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some real jedi training

Recipe: homemade applesauce

I ought to work harder to avoid ambiguous sentence structure because my last post apparently left some of you with the impression that it was… my last post of the year! Come on, folks – you can’t shut me up THAT easily. I meant it was the last time I would be posting “the night before a flight” this year as I don’t have travel lined up until January. I’m kinda happy about that. So no, that wasn’t the last post of 2010.

Guess who was back in California for the third time in five weeks? Sadly, the latter half of my cold came with me. But I have the cure for the common cold: sitting down to hot tea and hot soup with Grandma. Also – a good night’s sleep. Fortunately, I did both because the next morning I drove to Yosemite.


yes, that yosemite



This wasn’t a shooting trip in my mind, even though that’s essentially what I did while I was in the park. I schlepped my gear through the early morning darkness under a cold, steady rain to meet with Michael Frye (follow Michael on Twitter @mfryephoto or fan him on Facebook). We then both went and stood in the rain and wind, freezing our collective bums off. I call it professional development.

here’s where i tell michael that i’m ocd and a blogger who documents everything

lovely fall colors still lingered

el capitan

intermingling of clouds and trees



I came across Michael’s blog a couple of years ago when I was looking for updates on Yosemite Valley’s dogwood bloom. The only people I trust when it comes to flower and leaf reports are nature photographers (I’ve learned that lesson ten times over), so I found his blog to be incredibly useful and accurate. He shares thoughts, critiques, and tips which I like. Michael also happens to be a damn fine photographer whose works you will find in Yosemite’s Ansel Adams Gallery. Better than that – he’s an exceptional instructor master.

male mule deer – it’s rutting season

big-leaf maple branch

the moon after sunset

morning frost



We spent about 11 hours in the field, 3 hours on the computers, aaaand I received a signed copy of Michael’s latest book Digital Landscape Photography. It was as dark when we parted that night as it was when we met that morning. My brain was close to mush, but I had a lot to chew on and to implement. I *still* have a lot to chew on and implement. I just wanted to share some of the quicker shots to process before the next thing steamrolls over me.

Traveling between Colorado and California has resulted in my own personal season-confusion. It’s fall – no it’s summer! No wait, it’s winter… and back to fall. At some point when Colorado was truly behaving like autumn in autumn, I had a hankering for some homemade applesauce on a tip from one of my girlfriends.


i grabbed what apples i had on hand

lemon juice, brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon, lemon peel (not pictured: salt and water)



Everyone has their variation on applesauce and they don’t differ all that drastically. I liked that Elise’s applesauce had salt and lemon juice, because sweet without acid or salt can taste incredibly flat. I used a combination of organic Fuji apples and Granny Smiths. I love me a tart apple.

piling the apple quarters into the saucepan

adding the rest of the ingredients



I used a pot that was barely big enough to fit all of the apples, but refused to switch out and create yet another dirty dish (that day was rife with dirty dishes). Instead, I let the apples simmer and I used a wooden spoon to gently push the pieces on the top down into the pot as the lower ones cooked and broke down. Worked just fine.

after the apples have cooked, remove the cinnamon and lemon peel

mash to desired consistency

chunky is where it’s at



Anyone who has tasted homemade applesauce knows that it is worlds apart from store-bought applesauce. When you tell this to people in the know they always react with a “duh!”, but people who don’t know have no way to comprehend what they are missing. I served my homemade applesauce with some pork loin chops because of a Brady Bunch episode back in the day. I think Peter was trying to imitate Bogart and asked Alice what was for dinner. She declared, “Pork chops and applesauce!” Peter then replies, “Pork chopsh… and appleshaush. That’sh shwell.” Don’t get me started on how screwy the 70s were. The combination of grilled pork and homemade applesauce however, is golden.

pork chops and applesauce… that’s swell



Homemade Applesauce
[print recipe]
from Simply Recipes

3-4 lbs. of peeled, cored, and quartered apples (use a good cooking apple: Granny Smith, Fuji, Jonathan, Mcintosh, or Gravenstein)
4 strips of lemon peel
lemon, juice of (3-4 tbsps)
3-inch cinnamon stick
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup of white sugar (approximately – depending on how sweet you want it and how sweet the apples are)
1 cup water
1/2 tsp salt

Place everything in a large pot (one large enough to hold all of the apple quarters… ahem) over high heat. Cover the pot and let the contents come to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and let cook for 20-30 minutes. Turn off the heat and remove the cinnamon sticks and lemon peels before mashing the apples with a potato masher. I prefer mine to be chunky, so I don’t go crazy mashing the apples. Serve hot or cold.

33 nibbles at “some real jedi training”

  1. Gali says:

    Hey, I remember that sentence from the last post… I also thought at first that it was a tad early to be calling it a blogging year but then when rereading it, I figured that it was, indeed, just the last post you write close to a flight, not the last one this year.

    The photo with the clouds in between the trees in amazing! It kind of makes me want to book a trip to a place where I could see that sort of thing.

  2. TheKitchenWitch says:

    Gorgeous Yosemite pics! Sorry about the germs…I’ve got them, too. :(

  3. barefoot rooster says:

    stunning photographs. and thanks for this applesauce variation — i’ve been making a bunch that is plain, to go in the freezer for baking later in the year, but i might save part of my second peck to fool around with lemon peel!

  4. Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary says:

    Thanks for sharing those amazing photos. You are right about homemade applesauce. I canned up quite a few mason jars full a few weeks back. My teenage son had a friend over for dinner and we had some of my apple sauce. The friend said he didn’t like applesauce….then he tasted mine. Now he likes it :)

  5. Rosa says:

    Wow, those Yosemite pictures are terrific! A scrumptious dish.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  6. Elizabeth says:

    Mmm. I love homemade applesauce. My mum leaves the skins on and then puts it all through the food mill instead of mashing it, which gives it a nice pink colour. So delicious!

  7. Bing Chou says:

    Great photo of El Capitan, and thank you for the flashback to the Brady Bunch…I remember the scene exactly as you do.

  8. Kathy says:

    I am so bad I still repeat that “pork chops and applesauce” routine whenever I make it for dinner.

    Are you selling any of those photos for sale? The moon after sunset is my favorite. Thank you.

  9. Susan @jeanne_samary says:

    So beautiful, Jen.

    Your pictures simply amaze me.
    Your talent truly adds beauty to my life, and to the lives of others.

    Best wishes.

  10. Kath says:

    Moon after sunset is just sooo dreamy!

    Cheers to no more flights for 2010 :-)

  11. Wei-Wei says:

    I’ve always thought of applesauce as just a replacement for oil when lightening up recipes, but I guess it’s a food of its own, too. This sounds delicious as a side to pork, definitely! Also: your photos literally made my jaw drop.

  12. Sil says:

    Jen, your photos are so great!!! Truly amazing.
    I think I’ll try your applesauce recipe very soon. Including the pork chops. Yum!

  13. Donna says:

    I couldn’t imagine that was your last post of the year. For a friend who I have never met, I knew you better than that! The pictures are amazing.

  14. barbara says:

    I remember that particular BB episode. The line is often used in our house when pork is on the menu.

    The Yosemite shots are amazing Jen.

  15. Melissa says:

    He might be a master, but it’s not like you’re a padawan. I mean, please. That “lovely fall colors still lingered” shot. Sheesh. :)

    I don’t know what I’m missing, with the applesauce. Now that I finally LIKE apples (thank you farmers market!), though, maybe I need to find out.

  16. Linda says:

    Absolutely stunning photos. Yep, you had me fooled…and sad. Next time I will read more closely.
    Just made apple butter and was a little disppointed…flat tasting. So I put it in the crock pot, spiced it up and turned it into apple butter. Love me some biscuits & apple butter!

  17. Linda says:

    …oops…I made apple sauce into apple butter.

  18. Nancy says:

    I guess I didn’t take your last post the wrong way…I figured there was no way you could not post again this year! Your applesauce and pork chops look divine! I have a few apples in the frig that may go that route too! Yum!

  19. Jaya says:

    Your photos have rendered me entirely speechless. Breathtaking!

  20. Amanda says:

    Gorgeous pictures of Yosemite!

  21. Nan@tastingoutloud says:

    I wasn’t worried about you’re not posting till next year. Figured that couldn’t happen. So I read the last post twice. The El Capitan is gorgeous! So is the sauce… and the pork chop!

  22. cindy says:

    I’ve always wanted to go to Yosemite in the fall–love the place but the summer crowds bum me out so badly, we always enjoy it and head up to Toulemne Meadows . . . where the crowds still suck.

    Made this applesauce last night! Threw in a few cardamon pods too. Delicious and made the chilly house smell so good.

  23. Caterina B says:

    Yeah, I read that sentence several times and then it dawned on me what you really meant! At first I thought you were going somewhere far, far away for a long vacation! Those are beautiful photos. You are a master photographer, too, Jen.

  24. Elise says:

    Pork schawps and apple shawsh! Who can forget that? I LOVED the Brady Bunch. Dates us, doesn’t it? So glad you made and like the apple sauce! It’s how my dad makes it. So so good. The lemon peel also adds a bitter note, like adding parsley to a stew, it, along with the lemon juice, just brightens the flavor of the apples. xoxo

  25. Cookin Canuck says:

    My goodness – those shots from Yosemite are stunning. My brother-in-law lives in Mammoth Lakes, so we have had the opportunity to visit Yosemite a few times. Have you ever eaten at MoMart (Tioga Gas Mart), the great restaurant inside the Mobil restaurant just outside the east entrance (Lee Vining). Lobster taquitos, mango margaritas, live music…at a gas station. Awesome!

  26. Stephane says:

    I think that is the most striking photo of El Capitan I have ever had the pleasure to see.

  27. Lisa says:

    Look the shots from Yosemite, I definitely want to make a trip to there. Fall seems the best time to go. Never made applesauce but I love it with pork chops.

  28. MJC says:

    I am so glad you are not finished for the year. We don’t know each other but I would miss your wisdom and creativity. Keep it coming!

  29. Andrea Meyers says:

    Stunning photographs. Thanks for sharing his blog, I’m always looking for good photography blogs.

  30. Ruth Ann says:

    I love those pictures- I visited your other photo blog for more. Amazing!
    I have never thought of making my own applesauce. It sounds really interesting- maybe I’ll make them with the latkes this Hannukah. Yum!

  31. jenyu says:

    Thanks everyone, you’re very kind! However, I’m no master photographer – which is why I gained much-needed knowledge from Michael, who IS a master photographer and most excellent teacher. Also, I’m so glad you’re all just as enamored with applesauce as you are with Yosemite Valley :)

    Kathy – If you have a specific one in mind, email me and I’ll let you know if I can sell a print. Thanks.

    Barbara – xoxo :)

    Melissa – you do need to find out, lady. You do! (we are such dorks, aren’t we?! xo)

    Cindy – cardamon, yum and great idea. Maybe next year take Sophie and Hubz to Yosemite while you’re waiting for ski season to start?

    Elise – you have the BEST recipes, hon.

    Cookin Canuck – yes, I’ve been there in Lee Vining! :) Awesome food (especially after a backpack).

    Andrea – first off, I’m so glad you’re no longer getting caught in the spam filter :) Second – Michael has an excellent blog and he’s very methodical and constructive (plus his photography is inspiring).

  32. Margie says:

    You can’t see me, but I’m honoring you with a standing ovation. … these pics are AMAZING! I especially love the tree shot.

  33. Rich says:

    What a great trip! And those photographs are astounding. Glad to hear you’ll be making more appearances with us this year :) The applesauce looks fantastic.

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