Dimanche (That Means Sunday)

Welcome to this edition of Dimanche (That Means Sunday), a roundup of things that caught my eye this past week.

I’m writing this week’s Dimanche from the floor of my new apartment. I have a table and chairs but there’s something very reassuring about sitting on the floor. Light is streaming through my three front windows, bright orange fall leaves are glittering on the trees, and the only sound I hear is my fingers typing on my keyboard. It’s very peaceful and exactly what I needed after a busy week.

I moved into my new place yesterday and I love it. I’m excited to start this new chapter in my life even though living on my own again is a little terrifying. I keep telling myself to take one day at a time. So far, it seems to be working.

I realize as I write this that my blog has basically become a compendium of Dimanche, but I’m kind of okay with that. I foresee bigger and better cooking project in my future now that I’m done moving and I have a new space all to myself.

In the meantime, there are lots of discoveries and detours worth noting. This week’s Dimanche includes some food recommendations, an intruiging Q&A, lots of pretty fall leaves, and some politics at home and abroad.

Without going on too much of a tangent, I wanted to remind those who are reading to vote this week. It’s never been more important to make time to do this. It’s easy to feel like your vote doesn’t make a difference but it does. The only way to fight bigotry and hate is through sustained opposition. I consider my vote to be a part of this much-needed effort.

I could go on forever but instead, I’ll leave you with the links. Without further ado, here is Dimanche:

I had brunch at The Scottish Arms today and I was blown away. I’d been to the restaurant one time before for lunch but never for brunch, probably because I don’t eat brunch much anymore. Now, I want to go every weekend. I ordered the “Seamus Macbenedict” with smoked salmon, poached eggs, and hollandaise sauce to marry. I’ll be thinking about this meal for a long time.IMG_7246

A coworker sent me a story this week about Samin Nosrat’s beauty routine. I love Nosrat’s new Netflix series, “Salt Fat Acid Heat.” I enjoy her so much as a cook and person. I like that in this Q&A, she’s very honest and self-effacing. Celebrities like to hide their perceived flaws or insecurities but Nosrat is very up front about her hang ups. Read the interview in A Cup of Jo.

So, the French Minister of Labor doesn’t think burn out is a thing. It seems very odd and anti-French of her but it’s true. Muriel Pénicaud said on TV that “le burn-out” is “pas une maladie professionnelle,” i.e., it’s not work-related. Maybe it’s easy to feel that way when you work for the government and live in a country with extended public holidays. Read the story (in French) in Huffpost France.

A dog documentary series is coming to Netflix and I’m already losing it. “Dogs,” a six-part docuseries, will feature stories about different dogs across the globe. I can’t wait to watch even though I know I’ll probably be crying the whole time. Check out the trailer in this E! News piece.

King Arthur Flour is teaming up with a school in Washington to open a baking school. The Vermont-based flour company will work with The Bread Lab at Washington State University to offer courses for bakers. I want to sign up. Read more about the partnership in this Seattle Times story.

I think many people are still reeling after the monstrous act of violence and anti-Semitism in Pittsburgh last weekend. I was glad to see this op-ed piece about the incident in The New York Times earlier this week. Andre Perry, a fellow in the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution, writes about his experience as a black boy growing up in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood, where the synagogue massacre took place last week. I think Perry has some good insights about what diversity and inclusion really means in this country, especially in a time of seemingly unbridled hate.

On a lighter note, I love this piece about the day the San Francisco Chronicle discovered the burrito. The article is pretty cringeworthy, as the Chronicle says in its modern-day story/almost retraction. It’s so bad that it’s…not good, but worth examining. Plus, I like what it said about the wording used to describe a burrito. Food writers struggle with description but this particular writer could have found better words than a “short, fat rectangle,” which makes a burrito sound like a radio.

This video about French pastry-making from Eater is intriguing and outrageous.  A pair of pastry chefs, one of whom is an ex-architect, build a French pastry tower from scratch. I loved watching the process but then I got to the end and they (spoiler alert) demolish the tower with a baton. I’m not sure why but I guess it was cathartic? Watch the video on Eater‘s YouTube page.

I love this story about Elena Ferrante’s elusiveness. Ferrante’s books were recently adapted for an HBO series and she had a hand in the writing and direction of the movie. Still, she’s a pretty enigmatic figure. Read more about Ferrante and the upcoming series in this New York Times Magazine story.

Last but certainly not least, Barbra Streisand gave an interview so of course I read it on the spot when I saw it. Streisand is one of my long-time idols. I like what she has to say in this interview about art and politics. Also, I can sympathize with her Trump-induced stress eating. Read the interview in The New York Times.

Enjoy your week! Here’s a song to get you started.



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Dimanche (That Means Sunday)

Welcome to this edition of Dimanche (That Means Sunday), a roundup of things that caught my eye this past week.

It was a busy week filled with reunions. I met up with my friend Lynn from Edelbrand Pure Distilling and we had fun catching up over pizza and puppies. Yes, puppies…more on that later.

Then, Thursday I went down to Wash U’s Med School campus to work and I met up with some old colleagues. Last night I met up with my sister, her husband and her in-laws. I hadn’t seen them since her wedding so we had a lot to talk about.

The trifecta of reunions made me realize how important it is to make time for friends and family. Sometimes when I get busy or stressed, I want to crawl into a hole and get everything done that I need to. This strategy is okay during crunch time but eventually, you have to resurface. I feel like I’ve been doing that lately after starting a new job, recovering from a couple injuries, and reassessing after a difficult summer.

I’m really excited about what next week has in store. I’m going to be moving on Saturday (!!!) and I can’t wait to settle into my new place. It’s the first apartment I’ve found that I’m actually excited to move to, so that’s promising. My sister’s in-laws were joking that they might see the space soon in an interior design magazine, but they’re not far off. I can’t wait to decorate it and turn it into the apartment of my dreams.

In the meantime, I’ll be working and seeing what else the week brings. If nothing else, it will be full of beautiful fall scenery (see above picture) and lots of opportunities to relax with a cup of tea, a book, and maybe reruns of “Gilmore Girls” for the 17,000th time. It’s that time of year.

Without further ado, here is Dimanche:

Can we talk about “Salt Fat Acid Heat”? Good. This is my latest Netflix obsession. Host Samin Nosrat, a chef and food writer, takes viewers through episodes based on her popular cookbook of the same name. In the first episode, “Fat,” (which I’d argue is the best episode), she goes to Italy and illustrates fat’s role in creating delicious food by cooking with friends and Italian food experts and taking a tour of a cheese factory. I binged watched the series and now I’m feeling the void.

I need to make a trip down to Florida soon because I’ve been falling in love with their food scene from afar. This century-old Cuban bakery in Tampa sounds like a dream. La Segunda Central Bakery has been making Cuban bread for years using more or less the same traditional method. It’s amazing to think that most of their product is still handmade in an age where everything is churned out of a machine. Read more about the bakery in this Washington Post story.

I’m loving this story about a trip around the periphery of Paris on foot. Travel writer David McAninch traipses around the outskirts of Paris by himself, logging 35 miles over six days. Yes, there were blisters and breaks with reality involved, but what emerges is a bigger and better portrait of the city than most travel pieces. Read the story in The New York Times.

So, about those puppies… I stopped by Katie’s Pizza & Pasta Osteria on Tuesday to meet my friend Lynn and there was a giant crib filled with puppies by the door. The restaurant was having a fundraiser for Stray Rescue of St. Louis that night. Naturally, Lynn and I went crazy and spent most of our meal holding puppies. IMG_7036

The “chef’s kiss” has become ubiquitous online and in social media. A lot of people including myself use the phrase to denote something that’s exceptionally good. I enjoyed this article from Merriam-Webster about all the ways it’s appearing in print. Apparently, there are ways to use it in a sentence that I never considered.

It’s The New York Times Magazine‘s candy issue and my favorite article is this one about Kit Kats in Japan. Food writer Tejal Rao visits a Kit Kat factory in Japan and sees how the candy is made. She also shows readers the evolution of the Kit Kat in the country. You can buy bars there in flavors including strawberry, matcha, banana, and mochi. Read more about the candy in this NYT Magazine story.

Last but certainly not least, a restaurant in O’Fallon, Missouri is donating 10,000 holiday dinners and warm hats and gloves to families on Thanksgiving. The work that Scott Ellinger and the team at The Brass Rail Steakhouse are doing is truly inspirational. Ellinger and his team of staff and volunteers are also serving about 1,000 people at the restaurant on Thanksgiving day. Read more about their work in my latest story for St. Louis Magazine.

Enjoy your week! Here’s a song to get you started.

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Dimanche (That Means Sunday)

Welcome to this edition of Dimanche (That Means Sunday), a roundup of things that caught my eye this past week.

This week went by quickly, which was good because I was looking forward to the weekend. On Friday, my boyfriend and I packed up the car and drove to Lake of Egypt in Southern Illinois. You’ve probably never heard of it but it’s a small lake right next to Shawnee National Forest and Garden of the Gods (pictured above). Garden of the Gods is full of bluffs and spectacular rock formations that are fun to climb. We enjoyed hiking around and seeing the country in early fall.

Going to Southern Illinois reminded me that there’s fun to be had right next door. I travel a lot throughout the year and I take weekend trips in Missouri, but I rarely cross over into the next state.

After spending some time in southern Illinois, I realized that some of the best destinations are the ones we overlook. The area has so much natural beauty. I could have spent a week there exploring, hiking, and lounging by the lake.

It’s going to be hard to go back to work tomorrow but at least I have the memories of this weekend to tide me over. I’m glad that I got away for a few days and spent some time in nature. I hope that wherever you are, you get an opportunity this fall to get outside and enjoy the season.

Without further ado, here is Dimanche:

I was happy to see that Nathaniel Reid was named a Chef to Watch in 2018 by Plate MagazineReid opened his eponymous bakery in Kirkwood, a quaint town in St. Louis, to widespread acclaim. Now he’s getting the national recognition he deserves. Read more about him and his career in this Plate story.

If you’re near St. Louis and you haven’t gone to Lake of Egypt, I’d highly recommend changing that soon. As I mentioned before, I stopped by over the weekend and it was beautiful. If you have a boat, it’s a great place to take it for a spin or cast a line. If you don’t, you can still fish from the shore. It’s a quiet, relaxing place to spend a weekend and it’s close to lots of good hikes.


If you end up going to hike at Shawnee National Forest or Garden of the Gods, *definitely* stop at Bucketheads on the way back. My boyfriend and I saw it as we were driving to hike at Garden of the Gods. The restaurant specializes in “swamp cuisine,” which basically translates into deep fried everything. We got fried green tomatoes, fried crawfish, and fried corn fritters. The corn fritters were my favorite: crispy, sweet, melty…I’m tearing up a little just thinking about it.


This week’s Dimanche is a little photo heavy because I enjoyed so much good food and took pictures of it all. Cue: my lunch on Monday at Parker’s Table. The very talented Jay Stringer made me a wonderful lunch that included a beans and greens soup, a prosciutto sandwich, and panna cotta with red wine-soaked pears. I’m still thinking about it days later. I’m definitely going to visit the shop again soon.

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I grew up seeing my mom buy Mary Engelbreit calendars, stationary, and magnets, so I’m familiar with her work. I had no idea though that she was politically subversive. Apparently, the St. Louis-based illustrator has started to make prints with liberal slogans. I love them all. Find out more about Engelbreit’s new work in this Riverfront Times story.

I really enjoyed this story about why some top restaurants are closing for dinner. For a lot of restaurants, it doesn’t make financial sense. But for others, the payoff in terms of employee health and wellness makes it worth it. Read more about what restaurant around the country are doing with altered hours in this Food & Wine article.

I’ve had my eye on Melbourne, Australia for a while so this city guide got my attention. The guide gives some recommendations for shopping and eating in the city, which basically sounds like heaven for liberal people who love coffee. Get the full guide in this Condé Nast Traveller story.

Last but certainly not least, the James Beard Foundation announced some new awards including one named for the late Los Angeles-based food critic Jonathan Gold. The award named for Gold, the “local impact award,” will honor food writers who are telling stories steeped in their region or city. Read more about the awards in this Eater story.

Enjoy your week! Here’s a song to get you started.

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Orecchiette with Mushrooms and Sugar Snap Peas

Orecchiette and Mushrooms
I was trying to think of what to make for me and my boyfriend the other night for dinner. I asked him if he had any special requests and he said mushrooms. I was in the mood for pasta so I did a little brainstorming and this orecchiette with mushrooms and snap peas was born.

For those of you unfamiliar with orecchiette, it’s little pasta in the shape of ears. Orecchiette means “little ears” in Italian so the name is fitting. (Check out this story I wrote a little while ago for more wacky Italian pasta names.)

ANYWAY. This pasta is super easy to make and therefore deceptively impressive. The most difficult part is chopping up the onions and the mushrooms. I hate chopping so this felt a little like torture but I tried to talk myself through it.

It was worth the effort in the end. The pasta has sautéd onions, shiitake and portobello mushrooms, and snap peas, mixed in al dente orecchiette, pasta water, and Parmesan cheese. The pasta water and Parmesan cheese form a sauce that’s strong enough to give the dish flavor but light enough to let the onions, mushrooms, and snap peas shine. I’d recommend adding even more snap peas if you want more green in the dish.

This pasta makes a great weeknight dinner. It comes together quickly and the leftovers taste great, so you can bring it the next day for lunch. I left the little that was left with my boyfriend and I’m sure it’s all gone by now.

Here’s a song to get you started on your pasta-making journey.

Orecchiette with Mushrooms and Sugar Snap Peas


16 oz (one box) orecchiette pasta
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup minced red onion
1 cup stemmed and sliced shiitake mushrooms
1 large portobello cap, diced
1 1/2 cups sugar snap or snow peas, strings removed
1/2 cup reserved pasta water
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper for serving


Cook the orecchiette according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water, and place in a big bowl.

In the meantime, cook the toppings. Heat the olive oil over medium high heat and add the minced onion and cook for a minute. Then add the mushrooms and sauté for another four to five minutes. Add the snap peas and cook for another few minutes, or until the peas soften.

Add the vegetables to the bowl with the pasta. Mix in the cheese and some of the reserved pasta water, adding more water to thin out the sauce. Season with salt and pepper and serve. Enjoy!

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Apple Pie

Apple Pie
There are few things that say “fall” more than apple pie. Yesterday, I decided to make one using some of the apples I picked last weekend at Eckert’s.

Some people have very specific opinions about pie. They like cherry but they hate apple, or they love pumpkin but they will never touch chocolate pie. I happen to like most pie but one of my favorites is apple. It’s sweet, tangy, tart, spicy, and reassuring, everything that good pie should be and more.

This recipe is relatively straightforward but it does call for one odd ingredient. You have to mix apple cider vinegar into the apples before you put them in the crust. After I did it, I could smell the vinegar from across the kitchen. I thought I’d screwed up the pie but never fear, it will still turn out well. The vinegar balances the sweetness of the apples and make them more tender while they’re baking inside the crust. You can’t taste it in the finished product. It’s stealthy that way.

This is one of the best pies I’ve ever made. I know I say that all the time but this time is true. I topped myself, partly because I’m getting more comfortable making crust and partly because I love apple pie. When you’re passionate about what you’re baking, it will taste better in the end.

My boyfriend was impressed, too. He usually tells me that what I make is good but in this case, he agreed with me that it’s restaurant quality. I guess this moves me one step closer toward opening my own bakery. I hope that happens sooner rather than later.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this recipe for apple pie. You should make it if you have some extra apples on hand that you need to use up. The crust is buttery and flaky, the apples are warm, spicy, tart, and sweet, and the sprinkle of sugar on top adds a touch of sweetness when you take your first bite. If I haven’t sold you on it by now, I never will.

Here’s a song to get you started on your apple pie-making journey. I saw “A Star Is Born” on Friday and I can’t get this song out of my head.

Apple Pie


for the crust:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
20 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
8 Tbsp ice water
1 egg, lightly beaten (for brushing the crust later)

for the filling:
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 1/2 pounds apples, peeled and cored, then cut into wedges
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup plus 1/2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar


First, make the crust. Pulse together the flour, salt, and butter in a food processor until pea-sized balls form. Then pulse in a tablespoon of ice water at a time until the dough comes together in a ball. Remove it from the food processor and place it on a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough a couple times then divide it in two and form it into two balls. Wrap each ball tightly with plastic wrap and place them in the fridge for two hours or overnight. I prefer to leave them in the fridge overnight. Don’t worry if your dough is a little wet and sticky at this stage. You can sprinkle a little flour on the dough later when you’re rolling it out.

When you’re ready to make the whole pie, take the dough for the crust out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature. Place a large baking sheet in the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Meanwhile, make the filling. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add the apples and stir to coat. Whisk together the spices, salt, and 3/4 cup sugar, and sprinkle on top of the apples. Lower the heat. Stir to coat the apples and cook for about five to seven minutes, stirring occasionally, until the apples soften. Whisk together the flour and cornstarch in small bowl and sprinkle on top of the apples, and then stir it in. Cook for another three to five minutes, stirring every so often.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the apple cider vinegar. Scrape the apples onto a baking sheet to let them cool completely. You want them to be completely cool before you add them to the crust (do not rush this process).

Grease a 10-inch pie tin. Lightly flour a work surface and roll out the first ball of dough until it’s about 12 inches in diameter. Press the crust gently into the pie tin and make it so there’s about a half an inch in overhang around the edges. Place the pie tin with the bottom crust in the freezer.

Roll out the dough for the top crust until it’s 11 inches in diameter. Remove the pie tin from the freezer, fill it with the cooled apples, and then place the second crust on top. Press the edges of the two crusts together and then trim the overhang. Use the back of a fork to makes tines around the edge of the pie. Then use a sharp knife to cut three to four vents in the top crust near the center of the pie. Brush the pie with the beaten egg and sprinkle 1/2 Tbsp sugar on top.

Place the pie in the oven on the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Then reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F and bake for another 30-40 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the insides are bubbling. You might not be able to see the insides bubbling but you can hear it. If the top starts looking too brown, you can cover the pie with a pie of aluminum foil until it’s done baking.

Remove the pie from the oven and allow it to cool for a couple hours. The pie will keep on the counter for two days and then it needs to go in the fridge.


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Dimanche (That Means Sunday)

Welcome to this edition of Dimanche (That Means Sunday), a roundup of things that caught my eye this past week.

This week was a recovery week. I started a new job a couple weeks ago and inconveniently, I got sick and hurt my wrist at the exact same time. It was frustrating to feel like I was out of commission when I was supposed to be *in* commission, but I tried to give myself permission to rest and recover.

Something my sister said recently really resonated with me. She said that I’m always going with all my engines firing, so my illness and injury was an opportunity to slow down. There’s nothing I hate more than slowing down (unless I’m at the beach), so it was challenging for me to do this. I’m happy to say though that I’ve incorporated more relaxing activities into my routine and taking care of myself. At least so far, it seems to be paying off.

In other news, it’s finally fall. We had a few weeks of abnormally warm weather followed by cool days with rain, wind, and that undeniable fall chill in the air. I’m not complaining though because this is my favorite time of year. I love watching the leaves change, wearing light layers, and breaking out my favorite scarves.

I hope wherever you are, you’re enjoying the season. Maybe you don’t get fall leaves but you at least get cooler temperatures, warm drinks, a change in wardrobe, and weather that’s perfect for hiking and exploring.

Without further ado, here is Dimanche:

I enjoyed this article about two women working together at a restaurant in Mississippi despite their different political views. Crystal Walls and Lovetta Green are friends and colleagues but one woman supports Trump and the other despises him. I think that overall, the story is a good indication of the political climate in this country. It’s hard believe that anyone would still support Trump but the article sheds some light on the situation. Read more in this New York Times story

Speaking of restaurants… I tried a really good one last night. My boyfriend and I drove to Godfrey, Illinois, to eat at Bakers & Hale. I’d read about it in local food publications so I wanted to check it out. The restaurant specializes in farm-to-table cuisine. All the ingredients are fresh and delicious. My favorite dish was the burnt ends quesadilla. I could have eaten three of them but I also ordered a pizza so I had to save room. IMG_6842

Plagiarism can be a death sentence for many writers but increasingly, it’s not. I thought this story about appropriation in writing was interesting, especially from the perspective of a writer and communicator. The article talks about examples of writers paying homage to past pieces with their current stories and how that’s created an uproar in the literary community. It’s definitely a fine line but I liked what the article said about how paying homage can be a way of welcoming more voices into literature. Check out the full article in The New York Times Style Magazine.

I don’t live in D.C. anymore but I wish I did so I could go to Call Your Mother. The team from Timber Pizza Company, one of my favorite restaurants in D.C. and maybe the world, recently opened a “Jewish-ish” deli in the city that specializes in world-class bagels. I can’t wait to visit on my next trip. Read more about the restaurant in this Eater DC story.

I went to Craftoberfest for the first time this week and now I want to go back every year. The night market has taken place for the past seven years in St. Louis and features work from local artists and entrepreneurs. There’s also lots of good food on hand. This year there was Mission Taco Truck, beer and pub fare from the venue, Urban Chestnut, and sweets from Whisk, a local bakery. IMG_6832IMG_6833

I came across this story about Indian immigrants and Dunkin’ Donuts on Twitter and it was a fast and fun read. The writer talks about how her parents moved from India to New Hampshire in the 1980s and formed an instant and lifelong bond with the doughnut chain. It made me crave doughnuts and it also intrigued me. Food plays such an important role in how we see and interact with a place, and it can be an important indicator of home. Read more in this Bon Appétit story.

Last but certainly not least, I’m obsessed with Jacques Audiard. I love this profile of the French movie director. He’s so talented and forward-thinking. One of my favorite movies is “Rust and Bone” so it was interesting to learn more about the man behind the film. Check out the full profile in The New York Times Magazine.

Enjoy your week! Here’s a song to get you started.

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Cinnamon Spice Applesauce

One of my favorite fall activities is apple picking. I usually go at least once a year. On Saturday, my boyfriend and I headed to Eckert’s Farm in Belleville, IL, to stock up on apples.

It was a beautiful day for picking. Even though it was a little hot there was a breeze, especially when we sat at the top of the tractor and it started rolling through the orchard. We got off near the Golden Delicious part of the orchard and started picking as many apples as we could. We also ate some because that’s half the fun of apple picking.IMG_6741IMG_6742
We ended up with about 10 pounds of apples each, which surprised me. The bag didn’t feel that heavy and it didn’t take that long to pick them. We talked about how apple picking is a different experience than strawberry picking, because you don’t have to hunch over or squat down to get to the fruit. I like both experiences but apple picking is probably more relaxing. IMG_6743Also, the number of things you can make with apples is almost endless. I brought the apples back to my house and immediately started to make applesauce. It’s an easy dish to make and you can make it in big batches, so you can give some to family and friends.

The recipe I use is pretty basic: It just calls for apples, cinnamon, water, sugar, and a pinch of cloves. You could get fancy and add things like maple syrup, cardamom, and nutmeg, but I like to keep my applesauce recipe simple. It makes it versatile enough to be used in a bunch of dishes. You could even bake with it if you wanted to.

I’d highly recommend making this applesauce if you bring home 10 pounds of apples from the orchard and you don’t know what to do with them. You could also keep the recipe in your back pocket for the holidays. Good applesauce goes a long way on a holiday table.

Here’s a song to get you started.

Cinnamon Spice Applesauce


8 apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
1 1/2 cups of water
1/2 cup cane sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
a pinch of cloves


Combine the apples, water, sugar, cinnamon, and cloves in a saucepan. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook about 15-20 minutes, or until the apples are soft. Allow the mixture to cool and then use a potato masher to bring the apples to the desired consistency. I like mine slightly chunky. Enjoy!

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