oh sweet sweet potatoes!

November 28th, 2008

How I love you! I saw this recipe for garnet yams with blis maple syrup and maple sugar struesel in bon appetit and I immediately bookmarked it. oh my goodness.. sweet potatoes, maple syrup, struesel, it’s like a match made in heaven.

But then I got nervous. What if I screwed it up and then we’d be without sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving? I didn’t have the specific syrup or maple sugar that the recipe called for… such a dilemma! But you know what, I sucked it up and started slicing. I carefully lined a baking pan with four layers of sweet potatoes and started preparing a maple syrup mixture to pour over top. Once I’d prepared that I made the struesel. Even though I didn’t have the maple sugar, I improvised and mixed a little raw sugar with some maple syrup. It seemed like the right thing to do.

Chaos kind of erupted during the making of Thanksgiving dinner and I ended up using the broiler to bake the sweet potatoes. Once I’d removed the turkey from my pint-sized oven, I added the streusel topping to the sweet potatoes and popped the whole thing in the oven. Once I had everything on the table and Aaron had prepared a plate for me, one of the first things I tried was the sweet potatoes. Awesome! Awesome! Awesome!

If you couldn’t tell, these potatoes rocked my world. They were perfectly tender and fill of flavor, but not toothache sweet. Oh and the streusel, sweet, sweet struesel. It added the perfect crunchy contrast to the soft sweet potatoes.

Once you recover from Thanksgiving, run out and buy yourself some sweet potatoes and maple syrup and make this recipe!

garnet yams with blis maple syrup and maple sugar struesel

3 1/2 pounds slender garnet yams or other yams (red-skinned sweet potatoes; about 2 1/2 inches in diameter)
1/4 cup Blis maple syrup or other pure maple syrup
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup maple sugar ( I used 1/2 cup raw sugar + 1 teaspoon maple syrup)
1/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted

For yams:
Butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Peel yams; cut 1 inch off ends. Coarsely grate enough of yam ends to measure 1/2 cup; set aside for streusel. Discard remaining ends. Cut remaining whole yams into 1/3-inch-thick rounds. Arrange yam rounds in 4 overlapping lengthwise rows in prepared baking dish.

Bring 1/2 cup water, maple syrup, butter, and cider vinegar to boil in small saucepan. Stir in 1 teaspoon coarse salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Pour maple syrup mixture over yams. Cover baking dish tightly with foil.

For streusel:
Mix first 4 ingredients in small bowl. Add melted butter and rub in with fingertips until moist clumps form. Mix in reserved 1/2 cup grated yams. DO AHEAD: Yams and streusel can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover separately and refrigerate. Let yams stand at room temperature 1 hour before baking.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake yams covered until almost tender, about 40 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 400°F. Sprinkle streusel over and bake uncovered until yams are very tender and streusel is golden and slightly crisp, about 35 minutes longer. Serve warm.


November 26th, 2008

Woohoo! Today is my birthday and I thought I’d share some of my favorite ways to celebrate.

margaritas are a must

cheese makes everything better

cupcakes never hurt


buttermilk biscuits with green onions, black pepper, and sea salt

November 25th, 2008

If you ask me, Thanksgiving just isn’t right without a good basket of biscuits. These biscuits made me salivate the second I read about them in November’s issue of Bon Appetit and they sounded like the perfect accompaniment to my Thanksgiving spread.

This weekend I decided to test them out by making half a batch. I know I say this a lot, but these were really simple to make, especially if you use my tried and true “roll and slice” method of making biscuits. Instead of rolling out the dough and using a biscuit cutter, simply roll the dough into a log and cut 1/2 inch slices from it and you’ve got yourself the easiest dang biscuits and no wasted dough.

Once they’d baked for the specified time, I broke one if half and took a bite. It’s hard not to like a biscuit and these were certainly delicious. The green onion really gave them a ton of flavor and the salt kind of danced on your tongue. Next time I make them I’ll add a little more pepper because I think it got a little lost among the onions. Easy and delicious, the perfect combo for Thanksgiving.

buttermilk biscuits with green onions, black pepper & sea salt
from bon appetit

3/4 cup chilled buttermilk
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
2 cups self-rising flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper plus additional for sprinkling
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, plus 1 tablespoon melted butter
Coarse sea salt


Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 425°F.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine buttermilk and green onions in medium bowl.
Whisk flour, cornmeal, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper in large bowl to blend.
Add 1/2 cup chilled butter and rub in with fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk mixture and stir until moist clumps form.
Gather dough together. Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead gently just to combine, about 3 to 4 turns.
Roll into a 2-3 inch wide log and slice into 1/2 inch slices.
Place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Brush tops of biscuits with melted butter. Sprinkle each lightly with coarse sea salt and ground black pepper.
Bake biscuits until golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.

chocolate toffee cookies

November 24th, 2008

When I saw these cookies on smitten kitchen last week I just had to make them. I have a major soft spot for anything toffee, then add a little sea salt and I’m sold. This weekend I finally got the time to try them out and oh boy, they did not disappoint!

I have to say, these puppies are not for the diet conscious! With five toffee bars and a whole lot of chocolate, even I was thinking twice about making them. But I persevered and started the process of making them. Once I’d melted the chocolate, chopped the toffee and prepared the dough, I put it in the refrigerator to chill for a while. After about an hour in the fridge, the dough was still softer than I thought it should be. This is when I started to get a little worried. I popped it in the freezer for about 20 minutes thinking it might speed things up, but still even after that the dough was pretty soft. I was short on time, so I decided to just go for it and scooped the dough onto two baking sheets.

I put the cookies in the oven, totally expecting them to become runny disasters by the time I pulled them out. When I opened the oven door half way through, the cookies looked beautiful. I couldn’t believe it! I sprinkled a little sea salt over top and let them bake for a few more minutes. When I pulled them out they were rich with scents of chocolate and toffee and beautifully crackled on top. Once I let them cool and took a bite it was pure delight! The cookies had a lovely crisp outer edge and were softer in the middle. Pair that with bits of toffee interspersed in each bite and it’s a little piece of heaven.

Try them! You won’t be disappointed!

Chocolate Toffee Cookies

less than a week!

November 21st, 2008

Friday came around quicker than ever this week! I think I’ve finally chosen all my recipes, which means my shopping list has been written. I think it’s going to be a long walk home carrying all those groceries.. yikes! I didn’t prepare a happy hour, but I have been thinking about it.

I always like to make mulled cider when it get so cold out. I usually have a little rum on hand to make it extra warm, but a friend recently mentioned St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram and I immediately thought of cider. Mmmm, I can almost taste it now! If I had been even more prepared I could have made my own… maybe next time.

Have a great weekend! If you’re going out shopping, remember to take deep breaths and enjoy it! Cheers!

dreaming of these…

November 20th, 2008

images from bon appetit

I haven’t totally set my Thanksgiving Day menu, but after flipping through this month’s Bon Appetit these are high on my list.

buttermilk buscuits with green onions, black pepper & sea salt

garnet yams with blis maple syrup and maple-sugar streusel

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dish?

omnivore books

November 19th, 2008

I just spent too much time looking at Omnivore Bookstore’s web site. The shop, based in San Fransisco, recently opened and carries an assortment of food-related books ranging from rare out-of-print books to the latest releases. I want to be magically transported to San Francisco right now so I can spend hours browsing through the collection.

Thanks Lisa!

undergrounds unite

November 19th, 2008

This weekend Aaron surprised me with one of the coolest food experiences I’ve ever had. I’d read about underground supper clubs and restaurants in Edible earlier this year and ever since I’ve been itching to experience on for myself. Well lucky me, Aaron got tickets to an event called Undergrounds Unite where five of New York City’s underground restaurants got together to throw one heck of a dinner party.

If you’ve never heard of an underground dinner party, you’re in for a treat. The day before the event, someone emailed Aaron a location and time and told him to look for someone “learning how to cook everything” (a reference to Mark Bittman’s cookbook). So Saturday evening we hopped on the train and arrived at the specified location where we found a person with the cookbook. She then handed us a slip of paper that had another address on it. We walked to the new location and when the elevator opened we’d were greeted by friendly people and a huge penthouse loft with views of the Empire State Building. So cool!

We started out with a cocktail hour with drinks from the super talented folks at Whisk & Ladle. I have to tell you, they served a drink that involved peanut vodka, yes peanut vodka, that blew my mind. I’ve never had anything quite like it, just think peanut butter pie in liquid form. It was crazy and awesome all at the same time. After an hour or so sipping delicious cocktails, we made our way up to the top floor of the building to sit down for a 12-course feast. I’m not going to go through all 12-courses with you, but I can say that none of them disappointed me.

That said, there were two that really stood out. The first was waiting for us when we sat down, something I’d never had to the guts to eat, sashimi. Studiofeast served raw fluke was served with yuzu kosho and viniagrette and it rocked my world. I always thought eating a piece of raw fish would be a weird textural conflict in my mouth, but this was so perfect and smooth and it was contrasted so nicely by a spicy sauce. Mmmm, so tasty. The second thing that made me super happy was toasted pumpkin agnolotti with spicy pepitas and brown butter made by lightbulb oven. I think that’s a fancy name for pumpkin ravioli. Honestly, thhey can call it whatever they want because it was so, so good.

Throughout dinner Brooklyn Oenology served a variety of wines and let me tell you, the wine was flowing. After several hours of free-for-all eating and drinking, my memories got a little hazy, but I do know that it was an incredible night. It makes me so happy to live in a city that has secret dinner clubs and people who make peanut vodka. If you ever get the chance to dine in secret, jump at it!