Sunday, October 21, 2012

What a Beautiful Weekend For a Picnic OR Apple Picking

I hope you all had an opportunity this weekend to enjoy your favorite outdoor activity.

Saturday afternoon I met some family members at Gouveia Vineyards in Wallingford for an outdoor picnic. It must have been the sunshine, along with the 70 plus degree temperature, because everyone else in the world had the same idea. Dozens of tables and chairs on the huge side lawn were already occupied at 2:00, as were the tables on the patio on the opposite side. We did find one small empty table by the front door which a willing worker, Larry, helped me move to the front yard so there would be more room for our group. And, he came back shortly after with another table and several more chairs. This was probably my last picnic of the season and it couldn't have been more perfect.

Sunday was another gorgeous day, which I figured would be my last opportunity for a fall foliage excursion. Unfortunately I had some paperwork to do and couldn't get out, but I kind of went vicariously with my daughter and son-in-law. They decided to day trip to some of my favorite places: Litchfield, Kent Falls State Park in Kent, Cornwall Covered Bridge in West Cornwall, and to the top of the mountain in Mohawk State Forest in Cornwall. They shared their findings, such as the tower at Mohawk State Forest is gone.

One of their favorite parts of the day was driving on all the country roads, reporting that while the foliage was just a bit past its peak, "it was pretty darn good." So, there is still time folks.

Have you been apple picking yet? I know Lyman Orchards in Middlefield has a good supply of apples for picking and I'm sure there are other places still picking throughout the state. But, they won't last much longer. Whether you pick your own apples or buy them, don't let the season go by without making my favorite apple cake. This one is taken from my book Cruising Connecticut with a Picnic Basket 3rd Edition.

Apple Harvest Cake

5 apples
6 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Peel and pare apples. Cut into thin slices. Combine sugar and cinnamon and mix into apples. Put to one side.

4 eggs
2-1/3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

* Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
* With electric mixer, blend eggs, sugar, oil, orange juice, and vanilla. In separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add to liquid ingredients and blend with mixer. Continue mixing at medium speed until thick and lemon colored.
* Grease and flour bundt pan. Batter and applies are added to pan in layers, 3 for batter and 2 for apples. Begin and end with batter.
* Bake for 1-1/2 hours. Place on rack to cool for 10 minutes. Turn pan upside down on cooling rack, allowing cake to drop out of pan.