Finally, if I'm going to make an appointment in the kitchen I have to make sure my husband is available to baby sit. Otherwise I'll find my 9-month-old wandering over to the dog food, stove or much worse, into the cleaning supplies once she tires of playing in "her" cupboard full of pots and pans -- a.k.a. drums and drum sticks.
When I cook, I want to make it count. I want a meal. We can buy ice cream, we can't buy homemade lasagna. Once or twice a year, however, I feel the need to warm up the kitchen with some luscious, sugary goodness. This usually happens in the fall, when apples are fresh and pumpkins are abundant.
I spoke to my good pal Doug Dezotell (see Doug's new column, Musings and Memories on page 6B of our print edition) last week. When he asked what I was up to I told him I was pondering over apple recipes. As often happens, my friend had an idea for me.
"You ought to get Martha Hitt's recipe for apple dumplings," he said. "They're woooooonderful!"
"I don't know, Doug," I said. "I'm really not into making dumplings. Sounds like something I could mess up in a hurry."
Well, not so true.
Martha Hitt, former teacher and FCE member, is a lovely lady from Wheel with who I can relate. She never liked to bake -- she didn't have time for that. She doesn't like to cook, either. In fact, she hates it. The only thing she makes well, she said, are apple dumplings. They are so easy you almost can't believe how good they are, and so what if you take a couple short cuts from the store -- no one else will know or care. All they'll care about is getting seconds.
Thanks, Martha, for a dessert that's as quick and simple as it is warm and delicious.
(Note: I enjoy having a husband who will eat anything I put in front of him. He's too kind to tell me if he doesn't like something, but I have my own way of telling. Without fail, if he likes something, he will 100 percent of the time go for seconds ... Half the batch was gone when I went to clean up the kitchen the night I made these dumplings.)
2 Granny Smith apples
(T-G Photo by Sadie Fowler)
1 cup orange juice or Sunny D. (she uses Sunny D; I used orange juice)
1 cup sugar
1 stick butter
1 tsp. vanilla
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Peel, core and quarter apples (there should be eight pieces).
Wrap each apple in a crescent roll (there are eight rolls in a container). Place in baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray.
In a small saucepan, combine orange juice, sugar, butter and vanilla. Bring to a boil and pour over dumplings.
Bake for 25 minutes. Serve with ice cream.
-- Sadie Fowler is lifestyles editor of the Times-Gazette. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.