Tag Archives: fall

Sweet Potato Casserole

This isn’t your Momma’s sweet potato casserole!  It’s a colorful twist that will surprise your Thanksgiving diners.  It’s purple!  Purple sweet potatoes, or Okinawan Sweet potatoes, are prized for their high content of antioxidants.  They actually contain 150% more antioxidants than blueberries!  These antioxidants help to fight cancer, heart disease, are major anti-agers, and are even good for your cholesterol!  There isn’t much else on the Thanksgiving table that can do all that.

They act just like a regular sweet potato, so if you have a favorite recipe just substitute the traditional for the purple.  I found that they weren’t quite as sweet, so you might want to add a bit more brown sugar, but as always, taste as you go!

Enough about the potatoes, lets get to the marshmallows!  Try something different for that too!  I made a marshmallow cream, piped it on top of the casserole and then used a kitchen torch to toast the top.  The result?!  Just as tasty as the traditional marshmallows, but a beautiful and sophisticated look that the purple potato deserves!  And don’t worry if you don’t have a kitchen torch.  Just turn your oven to broil and keep a close eye on the cream.  It will burn before you know it!

The purple sweet potato looks pretty normal from the outside… right?!

After baking the potatoes, peel the skin off and toss in a mixing bowl with the remaining ingredients and mix till smooth.


Smooth the potatoes into ramekins or a casserole dish and bake.

In the meantime, let’s work on the marshmallow cream.  Heat the sugar mixture to firm ball stage, and slowly pour it into the whipped egg whites.

Transfer the cooled marshmallow cream into a pastry bag and pipe onto the baked casseroles.  Toast the tops with a kitchen torch or broiler and sprinkle on some toasted or candied pecans!

Purple Sweet Potato Casserole

  • 2 1/2 lbs purple sweet potatoes (3 medium sized)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

“You can substitute pumpkin pie spice for the cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg if you don’t have them.”

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Pierce the potatoes all over with a fork and bake them for about 40 minutes, or till soft.
  2. Peel the skins off the potatoes and place in a mixing bowl.  Mash the potatoes then add  the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Whip till smooth with an electric mixer, then scoop the potatoes into buttered ramekins or a casserole dish.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes and slightly puffed.

Marshmallow Cream

  • 6 tbsp water
  • 1 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup sugar + 1 tbsp, separated
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 2 tbsp vanilla extract

“Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pot to monitor the temperature.”

  1. In a small saucepan, bring the water, corn syrup, and 3/4 cup sugar to 245 degrees (firm ball stage).
  2. In the meantime, in a dry mixing bowl, whip the egg whites with the salt and cream of tartar till frothy.
  3. Add the remaining 1 tbsp of sugar and continue to whip till stiff glossy peaks form.
  4. When the syrup reaches 245 degrees, slowly drizzle it into the egg whites while mixing.  The whites will deflate slightly.  Continue to whip about 5 more minutes.  It will start to fluff back up as it cools.
  5. Turn the mixer speed down and add in the vanilla.
  6. Transfer the cream into a pastry bag and pipe onto the casseroles.
  7. Using a kitchen torch, toast the marshmallow cream to your desired doneness and sprinkle on some toasted or candies pecans.
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Brown Butter Sage Bread

In a effort to evoke the holiday spirit in our household, I’m pulling out all the stops.  Baking fresh bread with rich fall flavors!  Check out the Harvest Loaf (beet bread), it was a hit too!

One of my favorite flavor combinations is brown butter and sage.  It’s amazing with pasta!  The brown butter is such a gorgeous nutty profile and pairs with almost anything sweet or savory.  And let’s be honest… anytime you bake with butter, it’s better!

Melt the butter in a saucepan, over medium heat.  Continue to let it cook after it’s melted, till it’s a nice nutty brown color.  You’ll see the milk solids separate slightly and turn brown.

 Mince up some fresh sage!

After proofing the yeast in the warm milk, stir in the brown butter.  Add to the flour and mix till a dough forms.  Knead it till soft and elastic and then let it rise in a warm damp place till doubled in size.

Before rising.

After rising, doubled in size.

Roll the dough out into a rectangle shape.  Then roll it up and tuck the ends under.  Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise again.

Brush with egg wash before baking at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.  Cool completely before slicing.

Brown Butter Sage Bread

  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 1/4 tsp dry active yeast
  • 3/4 cup warm milk (110 degrees)
  • 4 tbsp butter, browned and cooled
  • 1-2 tsp fresh minced sage
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg + 1 tbsp water, egg wash

“If you don’t have fresh sage, you can substitute with dried.  Just cut the amount down by half.”

  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, till brown in color.  Pour into a bowl to cool to slightly warmer than room temperature.
  2. Dissolve the sugar and yeast in the warm milk and let it stand for 5 minutes to proof.  It will get nice and foamy.
  3. Mince the sage and measure out 1-2 teaspoons.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add 2 cups of the flour, salt and sage.
  5. Stir the brown butter into the yeast mixture.
  6. With the dough hook attachment, mix the yeast into the flour.  Add more flour as needed till the dough pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl.
  7. Knead the dough on a slightly floured surface till smooth and elastic.
  8. Place the dough in a bowl, sprayed with non stick spray., and cover with a warm moist towel.  Allow to rise in a warm place for an hour or when doubled in size.
  9. Once the dough is risen, roll it out on a slightly floured surface, into a rectangle shape.  Roll the dough, jelly roll style, then tuck the end under.  Place on a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with non stick spray.
  10. Allow to rise again for 30 minutes.
  11. Beat the egg and water together and brush onto the surface of the loaf.
  12. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes.
  13. Allow to cool completely before slicing.

 

 

Harvest Loaf (Beet Bread)

Oh the signs of Fall!  The temperature starts to cool, the hours of daylight shorten, and best of all, the leaves change to gorgeous bright colors!  Well, most of that isn’t happening here in SoCal.  We are still getting temps in the upper 80’s and 90’s, and guess what… palm trees don’t change colors!  It’s tragic, I know. So in an attempt to bring some Fall color to my life, I headed to the store for some root veggies!  Beets, to be specific!  They made a beautiful crimson colored puree, and brought some life to an otherwise ordinary loaf of bread.

Great for any holiday table, but amazing for a breakfast sandwich!  (See sandwich instructions at the end of the post!)

 To start making the bread, peel the beets and dice them up.  Add them with some milk and make the puree.  Then work the beet puree into the dough, and knead till it’s nice and elastic, but still sticky.

Place the dough in bowl and cover to rise, till doubled in size… did I just make a rhyme?!

Divide the dough into two rounds and let it rise again before painting on the egg wash and baking.

Cool completely before slicing and enjoying!

Harvest Loaf (Beet Bread)

  • 1 1/2 cups beet puree (2 large beets + 1/2 cup milk)
  • 3/4 cup warm water (110 degrees)
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 1/4 tsp dry active yeast
  • 1 egg + 1 tbsp water
  • dried rosemary, for sprinkling

“When making the beet puree, measure out the milk first, then add the diced beets to just over the 1 1/2 cup line.  After blending, you’ll have the exact amount of puree you need with the correct texture.”

  1. To make the beet puree, peel and dice 2 large or 2 1/2 medium sized beets.  Puree them in a food processor or blender with a 1/2 cup milk.  Set aside.
  2. Combine the yeast and sugar with the warm water (110 degrees).  Set aside for 5 minutes to proof.  It should get nice and foamy.
  3. In a stand mixer, combine the 2 cups all purpose flour, and 2 cups of the bread flour with the salt.
  4. Then attach the dough hook and pour in the yeast mixture, beet puree and olive oil.  Let it mix, adding the remaining 1/2 cup of bread flour, a tablespoon at a time, if needed till the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  Continue to mix another couple minutes, or remove the dough and knead by hand.  Try not to add too much extra flour.  You want the dough to be a little on the sticky side.
  5. Transfer the dough to a bowl, coated with non stick spray, and cover with a warm damp towel.  Allow the dough to rise for about and hour or till doubled in size.
  6. Remove the risen dough and cut into two equal portions.  Shape each portion into a round ball and place on a parchment lined baking sheet to rise again.  This time, cover the dough with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with non stick spray.  Allow to rise for 30-40 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and place a broiler pan on the bottom rack.  Before baking the bread, whisk the egg and water together and paint the egg wash over the surface of each loaf.  Sprinkle on the dried rosemary.
  8. Place the bread on the rack above the broiler pan.  Pour boiling water into the broiler pan and immediately shut the oven to keep the steam in.  Bake for 30 minutes,
  9. Completely cool the bread on a wire rack before slicing.

Beet Breakfast Sandwich

  1. Save the leafy green tops of the beets.  Rinse any sediment from the leaves and shake off the excess water.  Roughly chop and set aside.
  2. Cook a couple pieces of sliced cured pork jowl, or bacon, and set aside to drain on paper towels.  Meanwhile chop another piece of jowl with some diced onion.
  3. Add the chopped jowl and onion to the same skillet you cooked the sliced jowl in.  (Keeping all the fat that rendered out.)  Add some minced garlic and cook together till the onions are translucent.  Then toss in the beet greens.
  4. Cover the skillet and let the greens wilt down, and the jowl pieces crisp up.
  5.  Poach an egg, slice a tomato and toast the beet bread.
  6. Build a beautiful sandwich!

Mel’s Divine Carrot Cake

What makes this carrot cake so divine?!  Please, let me enlighten you!  The amazingly moist and fluffy cake, is dressed with a honey cream cheese mousse, drizzled with a salted caramel and topped with a white chocolate “fence”.  If that hasn’t started your mouth watering, I seriously doubt your commitment to sweet desserts.

 

I quite literally, whipped up the mousse first.  You’ll want to allow the mousse ample chilling time in the refrigerator to properly set.   Then prep the 3 components of the cake batter.

After you’ve folded everything together, smooth the batter into a prepared cookie sheet.

During the baking and cooling process, start the salted caramel sauce (I used a recipe from browneyedbaker.) and the white chocolate “fences”.  Once the cake has cooled, cut the desired shapes into the cake using a cookie cutter, a glass cup, or an ol’ fashioned knife.  Pipe on a nice layer of the honey cream cheese mousse and top with another piece of cake, and of course one more dollop of the mousse.  Drizzle salted caramel sauce and garnish with the white chocolate.

Honey Cream Cheese Mousse

  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup local honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy cream, chilled
  • 1 envelope gelatin

“The gelatin helps to stabilize the mousse so that even on a hot summer day, it won’t melt away!”

  1. Pour the cold cream into a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Add the gelatin and wait about a minute to let it start to bloom.  Mix till thick and fluffy.
  2. Beat the remaining ingredients together till smooth.
  3. Fold the whipped cream and the cream cheese mixture together and transfer to a pastry bag, or a plastic storage bag.
  4. Refrigerate at least an hour to set before piping onto the cakes.

Mel’s Divine Carrot Cake

  • 2 1/2 cups freshly shredded carrots
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup finely chopped pineapple
  • 2 cups flour (divided)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut oil

“The whipped eggs are they key to keeping this cake fluffy and moist!”

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Toss the carrots, walnuts and pineapple with 1/2 cup of flour to evenly coat.  This will  insure that they don’t all sink to the bottom of the cake.
  2. Sift the remaining  1 1/2 cups flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and salt together.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, mix the eggs and sugar together till fluffy.  Then drizzle in the coconut oil while continuing to mix.
  4. Fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture then pour it over the carrot mixture and fold it in.
  5. Smooth the batter onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Bake for about 30 minutes or when the cake springs back to the touch and a toothpick inserted, comes out clean.
  6. Allow the cake to cool to room temperate before cutting and assembling.

White Chocolate Fences

  • 4 oz. white chocolate

“Turn your fence into any shape you want to decorate your cake with!”

  1. Slowly melt the chocolate in a double boiler till smooth.  Or use a heat proof bowl that sits over a pot of simmering water.
  2. Transfer the melted chocolate to a plastic storage bag and cut a small opening on the corner.
  3. Drizzle the fence designs onto parchment paper, then chill till the chocolate hardens.
  4. After assembling the cakes, top each one with a chocolate fence.