The Whole World Sings

I’ve known Nancy for most of my life, and it is a true honor to have her as a regular reader of the blog and now as a contributor.  Also, given that potlucks are such an integral part of my life now, it’s worth noting that I first learned about potlucks as a kid from the UU community in Fredonia.

I have been waiting for the right moment to contribute to this blog that I’ve enjoyed reading for the last 18 months.  And finally, an open week and a get-together at my house coincided!

The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Saratoga Springs Choir held our season ending potluck Friday.  We don’t practice or sing in the summer.  Fourteen singers arrived bearing a lot of food.  We ate well, visited and even did some singing.  Conversations ranged from the weather and gardening to stories about our children and grandchildren to summer plans to house renovations.  After a strong thunderstorm, we opened the windows to fresh warm air.  Our director played the piano and we started with “Auld Lang Syne” for a member who is leaving to retire to Great Barrington, MA, and then we sang a few other very old songs from an early 20th century piano compilation “Songs The Whole World Sings.”  I kind of doubt that.

I believe in the true potluck, and with no instructions, folks brought a pretty good variety of foods.  We did have 3 pasta salads, but Bob cooked up a huge pan of teriyaki chicken, Judy brought eggplant parmesan and I cooked a turkey breast just in case we got no main dishes.  We also ate burritos, quiche and homemade pizza .  And for dessert, we enjoyed mixed fruit cobbler, apple crisp and brownie pie with whipped cream!  No one went home hungry from this relaxing evening.

I tried a new apple crisp recipe (from America’s Test Kitchen) that with a little extra work (and more butter and sugar) was quite a bit better than my old standby.  I followed the recipe except for substituting a cup of frozen cranberries (left over from Thanksgiving?) for one of the apples.  That made it a lovely pink color and added a bit of tartness.

Skillet Apple Crisp

3 lbs. apples (about 7) peeled and sliced
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 t. cinnamon

1 c. cider/apple juice
juice of 1/2 lemon (1 T)

3/4 c. flour
3/4 c. pecans, chopped
3/4 c. oats
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 t. cinnamon
8 T melted butter

2 T butter

Cut up apples, toss with sugar and cinnamon.  Set aside.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
In skillet, reduce 1 c. cider to about 1/2 c.
While it cooks, combine the topping ingredients.
Pour off the cider and add juice of 1/2 a lemon.
In same skillet, melt 2 T of butter, add apples and cook about 12 mins.  Stir occasionally.
Turn off heat, add cider, spoon topping over apple slices.
Place in preheated oven for about 15 minutes until top is browned.

If your skillet isn’t oven-proof, transfer apples into a casserole, then add topping and put that into the oven.



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2 responses to “The Whole World Sings

  1. Wendy Westwood

    America’s Test Kitchen recipes, even “quick and easy,” are way more complicated than most of our everyday cooking. But it looks delicious!

    • Nancy Berggren

      Correct. I’ve been making a Better Homes & Gardens recipe from a 1950s kids cookbook for years–it has unadulterated apple slices covered with a topping where you cut in about 1/2 as much butter. Next time I might cut back on the sugar (the cider does a great job increasing the apple flavor). I do like the melted butter in the topping–that really is always easier than cutting in cold butter…

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