This morning I woke up to thundering rain. Although I’ve enjoyed my long lovely summer, I’ve been quite in the mood for a change of season. Today was the first day it really felt like fall.
With a hooded sweater I walked to the grocery store to prep some meals in the morning while I work in the afternoon. Tonight my boyfriend is coming over and I want us to have a relaxing, cozy dinner in the house. The idea of French Onion Soup feels like a perfect choice.
I bought large yellow onions, a baguette, gruyere cheese and some fresh thyme. (I’ve tried to grow herbs in my garden for the past two years but it just isn’t fair to the poor plants to keep trying…:-/) I sliced the onions quickly and let the caramelize slowly while I got back to my editing. Later I flavored the soup by deglazing with with beef stock and brandy (I forgot the sherry), and seasoned with thyme, bay leaves, and sea salt. Once Niko gets here, I will broil his ceramic bowl of soup with a baguette slice covered in shredded gruyere. I will eat mine without the bread and cheese, because I am trying to shed some pounds. No need to take pity. It is still an incredibly flavorful soup this way, and I have some wheat bread I will use to dunk. 🙂 I don’t know if you will think I’m crazy, but I actually like to grate clove into my french onion soup before eating…I like it, what can I say?
Now onto my favorite part of the meal…dessert, and the real point of this post!
I’m very sorry I don’t have a real picture of the dessert and used a copout Rembrandt painting! But my camera is on the fritz, I have no clue whats wrong with it…
Let me say first that I used to grocery shop prepared with strict lists and a strict idea of what I would be making. I think this is a mistake. It’s important to see what is available and what is fresh the day you are at the market. I am now less dependent on recipes, and more inclined to creativity. Today I bought apples because they smelled great and it’s another great ingredient to celebrate autumn. When I turned the corner and smelled the fresh wild mint from 3 feet away, I knew I had to get it! Every few minutes while I strolled the store, I lifted the bunch up to my nose for a deep breath of the intense mint aroma. This was not the pre-packaged herb variety!
Well, this combination of apples and mint in my buggie led to a new experiment. I wanted to pick something relatively healthy while still tasting indulgent. I decided to make Calvados Baked Apples with an Oatmeal Crumble and Apple-Mint Sorbet. This combo has not only a play in textures but also temperature, which I love.
First I start on the sorbet:
I am making a small portion for two, but you can of course double or triple this recipe:
APPLE MINT SORBET (4 servings, i will have some left over maybe for tomorrow morning) 🙂
- 4 apples, peeled and diced
- 2/3 cup white wine
- 1/4 cup calvados liquor
- juice of half of a lemon
- a dash of apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tbs honey or 4 tbs sugar- or a mix- be careful not to overextend the honey, because then it will taste like honey sorbet! I’ve made that mistake before.
- 7 big mint leaves, finely chopped.
Ok, I do not have an ice cream machine yet, so I made mine the old fashioned way!
Blend the apples with the wine, liquor, and water. Then stir sugar/honey and lemon juice and dash of apple cider vinegar.
Stir well and place in an air tight container to freeze for an hour.
Stir well again; then freeze again- check it every 15 minutes or so to stir until its set. I can’t give you an exact time on this, you have to keep your eye on it.
When you see it’s almost ready to set, stir in the chopped mint leaves.
I love adding calvados to any apple dessert because the flavor is Apple X’s 10!
In a bowl, mix with your hands 1/4 cup oatmeal, 2 tbs honey, 1-2 butter(cut into tiny bits)- you can adjust this to your liking as well-this is just a ratio to help you if you need. I would advise to pour as much oatmeal into the bowl, add a little honey, put a few bits of butter, and see how it goes. You want a sticky, crumbly mixture. This makes very little. If you want more, double or triple this. Don’t be afraid to do this by sight and not strict measurements.
Before serving, toast the crumble in the oven on 375 for just 8 min or when it looks toasted and golden.
2 whole apples, peeled and cored
a sprinkling of juice from a half of a lemon
1/4 cup apple juice or cider
1/4 cup calvados liquor-or brandy
2 small dots of butter- or big dots 🙂
4 tbs sugar
Preheat oven to 200C or 400F
Wash apples and score them on top (slice a shallow X on the top)
Place apples in a small baking dish
In the cored holes, but the dot of butter and pour the juice-calvados liquids over the apples
Sprinkle 2 tbs of sugar on each apple
Bake for 25-40 minutes, depending on how strong your oven is- keep an eye after 20 minutes. you want them fork tender, but not mushy! There should be a nice bite, so there is a contrast to the soft sorbet.
*of course you can add any spice you like- cinnamon, clove, etc. I am keeping it simple so there is just an intense flavor of apple, enhanced by sugar/honey and accented by the apple-mint sorbet.
**make sure the apples are warm when serving.
Cut thick slices of apple and plate them attractively-overlapping on a plate.
Drizzle some of the natural sauce from the baking pan over the apples. (If you want, you can reduce the sauce in a pan to concentrate before drizzling)
Scoop a delicate quinelle of sorbet over the baked apples.
Finish by sprinkling the oatmeal crumble over the dish and top with a vibrant green sprig of mint.
I hope you enjoy this, let me know what you think after trying!
(tomorrow I will post my Ta Kioupia review, a great restaurant in Athens)