Baking Apple Pie Apples

Its the holiday season and considering two of my favorite activities are eating and spending time with my family, my girlfriend and I decided to bake apple pie for everyone to enjoy. Christina found a cool recipe for personal apple pies, each served in the actual apple so we ventured off to the grocery store to purchase the ingredients (we actually ended up going to three different stores but thats mostly because we are cheap and didn’t want to spend $10 on pie crust at Whole Foods when we could get it for $1.50 at Trader Joes). Here is the list of ingredients, which you can probably get all in one store (note one recipe makes 4 apples):

1 – pie crust
6 – granny smith apples
1/4 cup – sugar
1 Tbsp – brown sugar
1/4 tsp – cinnamon (more or less make adjustment as desired)
Melon baller
Instructions to follow:
1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. Cut off the top of 4 apples and use a melon baller to remove the inside, leaving around 1/4-1/2 inch thick shell (we dug ours too thin, causing the apples to become too soft – so make the edge slightly thicker than whats pictured). Keep 1-2 cups of the removed apple to use for the filling.

photo 1 (1)

3. Peel the skin of the remaining 2 apples and cut them into small cubes to be used as the bulk of the filling.

4. In a sauce pan, mix the cubed apples and 1-2 cups of the discarded filling from the apple shells with the sugar and cinnamon. Let sit over low heat for a 10 minutes, stirring every minute or two.

photo 2a

5. Scoop the mixed filling evenly into the apples and place on an aluminum-foil lined baking sheet or pan.

photo 3a

6. Lay out the pie crust and cut into strips approximately 1/3 inch thick.

7. Lay the strips over the filled apples creating a latticework pattern and sprinkle the tops with cinnamon

photo 3 (1)

8. Cover the apples with a layer of aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes.

9. Remove the foil and continue to bake for 15-20 minutes until the crust is golden brown.

10. Place on a plate with a scoop of ice cream and enjoy 🙂

photo 5

A few takeaways – as I mentioned above, we dug our apples to deep, which caused the walls to be to soft. Additionally, we didn’t have enough filling to fill each apple to the top, causing some of the crusts to sink into the apples slightly, so saving the removed apple and adding it to the cubed apples should help with that problem. Obviously ours did not look as great as the original recipe but they sure tasted great and Christina and I had a lot of fun making them.

Good luck and happy baking!

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Catching Up With Old Friends

Last night I grabbed a drink and caught up with close friend from high school. He was one of my best friends growing up but as was the case with many friends from childhood, we didn’t do a great job staying in touch after graduation. While I had not seen him in many years, a sincere hug made the lapse feel like just days. From the outset, the tone was quite candid – within in five minutes, Will had asked what my annual salary was and despite knowing he’s taken on six-figure debt to fund med school, I felt sympathetic yet surprisingly comfortable telling him what I make.

At first we each gave the rundown of our lives over the past few years, noting how ‘old’ we felt. Shortly after we caught up on each other, we began gossiping quite bluntly. “Did you hear Jeff got married? Did you see how much weight Meghan put on…I always pinned her to have skinny genes?” By the end, I felt like I had attended my high school reunion, which apparently is not happening as Will informed me that the money we raised to fund the event was “lost in a bank account.” While he didn’t seem too taken back by this, he mentioned that our class advisor, who I did not see eye-to-eye with, somehow lost the password to the bank account (what does that even mean?) and that the “reunion chair” of our class now has a baby (did not see that one coming) and perhaps, not surprisingly, didn’t not want to take charge of organizing. This sounds a lot like a low level embezzlement scheme that could turn into a Lifetime movie, but regardless it appears that last night will have to suffice in lieu of an actual reunion. We spent time discussing the whereabouts of classmates, teachers, coaches and friends and between the two of us, we must have touched on half of the community.

When I got back to my apartment, reflecting back on our conversation, I realized we spent the majority of our time together talking about other people. Although this initially seemed unusual, I realized that while Will and I had a personal relationship, we also enjoyed mutual experiences and friends; in the years we spent growing up together, we played on the same teams, took many of the same classes, attended the same parties and played at the same poker table (easily over 100 times), so it’s only natural that we would reflect on shared memories. Telling old stories is cliché when getting together with old friends, but I really enjoyed catching up with Will, hearing what he is up to, and sharing updates on our friends and community.

Thinking of Summer: Then and Now

7 Summer Activities with a Grown-up Twist

As I began to break a sweat strolling around SOHO today, I realized, summer in NYC has finally arrived and frankly, it’s about time. For some reason this felt like one of the longest winters in years, and with today’s forecast finally showing 82and sunny, I’ve officially come out of my seasonal depression. This sense of summer brought back a rush of fond memories from my childhood that I keenly associate with the warm months, so I decided to compile a list of 7 summer activities recreated for city living.

  1. BBQs

BBQ

The thought of spending time with friends and family, playing games and grilling in a neighborhood backyard electrifies me although living in Manhattan seems somewhat problematic. Rather than a backyard, try hosting a BBQ in one of NYC’s parks, which were ranked #2 in a recent survey of 50 cities. Often times these public parks have grills for use otherwise you can buy a portable one here for $18 and grill out on your rooftop (the ‘emergency exit roof access’ alarms are often turned off (I’ve never had an issue)).

  1. Summer Movies

Movies

While I grew up seeing summer movies in air conditioned theaters, this would be too obvious of a suggestion to beat the heat. Instead, check out the NYC summer movie guide, which outlines new movies almost every night across the city, or plan your own outdoor movie experience; with just a few dollars, a shoebox and a smartphone you can build a DIY projector and host your own outdoor viewing.

  1. Ice Pops

Poptails

Everyone remembers hearing the jingle of the ice cream truck coming around the corner; the adrenaline rush of running inside to ask mom for money, hoping the truck wouldn’t leave without you, though running it down was not out of the question. Unfortunately, I can’t take credit for the name but check out these fun recipes for a grown-up twist to a seasonal classic – summer “pop-tails.”

  1. Boating

Boating

I was fortunate enough to have friends whose parents owned boats but doubt many people are going come across a motor boat in Manhattan. While you may not be able to go jet skiing, you can rent kayaks for free on the Hudson River or rent paddle and row boats in central park and other places around the five boroughs. If you’re trying to sit back and take in the sites, check out these boat tours around Manhattan’s distinctive landmarks.

  1. Pick-up Games/Activities

AWE Coedball 2

I grew up playing dozens of outdoor activities with the kids from the neighborhood – capture the flag, baseball, basketball, man-hunt and stolen bases to name a few. Pick-up basketball can be found at almost any court around the city and if you’re looking to join an intramural team, check out ZogSports for basketball and other sports leagues. If golf or tennis interests you, head to Chelsea piers’ driving range or any of these public tennis courts.

  1. Swimming

Swimming

This is probably the most obvious summer activity but seemingly impossible to do in the city. While biking through central park with my roommate last weekend, I was astonished to find a massive public pool which then prompted me to investigate other swimming options around the city. Turns out there are a bunch of both pools and beaches. Take the subway out to Coney Island and try one of Nathan’s Famous hot dogs, take a roller coaster ride at Luna Park and finish up with a swim in the ocean.

  1. Lobster Rolls

Lobster Roll

To be honest, I didn’t start eating lobster rolls till a few years ago but I’m addicted to the point that I have been heavily considering opening a Lobster Truck. Despite my late-start, lobster rolls are now a summer must; my girlfriend and I started off lobster roll season the other weekend with a cook off competition (the results were inconclusive). I would share our recipes with your but in case I follow through with opening the truck, I’ll direct you to this delicious and simple recipe (try adding Old Bay seasoning and you’ll never go without it).