Posts Tagged ‘Apex Orchards’

Frittering My Life Away

Thursday, September 15th, 2016
Fritters make me happy.

Fritters make me happy.

I know, I know. This is my second post in a row about fritters.

I actually only make fritters every couple of years as a rule. Lately, however, I seem to be on a fritter kick.

Please believe me when I say this trend will end soon, for the sake of my waistline if for no other reason.

I will be making apple fritters in public very soon again, however. Apex Orchards in Shelburne, Massachusetts, is having a grand re-opening this weekend (September 17-18). I’ll be part of the celebration, making a couple of recipes from my Pudding Hollow Cookbook.

I have shopped at Apex for years, both for fruit and for the wonderful cider vinegar I buy there by the gallon. Tim Smith’s family has farmed this land for seven generations.

Tim and company have just opened a gorgeous new farm store with a spectacular view of the surrounding mountains. The gala weekend will feature hot-air balloon launchings, lots of yummy food (including my beloved Bart’s Ice Cream), and of course yours truly. I will be on hand on Sunday from 12 to 2 p.m. dishing up fritters as well as a green salad with apples.

The New Store (Courtesy of Apex Orchards)

The New Store (Courtesy of Apex Orchards)

If you can’t come, do try making the fritters. I prepared them on Mass Appeal yesterday, along with my favorite corn and tomato soup. I hope you watch! Meanwhile, I’m working on making something besides fritters for my next post!


Apple Fritters


1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon (you can’t really have too much)
1/2 cup flour
canola oil for frying
1 cup apple chunks (bite-sized pieces)


First, prepare the batter. Beat the egg until it is light. Add the sugar, milk, oil, and lemon juice, and mix well. Mix in the baking powder, salt, and cinnnamon; then gently stir in the flour. The batter should be fairly smooth. (A few lumps will disappear in cooking.) Let the batter sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

When you are ready to fry your fritters, pour 2 inches of oil into a fryer or heavy skillet and heat it to between 350 and 370 degrees. Stab each piece of apple with a fork, and dip it into the batter. Allow it to drip a bit, but don’t shake off the batter. Carefully lower the coated fruit into the fat, and cook until the first side is brown; then turn and cook the other side. (Turning can be a little tricky, but luckily sometimes you don’t need to!) You may cook 5 or 6 pieces at once.

Remove the fritters with a slotted spoon, and keep them warm in a 250-degree oven until all are ready. Serve alone, or covered with powdered sugar or warm maple syrup. Serves 4.


Courtesy of Apex Orchards

Courtesy of Apex Orchards

And now the videos….

Chic Once More Tarragon Vinegar

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

Twenty years ago tarragon was THE chic flavor for gourmet vinegar.
And yet a couple of months ago when I was getting ready to make Green Goddess Dressing I could find neither fresh tarragon nor tarragon vinegar in stores!
(I’m sure they can still be found in some grocery stores, but they were not available near my brother’s house in Virginia.)
Tarragon is a lovely herb, with a special almost licorice-like flavor. I have no idea why or how it fell from grace. I firmly believe that it deserves to come back into fashion, however. And I’m doing my part to promote its renaissance.
First, I have planted tarragon outside my kitchen in Massachusetts as well as in my sister-in-law’s garden in Virginia.
Thinking ahead to the winter when my tarragon will be dormant, I have just made tarragon vinegar. My own tarragon plant is still dwarflike, but I was fortunately enough to find a huge bunch of lush tarragon at my CSA, Wilder Brook Farm.
If I want to make Green Goddess dressing in January I can substitute my vinegar for some of the lemon juice in that recipe. I can also make an herbal vinaigrette with the vinegar. Or a sweet-and-sour vinaigrette by mixing it with some of my strawberry vinegar.
Like Scarlett O’Hara, I’ll never go hungry again—at least not where tarragon is concerned.
Did I mention that the recipe couldn’t be simpler?
Tarragon Vinegar
1 quart apple cider vinegar (I use the lovely vinegar made by Apex Orchards)
1/2 cup tarragon leaves
Heat the vinegar in a non-aluminum pan until it is just about to boil but not boiling. While it is heating, wash and dry the tarragon leaves, being careful not to crush them. Gently push the leaves into a warm, clean glass jar with a capacity greater than a quart. (I use an old liquor bottle—washed, of course.)
When the vinegar is warm pour it into the jar and close the jar loosely. Tighten the jar lid after the vinegar cools. Place the jar in a cool, dry place for 3 days, gently shaking it twice a day. Do NOT try to shake the bottle just after you pour in the hot vinegar as it may leak or explode.
Strain the vinegar through cheesecloth and funnel it into smaller bottles. If you like, you may place a sprig of tarragon in your bottles to help you remember what type of vinegar they contain. (Labels help, too.) 

Makes about 1 quart of vinegar.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider taking out an email subscription to my blog. Just click on the link below!

Subscribe to In Our Grandmothers’ Kitchens by Email.

Cider Maple Vinaigrette

Monday, November 2nd, 2009


I’m always in the mood for salad–particularly after a weekend dominated by pudding! This fruity dressing works beautifully with greens plus such seasonal add-ons as red onion, apple, dried cranberries, and/or toasted nuts. (A little local cheese doesn’t go amiss, either!)
4 tablespoons cider vinegar (I like the vinegar from Apex Orchards in Shelburne, Massachusetts)
4 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 tablespoon water
salt and pepper to taste (I use about 7 twists of the pepper grinder and 1/2 teaspoon salt)
10 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
In a jar with a tight-fitting lid combine the vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, garlic, water, salt, and pepper. Shake to combine.
Slowly pour in the olive oil and shake or whisk to combine again. This makes about 1 cup of vinaigrette which may be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week. Be sure to bring it to room temperature (and shake it) before you use it.

salad yum web

If you enjoyed this post, please consider taking out an email subscription to my blog. Just click on the link below!

Subscribe to In Our Grandmothers’ Kitchens by Email.

Liquid Rubies/Liquid Gold

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009
Truffle's new do makes her feel a little cold (but never nippy!) as September arrives.

Truffle's new "do" makes her feel a little cold (but never nippy!) in September.

September has arrived.
A little nip has arrived in the air here in the hilltowns of Western Massachusetts. My dog Truffle got her hair cut last week so she burrows under the covers at night. And I’ve just stopped swimming, although I hope my being landlocked is only temporary. Surely we’ll have a warm spell before fall arrives officially!
The chilly evenings have reminded me, a bit belatedly, that I’d better get to work preserving at least some of summer’s flavors. Somehow I never manage to put up as many pickles and jams as I’d like to these days.
I refuse to feel guilty about this. I just do what I can when I can.
So I’m happy that I’ve started … with a little vinegar.
I’ll describe what I’ve done below in paragraph form rather than as a recipe because (as you’ll see) the process is very loose.
purple basil web
My Ruby Vinegar (Cold Method)
A couple of weeks ago I harvested some purple basil to make what my friends at Stockbridge Herb Farm call “ruby red vinegar.” On their advice I went the traditional route with this batch.
I gently washed 1 handful of purple basil and 1 of green. I let them dry on paper towels. Then I placed them in a clean glass jar with a plastic top and covered them with distilled white vinegar. (I used about a pint of vinegar; feel free to use more leaves and more vinegar if you like.)
I left the jar to steep in a warm but dark part of the kitchen, shaking it gently a couple of times a day.
The purple basil started lending color to the vinegar almost immediately. Yesterday the vinegar was a lovely reddish purple and tasted of fresh basil. (One has to monitor the basil; this process can take from 1 to 4 weeks.) So I strained it through cheesecloth and put it in a fresh bottle. It will lend the taste of fresh basil to salads throughout the winter.

lemon basil web

My Golden Vinegar (Hot Method) 

Yesterday I went out to the herb garden and grabbed some lemon basil. This variety of basil really does smell of citrus.
As you can see from the picture above, I have let it go to seed a bit–in part because I’m lazy and keep forgetting to nip off the flowers as they form, in part because I love to add the basil flowers to a small bouquet. They lend a lovely fragrance to their surroundings.
I put a few flowers in today’s vinegar infusion but tried to rely mostly on stalks of basil that hadn’t yet flowered; their flavor is better. For this concoction I used golden cider vinegar from a local apple producer, Apex Orchards.
I took a shortcut with this batch of basil by heating my vinegar almost to the boiling point before pouring it over the cleaned and dried leaves.
(Before I added the basil I poured hot tap water into the bottle and left it there for a minute or two so that the bottle wasn’t shocked and perhaps broken by the warm vinegar.)
As with the non-heated vinegar I used a bottle with a plastic top so the lid wouldn’t react to the vinegar.
I will shake this bottle twice a day for three days. The warm vinegar works faster than vinegar at room temperature so my lemon basil batch should be ready to strain by the time the three days have elapsed.
Note: If you’re trying this method, be sure NOT to shake the bottle right after you add the hot liquid; vinegar will spurt out and make a mess!
If you don’t have purple or lemon basil, you may use either of these methods with regular basil or indeed with almost any herb. And think about planting more varieties of basil next year.
I’m looking forward to using either of my vinegars in panzanella very soon.
red vinegarweb