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IN THE KITCHEN WITH CARLA: An apple a day – the tasty way!

It’s apple season. Never are apples tastier than this time of year. They’re freshly picked, crisp and juicy and absolutely delicious.

With all their colors, sizes, sweetness and tartness levels, apples truly offer something for everyone. You’ll want to add the quick tart and earthy pork chop recipes to your table.

Try these tips for other easy ways to enjoy autumn at its best.

• Bite into a variety you haven’t tried.

• Choose smaller apples. They’re often less expensive and just as good.

• Cut extra-large apples into slices and put on the dinner table for a different dessert.

• Sprinkle cinnamon on apple slices for a snack. The cinnamon adds an extra touch and helps disguise apples’ oxidative browning.

• Inexpensive apple slicers make cutting apples fast and easy.

Photo courtesy of Vankad
Photo courtesy of Vankad


(Rustic Apple Tart)

Makes 10 servings

Serve homemade dessert any night with this simple-as-can be pizza-style tart. Not only do you save time by leaving the peels on in this homey dessert but you also add fiber, nutrients and a subtle layer of tartness.

Parchment paper

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Position rack in lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 425F. Set aside.

Crust & Topping

1 refrigerated pie crust

3 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, at room temperature

2 teaspoons sugar

¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Remove parchment from baking sheet and place on countertop. Unroll crust onto the parchment.

Roll crust into a 12-inch circle, starting in center of the crust and rolling clockwise. Roll out towards edge; don’t roll back and forth. Lift crust from the parchment after every few rolls.  Put parchment and crust on baking pan.

Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until slightly fluffy.

Scoop cream cheese mixture into a mound in the center of crust. Evenly spread mixture towards edge of the crust, leaving a one-inch border cream-cheese free.


3 tablespoons sugar

1 ½ teaspoons apple pie spice (or stir together ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon, just under ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon ground allspice, 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves or ginger)

1 ½ pounds Granny Smith apples, about 4 medium apples

Stir sugar and apple pie spice together in a small bowl.

Core apples and slice into half-inch thick slices. You should have about 6 cups. Place in a large bowl and sprinkle with sugar mixture. Toss and stir to coat well.

Place apple slices in a circle on outer edge of cream cheese, laying slices down almost flat and overlapping slightly. Mound remaining slices in center of circle and flatten slightly.

Lift and fold crust edges over the apples, pinching slightly to form little tucks.


1 teaspoon 1% milk

½ teaspoon sugar

Brush crust edges with the milk. Sprinkle with the sugar.

Bake for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375F and bake until crust is golden brown and apples are soft, about 15 minutes.

Place baking pan on cooling rack. Carefully run a long metal spatula under the crust to release crust from the parchment sheet.

Let cool completely then cut into wedges. Refrigerate leftovers, lightly covered with foil.

Nutrition information per serving: 150 calories; 7g fat; 3g saturated fat; 5 mg cholesterol; 140 mg sodium; 22 g total carbohydrate; 2 g dietary fiber; 11 g sugars;  2 g protein; 2% RDA Vitamin A; 6 % RDA Vitamin C; 2 % RDA Calcium

Photo courtesy of Rjgrant
Photo courtesy of Rjgrant


Makes 4 servings

Apples and pork are one of the best pairings around. The touch of maple syrup rounds out the best of fall. Be sure to simmer the chops for just a few minutes to keep them nice and tender. Brown rice and green beans are the perfect finish.

Spice Blend

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon turmeric

½ teaspoon sweet paprika

½ teaspoon Crystal Diamond Kosher salt

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon cayenne

Mix spices together in a small bowl.

Pork and Apples

4 (4-ounce) boneless loin pork chops, trimmed of exterior fat

Rub spice blend into both sides of pork chops. Set aside.

½ medium red onion

1 pound Gala apples

Slice onion lengthwise into quarter-inch slivers. Core apples and cut into slices ½ to ¾-inch thick.  Set aside.

Cooking spray

1 tablespoon canola oil, divided use

¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted chicken broth

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

4 teaspoons maple syrup

Sage leaves, optional

Heat nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Lightly coat both sides of pork chops with cooking spray. Pour 2 teaspoons oil into skillet; swirl to coat bottom of pan.

Add chops to skillet and brown 2 minutes on each side.  Remove from skillet and place on a plate.

Pour remaining 1 teaspoon oil into skillet; swirl. Add onion and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add apple slices and cook until they begin to turn gold, about 4 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add broth to skillet; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until mixture reduces by almost half, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes.

Stir in vinegar followed by syrup. Return pork chops to skillet. Spoon sauce over the top. Cover and simmer just until pork warms through, about 4 minutes. Garnish with sage, if desired.

Serve immediately.

Nutrition information per serving: 250 calories; 9 g fat; 2 g saturated fat; 90 mg cholesterol; 210mg sodium; 11 g total carbohydrate; 0 g dietary fiber; 4 g sugars; 31 g protein; 8 % RDA Vitamin A; 45 % RDA Vitamin C; 4 % RDA Calcium; 4 % RDA Iron

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Copyright 2016 Carla F. Williams All Rights Reserved