Sunday afternoon, some friends and I drove out to the country, where on either side of the highway, green acres stretch as far as you can see.
There was a lot of talk about farms, about milking cows, about which of us would be first to admit the whole country-living thing sounds appealing.
Personally, I think I’d like very much to eat from my own land, to work with the earth, to wear blue jeans and t-shirts every day. At least I think this now, having never done it.
And after miles of corn fields, sprawling estates and one high school, we came to our destination: Kuipers Family Farm, which convinced me that I really would like it, this whole rural thing, even more.
There’s just something about an apple orchard. The kind of something that makes you feel young again, like you’re a kid, like there’s nothing in all the world as important as filling your bag with fresh fruit and biting into the juicy flesh of a golden Honeycrisp.
This time of year, most of the trees have been picked at prime, leaving large wooden crates filled with apples at the end of rows of bare trees, so we picked from those instead of branches.
And there was a little boy, maybe seven or eight years old, searching the bins, intent on finding the best fruit. He was loud, enough to get the attention of a group of us, pointing at one big, red apple a few inches lower than his arm.
“Could someone hand me that apple right there?” he asked, to no one in particular, but confident he would get it.
Later, I heard him shout, “It’s a really big one!” as he grabbed an apple larger than his fist. I asked him what his secret was, and this is what he told me, after pausing and with complete authority: look for the ones without the bruisings.
We took a hayride into the orchard and a short walk out, on the way in with empty bags and steaming cider, on the way out with clusters of juicy apples, each of us biting into one as we walked.
They were delicious, crisp skin revealing tender, slightly bitter flesh.
When I got home, I sliced two large Honeycrisp apples into thin, thin slices, preparing them for a recipe I’d been eager to try: a puffed apple pancake, taken from Bon Appetit September 2002 and recently posted at Cocoa & Cheese.
I felt like I was the star of a cooking show, whipping the ingredients together quickly. The recipe is so simple! With basic ingredients! Easy instructions! I honestly impressed myself, I’ll just admit it.
While the pancake cooked, I even made an omelet, which, since I’m feeling transparent, I’ll just say wasn’t quite as impressive, and we’ll leave it at that.
No, but really, if you are enjoying apple season like I am, if you like impressive breakfasty recipes that could not be simpler, if you have been looking for something a little different to try: this puffed apple pancake is the thing.
It will disappear as quickly as you can make it.
Adapted from Bon Appetit, September 2002
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna has a Masters in Writing through Depaul University. Her mantra? Restoring order and celebrating beauty through creative content, photography and food. Shanna's work has been featured in Bon Appetit, The Kitchn, MSN.com, Everyday Health, Better Homes & Gardens, Houzz.com, Food News Journal, Food52, Zeit Magazine, Chew the World, Mom.me, Babble, Delish.com, Parade, Foodista, Entrepreneur and Ragan PR.