Quinoa Apple-Coconut Breakfast Porridge

Let’s just pretend that I never stopped blogging here, shall we?

This is a vegan breakfast porridge inspired by a yummy-looking meal my co-worker had at work last week. I’ve recently been advised to avoid oats (which I’m doing, against my better judgment), but I’ve wanted a warm, porridge-y breakfast during the recent spot of cold weather. This came together quickly, and makes 4 portions, so it’s a quick batch that makes several breakfasts.

Quinoa Apple-Coconut Breakfast Porridge
 
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Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 c. quinoa
  • ½ c. water
  • ½ c. coconut milk (canned variety, light is fine)
  • ½ c. non-dairy milk (can add more coconut milk, if desired)
  • 2 Tbsp. unsweetened flake coconut
  • 2 Tbsp. flaxseed meal
  • 1 medium apple, chopped in large dice
Instructions
  1. Heat medium-sized saucepan over medium heat
  2. Add quinoa, and stir to toast, approximately 3 minutes
  3. Remove pan from heat and add milks and water. Be careful, as the liquid is likely to spit.
  4. Replace pan on burner, and add coconut, flaxseed, and apple
  5. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low
  6. Cover and cook for 15 minutes
  7. Remove pan from heat and allow to rest for 5 minutes
  8. Fluff, and enjoy!
  9. As desired, you can add additional toppings, such as chopped nuts, maple syrup, cinnamon, and more.
Notes
Nutritional data via SparkPeople Recipe Builder. Caveat lector.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: Scant 1 cup Calories: 244 Fat: 7.5g Saturated fat: 3g Unsaturated fat: 1.2g Trans fat: 0 Carbohydrates: 38 Sugar: 3.6g Sodium: 49mg Fiber: 5.4g Protein: 8g Cholesterol: 0mg

 

Hatch Pepper Hummus: Hatch Fever Continues

Hatch Chile HummusI always associate Hatch chile season with our move to Austin. The week we were here looking for a place to live before the big move coincided with the Hatch chile festival at Central Market, and thus my obsession began. I’ve rarely bought anything besides the chiles themselves, but this year I tried the roasted Hatch chile hummus and fell in love. I bought three tubs to prolong the festival feeling, but those were gone in short order. With my freezer stocked with 20 pounds of roasted chiles (hot, if you must know) I decided to give it a try and make my own. I adapted my recipe from this great base on Confections of a Foodie Bride. To make a super smooth hummus I use Alton Brown’s slow cooker chickpeas recipe. The trick is 1/2 tsp baking soda added to the cooking water–it dissolves the chickpea skins for smoother blending.

 

 

 

Hatch Pepper Hummus: Hatch Fever Continues
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Serves: Approx. 2 cups of hummus
Ingredients
  • 3 cups chickpeas, drained and rinsed (roughly 1.5 cans)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 Hatch chiles, roasted, seeded, and chopped
  • Juice of 1.5 limes
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • 3 Tbsp tahini
Instructions
  1. Place the chickpeas and garlic in the food processor and process until smooth, occasionally scraping down the bowl.
  2. Add the hatch chiles, lime juice, salt, and cumin and process again, scraping the bowl as needed.
  3. Add tahini and process until completely smooth.
  4. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve, topped with additional chopped chiles as desired.

 

My Favorite Muffins

Banana muffinI admit, I’m on the anti-pumpkin spice bandwagon. I like my pumpkin spice goodies to contain actual pumpkin, and these muffins are my favorite pumpkin spice carriers.

This is my go-to muffin recipe, and it works well with either pumpkin or banana. They aren’t vegan, but I like to use “flax eggs” in place of eggs in the recipe for a great texture, extra fiber, and some good Omega-3s. They can easily be adapted for vegans using sugar or another liquid sweetener of choice and an equal amount of soured non-dairy milk. My King Arthur’s Baking Companion recommends 1 cup sugar : 3/4 cup honey for substitution. This recipe is so moist I wouldn’t increase the liquid, but if it seems too dry, add a couple tablespoons water or whey if you have it on hand. This is an original recipe, inspired by recipes I’ve tried over the years, from Cooking Light to Nancy Silverton.

 

 

Flax Pecan Muffins
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Baked good
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp ground flax seed
  • ⅓ c. warm water
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin or 2 large bananas, pureed
  • ½ cup plain yogurt OR whey
  • ½ cup honey
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 12 pecan halves, chopped and toasted
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lightly grease muffin tin with coconut oil.
  3. Allow yogurt or whey to come to room temperature to prevent coconut oil from solidifying when mixed.
  4. Mix flax seed with warm water and set aside.
  5. While mixing ingredients, toast pecans for 5 minutes.
  6. Combine dry ingredients (flour through ginger) in a large mixing bowl, whisking well.
  7. Combine the remaining wet ingredients, including the flax mixture, in another bowl, whisking well.
  8. Add wet ingredients to dry, stir just until moist.
  9. Lightly stir pecans into the batter.
  10. Divide evenly among 12 prepared muffin cups.
  11. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until muffins test done with a toothpick.
  12. Cool in tin for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Remove from tin and cool completely.

 

Many Posts, All Undone

Honey-Flax GranolaI have a bunch of posts half-written that may never see the light of day. I figured I would just get back on the horse and write a little something. The last few months have had their difficulties, and writing just wasn’t something I wanted to do. But I’m started to feel it again. What will follow today, I’m not certain, but let’s see, shall we?

Today I made a magnificent smoothie for breakfast. Unfortunately there’s no picture of it since I wolfed it down. I think it was magnificent because I used some rich coconut milk (the real stuff, not the Silk or whatever they sell in the refrigerated section), so it was thick and delicious. I mixed in some frozen bananas, pineapple, and mango, a little ground flax and chia seeds, and finally a big handful of baby greens. Topped off with a couple of tablespoons of homemade granola (oh, I do have a picture of that!), and it was delicious.

Tropical Green Smoothie
 
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Whip this up for a quick, bright breakfast or a filling snack.
Author:
Recipe type: Smoothie, Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: Vegetarian, Vegan
Serves: 1-2
Ingredients
  • 1 frozen banana, sliced
  • ½ cup frozen pineapple
  • ⅓ cup frozen mango
  • 1 date, coarsely chopped
  • ½ to ¾ c. non-dairy milk (coconut adds to the tropical flavor)
  • ½ Tbsp. ground flax seed
  • ½ Tbsp. chia seeds
  • large handful baby greens (about 2 oz.)
Instructions
  1. Place fruit, ½ cup milk, and seeds into the blender jar.
  2. Blend until the fruit starts to break up. Mixture will be very thick, add additional milk if needed.
  3. Stop blender and add greens, pressing them into the mix with a spatula.
  4. Blend again until smooth, stopping and scraping down if needed.

 

Venison at Wink

Foodie Find: Wink Restaurant

Wink, tucked into the corner of a small strip center just off Lamar Boulevard, is a favorite for those who have something to celebrate or who just love perfectly prepared local foods served by warm and friendly staff. The team of Stewart Scruggs and Mark Paul opened the restaurant in 2001, and from the start were committed to serving the best ingredients, beautifully prepared. As a result, the menu at Wink changes daily.

A pioneer in sourcing locally, Wink relies on more than 30 Texas farms, foragers, gardens, dairies and ranches for their seasonal menu. Many of the purveyors are truly local, operating within the city limits of Austin, while others may be a bit farther afield. And part of the wonder of dining at Wink is seeing all the bounty of Texas producers in one place, carefully and creatively prepared. Each night Wink crafts a new menu, featuring the fresh produce, meats, and fish the chefs bring in. From season to season each visit to Wink will bring something new and unexpected.

Hamachi at Wink

Diners have two options for ordering at Wink– a la carte, or the chef’s five- or seven-course tasting menu. Each night’s menu has more than fifteen items starting with soups, salads, and sashimi (each visit we’ve had the hamachi, but it’s never the same dish). Fish and seafood are well-represented, with options ranging from scallops and mussels to fin fish from San Miguel Seafood. Hanger steak, duck breast, and sweetbreads are regular features, as well a local game, including quail, elk, venison, and rabbit.

A first glance at Wink’s menu might leave those with special diets feeling a bit lost, but the fresh preparation of all the dishes means the chefs can accommodate a variety of dietary requirements. We found Wink when I was on a gluten-free diet, and a brief conversation with our server at the start of the meal indicated that nearly everything we considered ordering, from the regular menu and the tasting menu, could easily be prepared without gluten. A vegetarian tasting menu is also on offer, and many dishes can also be made vegan. As the menu boldly pronounces, Wink can handle “any dietary issues as our larder allows.” More importantly, they do it with aplomb and without sacrificing flavor.

Wink Five Course Menu.jpg

It’s difficult to recommend specific dishes at Wink, since the menu changes so frequently. However, on each visit my husband Paul and I have both found the seafood and fish dishes to be outstanding. As mentioned, we have enjoyed the hamachi, and most recently we both loved the scallops, which that night were served with maitake mushrooms, blood oranges, pea shoots and yuzu. The tart-sweet citrus was a fitting complement to the richness of the scallops. And on a birthday visit the arctic char was a standout. In the game department, Paul recently had a venison dish served with sweet potatoes and chard. I rarely eat meat, but his noises of delightful satisfaction forced me to have a bite. As with so many dishes we’ve tried, it was a rich blend of flavors, yet delicately balanced with a tart reduction as a counterpoint.

Venison at Wink

Wink is lovely for a special occasion, though the dining room can be a bit loud. The chef’s tasting menu and the well-regarded wine list are the place to start. Drawing from the full menu, the chef’s tasting is offered in five or seven courses, with a wine pairing option. Full table participation is requested when choosing the tasting menu option. Each tasting selection offers a robust sampling of the full range of Wink’s menu, from the artfully composed salads to the hearty duck, steak, or game dishes, ending with either local cheeses or a house made dessert. On our visit the staff were quite amenable to making a substitution for one dish that didn’t meet our dietary needs.

Save room for dessert, even if you’ve decided to indulge in the tasting menu. While all of the desserts sound like perfection, a memorable ending to the meal is the dessert trio, featuring three from the evening’s selection, and it’s the perfect size for sharing. A must for chocolate lovers is the El Rey chocolate cake, dark and rich and fragrant.

desserts.jpg

Special occasion tip: Let the reservation staff know you’re celebrating a special occasion. They will prepare a personalized menu, and the kitchen staff will all autograph it at the end of the meal. It’s just an extra special touch that complements the already excellent service.

Parking tip: The lot just in front of the restaurant appears to be quite small, but Wink shares two lots with Whole Earth Provision Co., Tip Top Cleaners, and Wiggy’s Liquors. There is also an elevated lot across the street on the north side of 11th. Plenty of free parking is available.

Details:

1014 North Lamar Blvd., Suite E
Austin, Texas 78703
(map)

512-482-8868
wink@winkrestaurant.com
www.winkrestaurant.com

Hours of Operation: Monday-Wednesday; 6 PM – Midnight, Thursday-Saturday 5:30pm – Midnight; Sun Closed

Reservations: Yes, groups four or smaller can reserve via OpenTable

WiFi: No

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This review is part of the 2014 Austin Food Blogger Alliance City Guide. A complete list of restaurants included in the guide can be accessed via Citygram or on the AFBA website.

What’s This Closet Project 2014 Thing?

Closet Project 2014A couple of weeks ago I shared with friends on Facebook and otherwheres online that I was starting a major cull of my closet with the intention of living with a relatively small capsule wardrobe by the end. The gist is that each season you have some set number of things to wear, including shoes and accessories, excluding underwear and workout gear. Some people who subscribe to this default to the number 33, perhaps driven by Project 333 (33 items for three months). You can read more about that project and what inspired me to do this here. But the bottom line is that I have a ton of clothes that no longer suit my lifestyle or fit me and very few that do.

Since sharing this plan and my steps taken so far, which have included thinking about sorting, sorting, sorting again, washing and dry cleaning, and replacing a few urgently needed items, I have received a variety of reactions from “hey, I need to do that” to “I could never do that, good luck!” And more than a few questions, like what’s your magic number (don’t know yet), and won’t it be expensive to ditch all your clothes *again* in three months and replace them?

Another thing that has come up is why the number matters if you wear the same core wardrobe items most of the time and the other stuff is just there, or it’s in storage, or it’s waiting for a special occasion (or it’s not worn often for whatever reason). For me, it’s not that any number is significant, it’s more that I want to have an easy to wear and care for wardrobe, where *everything* actually fits me every day and I have options that are appropriate for every sort of event I might go to. While I haven’t completely figured it out, here’s what I’m thinking so far:

  • Silk Chiffon and Velvet Cocktail DressSince I live in Texas, there are really only two seasons–summer and notsummer–so the three-month dividing line is pretty false for me.
  • I have no intention, desire, or ability to buy and discard a new wardrobe even twice a year, let alone four times a year.
  • I sort of feel as though 50 might be the right number, but I still need to inventory what I have remaining at this point.
  • I plan to have a core set of items that work in both summer and notsummer, and then a set of items that come out for each season–for example, my winter coat won’t be part of the summer set and my cutoff jean shorts won’t be part of the notsummer set.
  • I want to feel in control of my wardrobe rather than feeling cranky that nothing fits me or looks good.

It’s going to be a little while before I get there. I’m pretty close to deciding what to keep, but each time I go into my closet another item tickles the back of my brain and I decide to part with it.

If I don’t love it and it doesn’t do incredible things for my {insert body part here} then why keep it?

The One with the Rotten Chicken

Almost nothing smells worse than rotten chicken.

Rocking through day two of the Bon Appétit Food Lover’s Cleanse, which, let’s be clear is not really a cleanse, I hit a couple of bumps in the road. We’ll get to the rotten chicken in time.

Smoked salmon bon appetit wmI got up a bit earlier than usual so I could put together the Avocado and Smoked Salmon on Rye Crackers for both of us, and while assembling the little open-faced sandwiches I was hit with some lightheadedness and nearly passed out. I recovered ably after a few minutes and pressed on, managing to forget the lemon wedges (P.S. there’s a lot of lemon required of these recipes). I made my black tea and settled in for a pretty nice breakfast.

So, about that black tea. I’m a coffee drinker. I don’t drink a lot, but I definitely prefer it to tea. But I wasn’t really clear if tea was OK on the cleanse because I couldn’t find a summary of guidelines–like are snacks “allowed” even when they aren’t listed in the meal plan? What can I drink besides water? I decided to look for the cleanse info from previous years and found this link for the guidelines from 2013. Very helpful. So I ate a clementine and a scoche of the chocolate bark that’s for dessert for an afternoon snack.

Roast veg salad bon appetit wmAfter a bit of work and some appointments this morning I was ready for lunch. To be honest I wasn’t looking forward to it so much, since it featured the roasted vegetables from last night and mine weren’t especially roasty. It also featured the Whole Grain Mustard Vinaigrette which was much too oily for my taste. I tend to make my vinaigrette heavier on the acid than the traditional ratio of 3 parts oil to 1 part acid, but this recipe was 4 parts oil (olive and walnut) to acid, with a healthy dose of mustard. Which still didn’t cut the mustard, I mean, the oil. I added a bit more vinegar, but it still didn’t quite work for me. Paul loved it, however!

 

 

Red pepper bon appetit wmI really liked the dinner tonight, despite the aforementioned rotten chicken. I made white beans from scratch in the crockpot and hacked away at the herbs and garlic for the chicken, the Red Pepper-Walnut Spread (which is more of a Red Pepper-Pecan Relish), and the White Bean Salad with Pomegranate and Parsley. I got my sides ready while the beets for later in the week roasted in the oven.

I’d decided to roast a whole chicken I bought over the weekend instead of making chicken breasts for the Pan-Roasted Chicken with Red Pepper-Walnut Spread, and I had my thyme-garlic mixture all ready to shove under the skin. I added a little olive oil and salt and pepper to make it sort of a paste.

And then I opened the chicken package. Not. Good. Also, it was like $13 or something, thank you Trader Joe’s Organic!

Fortunately I’d done the shopping for the full week and had some chicken thighs (which I much prefer to breasts anyway) on hand, so the icky chicken was just a minor speed bump. Chicken went into the oven while I broke into the largest pomegranate I’ve ever seen and fended off the stalking dog who wanted both the chicken and the pomegranate. Weirdo.

The dinner came out really well, though I did have to substitute lime for lemon in the bean salad and pecans for the walnuts in the red pepper dish. I’d definitely make the bean salad again, with lemon or lime.

Tofu, radish, and shaved carrot salad with sesame-miso vinaigrette

I Don’t Do Resolutions

So why have I decided to embark on a cleanse this year?

I am one who scoffs at resolutions, mostly because I am crap at following through with them. I hate setting myself up for failure, so rather than set some reasonable goals for self-improvement I just don’t even bother. Not formally, anyway.

Last year while we were still in Uzbekistan I saw lots of tweets about Bon Appétit‘s annual Food Lover’s Cleanse. Unlike a juice cleanse or that cayenne pepper and lemon detox thing, this “cleanse” relies on whole, fresh foods, simply prepared, with a minimum of processed ingredients, and no refined starches or sugars. I was really intrigued by the two-week venture, partly because I’d been sick for several weeks and felt run-down and icky. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find many of the ingredients on the local market in Tashkent, so I abandoned the idea.

But this year Paul and I have decided to do it, and frankly we’re totally excited about finding new ways to use up all the interesting veggies we get in our CSA box from Johnson’s Backyard Garden every other week! We really lucked out because our box comes with an incredible variety of produce, most of which we’ll use in the recipes, and since we’ve already paid for it the grocery bill didn’t seem too steep.

In reviewing the recipes and planning my shopping list, I did find myself struggling a bit. A couple of dishes call for mangoes, which are out of season and stupid expensive this time of year. Some others call for agave nectar, which is fairly high in fructose and has been shown in studies to be linked to insulin resistance and other health concerns. And since I don’t eat beef or pork, we’ve got some substituting to do. I’ll be using honey or maple syrup in place of agave, but not sure what to do about those dang mangoes!

Getting Started

On New Year’s Eve day Paul and I headed to Central Market with our cleanse shopping list in hand. We bought a ton of greens, lots of herbs, freshly ground almond butter, miso, nuts and seeds, and a shocking amount of Aleppo pepper. All this supplements the carrots, radishes, cabbage, fish, and fruits we already had on hand.

It felt like we were the only people buying “normal” food in the entire store. Most carts were filled with wine, cheese, cream, dips, fancy desserts, champagne, and other celebration foods. I’ll admit, we were feeling a bit smug, but we did close out this difficult year with a lovely New Year’s Eve dinner at Swift’s Attic.

Today’s Menu

This morning started with Steel Cut Oats with Blackberries and Hemp Seeds, except at our house it was Rolled Oats with Blueberries and Flax Seed. I couldn’t find hemp seeds at the market, and I have bags of frozen wild blueberries in my freezer, so I’ll just have to get my antioxidants and flavonoids from those guys until they run out.

Tofu, radish, and shaved carrot salad with sesame-miso vinaigretteLunch was what I’ll have to call a Hugh Jass salad, featuring a veggie I don’t love: radish. However, the Sesame-Miso Vinaigrette was incredibly flavorful, and once all the vegetables and tofu were combined the tastes blended quite well and I really enjoyed the radishes. I recommend the recipe for Spinach, Tofu, and Shaved Carrot Salad with Sesame Dressing and Spiced Pepita and Cashew Crunch, and the little spicy nuts and seeds are a great addition.

In working through the first day, this cleanse is not for the faint of heart, weak of kitchen skill, impatient, or otherwise easily frustrated in the kitchen. And if you’re unfamiliar with some of the ingredients, be prepared to do your own research, as the recipes don’t provide much information or guidance. Although, if you’re a food lover you probably are familiar with most of the ingredients.

Prepping dinner made me a little crazy. The Greenest Tahini Sauce recipe is unnecessarily complicated, I think. I understand blanching the garlic to give it a milder flavor, but blanching and shocking and draining and squeezing the relatively small amount of watercress (or in my case, arugula) and herbs is a bunch of steps in it that seem…excessive. Would it really be any less delicious if the greens and herbs were used fresh? Or maybe a quick steam in the microwave would work? It just took a lot of time and kitchen equipment to make about 1 cup of sauce.

The Red Quinoa with Walnuts and Shallots, however, was simple and delicious, even though I forgot to toast and add the walnuts (which would have been pecans in my case.

Roasted veg bon appetitI’m least pleased with the Roasted Beets, Carrots, and Jerusalem Artichokes. I already had a bunch of roasted beets, so I skipped that part of the recipe. My carrots and Jerusalem artichokes took longer than 20 minutes to cook, and when they were finally tender they were more steamed than roasted. My oven is pretty much right on temperature, so I would raise the temp to 450 to get more roastiness on the vegetable if I make this again.

Overall we enjoyed the meal, and I’m sure the leftovers will make a nice salad tomorrow. So far I’m generally impressed with how flavorful the recipes are, despite some of the prep difficulties, and I’m looking forward to the upcoming meals.

Coconut-Cardamom Rice Pudding

Coconut Cardamom Rice PuddingIt’s been a busy few weeks with huge deadlines in November and, of course, Thanksgiving. Admittedly I didn’t do a great job of blogging a favorite food holiday, and maybe next year I’ll be more organized about it. I do plan to tell you about the best pecan I’ve ever made, and maybe ever eaten.

Over the last three weeks or so we’ve had two brutal cold snaps each lasting about five days, with a stretch of super spring-like weather in between. The cold has put me in the mood for everything comfort food: turkey pot pie made with leftover holiday bird, mini turkey chile meatloaves (which go well with roasted sweet potatoes or squash), green chile mac and cheese, roasted root vegetables, and more. I was trying to work out what to make for a warming dessert now that the rich and heavy holiday pies are gone, and I thought about a rice pudding I used to make.

I couldn’t find my old recipe so I did a little searching online to look for some ratios and came up with a fragrant and creamy dish that combines coconut milk and cardamom with leftover rice. The dish is easy, but takes a little attention at the stove while it simmers. Avoid bringing the pudding to a full-on boil, especially once the egg is added. If you don’t have (or don’t like) cardamom, you can leave it out or substitute a piece of cinnamon stick. This is delicious warm or cold, and it makes a nice, albeit sweet, breakfast, too.

Coconut-Cardamom Rice Pudding

2 cups cooked rice, chilled (I’ve used brown basmati and brown jasmine most often)
1 can of unsweetened coconut milk (light or regular)
4 green cardamom pods, lightly cracked
1 egg
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine cooked rice in a saucepan with coconut milk and cardamom and bring to a simmer. Whisk egg and brown sugar in a small bowl. Add 1/2 cup of the warm coconut milk mixture to the egg to tempter it slightly. Pour the egg and coconut milk mixture back into the saucepan, whisking to combine. Simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring regularly until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Serve warm or chilled.

Recipe Testing: Maple Sweet Potato Cakes with Curried Greek Yogurt

Sweet potato cakes sweetened with maple syrup. Recipe from Food52 and FoxesLoveLemons.

A few weeks ago I volunteered to test some recipes from the Food52 site that were part of the Your Most Impressive Dinner Party Side Dish contest, including these sweet potato cakes by FoxesLoveLemons. I thought they might make a nice Thanksgiving side dish, or a possible alternative latke for Hanukkah. I think they work for either of those holidays, or both if you’re doing Thanksgivukkah this year.

While this recipe didn’t win the overall title as most impressive, it was chosen on Food52 as a community favorite, and my headnote (which is a shorter version of this blog post) is published with it. All three people eating Sunday dinner called them a win, and asked me to make them again. I think my sister might have sneaked out with the leftovers.

When I made this recipe as written I had trouble with the cakes scorching and not cooking all the way through. My solution was to make more cakes so that they were thinner and would cook through without burning.

The curried Greek yogurt is an excellent sauce, one that I can see repurposing for many different dishes. The balance of spice with the creamy tang of the yogurt hits all the right notes. I think it would make an excellent base for a curried carrot salad.
My tips for making this recipe are:
  • a bit more salt added to the sweet potato mixture before cooking
  • divide the recipe into 12 cakes
  • add a bit of cooking oil to the pan–cooking spray isn’t sufficient to achieve even browning

Maple Sweet Potato Cakes with Curried Greek Yogurt

Makes 12 cakes

 
Curried Greek Yogurt

7 ounces 2% Greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Maple Sweet Potato Cakes

1 large sweet potato, peeled and shredded
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg
1 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 pinch of salt
1 pinch of cinnamon
1/3 cup minced yellow onion
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
Nonstick cooking spray
Cooking oil to coat the skillet

In a small bowl, stir together all ingredients for Curried Greek Yogurt. Set aside.

Place shredded sweet potato in a large bowl and toss with salt. Let stand 5 minutes.

In a second large bowl, whisk together egg, maple syrup, white pepper, paprika, salt and cinnamon. Using your hands, squeeze all excess liquid out of sweet potato; discard liquid. Add sweet potato, onion and breadcrumbs to egg mixture; toss to combine well.

Form sweet potato mixture into 12 cakes. Heat a griddle or large nonstick pan over medium high-heat. Spray griddle with nonstick spray or coat with a thin sheen of cooking oil; place potato cakes on griddle. Cook 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown and crispy on the outside, flattening with spatula as they cook and flipping occasionally. Serve immediately with Curried Greek Yogurt.

Thinking About Thanksgivukkah

This month I’m doing a bit of guest blogging over at my friend Michele’s site The Modern Jewish Wedding. Each Friday I’ll be doing a post as part of her Shabbat shalom feature, offering some inspiration for the weekend, and a nice way to close out the week. For those whose Hebrew is a little rusty, shabbat shalom is the traditional greeting each Friday night, offering both a welcome to the period of rest from Friday evening to Saturday evening and a blessing of peace.

So where does Thanksgivukkah fit in?

Thanksgiving and Hanukkah are two of my favorite food holidays, and as I was looking for inspiration for this week’s Shabbat shalom post it seemed that the foodie world has been a bit obsessed with this once-in-77-millenia holiday mashup! It’s left me thinking about my own Thanksgivukkah menu.

I’ve been working on a few ideas that will be coming to the blog soon. One is the sweet potato cakes with curried Greek yogurt recipe I tested a couple of weeks ago for Food52. The recipe won Community Favorite in a contest for best dinner party side dishes, and I’m excited to share it because I think it’s really delicious. And if you’re a fan of Bridget Jones, you know that turkey and curry go together v. well, so it seems like a Thankgivukkah winner.

The other is one of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes that will meld perfectly with the sweet potato cakes: spiced cranberry-apple sauce. I’ve made this recipe for years, and since Hanukkah often comes shortly after Thanksgiving I’ve usually still had leftovers in my fridge ready and waiting to become a latke topping.

In the meantime, contemplate the Manischewitz-brined turkey the folks at Buzzfeed came up with last month:

Manischewitz-brined turkey from the Buzzfeed Thanksgivukkah menu/

Guest Blogging Over at Full and Content

Kale Salad collage

Today I have a guest post over at Lisa Rawlinson’ fabulous blog Full and Content. Lisa is a fellow Austin Food Blogger Alliance blogger, and since her blog has been around for a while she has so many incredible recipes and reviews that you should check out.

Lisa is a big proponent of Meatless Mondays, a world-wide movement to reduce meat consumption for personal health reasons and for the health of the planet. You can find more info here. This week I contributed a favorite recipe, Lisa G’s Mac & Cheese, and new “recipe” that’s more of a technique than anything–Kale Salad. I thought these made up a perfect Sunday night dinner for this break of autumnal weather we’re having this weekend. I love seasonal cooking, and I really broke into my CSA veggie box for this week’s meal.

Head over to Full and Content for my recipes and many others to start planning your Meatless Monday!

Breakfast at Home

Figs and Goat CheeseI’m pretty inconsistent when it comes to breakfast at home. Some days I want a full meal deal, and others I just want a cafe au lait and a the morning news updates. Once upon a time I had a stable of three or four breakfast options I’d rotate through during the week, but I’ve gotten a bit lazy and some mornings I’m doing well to put the coffee and water in the correct sections of the coffee pot!

Quick assemble breakfasts make me happy, but most of my old standards were assembled on Central Market‘s Nine Grain and Honey bread. Since adopting gluten-free eating I’ve missed that bread, but not as much as I thought I might. On the recommendations of several friends I tried Udi’s gluten-free breads. I’ve tried four varieties and all have been good (the Omega Flax and Fiber is my favorite), but the slices are small and the loaves are expensive. I’ve been treating my Udi’s as a special treat, rather than as a regular daily standby.

Back in August ago I made preserved figs and on a recent morning decided that they needed to become breakfast. A couple of slices of that flax and fiber bread made a nice base for a luscious spread of goat cheese and juicy slices of cardamom-spiced figs alongside my cafe au lait. What an east, special breakfast at home.

So Maybe Don’t Eat This

Pei Wei Spicy ShrimpBetween appointments, I decided to go to Pei Wei Asian Diner for lunch, having read good reviews of their gluten-free menu. I’m not the biggest fan of chain-style Asian food, but I am trying to check out the specifically gluten-free menus around town to see what’s on offer.

At Pei Wei the list turned out to be very brief: apart from edamame and summer rolls, there were a couple of salads and two entrees (Pei Wei Spicy or Sweet and Sour). I went for the Pei Wei Spicy with shrimp, which included carrots and sugar snap peas. It wasn’t great. It wasn’t awful, either, but it was strangely sweet and tangy at the same time. Whatever, I ate my lunch.

Now three hours later I’m still reliving that meal. It’s a don’t. I took a picture, and I really don’t want to share it with you. The unappetizing-ness is evident.

Sadly, Pei Wei’s big brother P.F. Chang’s didn’t offer the greatest gluten-free meal, either. Am I destined to give up Chinese food altogether? And why oh why can’t all soy sauce just be gluten-free?

Also, somebody get on the gluten-free fortune cookie, okay?