Sweet & Smoky Mashed Sweet Potatoes

I like sweet potatoes, but I’ve never been a fan of that ubiquitous Thanksgiving casserole involving sweet potatoes, sugar and marshmallows. Instead, I lean toward the savory side — sweet potatoes are sweet enough on their own without all that extra sugar, after all.

In this recipe, chipotle adds a smoky flavor that is subtle enough to complement most other Thanksgiving dishes. We’ll be enjoying it tomorrow with turkey and all the trimmings.

 

Ingredients

3 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled
4 tbsp butter
3 tbsp heavy cream
1 tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice (about 1 lime)
1 chipotle pepper (canned in adobo sauce), minced
1 tsp adobo sauce
1/2 tsp salt

Using your preferred method, cook the sweet potatoes until fork tender. (You can boil or steam them, or use a sous vide machine if you have it: Sous vide is a handy technique because you can attain perfect doneness with very little effort. I cooked my sweet potatoes with the sous vide for 45 minutes at 194 degrees – basically this recipe, minus the seasoning.)

In a small saucepan, combine the butter and cream and cook over low heat until the butter is melted.

Mash the sweet potatoes with the butter and cream in a large bowl. Add the lime juice, chipotle, adobo sauce and salt and continue mashing until smooth.

Pictured: Pyrex Town and Country 444 Cinderella Mixing Bowl, Pyrex Spring Blossom 401 Round Mixing Bowl, Corning Ware French White F-12-B Casserole, Corning Ware Blue Cornflower P-89-B Lipped Saucepan

No-Cook Cranberry Relish

If you need a change of pace from traditional cranberry sauce, this tangy no-cook version is an easy and delicious way to bring something new to your Thanksgiving table. The texture is more like a relish or salsa than a sauce, but it pairs just as well with turkey. I’ve also seen it layered over cream cheese to serve as a spread with crackers.

Ingredients

2 lbs fresh cranberries
2 navel oranges
1 tbsp ginger, peeled and minced (or grated)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup finely chopped mint

In a food processor, pulse about half the cranberries until they are coarsely chopped, then transfer to a large bowl and set aside.

Remove the zest of one orange with a vegetable peeler, chop the zest into smallish pieces, and add to the food processor. Using a sharp knife, remove the peel and pith from both oranges. Then cut the orange sections away from their membranes and add the sections to the food processor. Add the rest of the cranberries, the ginger and sugar and pulse until finely chopped.

Combine both sets of chopped cranberries, add the mint and stir until well mixed. Cover and refrigerate overnight before serving.

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Pictured: Corning Ware Floral Bouquet Third Edition A-1 1/2-B Casserole, Pyrex Spring Blossom 401 Round Mixing Bowl, Pyrex Spring Blossom 2 403 Round Mixing Bowl

Yeasted Lemon Zucchini Bread

We are lucky enough to have wonderful neighbors who share produce from their vegetable garden year-round. So when they brought over a monster zucchini recently, I decided to make some zucchini bread. But not just any zucchini bread!

While I love traditional zucchini bread — usually a quick bread leavened with baking powder — there is something really satisfying about baking yeast breads. The smooth feel of well kneaded dough, watching it rise, shaping it — not to mention the physical work and patience required. Plus, you can’t beat the soft, fluffy texture!

So I set out to make a yeasted zucchini bread, something with the flavors of the traditional recipe and just a touch of sweetness, like a breakfast bread. It’s delicious served warm with plenty of butter!

 

Ingredients

3 1/2 cups bread flour (stir your flour before measuring to loosen)
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (1 packet)
1 1/2 cups grated zucchini (about 2 medium)
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
3/4 cup lukewarm water
2 tbsp honey
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
cooking spray

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon and yeast. Add the zucchini and lemon zest and stir to incorporate. In a separate bowl, combine the water, honey and olive oil, then add to the flour mixture.

Knead until smooth. I like to do the bulk of the kneading with an electric stand mixer using the dough hook attachment (for about 4 minutes), and then finish it up by hand. The dough starts out a little wet, so add small amounts of flour as you go (not too much) to keep it from sticking to your hands. The end result should be smooth and slightly tacky, but not sticky. (King Arthur Flour has a nice kneading tutorial here.)

Oil your bowl with cooking spray and place the dough inside. Spray the top of the dough, then cover loosely with plastic wrap or a cotton towel. Let rise in a warm place until roughly doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead gently for about a minute. Shape into a sandwich loaf (see this King Arthur Flour tutorial) and place into an oiled standard loaf pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a cotton towel and let rise until almost doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Bake until golden brown and internal temperature registers at 190 degrees, about 45-60 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack. Let cool another hour before serving.

Pictured: Corning Ware Blue Cornflower P-315-B Loaf Dish, Pyrex Yellow 404 Round Mixing Bowl, Pyrex Spring Blossom 444 Cinderella Mixing Bowl

Easy Lemon Sriracha Aioli

Normally, I don’t keep mayonnaise around the house because nobody in my family likes it — but this flavor-packed lemon sriracha aioli might just change that. It couldn’t be easier to whip up, and it makes an amazing spread or dipping sauce for so many things: think salmon burgers, steamed veggies like artichoke or asparagus, sweet potato fries — anything that can do with a zing of lemon and a little spice.

Ingredients

1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp sriracha (or Cherry Bomb Pepper Sauce)
zest of 1 lemon, finely grated (about 1 tsp)
salt

Whisk together the mayonnaise, sriracha and lemon zest. Add salt to taste. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Pictured: Pyrex Spring Blossom 441 Cinderella Mixing Bowl, Glasbake French Casserole, Corning Ware Snack-It Plate

Cherry Bomb Pepper Sauce

Hot sauce has become a staple in our household. I’ve always loved spicy food, but particularly now that we have to tone down our cooking to make it kid-friendly, I crave the heat that much more. And hot sauce is a great solution for adding spice individually rather than to the entire dish.

Cherry bombs are a medium-heat pepper about equivalent to a mild jalapeño. I used Kraut Source’s Fermented Sriracha as a guide for my pepper sauce, substituting cherry bombs for the peppers in the original recipe. The result was so good I decided I needed to document my version for repeat use!

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 tbsp sea salt
1 lb cherry bomb peppers
4 green Thai chiles, stems removed
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp demerara sugar
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

In a small pot over medium heat, stir the salt into the water until it dissolves. Allow to cool completely. This is your brine, the base for fermentation.

Trim the stems from the cherry bomb peppers and remove the seeds. Cut into quarters. Pack into a clean glass jar (quart size) along with the Thai chilis, garlic and bay leaf. Pour in the brine, filling to the shoulder of the jar (the point near the top where the sides of the jar slope inward).

Top the jar with your fermentation device of choice. I’ve used Kraut Source and Easy Fermenter lids. For the latter you need a fermentation weight; I’m currently using Easy Weights. Ferment at room temperature for 10-12 days.

Drain the jar, reserving the brine in a separate bowl. Remove the bay leaf, then place the rest of the fermented ingredients in a blender. Add the sugar, vinegar and 1/2 cup of the reserved brine and puree until smooth.

Check the sauce for consistency — if it’s too thick, add more brine. When you’re satisfied, taste for flavor. Add more salt, sugar and/or vinegar to taste. Pour back into your jar and store in the refrigerator.

Pictured: Pyrex Terra 472 Cinderella Round Casserole, Pyrex Spring Blossom 442 Cinderella Mixing Bowl

Honey Lemon Dressing with Preserved Kumquats

We have a huge crop of kumquats this year from our patio tree, so I’ve been trying out some new ways to use them. And since I’ve been into fermentation lately, I preserved a jarful of kumquats in brine with a few spices. The result: a little spiced jewel with the pleasant funkiness of a preserved lemon and a fruity taste somewhere between a sour orange and a sweet tangerine.

Now, what to do with these preserved kumquats? They have cocktail potential, or would be great on a cheese board, but to me salad dressing seemed like the easiest place to start. Here I’ve added them to a basic honey lemon dressing, and the result is so good I think I’ll be making it again and again.

Fermenting kumquats is easy and fun — I used this recipe from the Kraut Source website. But you can also make this dressing with fresh kumquats, leave the kumquats out altogether or use a teaspoon of grated zest from another citrus fruit.

Ingredients

2 cloves garlic, minced
juice of 1 lemon (about 1/4 cup)
1 tsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp honey
2/3 cup olive oil
1 tbsp coarse Dijon mustard
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 preserved kumquats, thinly sliced (seeds removed)

Whisk together all ingredients except the kumquats, until well combined. Stir in the kumquats, then cover and refrigerate overnight. The next day, let sit at room temperature for a few minutes and then whisk before using.

Pictured: Pyrex Spring Blossom 441 Cinderella Mixing Bowl, Fire King Gravy Boat, Hazel Atlas Egg Beater Cup

Bok Choy Carrot Kimchi

Recently when a neighbor brought us a giant head of bok choy from his garden, I decided to finally get around to making something I’ve been wanting to try: bok choy kimchi. Some Googling suggested that bok choy is often paired with carrots in kimchi, and spring onions were in season at our farmers market, so that’s what I went with — not necessarily authentic, but delicious. I love how colorful this kimchi turned out, with the bok choy’s dark green leafy bits, big chunks of spring onion, bright orange carrots and red spices.

You’ll need to make a trip to the Asian grocery store to find gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes) and gochujang (Korean fermented red chili paste). They really are the foundation of kimchi’s flavor — no substitutions will do, though in a pinch you can omit the gochujang.

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A few notes:

  • Chopping: If you’re wondering how thick or thin to slice your vegetables, think about how you will eat the finished product. Do you like to munch on big chunks, or do you prefer a slaw-like consistency? Chop accordingly.
  • Spice: Different brands of gochugaru will have different levels of spice, which obviously will impact the spiciness of your kimchi. You may need a couple rounds of experimentation to attain the heat you want.
  • Fermentation vessel: You can ferment kimchi in just about anything — a mason jar, a loosely covered (non-reactive) bowl, a ceramic crock. Mostly it’s important to keep the ingredients immersed in the brine. There are a variety of weights and mechanisms available to do so (e.g., I have used both Kraut Source and Pickle Pebbles), or you can use a zip-lock bag full of water to keep things submerged. I am the lucky owner of a fermentation crock hand made by my mother-in-law, complete with perfectly sized ceramic weights, so that’s my vessel of choice.

Recipe adapted from Kraut Source’s Traditional Kimchi.

Ingredients

3 lbs bok choy, chopped
6 carrots, peeled and sliced
6 stalks spring onion (or 8 green onion), chopped
1/2 cup sea salt
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp turbinado sugar (aka “sugar in the raw”)
1/3 cup gochugaru
2 tbsp gochujang

In a large bowl, combine the bok choy, carrots and spring onions. Sprinkle with the salt and toss, massaging the veggies to ensure they are thoroughly salted. The bok choy should start to soften.

Add enough water to cover the veggies, then weigh them down with a plate and something heavy (like a glass of water). Let them sit for 1 hour, then drain, reserving and setting aside some of the brine. Rinse the veggies in a colander, let them drain for 15 minutes, and then return them to the bowl.

In a small bowl, combine the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sugar, gochugaru and gochujang. Add to the veggies and mix, using gloved hands or a pair of tongs.

Pack the kimchi mixture into your fermentation vessel, pressing down firmly to eliminate air pockets. Top with some of the reserved brine — enough so that the veggies are just barely submerged. (The bok choy will release additional water during the fermentation process.) Cover with whatever weight and lid you’re using. Note: If you are not using an airlock mechanism, make sure your lid is loose enough to release the gas generated by fermentation.

Ferment at room temperature for at least 5 days, longer to taste. The kimchi should have a pleasant fermented odor — strong but not foul. Taste for doneness, then transfer to the refrigerator.

Pictured: Pyrex Gooseberry 444 Cinderella Mixing Bowl, Pyrex Yellow 404 Round Mixing Bowl, Pyrex Spring Blossom 442 Cinderella Mixing Bowl, Glasbake J2663 Handled Bowl