In other places, children have grandfathers, poppys, even grand-peres. But here in the South, we have pawpaws, or some variation thereof. Pawpaws are these fantastic, larger than life, giant specimens of men who can do and have done just about anything and everything that can be imagined. Better than John Wayne and almost next to Jesus, they are sharp and gruff and precious all rolled into one. And if your pawpaw was like mine, he loved to eat apples and cheese. There were many times as a kid, when I would watch him pull out his pocket knife, peel an apple, then cut off a slice of the “hoop” cheese my mamaw kept in the refrigerator (Yes, with his pocket knife. We would just die now, right? I know.) Throw in some walnuts, and he would claim that there was nothing better. To be honest though, I remember thinking that it didn’t sound like a great snack to me in the least. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t even imagine eating cheese and apples together at all… ever. But boy, how my taste buds have changed!
Why are apple and cheese so good together? Is it the salty and sweet? The soft and the crisp? Who knows? Fruit and cheeses have been constant partners since ancient times. Generally considered a luxury for only the wealthy, they were often served at the end of meals because fruits and cheeses were thought to aid in digestion. In her book, Food and Drink in Britain From the Stone Age to the 19th Century, C. Anne Wilson cites that fruits and cheeses were believed “to close up the stomach again after eating” (334). The lack of fruit and cheese platters in my diet might explain why my stomach is always open and ready for business, especially when it comes to these two recipes I am sharing today. One is a thick and creamy cheddar cheese soup just perfect for warding off those brisk autumn temperatures, and the other is a rustic fresh apple cake that my grandmother used to make for my pawpaw. Served as a meal, this soup and cake make me think of him. And though he couldn’t slice these with his old pocket knife, I am quite sure he would eat seconds, maybe even thirds.
Cheddar Cheese Soup
- 1/3 C diced onion
- 1/3 C diced celery
- 1/3 C diced carrots
- 1/4 tsp minced garlic
- 1 stick butter
- 4 Tbsp flour
- 32 oz. chicken broth
- 1 qt. cream (or half and half)
- 4 C sharp cheddar, shredded
- 4 oz diced pimentos
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp paprika for color
In a 5-6 qt. stock pot, melt the stick of butter and add the onion, celery, carrots, and garlic. Sautee until the onion is clear or translucent.
On medium heat, stir in the flour, making sure that it evenly distributed through out.
Slowly add in about 1/3 of the broth. Stir well, making sure that the flour is dissolved and there are no clumps. Add the rest of the broth.
Slowly stir in the cream.
Turn the heat to low and add the cheese by small handfuls at a time. Stir to make sure the cheese is melted before adding more.
Keeping the heat low, add the rest of the ingredients.
Make sure the heat is kept low after adding the cream and cheese. If it gets too hot, the dairy products will scald and separate, and you will have a lumpy mess. Also, make sure you take the soup from the stove after you are finished cooking it. To reheat, remember to take it slow and it will be fine!
This is great topped with Texas toast croutons or accompanied by a slice of crusty bread.
- 1 lb. boiled and coped chicken breast
- bacon pieces
Rustic Fresh Apple Cake
- 3/4 C Wesson oil
- 2 C sugar
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 3 tsp vanilla
- 3 C flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 C walnuts (coarsely chopped) (Nuts are always optional if they aren’t your thing.)
- 3 C apples (coarsely chopped, fresh/UNpeeled and UNcooked) click here to see what I mean
- wax paper
- bundt pan or tube pan
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl combine the first 4 ingredients. Stir by hand until smooth. (Yes, I used my mixer! See below.)
Sift together the soda, salt, and flour. Add the sifted mixture to the wet ingredients. Beat by hand 200 strokes.
Fold in the nuts and apples.
Cut strips of wax paper and line the bottom of the tube pan.
Turn the cake batter into the tube pan.
Bake for one hour.
Remember to take the wax paper off of the bottom of the cake when you take it from the pan.
I use my stand mixer for this recipe. 200 strokes is just about more than my arms can take with this thick and heavy batter. But I love the recipe just as my grandmother gave it to me, so I shared it here in its original form.
Source: (History of fruit & cheese) FoodTimeline.org