Sometimes it's nice to sit back and let someone else be the crazy one in the relationship. It's not that I don't take my responsibilities seriously, but all this neuroticism doesn't just happen; it's hard work. And I've been a little tired lately. So you can imagine how pleased I was when I made some applesauce last weekend and Mr. Bear's response was to worry that I was going to eat his brains. You know. Because, Obviously.
It started out with my Fall cravings for apples, nutmeg and cinnamon reaching epic proportions. So I pulled out my favorite applesauce recipe, which roasts the fruit whole, which made the whole house smell like a Dickens novel (Obviously, not the the one with orphans and poorhouses. No, not the one with child endangerment and recluses. The nice one. The one with a mahogany-roasted goose the size of a cripped child. Geez, Dickens. Even your pleasant similes are spiked with pneumonia and grime. What a downer.).
And once the cinnamon and nutmeg and cloves were stirred into those meltingly roasted apples, there was no restraining my enthusiasm. I may have made a few loud exclamations about how Fall was the best season ever, how cinnamon was the emperor of all spices, and how it could make absolutely anything delicious. And then, nearly swooning with the sensory overload of it all, I embraced my husband, kissed him soundly, and mentioned with delight that I'd never noticed before that his eyes are exactly the color of cinnamon.
He got a little nervous.
It's not my fault that Mr. Bear has a zombie obsession. I don't even understand it. I'm going to go on record saying that Zombies are the most boring of all the monsters. What with the shambling, and the bits falling off. They're just not scary. They seem eminently avoidable. Unless they're the juiced-up 28-Days-Later-Ragezombies, and even they don't seem any more scary than an angry regular person with an ax. Terror, sure. But not "Fiends of Hell" terror. Just "Got Lost Driving in Detroit" terror.
He claims that the exciting part isn't really the zombies themselves, but the thrill of a post-apocalyptic world where you fight for your life and rebuild civilization. He says this with a certain glint in his eye that makes me think it's best to keep him away from nuclear reactors and biochemical labs. He dreams about zombies regularly. He watches The Walking Dead. He has actual, defendable opinions on the efficacy of shotguns vs. crossbows vis-a-vis brainstem destruction. And during our recent trip to Mackinac Island, he mused with no hint of humor whatsoever, "You know, if the zombie apocalypse ever comes, this'd be a really good place to go. The water acts as a natural barrier, and by the time the lake has frozen enough to walk on, the zombies will have died of cold. We should keep this in mind." Emphasis mine. I'm definitely keeping something in mind, Mr. Bear.
He's been eyeing me a little funny since the day I made applesauce. It's probably nothing. He can't really imagine I'd want to eat his eyeballs. But Season
from Martha Stewart
Zombie or not, you'll love this method for homemade applesauce. Rather than stirring away at a pot on the stovetop, you get to pop the apples in the oven and forget about them. As a bonus, the bottom of the pan collects some caramelized goodness that really adds to the deep flavor of the sauce.
Water [ 1/4 cup ]
Light Brown Sugar [ packed, 6 tablespoons ]
Lemon Juice [ 1 teaspoon ]
Coarse Salt [ 1 pinch ]
Unsalted Butter [ 2 tablespoons, cut into small pieces ]
Apples [ 3 pounds - Gala, McIntosh and Fuji are suggested ]
Cinnamon [ 1/2 teaspoon ]
Freshly Grated Nutmeg [ 1 pinch ]
Ground Cloves [ 1 pinch ]
1. Heat oven to 425 degrees.
2. In a 9x13-inch baking dish, mix Water, Brown Sugar, Lemon Juice and Salt.
3. Sprinkle Butter over mixture.
4. Stand Apples in pan.
5. Roast until all Apples are very soft. This should take at least 30 minutes.
6. Pass Apple Mixture through a food mill. Alternatively, remove cores from apples and process
mixture in a food processor, then strain.
7. Add Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Cloves to Applesauce.
Makes About 3 Cups.
[ Notes: I used a mixture of half Gala and Half Fuji, and was very pleased. In the past, I've made this with all-red varieties and found that it gave a gorgeous pink tone to the finished product. ]