Side Orders: Apple harvest is A-OK

Side Orders: Apple harvest is A-OK

October 24th, 2012 by Anne Braly in Life Entertainment

Apple season is in full swing at Apple Valley Orchards in Cleveland, Tenn., owner Chuck McSpadden reports.

"The early spring gave us some frost damage to some varieties," but most suffered little or no damage, he said.

Most affected were HoneyCrisp and Cortland, which were completely wiped out, and Golden Delicious, which didn't grow to full size.

"The weather damaged some of the blooms but didn't kill them completely," he said of the Golden Delicious. "They're just not as large as normal."

The extremely hot weather this summer took a toll as well. "The trees seemed to shut down," McSpadden said, "and the apples didn't seem to grow."

The weather didn't affect the flavor, he said, but it did affect the prices, which are up about $2 per bushel.

"Quality is very good on the Jonagolds and Mutsus," he said. "And the Fuji and Pink Ladies (which are being harvested this month) are excellent."

McSpadden said the harvest will continue through this month, and he hopes to have apples to sell through the end of November. For directions and availability, log onto www.applevalleyorchard.com or call 423-472-3044.

There's nothing better than using local apples in your recipes. They're so much more flavorful than those shipped from far away.

This recipe for Fresh Apple Cake has been in my files for years. I don't know where it came from, but it's the best I've ever tasted, and I hope it will be passed down for generations to come. Whenever I make it, it's met with rave reviews.

Fresh Apple Cake

1 cup oil

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

21/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup chopped nuts

3 cups peeled, chopped apples

Cream cheese frosting:

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese

1 box (1 pound) powdered sugar

1 stick butter

2 teaspoons vanilla

Measure oil into large bowl; add sugar and eggs, and mix until well blended. Sift together flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon; add to creamed mixture, beating well. Add vanilla. Fold in nuts and apples.

Pour mixture into greased 9- by 13-inch pan. Bake at 350 F for 50 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool completely and frost with cream cheese frosting.

To make frosting: Combine all ingredients and blend well.

In celebration of its 100th anniversary, the Lookout Mountain Beautiful Garden Club will change its focus from flowers to food with the publication of a new cookbook, "Beautiful at 100: A Centennial Celebration of Food." With the holiday season approaching, you'll find dozens of mouthwatering recipes perfect for upcoming parties and feasts.

At first, members thought they would just put together a small collection of menus and recipes for members only. But as recipes came in, the small book took on a life of its own, said Dowling King, club co-president and a member of the cookbook committee.

"We quickly realized that we were currently blessed with great cooks," she said.

The books are $20 each and will be on sale, beginning Thursday, at Dayle May Jewelers, 307 Manufacturers Road; Fisher Evans Jewelers, 801 Market St.; Natural Body Spa and Shop, 300 Broad St. and 1202 Hixson Pike; Fairyland Pharmacy, 100 McFarland Road on Lookout Mountain; and Twiggs, 810 Scenic Highway, Lookout Mountain.

Creamy Seafood Casserole

11/2 to 2 sticks butter

6 tablespoons flour

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

4 cups heavy cream

1 pound scallops

1/2 pound crabmeat

1 pound medium shrimp

1/2 cup chopped onions

1/2 cup chopped celery

1 cup sliced mushrooms

1/4 cup sherry

2 cups flavored bread crumbs

Cooked rice

Heat oven to 350 F. Melt 1 stick plus 2 tablespoons butter in saucepan; stir in flour and seasonings, and continue stirring several minutes. Slowly add cream. When mixture begins to bubble, continue to stir for 5 minutes.

In separate saucepan, sauté all seafood in 2 tablespoons butter. Remove seafood from pan and add remaining butter; sauté vegetables until golden or glossy. Add sherry and cook 1 minute more. Add seafood and vegetables to cream mixture; combine.

Pour into casserole dish, and bake until mixture bubbles, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle bread crumbs on top, and continue baking until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Serve over rice.

-- Mrs. Wayne Tipps

Email Anne Braly at abraly@timesfreepress.com.