What is not to like about apple cider?
To me, it's liquid comfort food. Served heated, cider pairs perfectly with a roaring fire and a good book. Served chilled, it is the perfect accompaniment to freshly popped popcorn or homemade doughnuts. Cider is healthful, delicious, aromatic, and has a pleasing color but frankly, it's a little boring.
Unless, of course, you are drinking ciders from Wandering Aengus Ciderworks. They have a saying that 'A cider a day keeps boredom at bay.' I would have to agree - these are sipping ciders that require your palate's full attention.
The artisans at Wandering Aengus Ciderworks near Salem are dedicated to sustainable agriculture as well as recreating the American cider tradition. Their attention to detail in every step of the cidermaking process ensures their products are something very special.
Wandering Aengus makes hard cider using a process very much like making wine. There are many factors to consider: The combination of apples, the fragrance, color, clarity, blend of tastes.
The apples used for the cider are either grown organically on the farm or purchased from farmers who share the same concerns for turning out a quality product.
Wandering Aengus offers three ciders and one wine at this time. The ciders are listed as Dry, Semi-Dry (my personal favorite) and Medium Sweet ciders and Cellar Door Apple Wine.
Intrigued? Taste the ciders for yourself at Wandering Aengus's Harvest Party Sunday, Nov. 19, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Enjoy an afternoon of food, music and of course, ciders. Buy a bottle or two (or 12 and get 20 percent off) to enjoy at Thanksgiving.
If you can't make it to the harvest party, their tasting room will also be open Thanksgiving weekend, Nov. 24 through 26, from 11 a.m to 5 p.m.
Locally, you can purchase Wandering Aengus ciders at New Seasons, Wizer's, Whole Foods and Wild Oats markets. It's a perfect beverage for a fall weekend.
In my efforts to Eat Locally, I am substituting cider for lemon juice in recipes and have used Wandering Aengus ciders with stellar results.
This week's recipe is really a knockout with the Semi-dry cider. Of course, you could use an ordinary cider, but something special would be missing!
The kale with apple and onion is a perfect side for the pork chops.
Bon Appetit - Eat Locally!
Pork Chops with
Sweet and Sour Cider Glaze
4-inch thick pork rib chops
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup apple cider, suggested Wandering Aengus semi-dry cider
1 ½ tablespoons packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
½ teaspoon mustard seeds
Pat pork chops dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté chops until browned on both sides, about ten minutes total.
Stir together cider and brown sugar and add to skillet. Simmer, uncovered, turning chops once, until meat is almost cooked through, about 3 minutes. Transfer chops to a plate.
Add vinegar and mustard seeds to sauce and boil, stirring to scrape up any brown bits, until reduced to about 1/3 cup, about five minutes. Return chops with any juices on plate to skillet and simmer until meat is just cooked through and sauce is slightly thickened, about two minutes.
Kale with Sautéed Apple and Onion
2 Granny Smith apples
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion cut into ¼ inch wedges
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1 pound kale, tough stems and ribs removed and leaves coarsely chopped
¾ cup water
Peel, quarter and core apples, then cut into quarter-inch thick wedges.
Heat oil in a 5-quart pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté onion, stirring occasionally, until golden. Add apple and curry powder and sauté, stirring until apple is almost tender, about two minutes.
Add kale and water and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until kale is tender and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.
Adapted from Gourmet, Dec. 2000
For more information on Wandering Aengus Ciderworks see the Web site www.wanderingaengus.com