Apple Picking Picnic in Julian: Maple Turkey Harvest Sandwich & Caramel Toffee Dip

It seems pretty fitting to be restarting my neglected little blog with a post very similar to my first ever Cook A Mama post back in 2011: Apple Frenzy! I must get inspired by my annual outing to Julian, California where I pick way too many fresh apples and then spend the next couple of days thinking of every possible way to cook with them. Or maybe its the change of seasons that inspires me to blog more... The air is brisker...The days are shorter...It just seems right to cook up a big feast and cozy up in front of the computer with some hot cider and share my recipes with you. Or perhaps its just that I think I whipped together a darn cute picnic and I want to show off the pictures ;) Whatever the case, the Cook A Mama is back and she's here to stay. 

As I shared with you before, one of my most treasured childhood memories was the Riley Family tradition to head to Julian every Fall to apple pick and then have an Apple Baking Throwdown. Back in 2011, I was so happy to restart this family tradition with my parents and also be able to partake in the other highlight of Julian-wine tasting! This time around it was even more special because I got to share it with my Fiance and have a romantic picnic in the countryside and daydream about continuing this tradition with our own family one day :)

There's no better apple than one picked right off the tree in a quaint orchard that knows nothing of pesticides or GMO's. So naturally I wanted to have a picnic menu that would showcase the star of the show! I made my favorite Fall Sandwich: Maple Turkey Harvest Sandwich. 

The Maple Turkey Harvest Sandwich consists of Honey Sunflower Bread, Boursin Cheese, Maple Turkey Breast, White Cheddar Cheese, Arugula, Red Onion, AND of course some slices of crunchy, tangy Green Apple. 
I think you can tell I have a love affair with Boursin cheese on my sandwiches (cough cough Cucumber and Boursin Baguette Sandwich). But for this sandwich, I use it as a replacement for other sandwich spreads like Mayo or Mustard because I'm not a fan of either and think the herb garlic flavored Boursin is much more flavorful.
I love this sandwich because it has so many different flavors but they all complement each so well. The sweetness of the maple turkey and honey bread is balanced out by the pepperiness of the arugula, the bite of the red onion, and the tang of the green apples. The strong flavor of the aged white cheddar is mellowed by the creamy, mild flavor of the Boursin.
And the texture of the sandwich is great too. There's nothing worse than biting into a soggy sandwich! The crunch of the crusty bread, sliced apples, and onions makes sure that's not the case.

Try to tell me you wouldn't want a bite of that?!
If you are a Southern California resident, I highly recommend taking a day trip to Julian this apple season. The U-Pick season normally runs through the month of September and ends early October. There are so many great small family owned orchards where you pay 10$ to fill up a bag with as many apples as you can fit. While you're there make sure to stop at one of the wine tasting rooms, my favorites are J Jenkins and Menghini Winery on Julian Orchards Dr. And you can't leave without stopping in town for a slice of pie at Julian Pie Company, a sample of Julian Cider, and a stroll through all the cute antique shops.
But you didn't really think I was going to leave you with out a dessert for your fall picnic did you?!?
I knew we would want to sample the fruits of our labor so I thought I would make a sweet dip for our freshly picked apple slices.  The Caramel Toffee dip is a cinch to make! I started by mixing store bought caramel sauce with cream cheese for the base, next was a layer of the plain caramel sauce, and then I topped it with mini heath toffee bits.
There is nothing complicated about this dip but its such an addicting creamy, caramely delight! I made them in mini mason jars so they were not only cute but portable as well. A perfect no fuss absolutely delicious picnic dessert!

Happy Fall Y'all!

Maple Turkey Harvest Sandwich

Honey Sunflower Bread
Maple Turkey Breast Deli Meat (preferably Boar's Head)
Garlic and Herb Boursin Cheese
White Cheddar Cheese
Red Onion, sliced thinly
Green Apple, sliced thinly
Freshly Ground Pepper

Spread each slice of bread with Boursin cheese. Layer rest of ingredients and top with freshly ground black pepper if desired. 
*Make sure to squeeze lemon juice over apple slices immediately to prevent browning. 

Caramel Toffee Dip 

16oz caramel dip (for example, Litehouse brand sold in produce section)
8 oz cream cheese
Heath Toffee Bits
Apple Slices for serving

Using a hand mixer, mix together 10oz of the caramel dip and the cream cheese until fully incorporated and whipped. Layer the cream cheese caramel mixture on bottom of mason jar (or whatever serving dish you are using), top with the remaining caramel sauce. Sprinkle top with Heath toffee bits and serve with sliced apples. 

adapted from Event Trender