co-op deliveries)
1 cup organic white wine
1/8 tsp ginger
¼ tsp cardamom
½ tsp coriander seed powder
½ tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp white pepper
¼ tsp clove
¼-½ tsp fresh grated nutmeg
2-4 Tbsp sugar according to taste

Peel, core & chop the apples and put the pieces into the wine, toss the pieces regularly to soak them in wine. (You can use the wine to keep the apple from browning)
Add spices and simmer in a covered pot until very tender.
Puree in a food processor, blender or food mill.
Add sugar to taste.

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