Oh lord, it is cold. Not Vermont cold, or Chicago cold, but cold enough to freeze the spit to the sidewalk. (Ah, the charms of city living.) The hard frost we’d not yet had came yesterday with a vengeance; both Franklin Mint and the scented geranium were, as of last night, suddenly fried. And, as the weather report is (again) reporting snow this weekend, I present to you hardy souls this fortifying breakfast.

A simple sautée of apples, nuts, and maple syrup; it’s just the best on top of oatmeal or whatever hot breakfast cereal you happen to have around. We made it over Christmas on the morning we awoke to find two feet of snow had fallen and the plow guy had not come. If we were going to dig out five cars and get the one low-slung, front-wheel drive, flatlander vehicle on its way, first a good breakfast was in order.

We had it atop some Bob’s Red Mill 10 Grain hot cereal because that’s what there was. I’m sure anything else would be similarly happy with a gilding of tender apples, crunchy nuts, and lightly spiced and sweet maple syrup. Oh, and remember, when it comes to maple syrup, “B” stands for “better. The darker it is, the stronger the flavor.

Also please note that my mother would, of course, have the perfect old china and flatware to flatter this rustic little dish  tucked away in a cupboard somewhere in her little house on the top of the mountain. Naturally.

Maple-Apple Breakfast Topping
Yield: 4-6 servings

4 firm, tart apples
1 tbs butter
pinch salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/3 c chopped toasted walnuts
1/3 c maple syrup

Once you’ve got your porridge situation squared away, prepare the apple mixture.

Melt the butter in a large frying pan over low heat. Peel, core, and quarter the apples. Cut each quarter lengthwise into three to four slices, then cut the slices in half. Add the apples to the pan and increase the heat to medium-high heat. Cook, stirring gently, until apples can be easily pierced with the tip of a knife and are starting to brown on their edges. Sprinkle over the salt, cinnamon, and walnuts, tossing to combine. Add the maple syrup and turn the heat to low.

Once the porridge is ready, ladle into bowls and divide the apple mixture evenly between them. Serve immediately with additional warmed syrup along side.

Notes & Variations
Regardless of what type of porridge you elect to use, you may replace up to 1/4 of the cooking liquid with sweet cider. And always, always, add a good pinch of salt.