Support Local Journalism. Join Riverfront Times Press Club.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Farmers' Market Share: Caramelized Cardamom Apples

Posted By on Wed, Sep 30, 2009 at 2:00 PM

click to enlarge ALISSA NELSON
  • Alissa Nelson
Despite being an avowedly city-livin', farmers' market-shoppin', Fair Trade coffee-sippin' -- did I mention self-loathin'? -- walking cliché, I need to clear out my mind and lungs periodically.

Believe it or not, I actually grew up 45 minutes from the nearest city, where I was surrounded by pick-your-own options. The first warm days of spring were inevitably marked by my family squatting in the middle of a strawberry field, sneaking occasional berries while filling up a cardboard flat in the May sunshine. Summers were all about blueberries, massive quantities that would make your head spin.

Then when the weather got crisp, we would make a trek on narrow winding New England farm roads to one of the old orchards. If I was really lucky -- like, really REALLY lucky -- I would even get a caramel apple.

When I first moved to St. Louis, I missed apple season three years in a row. Who knew that it was over in October? Who knew that you could pick apples without wanting -- hell, needing -- hot apple cider at the end of the day? Y'all are crazy here.

While I miss my apples of Irish ancestry -- McIntoshes, Macouns and Courtlands, in particular -- I've come to appreciate the sun on my shoulders as I pick Ozark Golds and Jonathans. Last year, I discovered Mills Apple Farm in Marine, Illinois. I'm a girl of predictable tastes, and I was completely won over by their two dogs that jog alongside the tractor as you head out to the orchards. That aside, their farmers are lovely people, and they make a killer flaxseed cookie.

With all that down-hominess, you'd think I would be weaving my own basket crust for apple pie. Um, no. So even though I grew up in a little rural college town, we had a killer Indian restaurant in an old-school house building, where I first cut my teeth on coconut soup. For my first years of cooking, Indian food was the one thing that I refused to attempt, since I knew I couldn't do it as well as the professionals, nor did I have the time or inclination.

About a year ago I found myself seduced by the fantastic food photography in Madhur Jaffrey's Quick & Easy Indian Cooking, and I discovered that I could do a completely acceptable multicourse Indian feast in a totally reasonable length of time, dessert included. I'd consider these the grown-up version of the caramel apples of my youth, a fitting reward for my hard work in the orchards.

Tags: , ,

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.

Speaking of Farmers' Markets & Grocery Stores, In The Kitchen

Read the Digital Print Issue

December 1, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2021 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation