The leaves may not have changed color and the temperature doesn't feel very fall like, but I know fall is here and it's not because of all the pumpkin flavored beverages and baked goods showing up on menus and in the grocery. I know it's fall because freshly picked, straight from the orchard apples are appearing in the produce department. These apples are so much prettier and flavorful than the ones I've bought all year that have been in cold storage since they were harvested.
Apples are a staple at our house. They make a quick and healthy snack and are easy to pack in a lunch box or take on the go. They're delicious baked, poached and in a pie. Apples are wonderful combined with other fruit in a fruit salad and they're the star of the recipe I'm sharing today.
A few years ago on a trip out of town, we ate at a restaurant that had apple salad on the menu. I'd never eaten it before and was hesitant to order it. I couldn't fathom how apples could taste good covered with mayonnaise and sour cream. I ended up ordering the dish and was hooked after one bite. When our very friendly server found out how much I liked the salad, she was more than happy to share the recipe with me.
The dressing -- which I didn't think I would like -- was actually quite tasty. The sour cream contributes to the creaminess, but also adds a subtle tanginess that keeps the salad from being bland. I use light sour cream, but regular sour cream will add a richer flavor to the dressing. Depending on the sweetness of the apples you use, you may need to add some sugar, but don't add too much. You don't want the salad to be too sweet.
I make the salad the way the restaurant did using only apples, craisins -- dried cranberries -- and celery.
Additions can include nuts, raisins coconut, grapes, mandarin oranges and even pineapple chunks. Depending on the size of the addition, you may need to cut the ingredients into smaller pieces. You're pretty much limited by your imagination, the ingredients you have on hand and what your family likes to eat.
For a fancy presentation, serve the salad on a bed of lettuce leaves. A nice touch for a party is to combine the dressing and apples and put all the additional ingredients in bowls. That way, people can create and fall for their own one of a kind salad creation.