Living the good life in a small town....that I'm still not from
Monday, July 11, 2011
Real heat has hit Minnesota. It is hot. It is humid. No one wants to cook in this heat.
We took our boat out to the St. Croix river which separates Minnesota and Wisconsin in the middle section of the state. The St. Croix is a nice river for water sports-tubing, skiing, jet ski(ing) and just taking a ride.
We brought our friend J along again, this time with both of her daughters and Dude and I. We boated for about an hour and a half, then beached our boat on one of the several islands that sit between Hudson WI and Lakeland MN. Most of them were pretty full, but we motored around one larger one and found the one side empty. We got our bag of snacks, the cooler and the portable gas grill out and set up camp on the beach.
I had made hamburger patties and wanted something a little sweet, a little tangy for a side dish. Something without mayo that could sit out for a little while when we had our picnic.
Enter the apple salad. I first had this dish about 23 years ago when I was first dating Dude. We had gone up to his parent's lake home for a weekend and my MIL (to be at this time) put this dish out with our grilled burgers and brats.
I have stated (numerous times) that I'm not a big salad person, but have come to like several over the last 10 years or so. This one however, it was love at first bite. It included three ingredients-6 if you count the lemon, water and cornstarch-and I love all three.
It is sweet from the pineapple, tart from the Granny Smith's and just plain tasty.
3 Granny Smith apple, washed, sliced and chunked into bite size pieces
1 small can of pineapple tidbitd (6-8 oz), juice drained into small saucepan
1/3 to 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 TBSP cold water
1 to 1/2 tsp cornstarch
Half of a lemon
Drain pineapple juice into small saucepan. In small container, shake the water and cornstarch together until well mixed. Heat pineapple juice to slight boil. Shake the water-cornstarch mixture again, and slowly pour into hot juice, whisking constantly. Bring to a boil and stir until thickened-maybe a minute. Remove from heat, and pour into another container to help it cool faster.
Chop the apple slices into bite-sized pieces, place in a medium size bowl and squeeze lemon juice over apple pieces several times as you are chopping the apple so it does not brown.
Place drained pineapple in bowl with the apple chunks. Chop the walnuts into smaller pieces so they are easier to chew. Place them in bowl with the fruit.
Pour cooled dressing over the fruit and stir to distribute the dressing over all of the pieces.
Cover and chill in the fridge until serving time.
Sneak some into a small container and hide in the back of the fridge to take to work the next day.
Oh, and if a boat beaches next to you that has a dog.....make sure all the meat is off the grill and eaten or stored in the cooler. We had a guest help himself to our last burger while we were all chatting. It was the funniest thing ever! His owner came over with a $10 bill and offered to pay for whatever his dog had grabbed. We laughed and waved away his offer and told him it was just a burger and we hope he enjoyed it.