Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Cumin Apple Chips (Page 76)

  • Date: Saturday, May 17, 2008 -- 7pm
  • Location: Somerville, MA
  • Kitchen: Matty's Apartment
  • Dining Companions: Matty, Yano, Irene, Alp, Phil O, and Ben W
  • Recipe Rating: A-

I forgot to take a picture of the cumin apple chips alone, so what you are seeing above is them as a component in the dish that this recipe was paired with (which I will blog about tomorrow). These chips were simple and quite tasty. The recipe called for granny smith apples to be sliced thinly (1/16 of an inch) with a mandoline, and then dusted on both sides with a combination of powdered sugar and cumin. They were then placed on a baking sheet lined with a non-stick silicone baking liner (i.e. a silpat) and baked in a low oven for a long time. The result: crispy apple chips, scented with cumin and touched with a bit of sweetness.They were perfect as a component to the crab salad pictured above. Eaten alone I thought there was a bit too much cumin, although Matty disagreed with me on that point. This is a wonderful use for a mandoline... you would need pretty exceptional knife skills (and a damn sharp knife!) to get the slices thin enough without one. Emilee bought me a wonderful new mandoline for my birthday last month (thank you Em!), and this was my first time trying it out. Wow! I had a cheap, crappy mandoline but it is going in the trash now because my new one is amazing! Anyway, these apple chips are quite delicious. I am a huge fan of this genre of food (fruits and vegetables made into chips) and this recipe did not disappoint.

Here is the recipe.

When I was little, my good friend Melanie's family was way into dehydrating food. (In fact, maybe they still are... Mel?) Every year they would make bags and bags and bags full of dried apple wedges. It doesn't even really sound that good, but they were delicious! Mel and I spent a lot of time together as kids, and nearly every summer/fall memory I have of us together has a bag of those dehydrated apples in the corner of my mental picture. At the time it seemed completely mysterious to me how those dehydrated apples were made. They had a contraption -- a big white machine that appeared in the TV infomercials that I loved so much. You would put in apple wedges and out would come deliciousness. I didn't know at the time that the same thing could be achieved with a very low oven, or that the machine basically just blew warm air. It was magical, and mysterious, and I was jealous. I wanted a food dehydrator! My mother wouldn't buy me one though. I'm not sure why not. Perhaps she had an aversion to its AS SEEN ON TV package. Or maybe she thought I would never use it. Or worse, I would use it and I would make a big mess. I don't know. But there was resistance to my food dehydrating plan, and it never came to fruition (much like my desire for a ferret, or ear-piercing, my endless petitioning was to no avail). So I stared longingly at the food dehydrator in Melanie's kitchen, wondering why she was allowed to dehydrate and I wasn't!

I am older now, and wiser, but I still believe in the deliciousness of dehydrated food. I never did buy myself one of those big machines, but the magic of the mandoline-silpat-low oven combination has not been lost on me. Mmmmm.... dehydrated food!


Melanie said...

Funny, I was just telling Daniel the other day about the dried apple phenonmenon, including how much you loved them. I don't know about you, but store bought dried apples just aren't the same.

My parents actually had to stop making them because they can't get the right kind of apples anymore. You need an extremely dry apple to make it work, and they had an agreement with some orchards in the area to get all the Wolf River "thirds" (the lowest grade of apple). Any other kind of apple available in the area has too high of a juice content, so when you dry them they turn out hard and leathery. It isn't worth the effort to dry them.

When you get married, make sure to register for a dehydrator. :-)

Teena said...

Man, I loved those things! So sad to hear that your family isn't making them any more. They were so much better than anything you can buy in the stores!