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Bubb's Bites: Apple juice after the holidays

What do we eat after the feast? Many of us don’t even know what we’re dying for. Or, at least, some of us know what we’re not hungry for. Every year I find myself in the same predicament with a packed fridge, and yet there is nothing to eat.

One idea seems to be at the forefront of our minds, simplification. We’re all ready for something a little different but something as far from complex as possible. Many of us are also willing to take a break from heavy foods or sweets. This doesn’t always work out the way we plan it to. My main ingredient, using good ingredients.

To be perfectly honest, cooking after the holidays is one of my favorite times to cook. Expectation level is much lower. And cooking something a little different seemed to be exactly what the doctor ordered. I started reviewing cabinets this week and checking out items that should be used or discarded. I pulled out a large bottle of Braggs apple cider vinegar, looked at the beautiful “mother” of the thickening ingredients enveloping the bottom and knew exactly what my stomach craved in the weird, quirky simplicity of it.

apple cider vinegar? I know, I’m crazy right. How can something pungent be so good? Well, fortunately, I am not alone in my stinging way of thinking but my sweet way of thinking. Historians can date the unique enthusiasm for a purpose as far back as 400 BC as it was used by Hippocrates, the father of Greek medicine.

The medicinal uses of apple cider vinegar are many books that have been written purely on the subject. I’m sure I don’t tell you anything your grandparents didn’t tell you.

Apple cider vinegar has long been an easy and inexpensive way to whiten teeth, relieve sensitivity, soothe sunburn, repel fleas, treat a cold, deodorize, even out skin tone, treat acne, balance your body’s pH, and even clean your house. This is just the tip of the ice tower.

Sick days for me have always included two specific treatments; Homemade chicken noodle soup and my grandmother reminded us to drink hot water with a spoonful of apple cider vinegar. We will try and resist. Too often we ignore her advice outright. She was always right though. After we had coughed our heads enough, we would decompose and finally drink vinegar and water. Almost immediately we feel satisfied. It’s come to the point now that, after a few decades, I don’t even mind drinking the remedy. In fact, nowadays there is almost something soothing.

Although it has healing properties, there are still a lot of people who look at me like a crazy person when I suggest trying apple cider vinegar. However, it is about this unique taste and flavor that for many people form sweet memories.

My grandmother, like many of your mothers and grandmothers, always had apple cider vinegar in her kitchen. It was an essential element. White vinegar is rarely used. It simply wasn’t the way I learned to cook or preferred to cook. So far, when trying to recreate my grandmother’s recipes, I know that unless “white vinegar” is specified on the recipe card, it’s safe to assume that cider is ordered. When I make my own yogurt, I add a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to the milk instead of the white I usually use.

Today’s recipes are dedicated to the delicious side of apple cider vinegar. Without the unique flavor, these recipes wouldn’t be the same.

Apple cider vinegar is a staple in my fridge. He is really great in every way. Waldorf salad is filling yet light at the same time. Sweet potatoes and vinegar are really delicious. But the sweet and savory chicken, I can’t even say enough good things about it. I discovered the recipe while working from farm to table about five years ago. It’s very simple and easy while keeping a good moist piece of chicken. You will definitely want to make it over and over again.

Good luck and have fun

apple cider vinegar

A delicious topping of salad. Also goes well with fruits, vegetables, or even quinoa.

1 cup apple juice

1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot

1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard

Half a cup of apple cider vinegar

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup Granny Smith apple, small cubes

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Pour apple juice into the saucepan, add shallots and thyme, put over medium heat and bring to a boil. After reducing the liquid by 2/3 (about 10 minutes), pour it into a bowl and set it aside to cool to room temperature. Whisk in the mustard and vinegar, then slowly whisk in the oil. Add apples, salt and pepper.

Waldorf salad

5 cups unpeeled apples

2 1/2 cups chopped celery

1 1/2 cups toasted chopped pecans

Half a cup of cream or half a cup of milk

2 teaspoons mayonnaise

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

3 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon honey

Salt and pepper to taste

Put all the liquids in a bowl and mix. Add the apples, celery, and walnuts to the bowl. Finally add salt and pepper to taste.

Potatoes with salt and vinegar

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

2 pounds small potatoes, cut into small pieces. I prefer red, but any are good.

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

At least 1 tablespoon of kosher salt.

Half a teaspoon of black pepper

Whisk together half the listed vinegar, half the listed salt, and half the listed pepper. Add potatoes. Cover all potatoes well. Pour onto a large baking sheet so the potatoes are evenly distributed. Cook for 25 minutes, then flip. Cook for an additional 25 minutes or until desired crispness is achieved. Remove from plate, sprinkle with remaining ingredients, and serve. It is best served hot.

Sweet and savory chicken

1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons dark soy sauce

2 tablespoons maple syrup

Half a teaspoon of black pepper

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

Kosher salt to taste

2 tablespoons oil

Mix the liquid in a bowl and set aside. Lay the chicken on paper towels, and place on both sides. Season with kosher salt in copious amounts.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium to high heat. Once the oil boils, add the chicken. Flip it over after it starts to turn brown and crunchy. Pour the liquid over the mixture and bring the mixture to a boil. Once the boiling point is reached, lower the heat slightly and let the liquid reduce; Turn the chicken every few minutes. Make sure both sides are completely covered.

Once the chicken is well cooked and the liquid is thick and syrupy, remove from heat and serve.

Chef Babs (babzbites@gmail.com) brings you today’s recipes and photos as well as Louise Osborne’s recipe box, and food health and happiness, Oprah Winfrey, 2017.

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