Sweet potato “crostini” with roasted beets, figs, cashews and feta


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This recipe is great for a gluten-free vegetarian appetizer or party food.  The sweet potato base replaces a cracker or piece of toast in a more traditional appetizer, and the combination of roasted beets, feta, figs or dates, and cashews adds a sweet and salty flavor that is great for the fall or winter season.

sweet potato beet crostini   Sweet potato crostini with roasted beets, figs, cashews and feta

Ingredients:

  • 1 large beet
  • 2 large sweet potatoes or yams (I used yams, but sweet potatoes would have been better, I think)
  • about 4 oz feta cheese
  • 1/2 – 1 cup chopped dates or figs (dried or fresh, if available)
  • 1/2 cup cashews or walnuts
  • drizzle of honey or maple syrup for sweetness
  • olive oil and balsamic for roasting the beets

Directions:

  • Peel and chop the beets and toss in olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper
  • Wrap beets in tin foil and bake in the oven for ~40 minutes on 400 degrees or until tender
  • Scrub and slice yams or sweet potatoes in 1/2″ thick slices, leaving the skin on

baking sweet potato slices   Sweet potato crostini with roasted beets, figs, cashews and feta

  • Bake sweet potatoes on a lightly oiled cookie sheet (or oiled foil) in the oven for about 30-35 minutes, or until lightly browned on the bottom.  You may wish to brush the tops with oil to brown them as well.
  • In a food processor, pulse the roasted beets, feta cheese, cashews or walnuts, and chopped dates or figs.  I added a drizzle of maple syrup (honey would work, too) to moisten the mixture a bit.  Reserve a little cheese and figs or dates to garnish.
  • Top each slice of sweet potato with a spoonful of the beet mixture, and garnish with feta/figs

feta figs and dates   Sweet potato crostini with roasted beets, figs, cashews and feta

  • Using a salt grinder, add a very small amount of sea salt over each potato slice
  • Drizzle just a touch of maple syrup over the sweet potato / beets and serve warm

If you make extra, keep the beets/feta mixture separate from the potato slices.  Heat potato slices in the toaster oven and warm the beet mixture for 15-20 seconds in the microwave and combine.

Enjoy!

sweet potato beets and feta   Sweet potato crostini with roasted beets, figs, cashews and feta

January 6, 2013
Food, Recipe

 
 

Vegetable Fritters


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With some veggies that needed to be eaten soon, I set to work developing an on-the-fly recipe that would make use of everything available.

This recipe can be modified based on whatever veggies you have.

veggiepatties   Vegetable Fritters  Ingredients:

  • 2 sweet potatoes, boiled
  • 2 green peppers, diced
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 crown broccoli
  • 1 zucchini
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 white onion
  • greek yogurt (optional-for topping)
  • canola or other oil for frying
  • approximately 1 cup flour (more or less, depending on your mixture)
  • 2 eggs
  • Spices: salt/pepper to taste, Indian spices (garam masala.., turmeric, etc. or other mixture)

Directions:

  • Peel and chop the sweet potatoes and boil until soft
  • Dice onion and saute until caramelized
  • Dice garlic and add to onions, cooking for a few minutes
  • Mash sweet potatoes and add garlic and onion in a large bowl
  • Pulse peeled zucchini in food processor, then remove and squeeze the moisture out as much as possible using a cheesecloth, towel or paper towel
  • Pulse carrots, and broccoli in food processor until they are in very small pieces
  • Dice green pepper (do not add to food processor)
  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl, adding spices to taste.  I used garam masala, salt, pepper, and a small amount of an Indian spice packet.

veggiemixture   Vegetable Fritters

  • Add eggs and flour until mixture is a consistency that can be formed into patties (not too dry)
  • Heat 1″ oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat until hot
  • Add veggie patties and fry until browned, turning once

fryingpatties   Vegetable Fritters

  • Let patties dry on paper towels to drain
  • Serve with a little Greek yogurt!

 

These turned out to be spicy and delicious, and can easily be frozen for a quick snack (just heat in the toaster oven)!


Food, Recipe

 
 

Baby Shower Cake Pops


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I rarely bake, but when I do, I start by cheating.  My sister’s baby shower called for going above and beyond and a previous roommate’s cake business had me itching to try my hand in making cake pops.  They are so fancy, delicious, and party-perfect!

Unfortunately for a rookie, it’s a lot of work!  I think once you get the hang of it it’s not so bad.. But I made 66 cake pops or so, and it took all night.

cakepops1   Baby Shower Cake Pops

Blue, white, and brown cake pops make the perfect baby-shower treat!

 

Cake pop recipe:

  • 1 box cake mix (and whatever is required to make it)
  • 1/2 cup or so of cake frosting
  • lollipop sticks
  • various color candy melts (be sure to buy the most of whatever your base color will be)
  • Sugar and food dye (or colored sugars), sprinkles, etc., for decoration
  • Styrofoam to hold the cake pops for drying and display

For the cake mix, I used whatever brand was on sale.  I tried both a chocolate cake with chocolate icing, and a yellow cake with french vanilla icing.  You can experiment with different combinations of flavors.  For the candy melts, I got chocolate (brown), white chocolate (white), and a white chocolate flavored blue melt.

Directions:

Bake the cake

  • Bake the cake as directed, and let cool completely.
  • Completely crumble the cake into a large bowl, rubbing between your palms to break up any pieces as much as possible.  Discard any tough pieces that were edges or the tops, if they are not crumbling well.
  • Mix 1/2 cup or so of frosting into the cake mix until it is somewhat sticky.

Make the cake ball lollipops

  • Roll the cake into balls and place on wax or parchment paper and place them in the freezer until cold and no longer sticky, but not solid (about 1 hour)
  • Melt the candy melts per the instructions (be careful, if you get impatient you will ruin the candy melts).
  • Dip the end of each lollipop stick into the candy melt and then insert it about halfway into a cake ball.  This way, the candy melt will harden, holding the lollipop stick onto the cake pop so it won’t fall off.  I began putting the ones I’d finished back into the freezer while completing this step.
  • Let the cake pops set in the freezer for up to 1 more hour.

Make the colored sugar

  • To make colored sugar, you can take plain white sugar and add it to a shaker or tupperware container.
  • Add 1 or two drops of food coloring (depending on the desired result) per half cup of sugar).
  • Shake the container vigorously until all sugar is uniformly colored.  This worked great for me and saved me some money!  This is how I created the baby blue sugar.

Decorate the cake pops

  • Melt the desired candy melt color for the base of your pops in a deep narrow container that still has some room on the sides if you were to put a cake ball in it.  As the candy melts begin to cool you will have to reheat them slightly.
  • Take a cake pop by the lollipop stick and dip it into the  container at a slight angle, and twirl until the cake pop is coated.
  • Remove the ball from the candy melts and twirl it between your fingers to remove excess candy coating, and tap gently on the side of the cup to again remove any excess.  The candy melts go on thick so it’s a bit of work to get the right amount on each cake ball without overusing the coating.
  • Place the lollipop stick into a styrofoam base (flower arrangement foam works well here too) and immediately decorate by drizzling colored sugar, sprinkles, or whatever you wish on top, before the candy coating dries.
  • You can also drizzle a contrasting color of candy melt on top by melting them in a plastic bag and snipping off the corner of it, then squeezing it out as you move the bag back and forth over your cake pops.
  • Continue until all are complete!

You’ll note that sometimes the cake pops crack.. I’ve heard this can have to do with the candy melts being too thick or the cake pop being too cold and then expanding as they warm.  Don’t leave your cake balls in the freezer for too long before decorating.

After you’re done, place them back in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.  They last for several days at least before drying out, as the candy melt coating keeps the inside moist!

cakepopsclose   Baby Shower Cake Pops

For display, I bought a basket from Michael’s crafts, laid the styrofoam inside at an appropriate height, placed the cake pops in the foam, and then covered the foam with decorative crepe paper.  They look great and everyone loved them!

 

 

 

 


Food

 
 

Roasted Beet and Pumpkin Soup


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Nothing says “autumn” like pumpkin soup.  I’ve made plenty of butternut squash and pumpkin soups before and always enjoyed them.  Last week at the farmer’s market, however, I picked up a bunch of beets, and thinking that roasted beets had a similarly sweet flavor after roasting, I thought maybe they would go well combined with pumpkin in a soup.

According to the internet, I’m not the first one who’s thought of this.

So here is my roasted beet and pumpkin soup recipe.  It was hearty, sweet, and delicious, not to mention incredibly healthy!

IMG 3510 300x225   Roasted Beet and Pumpkin Soup

Roasted Beet and Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients:

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Scrub beets and trim leaves off (save the tops, you can eat them!).
Slice beets in half or quarter them.

IMG 3515 1 300x225   Roasted Beet and Pumpkin Soup

Beets before roasting

Place in foil and drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.
Wrap in foil and roast in the oven for ~30 minutes or until soft when pierced with a fork.
Remove from the oven and peel the remaining skin off each beet.

IMG 3490 300x225   Roasted Beet and Pumpkin Soup

Roasted Beets

Roast pumpkin (similarly) or place in a pressure cooker and cook for ~5-10 mins once pressure is reached.  You will need to scrub the pumpkin and cut it open to scoop out the seeds first.

IMG 34481 300x225   Roasted Beet and Pumpkin Soup

Scooping seeds out of the pumpkin

Discard the pulp but save the seeds.
Rinse seeds and place on a baking sheet in the oven or toaster oven for a couple of minutes (sprinkle with salt).

IMG 34541 300x225   Roasted Beet and Pumpkin Soup

Roasted pumpkin seeds with salt

Pumpkin seeds are delicious as a snack or garnish on salads or soups! Don’t waste them!

IMG 3449 300x225   Roasted Beet and Pumpkin Soup

Cooking the pumpkin in a pressure cooker

In a large or medium pot, saute diced leek, diced ginger (about 1″ section) and several cloves of garlic in olive oil until tender.

Once pumpkin is roasted or pressure cooked, remove the skin and put the pumpkin pulp in a medium or large pot with the beets.

IMG 3498 300x225   Roasted Beet and Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin puree and roasted beets with ginger, leek and garlic

IMG 3499 300x225   Roasted Beet and Pumpkin Soup

Blending the pumpkin and beets

Add 1 cups of water and 1 cup almond milk to thin, and blend with a blender or (more conveniently) an immersion blender.

Continue to cook over medium, adding cinnamon, ground cloves, ground nutmeg, ground fennel, salt and pepper to taste.

Thin to the desired consistency with almond milk or water.

IMG 3509 300x225   Roasted Beet and Pumpkin Soup

Roasted Beet and pumpkin soup

Garnish with pumpkin seeds and enjoy!

October 4, 2011
Food, Recipe

 
 

Sesame Tofu Stir-Fry


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This meal is one of my staples when I’m too tired to think of something else to cook, or when I really need some vegetables.

It’s an Asian stir fry made with whatever vegetables you wish (though carrot and broccoli are always good to start with), tofu, and sesame-soy-ginger sauce.

Ingredients:

  • Veggies (any and all!) – I used broccoli, carrots, and mushroo
    IMG 3412 300x225   Sesame Tofu Stir Fry

    Garlic, leek, jalepeno, carrots, broccoli

    ms (and jalepeno for spice)

  • Trifecta of Awesomeness (Garlic, Ginger, Leek) – diced
  • Tofu (firm/extra-firm) – cubed
  • Can of assorted Asian stir-fry vegetables (baby corn, water chestnut, etc.)

    IMG 3414 300x225   Sesame Tofu Stir Fry

    Mushrooms and Asian stir-fry veggies

  • Fresh Thai Basil
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Sauce: Soy sauce, sesame oil, chili oil, paprika, salt, pepper, cornstarch (if desired, to make a thicker sauce)

Directions:

Saute garlic and leek in olive or grapeseed oil.

Add veggies (firmest first) and saute until slightly tender.  Add drained can of Asian stir-fry veggies.

Squeeze all excess water from the tofu and cube.  Season tofu with paprika, salt, pepper, soy sauce and a drizzle of sesame oil.  Coat with sesame seeds.

IMG 3415 300x225   Sesame Tofu Stir Fry

Tofu with sesame seeds

While veggies are cooking, saute tofu in a separate pan.

Mix the sauce together– 4 tbsp  soy/1 tsp sesame/chili oil if you have it.  Add a teaspoon of cornstarch if you would like a thicker sauce (and a little water if you like)

IMG 3416 300x225   Sesame Tofu Stir Fry

stir-fry

Add sauce and tofu to the veggie stir fry and cook for a minute to combine.  Add fresh thai basil for the last minute or so.  Enjoy!

IMG 3418 300x225   Sesame Tofu Stir Fry

Sesame Tofy Stir-Fry

October 2, 2011
Food, Recipe