Freestyle Friday: apples!

As you’ll know from her blog post, Sharon Ashwood and I got earthy at a wassail celebration–a blessing of the trees–at a local cider orchard last weekend.

That was a first for me, but for several years I’ve been cozying up to apples in other ways.

At the annual Salt Spring Apple Festival, on the Canadian side of the border just north of Corsair’s Cove, I always find some ancient treasure or new-to-me recipe.

I’ve acquired the cookbook An Apple a Day by islander Mary Mollet that starts with Three-Grain Apple Pancakes and wraps up, 300 pages later, with Apple Cocktail Pizzas.

I’ve bought one orchard’s entire crop of Cornish Gillyflowers (about eight apples) out of a sentimental attachment to my great-grandfather’s homeland.

So when we Corsettes decided that our next Corsair’s Cove adventure would be the Orchard Series, I was delighted. What a fantastic excuse to delve into the history, the botany, and of course the recipes of all things apples.

It’s a good thing Knobbed Russets are delicious!

One of my recent researches was reading Helen Humphreys’s fascinating The Ghost Orchard: The Hidden History of the Apple in North America.

“…in the nineteenth-century heyday of apples,” she writes, “there were upwards of seventeen thousand different varieties in North American orchards. Today there are fewer than a hundred varieties grown commercially.”

Those astonishing figures make me appreciate even more the work of orchardists of Salt Spring Island and elsewhere who nurture and graft and prune and preserve hundreds of historic varieties of this most useful fruit.

And I’m inspired to find a new variety of my own–even if I have to make it up!(Rubbing hands gleefully) 

Happy Friday,


Lee’s Margarita Frittata

Happy Saturday, everyone! Time to rise and shine! And what better way to do that than with a fresh-from-the-oven Margarita fittata.

I don’t think I’ve ever made the same frittata twice because I always use whatever I have on hand. And I love it when a great way to clean out the fridge actually turns into something as delicious as a Margarita frittata. Here’s what went into this one:

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 eggs
4 scallions, finely chopped
2 cups fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
1 fresh tomato, sliced
5 or 6 slices bocconcini cheese or buffalo mozarella
1 handful fresh basil, julienned
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your broiler. Crack the eggs into a small bowl and whisk them until they’re smooth and butter-colored. In an oven-proof pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and lightly saute the scallions. Toss in the spinach and cook until it’s wilted down. Add the eggs to the pan and give everything a gentle stir, then leave the frittata to set for about two minutes. Layer on the sliced mozzarella and tomatoes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, garnish with fresh basil, and slide the pan under the broiler. At this stage you need to keep a close watch on the frittata because you don’t want it to burn but you do want the egg mixture to puff up and turn golden. Once the egg has set completely, remove the pan from the oven, serve and enjoy!

Until next time, bon appetit!


PS: If you have read Kiss at the Cove, you might recall that a frittata was the first breakfast Prudence prepared for Spencer!