It’s kind of a long story about where we have been lately and why we have not been blogging. It mostly has to do with life and my other job (as a photographer) have gotten in the way a little.
I recently completed a magazine photo shoot for Cowboys and Indians Magazine,
shot a beautiful wedding, and a couple of senior photo shoots.
These kinds of things keep me from doing a lot of blogging because, well, the clients would like to have their photos quickly. (What? Hard to believe.)
my daughter just announced her engagement,
which turned our little world into another exciting adventure. Below are pictures of the actual proposal, which I did not take because I never would have been able to make this particular hike. They are on top of Mt. Dana which is about 13,000 feet above sea level. Great place to propose, though. (BTW, she says her dad cannot cater the wedding and worse, I cannot take the pictures.)
So, life carries on around the Schmautz Haus.
But, since it is apple season and we live 10 minutes from wonderful Apple Hill in Camino, CA, I grabbed Yes!Chef! and we took a little road trip to check out the goings on in this beautiful area. (And, it was on my list of places to photograph this season.)
If you have never been to Apple Hill, which is in the little town of Camino, CA, you really must add it to your bucket list. It opens on Labor Day and because of the bounty of this area, it runs thru Christmas Eve for Christmas Tree Cutting. The best time to get your apples (and there are an abundance of kinds and flavors) is late September and into October. The weather turns a little crisp and the leaves begin to turn beautiful colors. However, this week the weather has been quite warm, so it’s also great picnic weather.
Our first stop was Larsen Apples, which is probably the oldest apple peddler in the area. When I was growing up, my dad used to take us up here every September to pick up two boxes of apples…a box of Rome (for him) and a box of Golden Delicious (for my mom.) Almost all of the various apple peddlers offer tastings of their apples and I would strongly advise that you take them up on the offer. I initially wanted to get some Honey Crisp apples, but after comparing them to the New Fuji Apples, it was no contest. New Fuji (which are different than Fuji) won hands down. These apples are sweet and crisp with a slight tartness.
After we stopped at Larsens, we went over to High Hill Ranch. When my kids were growing up, we used to go over there with picnic lunches. This is generally a very touristy spot because they have everything there…a duck pond, a grassy area for picnics, great food to buy for your picnic, apple cider milkshakes, craft booths, a fudge factory and souvenirs for your pantry and your friends.
Oh! And apple doughnuts. Yes!Chef! picked up a dozen mixed apple doughnuts to take home and try. They were good!
He did not try to make any doughnuts but we did find a recipe that you might want to try:
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cups apple cider
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
- 6 cups vegetable oil, for frying
1. Line baking sheet with parchment. Line a large plate with paper towels. In a paper bag, combine 1 cup sugar and 1 Tbsp. cinnamon; shake to mix well. Set aside.
2. Bring cider to a boil over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cider has reduced to 1/2 cup, about 20 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.
3. In a large bowl, whisk baking powder, salt, 1 cup flour and remaining sugar and cinnamon until well combined. In a small bowl, whisk butter, eggs, yolk and cooled cider until well combined. Add cider mixture to flour mixture; whisk until smooth. Add remaining 2 1/2 cups flour and mix until just combined. Dough will be slightly sticky. Refrigerate 10 minutes.
4. Pour oil into a large pot and attach a candy thermometer to side (thermometer should not touch bottom of pot). Heat oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 375ºF, watching and adjusting as needed to keep oil from overheating.
5. Turn dough out onto a well-floured countertop and coat fingertips with flour. Pat dough out to 1/2-inch thickness. Using a doughnut cutter or 2 round cookie cutters (one large and one small), cut out doughnuts and holes. Transfer both to lined baking sheet. Gather scraps and re-pat dough, cutting as many doughnuts as possible.
6. Working in batches, carefully slide doughnuts into hot oil. After about 1 minute, doughnuts will rise to surface and begin to brown. At that point, turn over and fry 1 1/2 minutes longer. Transfer to lined plate to drain. Bring oil back to 375ºF before frying another batch. When doughnuts have cooled for 1 minute, add to bag with cinnamon sugar and toss to coat. Remove to a clean plate and serve.
Or, if you are like us and would rather buy fresh doughnuts from Apple Hill,
here’s a good way to eat fresh, crispy, crunchy, sweet and tart apples:
- Wash and cut apples to desired number of slices.
- Slather with peanut butter.
- Decorate your porch.
- Enjoy your afternoon.
A quick P.S. about the above pictures of Apple Hill. Do not get the idea that there are no people at Apple Hill during the peak season, because you would be wrong and you would probably be stuck in traffic cursing me. Y!C! and I went over there on a Thursday afternoon (about 4:00) and there were no crowds.
However, on the weekends it is truly bumper to bumper traffic.
So, plan to come on a weekday or early on a weekend. Don’t let the crowds stop you. It is a fun way to spend a couple of hours in a beautiful location.