Removing my shoes and wading through 1,750 bushels of corn was not among the activities I expected to engage in over the weekend. But life wouldn’t be much fun without an occasional dose of spontaneity. So, when friends urged me to join them in the giant corn box at Roba Family Orchard in Scott Township on Saturday morning, I dove in.
It didn’t take much convincing; it looked like fun. And it was.
The corn box is like a giant sandbox, filled with kernels of corn. Step inside and your feet sink in the golden grain. Step out and kernels come with you, spilling out of your clothing for the rest of the day. Especially if you lie down and make a corn angel (like a snow angel, but with corn) or allow someone to bury you in it (like the beach, but with corn).
Yes, I know this from experience.
Nine of us – six adults and three children – gathered to spend the morning and afternoon together at the orchard. But I think each adult made an unspoken decision to be a child at heart for the day.
After the corn box, we headed to the pumpkin bounce (a big pumpkin-shaped trampoline), followed by the carousel, then a lunch of steaming hot macaroni and cheese.
Next, we wandered the sunflower field – or what was left of it –in search of the perfect bouquets. It was too late in the season to see the flowers in their full glory, but it was still beautiful. Next year I hope to visit earlier, before the flowers start to die.
We ended the day with a ride up to the orchard to pick (and yes, eat) some apples. It almost became a contest to see who could fit the most apples in our 1/4 peck bags. I squeezed in 10 of the smallest honeycrisps I could find. This variety, as the name suggests, is sweet and crispy. And those I picked on Saturday are some of the juiciest apples I’ve ever tasted.
I could have eaten them all raw, but I had a hankering to try something new. So, after returning home Saturday evening, I took another dose of spontaneity and appealed to the internet for some apple recipes. And Pinterest did not disappoint. After sifting through a vast array of recipes, saving more than I’ll probably cook or bake in a lifetime, I adapted and combined several to create two of my own.
I tried both on Sunday afternoon, and met with success. Here they are:
GRILLED APPLE, BACON & CHEDDAR SANDWICH
1 small apple, sliced thin
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 slices of bread
3 thick slices of cheddar cheese
2 slices of cooked bacon*
Melt butter in skillet and mix in brown sugar, then add apple slices, turning every minute or so until apples are soft. Remove from heat and set aside. (If you only make one or two sandwiches, you won’t need the whole apple, but you can save what’s left over to serve on the side.)
Butter one side of a slice of bread and place buttered-side-down on a skillet or grill. Layer with half the cheddar cheese, the bacon, apple slices and the rest of the cheese, then add the second piece of bread, buttered-side-up.
Heat, flipping until both pieces of bread are toasted and cheese is melted.
*This sandwich would also be good with chicken, turkey or pulled-pork.
(Yields four dozen.)
4 cups of apples, diced
4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons. cinnamon
3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Heat butter, sugar and apples over medium heat until softened. Set aside.
Whisk together the flour, oatmeal baking soda and cinnamon. Set aside.
In mixer bowl, beat the butter, sugar and brown sugar on low-medium speed until creamy.
Beat in eggs and stir in vanilla.
Slowly add the dry ingredients, mixing until combined.
Fold in apples.
If mixture is runny, stir in more flower, 1/8 cup at a time, until dough consistency is reached.
Using small cookie scoop or teaspoons, form dough into balls onto cookie sheet an inch apart and flatten slightly.
Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet immediately and place on cooling rack.
With apple season in full swing, I imagine many people have more apples than they know what to do with. If that’s you, why not give these a try and tell me how they turn out? And if you have some favorite apple recipes of your own to share, I’d love to see them, try them and share them with readers. Email me at ebaumeister
Perhaps I should ask for corn recipes as well. I’m still finding kernels in my pockets.