Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Sweet Potato Biscuits

I found this recipe for sweet potato biscuits in 1995 from Bon Appetit magazine and have been making them ever since. They are perfect for Thanksgiving because the light, flaky texture works well with all the other rich dishes on the menu. These biscuits do not contain the massive amount of butter found in traditional recipes. Mashed sweet potatoes and a touch of buttermilk provide all the moistness.

The original recipe calls for all white flour. I make mine a bit healthier by swapping half of the white for white whole wheat flour. I love the nuttiness flavor the whole wheat adds. These biscuits are delicious just as is with butter and honey...but feel free to experiment with additional items. Try adding a 1/2 teaspoon each cinnamon and ginger, or 1/4 cup crumbled crispy bacon or swap one tablespoon buttermilk for maple syrup, or spice it up with a tablespoon of chopped green chile. Bonus points, you can make the dough and cut out the biscuits in advance. Place on a baking rack and freeze. Place the frozen (unbaked) biscuits in a freezer bag until you need them. When ready to bake, bake not defrost. You may need to add an additional 5 minutes to the baking time. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Sweet Potato Biscuits
(makes 12)

1 cup unbleached white flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups mashed peeled & cooled baked sweet potatoes (about 2 large)*
6 tablespoons buttermilk
sweet butter for serving
wild honey for serving

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

Sift together the flours, baking powder, soda and salt in a large bowl. In a small bowl add the mashed sweet potatoes and the buttermilk. Whisk together until combined. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and combine with a fork just until mixed together.

Pour out dough to lightly floured counter and need 5-6 turns. Pat to form a circle 3/4 inch thick. Using a 2 1/2 inch round biscuit cutter (or do like I do and use the rim of a glass the same size), cut out as many circles as you can. Place the biscuits on the prepared sheet. Form another circle using the dough scraps and cut out a few more biscuits. Repeat until all dough is used. (you may need to free form the last biscuit).

Place in preheated oven and bake until biscuits are golden brown (15-20 minutes). Remove from oven and serve immediately with butter and honey.

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It is "Thanksgiving Sides" week at Food Network's Fall Fest roundup. Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving recipe? Share in the comments section and/or link to your blog if you have one. Be sure to check out the delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends and from Food Network.


I have started sharing my newest blog "California Girl in Taos."  Please visit and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Carrots & Avocado with Cumin

Carrots and avocado are a wonderful combination as this dish proves. I think I will add the recipe to my Thanksgiving menu. The carrots are crisp-tender, the avocado smooth and creamy, the lemon-olive oil vinaigrette light with a touch of spice; perfect to balance out the richness from the rest of the meal.

Best of all, in my opinion, this easy make-ahead dish should be served at room temperature freeing up your stove, oven and refrigerator for the rest of the traditional feast. Well, actually, best of all is the carrots are absolutely delicious.  Enjoy!

Carrots & Avocado with Cumin
(8 servings)

2 lbs carrots
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 ripe large avocado, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
sea salt
black pepper

Cut carrots into 3-inch long pieces, then cut into 1/2 pieces in diameter. 

Add carrots and 1/2 cup water to medium sized saucepan. Add 1 teaspoon sea salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-high and cover. Cook until carrots are crisp-tender (7-8 minutes). Pour into strainer to drain off all the liquid. Set aside.

Add lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, cumin and pepper flakes to a large bowl. Whisk together until combined. Stir in warm carrots ensuring they are well coated. Allow to come to room temperature. (can be made 1 hour ahead). 

When ready to serve, stir in avocado and cilantro. Season to taste and serve immediately.
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It is "Carrots" week at Food Network's Fall Fest roundup. Do you have a favorite carrot recipe? Share in the comments section and/or link to your blog if you have one. Be sure to check out the delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends and from Food Network. 

Feed Me Phoebe: Honey Roasted Carrots with Thyme
Jeanette's Healthy Living: 
Ghost Chile Carrot Hot Sauce
The Heritage Cook: 
Roasted Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup #FallFest
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: 
Carrot Cake with Coconut and Raisins
Spiced Carrot Cauliflower Soup
The Mom 100: 
Carrot Fries with Sriracha Sauce
Big Girls, Small Kitchen: 
Easy Slaw with Carrots & Red Peppers
Devour: Fall Fest: 
Carrot Recipes to Covet
In Jennie's Kitchen: 
Carrot "Fettucine" with Lemon Thyme Butter Sauce
Napa Farmhouse 1885: 
Carrots & Avocado with Cumin
The Wimpy Vegetarian: 
Maple Candied Carrots with Currants
Swing Eats: 
Bourbon Maple Glazed & Braised Carrots
Dishing With Divya: 
Honey Glazed Baby Carrots
Spicy Carrot Spread/Dip (Guten Free-Dairy Free)
FN Dish: 
5 New Ways to Bake with Carrots


I have started sharing my newest blog "California Girl in Taos."  Please visit and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Roasted Brussels Sprouts Empanadas with Mustard Sauce

My friends Lili and David had a housewarming party a few weeks ago. Lili was born in  Buenos Aires, Argentina and moved to the U.S. as a child. Her party menu reflected her roots and consisted of:

Classic Argentine Empanadas — beef with Chimichurri Sauce
Spinach Cheese Empandas - spinach and mozzarella, 
Southwestern Empanadas - sweet potatoes and black beans
Kale, Carrot, and Avocado Salad
Alfajores - butter cookies with dulce de leche filling

How good does that sound? Everything was delicious. I complimented her on the empanadas and asked for her recipes. She kindly shared her favorite secret for easy empanadas...purchased dough! She told me that many people in Argentina now buy their dough instead of making from scratch because there are multiple, high-quality manufacturers producing delicious, light and flaky dough. She then gave me three packages of Goya brand Tapas para Empanadas (dough for turnover pastries), which she buys in bulk from a favorite store when she visits Texas, and invited me to develop recipes of my own. What a fun project!

Empanadas are like hand pies. Round discs of dough stuffed with savory or sweet fillings, folded in half, crimped to keep everything encased in the dough and then fried or baked. Frying is more traditional, but Lili recommends baking for taste, ease and health. It is also easier to make large quantities for parties if you are baking versus frying the empanadas. They are perfect for appetizers or first courses. Paired with a salad they make a satisfying lunch or light supper. Add a sweet filling and dessert is served. (I am going to experiment with a salted caramel apple version.)

I came up with many different options...anything that would be good in a sweet pie, of course, would be good and classic tamale, egg roll, dumpling, turnover, calzone and samosa recipes are a good start. (Isn't it interesting that just about every culture has a version of a filled fried dough recipe?). Today I imagined a filling of roasted Brussels sprouts with caramelized onions, garlic and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese paired with a mustard dipping sauce. We loved the result...this recipe is a keeper. I think Lili would be proud...

Roasted Brussels Sprouts Empanadas with Mustard-Cream Sauce
(makes 12)

1/2 lb Brussels sprouts
2 cloves peeled garlic
extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
grey salt
freshly cracked black pepper
excellent quality balsamic vinegar
2 shallots, peeled
6 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup parmigiano-reggiano, shredded
1 package (12 units) frozen empanada dough circles. (Lili suggests the Goya brand)
1 egg
mustard sauce, recipe follows

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash Brussels sprouts and remove the tough outer leaves. Remove stems and cut sprouts lengthwise into thin slices (about 1/4 inch thick). Slice garlic cloves lengthwise as thinly as you can. Spread Brussels sprouts and garlic in the bottom of foil parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over vegetables...enough so everything is well coated...and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Roast in preheated oven for approximately. 30 minutes or until the sprouts are very tender and well caramelized. Remove from oven and drizzle with 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar. Set aside. Do not turn off oven.

While sprouts are roasting, add shallots and green onions to small skillet along with 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil. Saute over medium-low heat for 7-10 minutes, or until caramelized. Pour shallot-onion mixture into Brussels sprouts pan and stir to combine.

Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Add the egg to a small bowl with 1 tablespoon water. Whisk to create an egg wash. Open package of empanada dough and remove one sheet. Add approximately 1 tablespoon Brussels sprouts mixture and 1 teaspoon Parmigiano cheese to the center of empanada dough. (Do not over-stuff or you will not get a clean seal.) Fold in half and brush top with egg wash. Pinch sides together and crimp closed by pushing down sides with tines of a fork. Ensure edges are sealed. Place on prepared sheet. Repeat with remaining dough equally dividing between the 2 baking sheets.

Bake in preheated oven for 12 minutes. Rotate baking sheets and bake an additional 8-10 minutes or until empanadas are dark golden brown. Serve immediately with mustard-cream sauce.

Mustard Cream Sauce
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 shallot, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
sea salt

In a small saucepan, saute shallot in olive oil over medium heat until soft and just beginning to caramelize. (about 3 minutes. Reduce to low and add vinegar, cream and mustard. Increase the heat to high and stir sauce until small bubbles form. Reduce the heat and simmer 7 minutes or until sauce is reduced in half. Stir in parsley, tarragon and a 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Serve in a small bowl alongside the empanadas.

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It is "Brussels Sprouts" week at Food Network's Fall Fest roundup. Do you have a favorite Brussels sprouts recipe? Share in the comments section and/or link to your blog if you have one. 

Feed Me Phoebe: Roasted Brussels Sprout Salad with Radicchio, Egg Mimosa, and Bacon Vinaigrette
Dishin & Dishes: 
Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Pine Nuts
Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Lemon and Poppy Seeds
Bring On the Brussels Sprouts
The Cultural Dish: 
Roasted Brussels Sprouts - Three Ways
In Jennie's Kitchen: 
Penne with Brown Butter Brussels Sprouts & Butternut Squash
Napa Farmhouse 1885: 
Roasted Brussels Sprouts Empanadas with Mustard Sauce
Red or Green: 
Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Peppers Pizza
Taste with the Eyes: 
Quinoa Omelette filled with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Cheddar
Jeanette's Healthy Living: 
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Mint, Cilantro and Vietnamese Style Dressing
Domesticate Me:  
Kabocha Squash Quinoa Bake with Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta
The Wimpy Vegetarian: 
Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad with Caramelized Onions
The Mom 100: 
Bacon-Wrapped Brussels Sprouts
FN Dish: 
8 Crowd-Pleasing Brussels Sprouts for Your Thanksgiving Table


I have started sharing my newest blog "California Girl in Taos."  Please visit and let me know what you think.