“Cut my pie into four pieces, I don’t think I could eat eight.” Yogi Berra, American baseball great and renowned quipster
A commercial herb gardener and I once had a delightful arrangement. I did her product brochures and labels. She designed various sections of my garden. It was always a delight to visit her home to collect the new raw materials for a brochure. The woodsy scent of borage and rosemary and whatnot pervaded the piney floors and plaster walls of her cottage, tucked into dozens of acres of wooded hills and next to a small pond in which she swam daily.
It was then that I fell in love with herbs — the smell of them, the mountain-air taste of them and even the look of them. But, it was only recently that I discovered a way to store them that reflects that love. Get this: I pile the bottles on their sides, with the clear bottom facing out and labeled with a Sharpie.
I know. It’s not rocket science, but it totally works. It’s free. I can see exactly what I have without digging through the entire cabinet. And, it’s pretty in both an aesthetic and OCD kind of way. Who could ask for anything more? You could, dear reader! And, here it is — a recipe for a low-cal version of apple pie that uses plenty of those fragrant spices and is simple enough to make any day of the week.
Iron Skillet Apple ‘Pie’
Thinly slice (but don’t peel) one large eating (not baking) apple per serving. (Galas work well for this.) Place the slices in an iron skillet (8-9 inches diameter works best if you’re serving four or more).
Add 1/2 Tablespoon of unsalted butter per serving. (Yes, you can use oil if you’re dairy free or vegan, but it won’t taste quite as good.) Add 1/2 cup of water. Add 1 teaspoon each of cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves.
Cook over a low flame for as long as an hour, stirring occasionally and adding more water whenever the mix begins to dry out. It’s done when slices are limp but intact and are surrounded in rich, gooey sauce.
Turn off the heat about 10 minutes before you plan to plate the apples. Taste the sauce once. The apples are naturally quite sweet, but will taste best if you add a small amount of sweetener such as molasses, honey or brown sugar. Stir and taste again. Add more sweetener only if needed.
(Larger quantities of this can be made ahead and refrigerated, but tend to turn into more of an apple sauce texture.)
Serve alone, with a crunchy topping such as granola or, if you want to go all out, with some vanilla ice cream or nice cream. This is also good over morning toast or in oatmeal. Enjoy!