Apple Fritters {gluten-free, vegan}

A little over a fortnight ago I was bewitched by a certain volume of books. Not cookbooks, either. Nonfiction, actually. I have since neglected every duty in life and given myself completely over to this force. We’ve gone many a night without dinner, laundry is piled high, and my personal hygiene has begun to suffer. However, who can resist a doomed love story? Star-crossed lovers? The dreamiest, most selfless vampire in history?

 

Twilight.

Don’t you dare snicker!

Sure, I was where you were once. I used to cringe at every advertisement, roll my eyes in apathy at the teeny bopper posters, all the silly hype for some pubescent, and I was sure, poorly written high school romance.

I am no longer ashamed. Instead I dote on the novels with brazen abandon. I’m seriously considering hanging a poster of Robert Pattinson in our bedroom.  I have been so engrossed in the tale that I’ve consumed each book in 24 hours.  Of course, I had to take a fews days off in-between to ponder every detail, catch up on sleep, eat, bathe, etc.

What does this have to do with apple fritters? Well, nothing directly. I’m just waiting, rather impatiently, for the last book in the Twilight Series from the library. Until then, I thought it might be nice to surface from my obsession and live in the real world for a few days.

So, without further ado, I give you apple fritters.

APPLE FRITTERS
Loosely adapted from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home

These would no doubt impress anyone. We had them for breakfast this morning. And like a stingy little kid on Halloween I over indulged. These are like funnel-cake doughnut hybrids, with a sliver of apple in the middle to put the health conscious at ease.

  • 1 cup gluten-free flour mix (I use 2/3 cup brown rice flour, 3 tablespoons potato starch, 2 tablespoons tapioca starch)*
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 6 ounces sparkling water
  • 2-3 crisp, sweet apples
  • Canola or vegetable oil for frying

Whisk the first 5 ingredients together in a large bowl.  Add the seltzer/sparking water and mix to achieve a smooth batter. Set aside.

Peel and core the apples, slice into 2″ long and 1/4″ thick strips, much like french fries. Add apples to batter and gently stir to cover.

Heat 1 1/2″ – 2″ of oil in a wide, shallow pan over medium heat. When a drop of water crackles in the oil it is ready, 2-3 minutes. Using two forks lift up 4-5 apple matchsticks from the batter, allowing the excess batter to drip back into the bowl. Gently lower the irregularly shaped wad into the hot oil. Let cook until crisp and lightly browned, flipping a few times throughout, about 5 minutes. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels to drain and cool slightly. Repeat, cooking 2-3 batches at a time. Don’t crowd the pan.

Serve immediately with a generous sprinkling of confectioner’s sugar.

* Swap out all purpose flour if you’re not gluten-free

** Next time I will lightly dredge the fritters with a mix of regular sugar and a pinch of cinnamon before dusting with the powdered sugar. I thought they needed just a hint more sweetness.

Early Fall Salad

Early Fall Salad {gluten-free, vegan}

Last night we brought salad to a pot-luck dinner with friends.  And don’t get me wrong, I like salads and all, but I wouldn’t say I typically sit around daydreaming about what raw veggies to mix up next. However, in the half hour I had to throw this together, I figured I could either bemoan that I didn’t get to bring dessert or go big and make a really damn good salad.

I was craving something with a hint of autumn in it: apples, roasted nuts, maple syrup, etc.

This is infinitely adaptable to one’s personal taste.  I think the caramelized nuts along with maple vinaigrette really make the dish.

EARLY FALL SALAD WITH MAPLE VINAIGRETTE
4-6 C. your preferred salad green (I used a mix of romaine, radicchio, and baby spinach)
1 medium, crisp, sweet apple like Gala or Fugi
1 small cucumber
1 C. chopped almonds or walnuts
1/3 – 1/2 C. granulated sugar
1/3 C. olive oil
4-5 T. pure maple syrup
3 T. apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar or distilled vinegar
1-2 t. dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper

  • Tear lettuce into bite size pieces.  Rinse and dry (a salad spinner is great here).  Mound in a large serving bowl.
  • Chop apple and cucumber into 1/2″ pieces and sprinkle atop the bed of lettuce.
  • Prepare caramelized nuts: Spread chopped nuts in a dry 8″-12″ skillet.  Sprinkle sugar on top.  Turn the stove top heat to between low and medium.  I use setting 3 or 4  on a 1-10 dial.  Take a fork and swirl the nuts in the sugar.  Don’t go anywhere.  Things can progress quickly here.  After 1-2 minutes the sugar will become wet, keep stirring.  Then the wet sugar will start turning light brown, keep stirring for just a few seconds until a nice brown color is achieved…not chocolate brown or black.  Err on the conservative side.  Quickly remove pan from heat and scrape your nuts into a glass bowl.  Let cool.  Then break up into pieces by stabbing with your fork (rather gothic sounding) and pile on top of your salad.
  • To make vinaigrette: Mix all remaining ingredients together in a small container with a lid.  Shake, shake, shake. Taste and adjust. If the flavor isn’t popping try adding a tiny squirt more of mustard and/or vinegar.  I always tend to add more maple syrup, too.
  • When ready to serve, drizzle each portion with vinaigrette.

Serves 12, approximately