As kids my brother and I both read the Little House series until our copies fell apart, and recently I picked up a used copy of Farmer Boy at a library sale and we both reread it. FB was always my favorite because instead of detailing the brutal struggle of pioneer life, it talks about Laura Ingalls Wilder’s husband Almanzo’s childhood, on a prosperous horse farm in upstate New York (WAY upstate, by the Canadian border). A lot of time is devoted to talking about the amazing food that Almanzo’s mother and sisters prepared to keep everyone fueled up for dawn-to-dusk manual labor, and I always loved the detailed meal descriptions. Breakfasts on the Wilder farm involved ham steaks, pancakes, pie, cheese, etc.—huge piles of food. At one point Almanzo and his brother Royal talk about what they like best to eat, and Almanzo says his favorite is Fried Apples ‘n Onions. Tom and I were discussing that after we reread the book last fall, and when I brought home a ham steak to fry for dinner the other day, I also picked up a few granny smith apples and figured I’d give it a try.
There are lots of Apples ‘n Onions recipes on the internet (there appears to be a Little House cookbook, which I should investigate), and Bittman also has a recipe in “How to Cook Everything”—I read them all and then kept it simple. I sliced two onions very thin, and then peeled and cut up two apples. I used a tablespoon or two of butter, sautéed the onions until they were starting to brown, then added in the apples and cooked until they were starting to soften (I could have cooked them a little longer).
I also baked baking powder biscuits, then pan-fried the ham steak and plated up a nice big Farmer Boy breakfast for dinner.
Very satisfying, and I want to play with the apples and onions a bit more. I could have cut the onions a little thicker and put the apples in earlier so they could soften more while the onions browned. Some recipes also recommend adding a tiny bit of brown sugar, which would have been a nice addition.