Monday, November 23, 2015

HEAVEN ON EARTH aka Sweet Potato Casserole with Brown Sugar & Pecan Streusel Topping

These potatoes. They're uh, not good for you. 

But what they lack in nutrition they make up for in sweet, nutty streusel topping.

And BELIEVE YOU ME THEY ARE WORTH IT. I've been eating them for as many Thanksgivings as I've had the ability to form memories, and I'm still here. I also plan to eat them for every future Thanksgiving forever and ever AMEN. 

I tried to secure the original original recipe, but it's on a food-stained, torn-out page of Bon Appetit and smooshed between the pages of one of my mom's cookbooks. In good news, it's also on the internet

The way our family makes this is pretty close to the Bon Appetit recipe, with a few exceptions. One, we increase the amount of streusel for a topping-to-tater ratio that is actually probably illegal. Two, we change up the preparation a bit, including using a hand mixer instead of a food processor to puree the potatoes. (My mom doesn't have a food processor, and my lil baby processor would only fit about 3 spuds.)

The entire recipe is fairly painless, with the exception of peeling 5 pounds of potatoes. No way around that, unfortunately. But the reward is GREAT and SUGARY and BUTTERY. So get to peelin'. Or task someone else with gettin' to peelin'.

Either way, these are a welcome addition to any Thanksgiving spread. We're still a few days out from the big event, so check out the 'make-ahead' options below if you're looking to get a head start.

Also! Here are a few other holiday recipes to round out your feast:
AppetizersEndive w/ Smoked Salmon & Boursin CheeseSalted Rosemary Marcona AlmondsCaprese Bites w/ Balsamic DrizzleBrie-Apple Bites w/ Pecans & Honey
MainsApple & Cranberry Studded Stuffing w/ Quinoa & SausageApple & Cranberry Studded Stuffing w/ Sausage (no quinoa) 
CocktailRosemary & Pomegranate Champagne Cocktail
DessertsEasy Pumpkin Pudding Cranberry Lemon CakePumpkin Pie with Oatmeal Cookie Crust

Recipe: Sweet Potato Casserole with Brown Sugar & Pecan Streusel Topping
[original recipe by Bon Appetit

Options for Make-Ahead
Option 1: Spread the potatoes in the pan, add the streusel topping, and refrigerate until ready to bake. 
Option 2: Spread the potatoes in the pan and make the streusel topping. Refrigerate both separately. Once ready to bake, sprinkle the streusel on the potatoes. 
Option 3: Complete the recipe (baking the casserole for 1 hour), refrigerate, and reheat in the oven until heated through. 

5 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks 
3 tsp kosher salt, divided into 1 tsp and 2 tsp
4 large eggs
3 tbsp real maple syrup
2 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1.5 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup roughly chopped pecans (can up to 1.5 cups if you'd like)
1 stick chilled butter, cut into small cubes

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Add the cubed sweet potatoes to a large pot. Cover with water, and add 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then cook for 10 minutes until the potatoes can easily be pierced with a fork. 

Drain the potatoes, and return to the hot pot. Let sit for at least 5 minutes to steam off any excess liquid. For the next step, you can either transfer the potatoes to a large mixing bowl, or blend them right in the pot. 

Use a hand mixer to puree the potatoes until no chunks remain. (If you don't have a hand mixer, you can use a food processor.)

In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, maple syrup, vanilla, lemon juice and 2 teaspoons of salt. Pour the liquid mixture into the bowl of pureed potatoes. Mix once more with the hand mixer until the liquid is incorporated into the potatoes. 

Scrape the potatoes into a greased 13 by 9 inch pan (glass or metal). Use a spatula to evenly smooth the top. 

In another small bowl, make the streusel topping by combining the brown sugar, pecans and cold butter cubes. Use your fingers to work the ingredients together and break up the bits of butter. Continue until the mixture resembles the texture of clumpy, wet sand. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the potatoes. 

Place the pan in the oven and bake, uncovered, for 1 hour until top is bubbly. Let sit for at least 10 minutes before serving. (Topping will harden a bit.) 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Recipe: Quinoa Tabouli Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

There's nothing quite like eating a REAL lunch to make you feel like you actually have your shit together. 

Not knocking the string-cheese quesadilla or an almond-butter & fluff sandwich, of course. They just feel a bit, ehm, desperate. As in I desperately need to go food shopping and reacquaint myself with actual foods that grow out of the earth. (HELLO VEGETABLES WHAT R U.)

Any time I'm in a lunch-rut (which is........ often), this quinoa tabouli salad pulls me right on out. I make one big batch in the beginning of the week, then keep the salad and the dressing separate in the fridge. Each day when I'm ready to eat, I mix up a smaller bowl of the quinoa salad with a big glug of lemon vinaigrette. This way the herbs and veggies stay nice and crisp throughout the week. 

When I'm feeling especially hangry or when feeding a boy who thinks there is no such thing as 'too much protein', I'll throw in a drained can of tuna or a few scoops of drained, rinsed beans (white cannellini or garbanzo). I'm sure you could get away with chicken, too, but... meh. Chicken.

Oh PS: shake up your salad dressings in jars!! They don't even have to be of the mason variety. Any clean jar will do. (I hoard Talenti gelato containers & Trader Joe's roasted red pepper jars.) Vinaigrettes tend to do that rude separating thing when they sit for a while, and it's easy enough to just give the jar a quick shake each time you use it.

PPS: I have not a clue what makes sprouted quinoa different from regular quinoa, but TruRoots was kind enough to send me a bag to try and it seemed to cook up just the same. A quick google tells me it's healthier, so basically after one bowl of this stuff I'm SUPER-HUMAN. 

Recipe: Quinoa Tabouli Salad with 
Lemon Vinaigrette 

Recipe Notes
- This makes a really big bowl of salad. It's great for a crowd, or to portion out for lunches throughout the week.
- If you don't like or have mint and/or chives, just leave them out! The parsley is key, so I wouldn't skip that. 
- The salad is pretty filling as-is, but for extra protein toss in drained, canned tuna or a can of drained, rinsed beans (maybe white cannellini or garbanzo).

For dressing (makes just over 1 cup):
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (from ~3 lemons)
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp dijon mustard 
2 tsp honey
2 cloves garlic, peeled and grated on a microplane (~1 tsp)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper 

For salad:
1 cup uncooked quinoa (yields ~3 cups cooked; I used TruRoots sprouted quinoa)
1 cup gluten free chicken stock (sub another cup of water for vegetarian)
1 cup water
Olive oil for quinoa 
2 cups cucumbers cut into quarter-moons (equals 4 persian cucumbers)
2 cups diced grape tomatoes (equals almost one 16 oz. container)
1 cup roughly chopped, Italian flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped mint
1/4 cup chopped chives

To cook quinoa:
Add quinoa, chicken stock and water to a pot. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low (as low as possible), and cover with a lid. Set timer for 15 minutes. Check after 13/14 minutes. As soon as all of the liquid is absorbed, remove from heat. Drizzle cooked quinoa with a bit of olive oil, gently toss, and cover with lid. Let sit for 10 minutes with lid on. 

To make dressing:
Add all dressing ingredients to a jar with a tight fitting lid. (Talenti ice cream containers work great!) Tighten lid, and shake vigorously until dressing is emulsified (will be thicker, creamy and pale yellow). 

To assemble salad:
In a large bowl, gently toss cooled quinoa (MUST be cooled or herbs will wilt) with cucumbers, tomatoes, and fresh herbs. Keep the salad and dressing separate until ready to serve. (I keep both in my fridge and mix up just enough for lunch each day.)

To serve:
Toss your desired portion of the quinoa salad with some of the dressing. Eat cold or room temp.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Recipe: Kyra's Almond Flour Citrus-Ginger Breakfast Cake

When Kyra (this Kyra!) sent me this recipe I immediately panicked and scanned the ingredients for obscure flours, gums, meals, etc. 'Oh great', I thought. This girl romps around on Food Network and bakes fricking gluten free cinnamon rolls for a living. There's no WAY she's going to make this easy on me.

But. But! There it was. Just one flour: almond flour. Could almond flour alone seriously make for a fluffy, spongy cake? Guys, it can! I was shocked. Kyra, I should've known you wouldn't steer me wrong. Bareburger's on me next time you're in in New York.

I've always been a fan of an easy cake recipe. Pulling a cake out of the oven makes me feel accomplished like no cupcake ever could. (And omg do I hate cleaning out cupcake tins they are the devil.) This one comes together pretty quickly, and doesn't require too many ingredients considering it is, you know, a cake. The sweetness is juuuust right to be called a breakfast cake, and you won't believe how light and moist (sorry!) it turns out. 

This would be PERFECT for, dare I say, Mother's Day brunch? Breakfast cake sounds like something moms would be totally into. Citrus and ginger, too. Just generalizing here. My mom would probably only like this more if there were wine and bacon-wrapped dates involved. But that just sounds like a tad too much? Maybe.. 

In addition to sharing this recipe which I probably butchered somehow, Kyra has gifted us all a FREE SHIPPING code for her Portland-based Bake Shop. Which is a kind of a big deal since shipping is usually in the ballpark of 40 bucks. (Dude, I know!) Also a big deal because her gluten free cinnamon rolls will conjure up all kinds of weepy emotions that you didn't think were possible in a post-gluten world. I teased them on my Instagram, and you guys all freaked the F out. Well, go order some for yourself and freak the F out for REAL this time.

Click Here to order from Kyra's Bake Shop
Enter code gfreeblondie4ever for Free Shipping
(code is good through 5/21/15)

P.S. if you don't like cinnamon rolls a) why are we friends and b) there is something called a 'chocolate caramel ecstasy' which sounds like something I told myself I would never ever do but might make an exception. 

Recipe: Almond Flour Citrus-Ginger Breakfast Cake 
[original recipe via Kyra Bussanich]

- For my citrus, I ended up using 1 large navel orange and 2 lemons. Feel free to play around with what citrus fruits you use! Next time I think I'll try grapefruit. 
- Don't be afraid of the ginger! It's a surprisingly subtle flavor once incorporated into the cake.

For the Cake:
5 large eggs, separated into whites and yolks
1.5 cups almond meal/flour
1/2 cup sugar, divided into two 1/4 cups 
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt 
2 tbsp finely chopped or grated ginger 
1/4 cup citrus juice (combo of lemon + orange)
1.5 tbsp citrus zest (combo of lemon + orange)

For the Topping:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 to 1.5 tbsp citrus juice
1/4 cup slivered almonds 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a 9-inch baking pan with a circle of parchment, and spray the entire pan with cooking spray. 

In a clean, dry bowl, whip the egg whites on medium-high speed until foamy (about 1 minute). Slowly add 1/4 cup of the sugar, and whip on high until medium-stiff peaks form (about 1.5 minutes longer). 

In another bowl, whisk together the yolks, ginger, citrus juice and zest. Add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, salt, and baking powder and whisk to combine. Add the almond flour, and whisk until the batter is evenly mixed. 

Gently fold 1/3 of the whipped egg whites into the batter until mostly incorporated. Repeat with another 1/3 of the egg whites. Finally, add the remaining 1/3 of the egg whites until the batter is mostly uniform. (OK if there are some white patches.)

Pour the batter into the greased pan and gently smooth the top. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the cake is set and the top is golden brown. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan, and cool completely before adding the glaze. 

To make the glaze, whisk the powdered sugar with 1 tbsp of citrus juice until smooth. It should be the consistency of a smooth, flowing caramel. If needed, add another 1/2 tbsp juice. 

Transfer the glaze to a ziplock bag and snip of a tiny bit of one corner. Squeeze the glaze back and forth over the cake. Immediately sprinkle with the slivered almonds. 

If not eating that day, store the cake in the fridge. 
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