One of our favorite places to visit on the South Coast is Partners Village Store (and Kitchen), which is a great collection of small businesses, all of which thrive where none of them could survive alone. That is, about a dozen retail shops share both the space and the staff of 2-3 friendly and helpful clerks. The stores are full of charming gifts, books, toys, garden items, and clothing. Some of it is a bit expensive, but some of it is not. This is a business model that could work just about anywhere that a community wants to break the big-box-store cycle.
It was in the bookstore section of Partners that we discovered the kitchen calendar (aka Casa Hayes-Boh Nerve Center) for the current year. How could we not purchase a calendar made not only for the kitchen, but for this very blog? Besides having a folksy title, The 2015 Old Farmer's Almanac Recipes Calendar has una nueva receta cada mes -- a new recipe every month!
Careful readers will notice that this is MAY and we have not yet made anything from the calendar, but today was our day to start, and the result was delicious. I will stipulate for the record that this recipe turns healthy, vegan food (an apple and some figs) into food that is neither (with the generous addition of pork sausage), but it still was delicious. And maybe a clever reader will figure out a way to apply this concept to healthier and more sustainable ingredients.
The recipe calls for six large "baking" apples and a pound of sausage, I adjusted both quantities downward. As I browned the sausage, I cut the top 1/2 inch from each apple, leaving it with a flat top. Then I removed the core and most of the flesh, keeping the bottom and sides intact, about a half inch all around. This was not easy -- I used a small knife and a grapefruit spoon to get what I could without wrecking the cups I was forming. I chopped the apple into small bits. I added this and a few figs (the recipe calls for dried, but I used a few whole figs, again in small bits) back into the pan, along with cinnamon, brown sugar, and lemon zest.
I mixed this thoroughly and spooned it into each apple. There was plenty that would not fit, which I put in a small baking dish. I put the apples in a larger baking dish and sprinkled each with a bit more cinnamon and brown sugar.
I baked at 375F for 25 minutes, because I thought 40 minutes was too long. The result was an apple cup that was still firm to the bite, filled with deliciousness. It was not, alas, very pretty, even had my phone managed to focus better than this: