Thursday , February 29 2024
Take apples beyond the lunchbox.

Book Review: The Comfort of Apples: Modern Recipes for an Old-Fashioned Favorite by Philip and Lauren Rubin

Apples are the obvious mainstay snack and part of a good breakfast or lunch. But with the ideas in The Comfort of Apples cookbook, as you’ll soon see, apples are the right addition to salads, appetizers, pasta, and cocktails too. You’ll improve your knowledge and appreciation of apples for more than a quick snack, and stretch your food budget by incorporating apples in unique recipes.

To expand your apple-ology, start with the book’s apple tasting chart which provides guidelines for sweet to tart, for eating and for baking. There are about 40 common types included in the chart, although there are over 1,000 varieties of apples grown worldwide.

The authors, Philip and Lauren Rubin, run a catering business, and encourage you to move beyond your grocery store’s most popular varieties by trying apples from local orchards, roadside stands, or mail order specialty growers.

Beyond apple pie, The Comfort of Apples has many unusual recipes for meals and desserts. Most are simple and the preparation directions are written in a clear, relaxed style.

Innovative ideas include Lentil and Charred Corn Salad and Citrus Beet and Apple salad. Most of these dishes will liven up your dinner with esoteric additions to your routine, simply by adding apples in any of the nearly 100 ways suggested.

Perhaps most unexpected is the recipe for Apple Tzatziki, based on the traditional Greek dip/sauce. The Rubin’s version includes the addition of a grated tart apple to the cucumbers, dill, garlic and yogurt for a unique taste.

Most of these recipes can be used right away with what’s on hand, with simple ingredients for an apple vinaigrette dressing, or the baked mac and cheese with an apple/pear puree in place of breadcrumbs or flour. The twice-baked sweet potatoes with butter, garlic, and apple may become a tradition at your family dinners.

Maybe the only recipe you’ll skip is the arduous method for making chicken stock from scratch. Twelve pounds of chicken bones and a six hour process is beyond most of us, but the rest of the book’s creations deserve a place at the table.

The Comfort of Apples lacks calorie and nutrition information for the recipes, but apples are a healthful choice at any meal.

About Helen Gallagher

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