In light of the shelter-in-place order, many of us have resorted to cooking at home, revisiting old recipes and getting creative with our pantries. Instead of our usual Flavors Worth Finding column with recommendations from restaurants, KQED staffers are sharing the meals they’ve been making at home to find some comfort and grounding during uncertain times.
The beauty of a recipe is understanding when and where you can break it. Recipes, as helpful as they are, aren’t rules but guidelines—steps so you don’t lose your way. It’s up to you to follow or stray from them. Where are the swaps? What can be added? The trick is knowing when and how to do that without the potential of ruining whatever food you’re making. This is much easier to do with cooking than with baking, but it has never stopped me from trying, sometimes with great successes and sometimes with abysmal failures.
An apple crisp was my latest foray into recipe dalliance. With an ever-present sweet tooth and a sudden urge to eat a little bit healthier, I settled on cleaning out the pantry with an oat apple crisp that was sweet, a little salty and had the feeling of being a better option than cake (even if it wasn’t). I went searching for a recipe that would be less fatty and sugar-rich, use ingredients I already had on hand and wasn’t fussy.
One recipe was super healthy, but I didn't have half of the ingredients. Another was simple, but didn't use oats. Yet another used raisins and was way too fussy (I don't have time or patience to make pastry dough, thank you).
After looking through at least a dozen apple crisp variations, I took this one from The Clean Eating Couple and ran with it. But, perhaps in defiance, I didn't peel the apples, added a little butter instead of coconut oil and seasoned the apples with nutmeg, allspice and a little chili. For the crisp topping, I swapped pecans for mixed nuts I had on hand, used ghee instead of coconut oil and added smoked maple syrup and a little jaggery for the topping.