Italian Sausage-Stuffed Apples

(8 servings)

Here's a simple but creative way to make use of October's abundance of apples, or the "fruit of temptation" as Frank Browning and Sharon Silva dub the fruit in "An Apple Harvest: Recipes and Orchard Lore" (Ten Speed Press, $17.95).

This delicious dish is a cinch to throw together, easy on the pocketbook and allows you time to relax, clean the house or chat with the kids before supper.

6 ounces country bread, crusts removed

2/3 cup milk

8 baking apples, such as Rome Beauty, Stayman Winesap, Jonathan or Jonagold

Juice of 1 lemon

10 ounces sweet Italian sausage, casings removed

3 to 4 ounces provolone cheese, finely diced

1 egg, lightly beaten

2 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Tear the bread into large pieces and place them in a medium bowl. Add the milk and set aside.

Cut a 1/2-inch slice from the stem end of each apple; discard the tops. Using a melon baller or grapefruit spoon, scoop out the core of each apple, being careful not to pierce the blossom end; discard the cores. Continue to scoop out the apple flesh to form a hollow cavity with sturdy sides. Discard the apple pulp or reserve it for another use. Rub the apple cavities with the lemon juice; set aside.

Squeeze the bread to press out as much milk as possible. Place the bread in a bowl and add the sausage, cheese, egg and parsley. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper and mix again.

Divide the sausage mixture evenly among the apples, mounding the tops. Place the apples in a baking dish large enough to hold them in a single layer. Pour water into the dish until it reaches a depth of about 1/4 inch.

Bake in the preheated oven until the apples are tender when pierced with a sharp knife, about 45 minutes. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 291 calories, 11 gm protein, 33 gm carbohydrates, 13 gm fat, 58 mg cholesterol, 6 gm saturated fat, 439 mg sodium, 3 gm dietary fiber


We love high-quality anything. And the new line of All-Clad Gold Standard Bakeware does not disappoint. This is one gorgeous collection of bonded, five-ply metal (stainless steel over aluminum) baking pans with a striking Champagne-color, stick-resistant surface. This is gift material for those who like to give the best. But a taste for Champagne and all things gold comes with a hefty price. All-Clad's fancy pans range from $50 for a 10-by-14-inch cookie sheet to a whopping $110 for a 13-by-18-inch jellyroll pan.

We also love a bargain. Consider the new Kaiser Tinplate Starter Set--a five-piece, carbon-steel collection of baking pans, with a tin coating, that will give years of service. The set consists of a 10-inch springform pan with two bases (a flat base as well as a bundt pan base), an 11-inch, fluted-edge flan pan and a 10-inch loaf pan. It's a giveaway at $9.99. And that is exactly what you may choose to do with it. Send a loaf of banana bread or an orange bundt cake to the bake sale--send the pan along with it. At this price such generosity is painless.

All-Clad Gold Standard Bakeware is available at Bloomingdale's stores. The Kaiser Tinplate Starter Set is available at Coffee & the Works (1627 Connecticut Ave. NW; call 202-483-8050) or you can order by mail (call toll-free 1-877-459-5413).


TODAY: Capital Cookbook Classic. An array of cookbook authors will be appearing at D.C. restaurants through Saturday, including champion BBQ chef John Willingham at Old Glory and Anna Teresa Callen at Paolo's. Call 202-333-7336, ext. 809 for schedule and prices.

FRIDAY: A Taste for Art--tastings from Oasis Winery, local microbreweries, local restaurants and wine merchants, with a silent art auction at the Torpedo Factory Art Center. Benefits the arts and education programs run by the Friends of the Torpedo Factory Art Center. $55 in advance; $60 at the door. 7:30 p.m. 105 N. Union St., Alexandria. Call 703-683-0693.

FRIDAY: Bolivian wine and food tasting at the Bolivian Embassy. Guest speaker: Rob Stewart. Benefits the Good Knight Child Empowerment Network. $45. 6-9 p.m. 3012 Massachusetts Ave. NW. Call 301-595-8989.

SATURDAY: 10th annual Australian and New Zealand Wine Expo--tastings of more than 100 wines at Intelsat. Sponsored by the Australia America Association. $45. 5-8 p.m. 3400 International Dr. NW. Call 202-672-5522.

SATURDAY: Harvest Celebration-- mead and crab apple hard cider tastings at Smokehouse Winery. $10. Noon-6 p.m. 10 Ashby Rd./Route 608, Sperryville, Va. Call 540-987-3194 or www.cdre.com/wp/smokehouse.

SATURDAY: Oktoberfest celebration with German cooking demonstrations at Bloomingdale's White Flint Mall. Free. Noon-4 p.m. 11305 Rockville Pike. Call 301-984-4519.

TUESDAY: Easy & Elegant Autumn Meals--cooking demonstration by Marvelous Market chefs at the Tenley Sport & Health Club. Free. 6-7 p.m. 4000 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Call 202-362-8000 ext. 27.


OCT. 27: Taittinger Champagne dinner at the Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City. Guest speaker: Philippe Court. $125 includes tax and tip. 7 p.m. 1250 S. Hayes St., Arlington. Call 703-412-2781.

OCT. 27: Taste of Spain Fiesta--tapas, sherry and wine tasting sponsored by Tasting Society International at Toro Tapas & Grill. Benefits the Leukemia Society of America. $50. 7-9:30 p.m. 4053 S. 28th St., Arlington. Call 202-333-8992 or www.tastedc.com.

OCT. 28: Fete du Bordeaux--wine dinner by Melrose chef Brian McBride at the Park Hyatt Hotel. Sponsored by Calvert Woodley. Guest speaker: Anthony Barton. $140 includes tax and tip. 7 p.m. Reservations required. 1201 24th St. NW. Call 202-966-0445.

NOV. 2: Swiss winemakers dinner at Aquarelle Restaurant. Sponsored by Swiss Wine Promotions and the Wine Tasting Association. $110 for nonmembers. 7:30 p.m. Watergate Hotel, 2650 Virginia Ave. NW. Call 703-780-WINE or www.winetasting.org.


It's National Pasta Month! What a great excuse to forget the ballyhoo regarding the evils of complex carbohydrates and check out this site from the National Pasta Association. It explains which types of sauce to use on a particular pasta shape. It explains which pastas may be substituted for which others. And it showcases more than 250 recipes, with 82 of them taking less than 30 minutes to throw together.

Peruse assorted pasta trivia and nutritional information. And elementary school teachers can download the clever "Use Your Noodle" curriculum for math, science and social studies.