Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Apple Cider at its best

My parents were in town last weekend so we took advantage of the beautiful day and headed up to Ellijay to pick apples.  (along with much of Atlanta I might add)  Ben's parents were able to join us as well - we had a fabulous time.  We stopped for a picnic lunch and then headed to our favorite apple orchard.  (BJ Reese Apple House)  We were quite surprised at how much it had grown since last Fall. 

The apples were not nearly as plentiful as they had been in years past.  We had to use some creative picking techniques to reach the apples at the tops of the trees but we all managed to fill our bags with plenty of apples.   

Grandma and the kids took turns shooting the apple cannon before we left the orchard.  Good times.
I love apple season and all of the yummy recipes that go along with it.  I have big plans for the bushel of apples that we brought home from the orchard last weekend.  I made a cider glazed pork tenderloin last week just to get us all in the mood for apple picking.  The recipe doesn't use fresh apples but it does use apple cider and apple butter to infuse the pork with apple flavor. 

Cider Glazed Pork Tenderloin
3 pound pork tenderloin           ½ cup apple butter
2 Tablespoons oil                        1 bay leaf
6 small shallots                            1 sprig fresh thyme
2 cups apple cider or juice         1 teaspoon cider vinegar

Pat pork dry with paper towels.  Season with salt and pepper.  Heat 1 T. oil in skillet over high heat.  Brown pork on all sides.

Transfer to a baking dish and roast 25 minutes at 375.

In same skillet, cook shallots 3-5 minutes.  Increase heat to high and add cider, apple butter, bay leaf and thyme.

 Cook 8 minutes, or until thickened.

Pour glaze over pork after 25 minutes and cook for another 20 minutes.  Transfer pork to a cutting board, cover with foil and let rest for 20 minutes.  Whisk vinegar into pan sauce and serve with pork.

I wish that you could have smelled this pork while it was cooking.  The apples and spices filled the house with the most tantalizing aroma - it was incredible.

On our way home from the apple orchard, we made a quick stop at the corn maze.  We decided to divide up into teams of two and conquer the maze in pairs.  Of course it turned into a heated competition over which team could complete the maze in the shortest amount of time.  (Just in case you were curious, Ben and I totally rocked the maze.)

We made some great memories last weekend.  I truly cherish the time that we spend together as a family.


Bon Appetit!

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