Roasted Apples and Radishes with Mustard and Mint

roast apple and radish with mustard and mint

I know that I promised you last week that I would tell you more about my preserved blood oranges, but I just didn't get to them this week. You might recall that I am in the process of moving, so cooking has not really been on my radar this week. In fact, all of my pots and pans are already packed up. So, hopefully I will get to the blood oranges next week. (But don't hold me to it).

I did, however, throw this little dish together for some friends the other day. It is very simple to make and doesn't require a lot of prep work. Plus, it tastes really good too. What were the odds?

2 apples
12 radishes
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp mustard
1 tbsp fresh chopped mint
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375F. Chop apples into bit sized pieces and radishes into quarters. In an ovenproof pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add apples and radishes and toss to coat with the olive oil. Cook for a few minutes before moving the pan into the oven. Roast the apples and radishes for 25-30 minutes or until very tender. Remove from oven and stir in mustard, mint, and balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and serve.


Preserved Blood Oranges

preserved blood orange

Remember my duck with blood orange mayonnaise post a while back? Go ahead and refesh your memory. I'll wait.

Got it? Good. Well, I ended up not using all of my blood oranges and was about to just going to sit down and eat those radiant little fruits when a little inspiration showed up. I have heard about preserved lemons (the act of packing sliced up lemons in lemon juice and salt and allowing the 'citrus cure' to preserve the fruit) before but had never tried them. And in doing a little research, it became clear to me that it is very hard to get a good description of what they taste like. So, I thought I'd give it a go, but this time I would use my blood oranges. I started them shortly after my blood orange mayonnaise post and they have been waiting for me ever since.

Basically, you scrub the orange well and slice it into sections, leaving them barely intact on one end. Then you rub plenty of kosher salt into the flesh and rind. Place them in a very clean jar, and pour even more kosher salt in. (If my memory serves me right, I feel like I used just under a cup of salt total.) Then you simply cover the salted fruit with blood orange juice. Screw the very clean lid on and let it rest in a cool, dark place for a few weeks. Every couple of days, give it a little shake to redistribute any undissolved salt.

So, back to the big question. What do preserved blood oranges taste like?

I'm not telling. At least, not yet. But soon. This is mostly because Six Course Dinner is in the process of moving. Not web pages or anything, but physically moving. As soon as the dust settles, I'll fill you in on all the 'juicy' blood orange details. So stay tuned.


Bulgur and Fig Paste Dessert with Almonds

bulgur and fig paste dessert with almonds

So I'm biking home from work the other day and I run into my friend Rachel
who tells me how she and another friend Angie cooked something from my blog. This is news that I always like to hear. She begins telling me that they made my Camembert, Radish, and Sweet Corn Cakes but didn't have any panko. Well, ingenuity took over and Rachel sent her husband out to the nearest convenience store to find a suitable substitute. What did he find? Ritz crackers. The reports are in and the crackers got two thumbs up from my friends. And to top it off, it sounds like they are planning more 'bastardizations' of my recipes. I say bring it on!

Of course, I am the first to admit that I do a fair amount of running around to find the right ingredients for the recipes on this blog. I am very willing to bike 5 or 6 miles just to buy the perfect kind of cheese. I will visit two separate farmers markets just to make sure I have all of my vegetables. I realize this may be a little nuts and most people probably are not going to be as willing to visit 3 to 4 food stores. Making multiple trips doesn't work for everybody.

So I came up with this dessert in response. Instead of finding out at the last minute you don't have one ingredient and decide to run out to corner store to a substitute, I was determined to do ALL of my food shopping for this dish entirely at my local convenience store! I headed down to University Mart, just a hop, skip, and jump away from my apartment and right near Johns Hopkins University. They tend to carry a few more unique items that the 7-11 wouldn't dream of having. Plus, they have the best falafel and hummus sandwich in town. (Because you always want your sandwich fillings and condiments to be made of the exact same ingredients...)

It was kind of fun to plan out something to cook while perusing the aisles stocked with everything from beef jerky to cultured yogurt drinks to AA batteries. After a few minutes, I figured out what I would make. Taking advantage of the Middle Eastern ownership, I found some bulgur wheat that I thought would be perfect. Everything else just fell into place. Remember, this all came from a convenience store.

1 cup fine bulgur
1 8 oz. can sweetened, condensed milk
1 cup water
1 handful of almonds, crushed
2 Hershey's Dark Chocolate bars
1 box Fig Newtons

In a saucepan, heat condensed milk and water to a boil. When boiling, add bulgur. Stir briefly and turn off the burner. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, melt down the chocolate bars in a double boiler. Pour onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, spreading it out evenly and about 1/8th to 1/4 in. thick and stick in the freezer. Take the Fig Newtons and remove the cookie part, leaving only the fig paste center. Reserve fig paste. When bulgur has cooled, spread onto frozen chocolate in an even 1/4 in. layer. Top with fig paste and crushed almond. Return to freezer for 20 minutes to set up, but don't let it freeze. Remove from freezer and cut into rectangles the same size as the fig paste. Serve.


Honeydew Vichyssoise

honeydew vichyssoise

The one thing about cooking that always takes some getting used to is seasonal cooking. I try to cook with what is fresh and in season, but there is always a part of me that craves pot roast in July and corn on the cob in February. I always seem to yearn for foods from other seasons. Even for this blog, a lot of the time during the winter I am coming up with ideas that are really more suited for summer cooking. And even as I type these words I have a few ideas rattling around in my head for autumn. Maybe my taste buds are from the southern hemisphere......

Because I can't time travel (....yet....) I am happy to make use of what I have. And sometimes, I can find a happy middle ground between the seasons. Take vichyssoise for instance. Say it with me: VISH-EE-SWAS. (Nice job. You've been practicing.) Vichyssoise is a great meal that is just as good in the spring as it is in the winter, and vice versa. And this potato and leek soup is served cold for a refreshing break from these warm days. The classic garnish of wild chives as well as some honeydew plants this bowl of soup firmly in it's rightful time. While the addition of honeydew may sound strange, it's subtle sweetness plays nicely against the leeks.

6 medium sized waxy potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 leeks, trimmed and washed
1 ½ cups honeydew, cubed
1 qt. veg stock
3 tbsp olive oil
1 cup light cream
1 bay leaf
wild chives
salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan while you cut up the vegetables. Remember to wash the leeks to get out any sand or dirt that might be inside. Saute leeks until tender, but do not let them brown. Add potatoes, stock, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Remove the bay leaf and then remove the pan from heat.

In a blender or food processor, puree the mixture until very smooth and pour back into the sauce pan. Add the honeydew and pulse until smooth. Add to the potato leek mixture. Whisk in cream and salt and pepper to taste. Chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or until well chilled. Serve cold with wild chives and some extra pepper for a garnish.

wild chives