After all the indulgences of the holidays, many people turn to lighter and healthier dishes. For me it is too hard a transition from rich, spice-filled baked goods to salad for dinner and an apple for dessert. After the decorations were put away and the New Years toasts were over, I kept thinking about making a delicious baked treat that carried over the flavors of the holidays in a healthier package. Finding a use for one lonely left-over roasted sweet potato was my inspiration for a dense, moist, low-fat Sweet Potato Fruit Cake that fit the bill. I hope you will get some sweet potatoes at the farmers market soon and roast them for supper and save a few for making a delicious dessert.
Sweet Potato Fruit Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup roasted sweet potato (skinned and mashed)
2/3 cup skim milk
2 eggs (or egg substitute)
1/2 cup canned crushed pineapple (drained)
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon minced candied ginger
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch ground star anise
1/2 cup walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Roast two medium sweet potatoes until tender (about 45 minutes)
Peel and mash potatoes
Potatoes can be prepared a day ahead
Set oven to 350 degrees
Spray a 9″x5″ loaf pan with non-stick spray
Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and spices
Beat together eggs, milk, and vanilla
Stir wet ingredients into dry and mix until just combined
Blend in pineapple, dried cranberries, raisins, candied ginger
Add walnuts if desired
Pour into prepared loaf pan
Bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown
With Passover coming early, I thought I would try out a few recipes in advance. This one is not so much a recipe as an idea. It was inspired by a several pretty creations I saw on the Internet.
Make any Passover friendly recipe for deviled eggs (I added a bit of horseradish to mine) and then arrange them with green onions, watercress, dill, and radishes to form flowers and buds. What a lovely dish this would make for a Passover (or Easter) brunch!
Poor brown-spotted banana sitting all alone in the big produce bowl in my kitchen. What can I do with such a sad little fellow? We always seem to leave a banana behind as everyone grabs for one a the peak of their favorite ripeness and then my family grows sick of that fruit and moves on to oranges, apples, or whatever graces the fruit bowl. For a time, I skinned and wrapped the leftovers and tossed them in the freezer in hopes of collecting them later and making a recipe. The only thing I ended up doing later on was throwing out freezer-burnt bags of mush of unknown vintage. So I had this one banana and I was hungry for breakfast so I made Lonely Banana Walnut Muffins.
Here is the recipe and it should be mixed by hand with a fork (no need for the heavy machinery here!). If you like whole wheat flour that will work fine. If you would rather use brown sugar-go ahead. No buttermilk-no problem use whole milk. Keep this recipe handy and honor the lonely banana!
Lonely Banana Muffins
1 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 very ripe banana
1/2 Stick butter
1/4 cup butter milk
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
pinch of ground cinnamon
6 cup muffin tin and no-stick spray or a bit of butter to grease the pan
Melt butter in a two-cup measuring cup or a small bowl (measuring cup is great because you can use it to gather all the wet ingredients and pour into the dry later). In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and cinnamon and stir with a fork. To the melted butter add buttermilk, egg, banana and mash the mixture together with a fork. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry and stir with (you guessed it) a fork. If there are little lumps and no flour showing when you finish mixing, you have done it right. Stir in the walnuts gently. Pour into muffin tin and bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until risen and nicely brown.
Passover is almost here and one of my favorite dishes is not served at the seder. Usually the morning after the big family gathering or on the weekend during Passover we always make Matzo Brei. It is the French Toast (sha don’t even mention bread during the holiday) of Passover. A simple dish of matzo and eggs which is usually served with a little sugar or jam on top. While I love the classic version, I thought it would be fun to mix a family favorite breakfast, cheesy scramble, with matzo brei. I topped it off with a dollop of fig spread which is wonderful on sweet or savory dishes. I don’t keep a Kosher kitchen but for those that do these is a fabulous Kosher for Passover sharp cheddar from Cabot that would be great in this recipe (I used the regular sharp cheddar for this version).
5 large eggs
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons butter
4 oz sharp cheddar cheese (shredded finely)
1 small onion sliced thin
salt & pepper to taste
3-4 tablespoons fig preserves
Heat a large skillet and add butter. When the butter is just starting to sizzle add onions. Cook onions to tender and translucent but not brown. Beat the eggs and milk in a large shallow bowl. Break up the matzo into pieces and place in a colandar. Wet the matzo briefly with warm water but do not soak and allow water to drain. Carefully transfer the matzo to the egg mixture and allow to stand for a few minutes until some of the egg is absorbed by the matzo. Toss in the cheese and add salt & pepper. Pour the matzo mixture over the onions and cook on medium, stirring the mixture until the eggs set and bits get lightly browned. Serve immediately topped with fig jam.
The holidays are over and finally a bit a cold weather has arrived after an unusually warm start to the winter in New England. I awoke early to a dusting of snow on the ground and a chilly breeze outside my window and headed for the kitchen. My favorite time to bake is morning and I thought it would be a nice treat to bring something sweet to nibble on to my client meeting. I had tucked away a few jars of Holiday Table jam (cranberry & pecan with cranberry honey) since my family complains that sometimes I sell every jar of a flavor they like and it also it seemed like a great flavor to use in baking. I made up some buttermilk biscuit dough (recipe below)and patted it out in a long rectangle. I spread some melted butter on the dough and then warmed the jam and spread it on the dough leave a bit of a clean edge on one side. Them I sprinkled a cinnamon sugar mix over the jar and butter and tossed on a handful of chopped pecans. I carefully rolled it up jelly roll fashion (the long side gets rolled) and cut it into one inch chunks. The little rolls were placed in a buttered mini muffin tin and baked at 400 degrees for about 12-15 minutes. While the rolls baked, I made a quick glaze of one tablespoon fresh orange juice, one teaspoon honey, and 1/2 cup of powdered sugar all mixed together until smooth. When the rolls when done, I turned them out onto a cooking rack and drizzled them with the orange glaze.
Petite Sweet Rolls
2 cups flour
4 tablespoons butter melted
2/3 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons baking powder
Mix baking powder and flour in a mixing bowl
Mix melted butter, buttermilk, and milk
pour wet ingredients into the dry and mix just to combine
3 oz jam (always plenty of jam around here)
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons cinnamon/sugar mix
1/4 cup chopped nuts or raisins if desired
I have to admit that I sometimes I crave awful drive-through breakfast food. If you need to stop reading my blog or unfriend me on Facebook after this revelation, I will understand. This morning, over tired and stressed; the greasy, salty siren song of the McSomething called to me as I drove to a meeting. Somehow I was able to resist and tonight I rewarded myself with a slow food biscuit, egg, cheese, and sausage late night supper.
I tossed together some cheddar biscuits (similar recipe to the corn biscuits here, but without corn and with 1/2 cup shredded cheddar) and while they were baking, I found the frozen lamb and apple sausage patties I had saved from my Lamb ProAm supper. I browned the sausage nicely in a hot pan and put it aside while I soft scrambled a Golden Egg Farm egg. I took a hot biscuit right from the oven and piled on my lamb sausage and topped it with egg and arranged it on a pretty plate.
The Egg, Cheese, Lamb Biscuit was a delicious treat and I didn’t even miss at all the experience of peeling stuck cheese from the paper wrapper or dropping chunks of egg in my lap as I swerved to avoid a maniac driver on Route 3.
Much (OK all) of my kitchen time this summer has been spent happily making jam. Last week I developed a longing to bake again. Perhaps it was the first cool breeze heralding the end of summer that was to blame for this desire but the oven went on and then I surveyed the pantry and fridge. Pies and tarts came to mind but all the fruit I had was destined for jars. My eyes fell on a stack of corn from the farmers market. I snatched two small ears leaving plenty for dinner and shaved the kernels into a bowl. I added the corn to one of my favorite drop biscuit recipes and reveled in the smell of warm butter pouring from the oven. I broke one open as soon as they were baked and ate it hot at the kitchen counter. Hmmm…maybe I should bake some plain biscuits too. I do need something to go with all this jam.
Summer Corn Biscuits
1 stick butter
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
2/3 cup fresh corn kernels
1 Tbs snipped chives
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix together flour and baking powder in a large bowl. Cut in cold butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs using hand pastry blender, food processor or stand mixer. Do not over mix. Stir in buttermilk until just combined. Stir in corn and chives gently. Scoop out 12 lumps of dough onto an ungreased baking tray leaving an each between. Bake until light brown and cooked through, about 20-25 minutes.