Leap Year Bits and Pieces – Orange Peel Candied, Citrus Salts and Some Things that Make Me Smile

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  “Candied Orange Peel” is so great to keep in the pantry  to add to desserts, granolas and a cup of hot tea. Making candied citrus peel is easy and takes little active time to do. I cut the peel into strips about 2 inches long and soak in water for a few hours or overnight.


Then simmer in fresh water and sugar over low heat for about 45 minutes.


Drain on wire racks sitting on parchment paper until air dry. I store in my pantry in airtight containers for a few months.


 “Citrus Salts” (lemon and orange)


Zest of an orange and two lemons both mixed with Maldon Sea Salt Flakes.


I use a mortar and pestle to make sure the oils are released.


Then I air dry overnight and store in air-tight jars. Great to use on roasted vegetables, grilled fish or chicken or to top simple sugar cookies.



Some things that make me smile on this Leap Year Day….DSC_0582

Ella, our 10-year-old Lab-Beagle mix…..


….Wouter, my beloved Dutch partner…..


…vases of beautiful tulips..

May you all have a Happy Leap Year.

Candied Orange Peel and Citrus Salts

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Ingredients for Candied Orange Peel:

  • the peel from 4 oranges, cut into 1 1/2 to 2 inch thin strips
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • water


  1. Soak orange peel strips in water for a few hours or over night to soften. Drain peel in a colander.
  2. Mix 1 1/2 cups sugar with 1 1/2 cups water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Turn heat to simmer and add orange peel strips. Simmer, stirring every now and then for about 45 minutes. Remove orange peel from sugar syrup with a slotted spoon and spread out on wire racks sitting on parchment paper until air-dried completely. This can take up to one day depending on how humid the weather is.
  4. Store dried candied orange peel in airtight containers for up to 3 months.


Ingredients for Citrus Salts:

  • zest from one orange
  • zest from 2 lemons
  • 2 cups Maldon sea salt flakes divided


  1. Mix the orange zest with 1 cup of the sea salt flakes. Use a mortar and pestle to mix the zest and salt together to release the oils from the zest.
  2. Spread out to dry on a sheet pan covered with parchment paper overnight.
  3. Store in airtight container.
  4. Repeat with lemon zest.

Teresa Blackburn      www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com    www.foodonfifth.com


Thanks-Giving Parmesan Polenta Madeleines with Fresh Sage & Butternut Squash


Thanksgiving….giving thanks.

Thanksgiving is upon us and in my life there is so much to be thankful for that my mind reels. The list is long and I try to keep it in the front of my mind most days whether it is a holiday or not. It is not always easy but I try. Do you have a mental list of things you are thankful for?

For these savory “Parmesan-Polenta Madeleines with Fresh Sage and Butternut-Squash”, if you do not have a classic French madeleine pan, use a cast iron corn stick pan. I bought my pans at Amazon but recently picked up a few more at TJMaxx. You can find a previous madeleine post I did for “Chocolate  Black-Peppercorn Orange Madeleines” here as well. Madeleines are traditionally sweet and originated from the Lorraine region in France. My Southern, seasonal twist uses yellow polenta, sage and butternut squash as well as parmesan cheese and will be a wonderful addition to any Thanksgiving meal. Also great with chili or soups.


Fresh sage leaves in the bottom of the pan….batter spread on top…..


…baked for 15 minutes until golden brown…..


…flipped out onto a cooling rack and while hot I shredded more Parmesan over the top.


I made this recipe earlier in the year for a project I was working on with a friend. In that recipe I did not use butternut-squash, but I had some left from a photo shoot and did not want to let it go to waste so shredded it and tossed into the batter for a more seasonal twist!

Be Thankful. Be Kind and Share.


Parmesan-Polenta Madeleines with Fresh Sage and Butternut Squash



  • coconut oil spray
  • 1 bunch fresh sage leaves
  • 2/3 cup instant polenta
  • 4 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese + extra for garnish
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup shredded butternut squash
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • special equipment: 2 madeleine pans


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray madeleine pans with coconut spray.
  3. Place one or two fresh sage leaves in the bottom of each “madeleine” space. Press down into the molds using your fingers. Respray with coconut oil. The oil will secure the sage leaves to bottom of the pan.
  4. In a mixing bowl blend together instant polenta, flour, baking soda, Parmesan cheese, sea salt & black pepper.
  5. Stir in the melted butter, eggs, butternut squash & buttermilk. Blend well. Spoon batter into the pan over the sage leaves just to batter being level. Pat into mold with you fingers. If batter gets too dry then add a bit more buttermilk. This batter is thicker than your regular cornbread batter.
  6. Bake for about 15 minutes or until madeleines are golden brown and puffy. Remove pans from oven and cool for a few minutes. Turn pans upside down to release madeleines from pan. While they are still hot sprinkle more Parmesan on top. It will slightly melt into the surface. Serve immediately or keep in a warm oven until ready to serve. Can be reheated as well. Store any leftovers in a plastic bag for a few days.

Teresa Blackburn      www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com      www.foodonfifth.com

“Beauregard & Stokes Sweet Potato Tian”


              Recently I worked on a photo shoot  that called for “Purple Sweet Potatoes”? Luckily they were not hard to find & luckily there were a few left over from the shoot for me to bring home to Food on Fifth. I also happened to have a couple of  “Beauregard” sweet potatoes which are a deep orange-red inside purchased from my CSA, Fresh Harvest.

I love potatoes…any and all potatoes..but I do have a special adoration for the sometimes gnarly locally grown sweet potato in all it’s formations. Never uniform in shape or color, or size…these are the ones I am drawn to.


Mashed together with butter…..a gratin with cream or milk….baked? I recently ran across a reference to a dish I was unfamiliar with….a “Tian”….it seems it can be both a shallow casserole type dish originating in Provence  as well as a recipe cooked in this type of dish. I realized I had just purchased a “tian the dish” in which I could bake the “tian recipe”!


The turquoise tian…the purple & deep orange sweet potatoes…stunningly beautiful.










A Sweet Potato Tian

  • Servings: 6
  • Print



  • 2 orange sweet potatoes (yams, etc) mine were “Beauregard’s”
  • 2 purple sweet potatoes (Stokes Purple) or any other
  • 2 large or 4 small shallots sliced
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup shredded white Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
  • fresh or dried thyme leaves


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Wash and pat dry the sweet potatoes. Peel using a vegetable peeler and trim ends flat. Slice each into “coins” about 1/4 inch thick.
  3. Toss sweet potato slices in a large bowl with the olive oil, salt & pepper until well coated.
  4. In a “tian” (shallow earthenware casserole dish) scatter sliced shallots over the bottom and then alternate the slices of purple and red sweet potatoes..2 red, 2 purple and so on until the dish is filled.
  5. Scatter thyme leaves over all. Cover dish with a sheet of foil.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes covered. Uncover & sprinkle Cheddar & Gruyere over the top.
  7. Return to the oven, raising the temp to 400 degrees. Bake for about 20-30 more minutes until the potatoes are “knife” tender and the cheeses are melted and just a bit bubbly. Serve immediately or set aside and cover loosely with foil for up to 30 minutes.

Notes: This is a great lower calorie and fat dish than the typical “gratin” which usually has milk or cream,  and cheeses. Serve as a side dish or with a salad as an entrée.

Recipe by: Teresa Blackburn, Food on Fifth Blog 11/2014   teresablackburnfoodstyling.com


Turquoise Tian Dish – Set of 3 “Anthropologie” online or in store ; Linen Napkin “Restoration Hardware” online; Silver Spoon “Gas Lamp Antique Mall, Nashville”; Brown Speckled Enamel “Nashville Flea Market”