The ultimate comfort - mac and cheese (with crab!)

The ultimate comfort - mac and cheese (with crab!)

Linguini with sweet Italian sausage

Linguini with sweet Italian sausage

With October around the corner most think about Halloween, crisp days and leaves turning color.  Me?  I think it’s time to get off the grill, turn on the oven and turn to comfort foods.  And comfort foods mean things which are roasted, noodle-y or crisped (think chicken pot pie, mac and cheese or an apple crisp.)

If you ask your friends and family about their favorite comfort foods you’ll probably get a variety of answers or dishes.  That’s because comfort foods usually have a sentimental or nostalgic appeal which is connected to a time in your past – most notably childhood.  For me it’s less about my childhood (or I’d have to list things like Hostess Fruit Pies and Cheetos as my comfort foods – not that there’s anything wrong with that) and more about the time in my life I started to cook for myself.

Out of college and on my own I realized picking up the phone to order pizza or dragging myself to the campus food court was no longer an option.  Spaghetti became my new norm with variations bordering on the simple to absurd (ok, the sauce was from a jar, but turning on the stove WAS involved!)    Although spaghetti still appeals to me today I rarely eat it.  I’ve moved on to more sophisticated – and international - dishes like tom ka gai (spicy and sour thai chicken soup) for under-the weather days and a decadent crab mac and cheese because the boxed stuff seems so bland without an extra handful of grated cheese :)

After all the savory here’s a sweet recipe to add to your list.  The ingredients are simple but the result is a deeply satisfying dish – especially warm out of the oven with ice cream on top!

Apple Crisp

  • 6 apples
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon clove, ground
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice 

Topping

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup butter
  • ¼ cup chopped nuts (optional)

Combine cinnamon, sugar and cloves. Set aside.

Peel, core and slice the apples*. Add the lemon juice, then the cinnamon & sugar mixture.  Mix together and place in a 8x8 square pan.   Crumble together the sugar, flour, salt and butter.  Add the nuts and top apples with the mixture.

Bake at 375 degree for approx. 45 minutes or until the apples are tender and the top is browned.

*I use a vegetable peeler and then an apple slicer – much faster.

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