Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Good Apple - In Memory of Steve Jobs (1955-2011)

....Steve Jobs and his Apple products made creative and sensible thinking, cool.

Just imagine if Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs hadn’t chosen “Apple” as the brand name for their computer company way back in 1976. The personal computer might not be where it is today, IBM might still be telling us to “Think” and we’d probably be downloading our favourite tunes to Lemons. Those smart Steves, must have known naming their little company after the most popular fruit in North America would guarantee success. No other fruit bears quite the same healthy, virtuous, down-to-earth reputation among North American consumers as the apple, known everywhere as a portable, reliable, nutritious snack, and packed with Vitamin A and C. The McIntosh apple, by the way, is the all-time favourite among consumers and coincidentally, the name of the two Steves’ first generation of computers. Yes, there’s something highly resilient and entrepreneurial in the name McIntosh. The Steve and Steve team enticed people to take a bite out of the PC market, buy their Macs and “Think Different.

Similar to Steve Jobs' success, the apples from the very first McIntosh Apple tree, grown in the Ottawa Valley 200 years go, took a bite out of the apple market.

Rumour has it, John McIntosh, the son of Scottish immigrants discovered an overgrown orchard on his property near Ottawa and transplanted 20 of the healthiest seedlings to new ground. Only one tree survived and the apples from this singleton drew the praises from his admiring neighbours. With a stubborn entrepreneurial spirit and the drive to capitalize on his find, McIntosh learned how to successfully duplicate the apple of his eye. At first, apple growers did not want to grow the “Mac” because it was susceptible to pests and disease. By the early 1900’s, however, as spraying techniques were more widely used, the little McIntosh became more virulent and very popular among apple growers and consumers alike.

Today, tart and tasty McIntosh apples are cultivated in nearly every apple growing area of North America, including Eastern Ontario.

A few tips about apples:

  • It takes four apples to make a glass of pure apple juice.
  • Three medium apples equals about 1 lb. (500 g).
  • One medium apple yields about 1/4 cup (175 mL) sliced apples

Try these recipes to explore this Fall’s bounty:

The Steve Jobs No-Fail Spicy Apple Tart

Use McIntosh, Cortland, Spy or Newtown Apples.


2 cups all purpose flour

2 tbsp white sugar

¼ tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp cloves

¾ cup cool butter

2 egg yolks, beaten

2 tbsp water


6 cups (7-8 medium sized apples) peeled, coarsely grated apples (no need to core!)

2 cups white sugar

¼ cup white flour

1 tsp cinnamon

icing sugar

Pastry: In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon and cloves. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Mix in egg yolks with water; stir into flour mixture to form a soft dough. Using fingertips, spread dough evenly onto bottom and up sides of 11” flan pan or fluted glass dish, patting gently.

Filling: Combine all ingredients except icing sugar. Spread mixture evenly over pastry. (After filling the pastry, make a tin foil ring to place over the edges of the pastry to protect it from burning.) Bake at 375 F oven until apples are tender or about 45 minutes. Be sure to turn and check after 20 min and place the foil ring on the pastry edge if necessary to prevent burning. Let cool. Sift icing sugar over top. Serve with frozen yogurt or ice cream.

Apple Oka Bites

12 slices smoked bacon

1/4 cup grainy mustard

2 Ontario Apples cut into 24 wedges

250 g Oka cheese, cubed into 24 pieces

(Or, try other cheeses like Gorgonzola or Stilton for savoury substitutes)

In a skillet over medium heat, cook bacon in batches until cooked through, limp but not crispy. Place on a paper-towel lined plate to soak up fat and let cool. Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut each strip of bacon in half to make 24 small strips. Spread each strip with 1/4 tsp mustard and wrap around an apple wedge and piece of cheese. Secure with toothpick. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Arrange bites on a parchment or foil lined baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven just until bacon starts to bubble and cheese begins to melt, about 3-5 minutes. Do not overcook. Serve immediately or refrigerate and quickly reheat under the broiler. Makes 24 pieces.

Apple, Carmelized Onions and White Cheddar Pizza

2 tbsp butter

2 onions, sliced into 1/4 rounds

2 Ontario Apples, cored and sliced into wedges

1/4 tsp each salt and pepper

1 tbsp cider vinegar

1/2 pkg. frozen puff pastry (1 sheet), thawed

1/2 cup shredded aged white cheddar cheese

1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme

Melt butter in large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Cook onions until caramelized and softened, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Stir in apple wedges and cook 5 minutes longer (apples will be firm and a light golden colour). Season with salt, pepper and vinegar. Let cool slightly.

Preheat oven to 400°F . Roll puff pastry into a flat 10-inch square. Cut a 1/2-inch strip from each side. Brush the edges of the remaining pastry square with water and arrange strips on top, trimming, to form a border (or pizza crust) on all four sides. Using fork, prick bottom of pastry all over. Arrange onion and apple mixture inside border. Sprinkle with cheddar and thyme.

Bake in the centre of preheated oven until pastry is puffed and golden and cheddar is melted and bubbly, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before slicing into squares. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 4-6 servings.

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