Seeking a Renaissance in San Francisco
My friends and I visited the Swanton Pacific Ranch a few weekends ago. The ranch is located in Santa Cruz County in California’s Central Coast, about an hour and a half south of San Francisco. We took the beautiful Pacific Coast Highway down to the ranch at the end of Apple Picking season this year. The ranch participates in the U-Pick program, so we picked apples and made a day of it! On the way back to city, we stopped by the Pie Ranch in Pescadero. They had the tastiest walnut pie I’ve ever had! It’s such a charming place – I’d definitely suggest going. Before we made it back to the city, we stopped by an Orchid greenhouse and Pumpkin Patch.
I was thinking about making pies with the apples I picked, but I figured I’d go a different route. Growing up in an Indian family, both of my grandmothers would make me amazing home cooked food. Indian cooking has many types of tastes and flavors, but one of my favorites, is the combination of sweet and spicy. My grandmothers would use different types of fruits to make sweet, yet spicy chutneys (or ‘thokku’ in Tamil). I chatted with my grandmothers and got their recipe for a yummy Apple Chutney. The chutney goes well with rice, chapatis, or can even be used as a spread in sandwiches!
I’d like to share the recipe today, as well as some pictures from my trip with you all! Hope you enjoy!
Peel and grate the apples. Heat up 2 tablespoons of oil on medium heat for a few minutes. Once the oil heats up, add in mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, and dried red chilies (broken into pieces). Wait for the mustard and fenugreek seeds to splutter and then add the asafoetida powder and curry leaves. Be careful not to let the spices brown too much! Add in the grated apples and turmeric powder. Now this part will take awhile, so be patient. You have to really let the apples cook. It’ll take a good 15 minutes for the apples to soften and become a chutney-like consistency. Once the apples start to break down, add another tablespoon or two of oil to help the process along (this will also help preserve the chutney for awhile). Remember not to add water, because the apples will let out juice on their own!
Taste the mixture and add in salt. At this point, you may feel like the chutney is on the bitter side. Traditionally Apple thokku (or chutney) is supposed to be slightly spicy & bitter (because of the fenugreek seeds). I personally like it a bit sweeter, so you may choose to add a teaspoon or so of jaggery (whole cane sugar).