Friday, March 28, 2008

Sweet Potato Salad

I recently had a to-die-for sweet potato salad at Maxine's a local lunch girl place in Heavensville. Their version had roasted sweet potatoes, walnuts, dried cranberries, in a sweet vinagrette, perhaps with honey and/or balsalmic vinegar. I couldn't find a similar recipe, but the chef's at Finer Kitchen's steered me on this one - it got great reviews. It's from Sara's Kitchen on Food TV.

Sweet Potato Salad:
4 medium-sized sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup raw green pumpkin seeds (also known as pepitas)
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup chopped scallions (green and white)
1 cup julienned roasted red pepper

Dressing:
6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup mango chutney
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons honey
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup olive oil

Make the Salad: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In a roasting pan, combine the potatoes, 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, rosemary, salt, pepper, cumin and ginger. Stir to combine and bake until the potatoes are fork-tender and golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pumpkin seeds and cook, stirring, until toasted. Transfer the seeds to a plate and season with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, combine the cranberries, scallions, and red pepper and set aside.

Make the Dressing: Prepare the dressing by combining all the ingredients (except for the olive oil) in a small saucepan and heat. Remove from heat and whisk in the olive oil.
Assemble salad by gently tossing the roasted potatoes with the red pepper mixture. Add enough of the dressing to coat and garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds. Serve with extra dressing on the side.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Cocannon

4 irish potatoes, cut into quarters
1/2 head of green cabbage, thinly sliced
chopped green onion
1 c milk
4 T butter
salt & pepper

In a medium pot, boil the potatoes. Meanwhile, combine milk, cabbage, onion, half the butter, salt and pepper into a large pot and bring to a simmer. Cook until the cabbage is soft, about 15 minutes. When the potatoes are fork tender, drain well and add to the cabbage mixture. Mash with a potato masher, adding in remaining butter and more salt & pepper to taste.

This has been a family favorite for years. I like it with porkchops, but then I like anything with porkchops.

~ jan

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Auntie Em's Coconut Cupcakes from the L.A. Times Food Section

Dear SOS: Whenever I get out to L.A., I have to stop at Auntie Em's Kitchen in Eagle Rock for a cupcake fix -- specifically, for a coconut cupcake with coconut cream cheese frosting. It's a miracle of a baked good. Do you think you could get the recipe for a Bostonite who's stuck on the East Coast dreaming of this confection?

-- Jenny Sawyer, Boston
FOR THE RECORD:
Cupcake recipe: A recipe for Auntie Em's coconut cupcakes in Wednesday's Food section indicated that 1 3/4 cups shredded sweetened coconut should be divided. Instead, all of it should be used for the batter. —



Dear Jenny: This billowy coconut cupcake is pretty irresistible. The cake has a hint of almond and a light buttermilk tang. There's tender, shredded coconut baked into the cake too. And the frosting -- it's a cream cheese frosting with butter mixed in, airy and creamy both, finished with a sprinkling of more shredded coconut on top. This one's for you, Bostonites.

Auntie Em's coconut cupcakes

Total time: 45 minutes, plus cooling time for the cupcakes

Servings: Makes 1 1/2 dozen cupcakes

Note: Adapted from Auntie Em's Kitchen in Eagle Rock.

2 1/3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup vegetable oil

1 cup buttermilk

3 eggs

2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided

2 teaspoons almond extract

1 1/3 cups sugar

1 3/4 cups shredded sweetened coconut, plus extra for decorating the frosted cupcakes

1/2 pound cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) butter, at room temperature

3 1/3 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1. Heat the oven to 325 degrees. In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking soda and salt and set aside. Separately, in a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the oil, buttermilk, eggs, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, the almond extract and sugar. Using a hand mixer or in a stand mixer, on low speed, slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients just until smooth, careful not to overmix. Gently fold in the coconut.

2. Place 18 paper muffin cups into muffin tins. Fill each cup with a generous one-fourth cup of batter, so that it comes three-fourths up the side of each cup. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes to a rack and allow to cool completely.

3. For the frosting: Beat the cream cheese on low speed until smooth; scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the butter and continue mixing on medium speed until smooth. Scrape down the bowl again. Add the powdered sugar in three additions at low speed, mixing each addition until just combined. Scrape down the bowl again. Add the remaining teaspoon vanilla and mix on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes.

4. Frost each cupcake with 3 tablespoons frosting and sprinkle with extra shredded coconut. The cupcakes will keep for 2 days.

Each serving: 475 calories; 4 grams protein; 55 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 27 grams fat; 11 grams saturated fat; 66 mg. cholesterol; 288 mg. sodium.