Oatmeal is pretty blah stuff so I thought about what I could do to jazz it up. Fruit jams, syrups and the like immediately came to mind and whenever I go shopping, I can't help but notice how cheap apples are so I settled on an apple compote. (I also have a bag of cranberries but that's for another post.)
This is ridiculously easy. Peel and core 8 apples. I used fuji's and granny smith apples. It's nice to use multiple varieties because they have different flavors and textures when cooked. Makes for a more interesting end result. Cut into chunks. I tried to use my roommate's apple peeler-corer thingy but results were unsatisfactory. Maybe I incorrectly set it up.
Still, a pretty neat tool.
Melt half a stick of butter in a pan and add a few tablespoons of brown sugar. I am using Indonesian palm sugar because it's what we had on hand. I could've used white, refined sugar but palm sugar has a more interesting flavor. Allow the butter and sugar to melt together. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil and reduce down a bit...is should slightly thicken. Add 1-2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.
Add in the apples, a few pinches of salt and your choice of brown spices. I used nutmeg, five spice powder and cinnamon. Season to taste.
Bring back to a boil and turn down to a simmer. Cook until the apples are extremely tender. I actually used a potato masher to hammer some of mine down. In about 20 minutes, it should be close to done. Allow to cool and store.
Lots of things you can do with this. Top pancakes or waffles with it, pork chops, spread on toast...use it like applesauce. Eat it plain. Eat it with plain, unflavored yogurt or cottage cheese.
The whole pot ended up costing $2.73 or $0.04 per tablespoon.