Marge Perry, Newsday's weekly 3 Simple columnist, also writes, broadcasts, teaches and speaks about cooking, food and nutrition.
Apple Cinnamon Olive Oil Cake
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/3 cup brown sugar
5 apples, sliced
3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups granulated ugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup olive oil
1/4 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 10-inch tube or Bundt pan with cooking spray; set aside.
2. Combine the cinnamon and brown sugar; toss with the apples until thoroughly coated.
3. Combine the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the eggs, oil, orange juice and vanilla. With mixer on low speed, beat until smooth.
4. Pour about half the batter into the prepared pan; top with about half the apples. Add the remaining batter and arrange the remaining apples decoratively on top. Drizzle the juices remaining in the apple bowl evenly over the apples.
5. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 75 minutes. Cool in the pan on rack at least 30 minutes.
6. Run a knife along the edge. Place the wire rack over the cake, invert it, and tap firmly on the counter to release it. Place a plate over the cake and invert it again to serve. Makes 16 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving: 346 calories, 4 g protein, 50 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 15 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 329 mg sodium
Serve with chicken or meat; keeps well in the refrigerator for several weeks.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cups chopped red onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 apples, peeled, cored and diced, about 2 cups
1/2 cup chopped figs (about 7 whole)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch cayenne (optional)
2 tablespoons apple jelly
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly golden and soft, about 25-27 minutes.
2. Stir in the vinegar and cook 1 minute or until nearly evaporated. Add the apples, figs, cumin, ginger and cinnamon and cayenne (if desired) and cook, stirring occasionally, 7-8 minutes or until the apples are crisp tender and the figs are softened. Remove from the heat and add the jelly, salt and pepper, stirring until the jelly melts. Makes 10 servings (about 2 ½ cups).
Nutritional analysis for each serving: 113 calories, 1 g protein, 22 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 3 g fat, 0 saturated fat, 63 mg sodium
Honey Baked Apples With Dates and Pistachio
4 dates, chopped
1/3 cup shelled pistachios
2 teaspoons orange zest
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup honey, divided
2/3 cup orange juice, divided
1/2 cup water (or more, as needed)
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, cut in 8 bits
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9 x 7 baking dish with cooking spray. (Or any baking dish just large enough to hold the apples.
2. Make a very shallow cut along the bottom of each apple as needed to help it stand upright. Cut across to remove the top 1/4-inch. Remove the core, leaving about a 1/2-inch "floor" at the bottom. Arrange the apples in the prepared dish.
3. Combine the dates, pistachios, orange zest, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, 1/4 cup of the honey, and 1/3 cup of the orange juice in a bowl. Spoon the mixture into the apples.
4. Combine the remaining honey, orange juice and water and pour over the apples. Place a bit of butter on each apple and bake, basting occasionally (and adding water if needed), until the apples are fork tender, 45-50 minutes. Makes 6 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving: 302 calories, 3 g protein, 63 g carbohydrates, 6 g fiber, 7 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 41 mg sodium
TIP: Golden Delicious, Granny Smith and Pink Lady apples are good choices for baking.