Autumn seems to be upon us once more. The Midwest becomes a smeared palette of vibrant yellows, reds, and oranges. The season of harvest beginning. The weather changing state. Long, humid days turn to cool, windy nights. These next months are for soft, wool sweaters, bonfires, and drinking coffee under a starry night sky. Warm lattes and jittery bodies roam the quad. Breathes become ocular, resembling the appearance of exhaled smoke. Leaves fall like student’s willpower to study. Cold mornings only make it harder to leave the warming embrace of the bed. All the while, the looming thoughts of midterms leads everyone to question the reason pursuing higher education was even a considerable option in the first place. Welcome to fall, I suppose.
All joking aside, I love the autumn months. I know I write this down quite a bit, but I simply cannot get enough of the harvest season. Can I be blamed? What isn’t completely intoxicating about it all? There are countless pumpkin patches, apple orchards, and corn mazes to venture and explore. It’s finally the ideal time to break in those sweaters you bought on sale last season. Then to top it all off, pumpkin spice makes everything nice. I think it’s a scientific fact. Pumpkin spice ice coffee is a gift to the human race. Anyways, everything about the impending season inspires me. The colors, the smells, the food, the changing air, the clothing, the food, the festive holidays, the food, FOOD. As someone who obsesses about food practically daily, autumn never disappoints with culinary inspiration.
The minute autumn hits, my Pinterest page becomes a destructive tornado of pumpkin and apple spiced recipes and ideas. Everything from instructional videos on how to roast squash to pictures of overly artistic food photography and warm lattes held by hands in mittens. These and many more are excavated from the culinary overload that is my Pinterest page. I might be the smallest percentage of men on the site, but I’m content with that statistics. My obsession with food and photography, plus my complete inability to care about the opinions of others, outweighs the binding gender norms and stereotypes associated with it. What’s wrong with ordering your pumpkin spice latte and drinking it too?
Let’s talk about yogurt again, shall we? I heard about Frog Jam after my most recent trip to the Great Smokey Mountains. I kept seeing roadside signs advertising for “Frog Jam”. I never heard of frog jam before, and assumed it was made from a literal frog. After stopping at a roadside market for boiled peanuts and jam, I quickly learned that frog jam is, in fact, NOT made from a frog, but it’s, in actuality, an acronym. Frog Jam stands for the jam’s ingredients that are; figs, red raspberries, oranges, and ginger.
Being on my own for the past two months, I’ve grown quite fond of yogurt and playing around with the plethora of flavor and topping combinations. A couple weeks back in my Food & Prep class, we learned all about slicing, dicing, and julienning. One of the recipes we attempted was for “Taffy Apple Salad”. After trying the finished product, I was hit by inspiration. “What if you pan-fried the apples?” I thought to myself, masterminding all of the culinary possibilities. Instead of making a taffy salad, I decided to pan-fry simply the apples in some butter with cinnamon + sugar and top it with yogurt. Mixed in a little frog jam and honey and, well honey, you got yourself the perfect autumn breakfast.
- 1 apple, cored and sliced
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 ½ packages graham crackers
- ½ cup whole or sliced pecans
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon salt
- Dash of nutmeg
- 1 cup Plain Yogurt
- 2 tablespoons frog jam, or orange marmalade
- 2 tablespoons honey
- For pan-fried apples: Core and slice the apples into wedges. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt a knob of butter. Once the butter is melted, add the cinnamon and sugar. Swish the skillet around in a circular motion until the sugar is dissolved and the aroma becomes fragrant. Add the apple slices, and cook on both sides until soft and cooked through, about 7-8 minutes.
- For the toasted graham topping: Preheat the oven to 350°F/177°C. In a food processor, add the graham crackers, pecans, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. Pulse until the mixture resembles a fine crumb. Spoon ¼ cup of the mixture on a baking tray. Toast in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Reserve until needed. Hint: Use the excess graham mixture for a refrigerator pie or tart.
- To assemble: In a bowl, add the yogurt, jam or marmalade, and honey. Stir to combine. Top with pan-fried apples, toasted graham topping, and a drizzle of honey. Serve immediately.