Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sweet Potato Fries

The following recipe is highly addictive!

My kids won't touch mashed sweet potatoes (crazy), but they literally inhale these sweet potato fries. I'm pretty sure you will too... I may never make sweet potatoes any other way again.

2 sweet potatoes
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ginger
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Heat oven to 400F. Wash the sweet potatoes really well - you will not be peeling them so make sure you scrub all that dirt off. Slice the potatoes into sticks, wedges, slices, or however you like to eat your "french fried" potatoes. The side on the pan will caramelize somewhat so you may not want to much surface area. I recommend sticks about 1/4 wide. Mix all the spices and brown sugar together in a small bowl. Toss the potatoes with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the spice mix (I like to use a produce bag so I can shake them up really well and get them coated evenly). Spread the potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake 20-40 minutes depending on the thickness. The single layer is important if you want crispy fries as sweet potatoes will get soggy if they are piled on top of each other. Fries are done when soft all the way through - allow to cool and enjoy. (My kids like them with ketchup, but they taste great on their own.)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Alice Waters' Cauliflower Soup

After years of wondering how anyone could like cauliflower, I now have several recipes in my repertoire the use the strange little vegetable - and two of them happen to be soups. I found this recipe by Alice Waters over on Jane Spice and tried it the other night - and liked it even better than the creamy Pioneer Woman version.

All the spices in this soup make it ideal for a cold winter night, alongside a salad and some nice crusty bread. I used an immersion blender to get the consistency where I wanted it - with just a few chunks of cauliflower here and there and the rest thickening the broth. I didn't have coriander seed so I just substituted 1/4 teaspoon coriander - I imagine you could do the same with the cumin. I also don't like the taste of cooked cilantro so I left that out... and if you decide to use it as a garnish, I recommend mincing it very finely otherwise the texture clashes with the creaminess of the cauliflower. Don't forget the splash of lime juice - it will make all those spices jump! Very yummy!

Friday, January 22, 2010

CranApple Acorn Squash

I first tried this recipe Christmas morning the first year I was married. We thoroughly enjoyed it and then I promptly forgot about it - until Andrew reminded me this year. So I dusted off the recipe and tried it again. This time it tasted even better!

2 medium acorn squash (about 1 lb. each)
2 cups finely chopped peeled apple
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh or frozen cranberries (do not thaw)
1/4 cup raisins
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons chopped pecans
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Cut each squash in half lengthwise and scoop out and discard the seeds. Trim a small piece off the bottom of each squash half, if necessary, to allow the squash to sit upright. Combine the apples, cranberries, raisins, brown sugar, and pecans in a medium sized bowl and stir to mix well. Divide the mixture among the squash shells and sprinkle a pinch of nutmeg over each. Coat a shallow baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and arrange the stuffed shells in the dish. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake at 350F for 50-60 minutes or until the squash are tender. Serve hot.

I think the first time I made this I used craisins instead of cranberries and I will say that it is MUCH better with the cranberries - not quite so sweet and the flavors pop a lot more. Also, this time I drizzled a little pure maple syrup over the squash just before serving which put it over the top!