[Chris, the new co-editor for The Kitchen's NYC beat, begins his tenure with us with an approrpiately NYC-themed homage to the apple... Welcome, Chris!]
While there are many takes on why New York City is called the Big Apple (jazz musician slang, horse racing lingo, even a geographically inaccurate rumor which claims Manhattan seen from above looks like an apple with the State of Liberty as the stem) there's no conclusive answer. What experts do agree on is that New York is the second largest apple producing state, coming up behind Washington State and ahead of Michigan. This fall the New York State Apple Association expects to harvest 25 million bushels. Summer's rain and hot weather will make for bigger apples, according to the growers. While some of the apples available earlier in the month might have been held over from last year's crop or grown in New Jersey, we're now in peak NY McIntosh season. How to mark this big apple week in our Big Apple kitchens? I'm wondering if I have time to head to the Hudson Valley and jump on a hay wagon to go apple picking. There's a tempting tool on the state's official apple site that shows where "U Pick" apples are available in nearby counties and there will be an Apple Festival in Queens on October 1. Has anyone gone apple picking or to the Queens apple fest? Are there orchards that those of us without cars can reach via public transportation? For a different variety of urban apple inspiration, visit Paul Cezanne's "Still Life with Apples" at MoMA or stop by the Met's online exhibit Cezanne's Astonishing Apples. While some artists paint perfect but forbidding fruit, seeing this Cezanne sent me right to the kitchen to peel a pile of apples and made an apple cobbler with a buttery oatmeal topping. What are you up to with all these apples?