The first time I met Tim, he said something in passing about how he’d much prefer a night in, at home, to endless social activity, one party and get-together after another, and I couldn’t believe how much he sounded like me. They say it’s the opposites who are the ones to attract, but, almost one year into marriage, all I have to say is that it sure is nice to share life with someone who also finds pleasure in picking a new Netflix movie or testing orangettes or reading side by side, before falling asleep at night.
If it weren’t for the great enjoyment we both also find in hosting big dinner parties and attending outdoor gatherings and making meaningful connections with other human beings, and mostly the growing desire we both have to stretch outside our comfort zones and love, I wonder just how easy it would be for us to settle in at home, something brewing on the stove and, stay there, content.
It’s something we’ve thought so deliberately about recently that, in an effort to find ways to love other people besides each other, we’ve been filling our social calendar fuller than it’s ever been in our married life. We’ve been hosting and attending and gathering and joining, and it’s been good, all of it, delighting in conversations with friends new and old, hearing how people are doing, laughing and crying and learning, seeing how much there is yet to know.
But still, in the midst of it, I have to say there remains something equally special about those quiet, cozy days (or even hours) at home, the kind where there’s nothing much on the agenda besides laundry and reading and making dinner—and the more rare these chunks of time become, the more precious they feel.
Fall is good at reminding us of this. As the days darken and chill and we turn on our heaters for the first time in months, there’s an unspoken push towards blankets and cocoa and the comfort of a warm kitchen.
October beckons us to roast and to caramelize, to slow-cook and to stew. There’s nothing quite like coming in from the cold to the smell of something brewing, and that’s never more true than with today’s easy apples and onions dish.
By the time the onions are soft and translucent, your home will smell as good as Thanksgiving dinner; and, standing above the stove, your hair pulled back and your house slippers on, the house quiet and still, save for sizzling, that right there will be so good, so rich, all you can do is give thanks for such a moment and, enjoy.
Caramelized Onions and Apples
Adapted from Rachael Ray Mag
Serves two as dinner (what, you don’t eat onions and apples for dinner?); four as a side dish
Let’s talk about the size of the pan for this dish: use a large pan but don’t panic if it seems too small! I went with a moderately large skillet, which at first the sliced onions completely overwhelmed (and when I added the apples, yikes!), but by the end of cooking, once everything had nicely dwarfed in size, it was like they were made for each other.
Coconut oil or butter
1 1/4 pounds onion, peeled and thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
Around a pound of apples, peeled and sliced
Warm oil or butter in a large saucepan (see headnote above) over medium heat, and then add onions. Dash a little salt and pepper all over. Let them warm for a while, until they’re soft and transparent, and add thyme. Add apple slices. Turn heat down a little (not simmer, just medium-low) and stir every five minutes or so, it doesn’t need to be exact, just to keep everybody seeing skillet action, and cook until everything’s golden and caramelized, which for me was about 45 minutes total. Cooking time will vary greatly based on what you feel “low heat” to mean, and I assume that based on Rachael Ray’s site saying 10 more minutes when mine took almost an hour. Either way though, it’s very low-effort work, and you end up with practically candied goodness at the end, so overall I’d say that’s a win.