Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Snacking State-by-State: Washington III - So Much To Do With Apples...

The State of Washington is notable for having a massive apple industry.  In one year, Washington apple orchards produce over 10 to 12 million apples, each picked by hand.  That's 100 million boxes of apples, each weighing in at about 40 lbs [Washington Apple Commission 2010]. If Washington doesn't have the largest apple industry in the Pacific Northwest, it certainly is a leading contender.  And oh the things you can do with those apples.  You can even find them this far east, mixed in with all the apples from Pennsylvania and Virginia and those produced in our my home state.

Official Name: State of Washington
State Nickname: The Evergreen State
Admission to the US: November 11, 1889 (#42)
Capital: Olympia (21st largest)
Other Important Cities: Seattle (largest), Spokane (2nd largest), Tacoma (3rd largest) 
Region: Northwest, Pacific, Pacific Rim; Pacific (US Census)
RAFT NationsSalmon
Bordered by: Pacific Ocean (west), Oregon (south), Idaho (east), British Columbia (Canada) (north)
Official State Foods and Edible Things: apple (fruit); bluebunch wheatgrass (grass); steelhead trout (fish); Walla Walla sweet onion (vegetable)
Some Famous and Typical Foods: Pacific coast seafood, including but not limited to: Dungeness crab, salmon, trout, scallops of many varieties, Geoduck clam, mussels, oysters, halibut, cod; blackberries, apples, huckleberries, cranberries, cherries; hazelnuts; coffee

The Washington Apple Commission website [2010] has a mind-boggling array of apple recipes.  It was pretty difficult to hone it down and find just one.  I explored chutneys, beverages, soups, stews, desserts, main dishes and so on.  I finally settled on a side dish that seems to promise a blend of Southern and Pacific Northwestern deliciousness..  Of course, in reading the article I had never even considered the idea of blending apples and yams, but in a way they certainly seem to go together.

The Recipe: Golden Apples and Yams

I halved the apple and yam recipe I got from the Washington Apple Commission's "Best Apples" website, and had to improvise just a bit, with pleasing results.

* Golden Delicious apple (not much at the farmer's market, though I forget the price per pound.  About $2.75 I think?)
* yam (bought at Wegman's for about 75 cents)
* packed brown sugar (the recipe does not specify dark or light.  I grabbed the dark)
* orange juice (Oops!  I thought I had this, but when I could not find it, I improvised with some lemon juice and a lime - not pictured - that I juiced on the spot)
* cloves (had them; you will need to grind them)
* cornstarch (had it)
* pecans (they don't cost that much if you buy a little bit of them in bulk at Wegman's - this way I only paid about 50 cents for them, if that; in the spirit of the Pacific Northwest I also added hazelnuts, again in bulk and again I didn't spend too much)

Either bake your yam in the oven at about 400° for 50 minutes or, if you have other things to do, poke it with a fork several times (I also scored it a few more times with a knife) and microwave it for about eight minutes.  Guess which one I did.

Peel and core your apple.  You are not making a pie here, so if you only have one of those coring-slash-wedging mechanisms you will have a little extra knife work to do.  You need apple rings here.

No, they're not perfect.

Likewise, when your yam is cool enough to handle, slice it as well.

Mix the brown sugar, cloves and cornstarch with your citrus juice over heat (it doesn't say low, medium or high heat.  Just guesstimating I went with low) until thickened.

Layer your apple and yam slices in an oven-safe dish, and pour the liquid over it.

Sprinkle chopped (or in this case, er, ground) nuts on top.  Bake in a 350° oven for about 20 minutes, or until the apples are tender.

This is a simple and delicious side dish, and marries together several ingredients I had never even thought to put together: apples and yams, plus pecans and hazelnuts.  Even though I did not have orange juice on hand, the citrus juices I did have worked beautifully, and next time I may just use those instead.


Douglas, Tom.  Tom Douglas' Seattle Kitchen.  William Morrow: New York, 2001.

"kiwisoutback" ( user).  "How to Make a Starbucks Iced Latte."  In "Starbucks Coffee Drink Recipes", Copyright 2008,  All rights reserved.

Washington Apple Commission.  "Crop facts."  Copyright 2010 Washington Apple Commission.  All rights reserved. 

Washington Apple Commission.  "Golden Apples and Yams."  Copyright 2010 Washington Apple Commission.  All rights reserved.  "History of Starbucks."  Date unknown.

Some information also obtained from Wikipedia's "Washington" page and other pages, and the Food Timeline State Foods link to "Washington".