Monthly Archives: January 2013

Sweet Potato Biscuits

Seasoned to Taste - Sweet Potato Biscuits

Happy Birthday to me! As has become tradition, I celebrated my birthday ( and entry into a new decade) this month with a Birthday Brunch for a bunch of girlfriends. I give guests a strictly enforced dress code (cute; on-trend; Instagram-ready) and expectations for a filling morning of heavy snacks and cool drinks.

Two must-haves for any party: fresh flowers and lots of candles. I bought a pretty bouquet from Trader Joe’s, which I split apart and used to fill a dozen white milk glass vases around the house. Many of my wedding gifts came out as I needed all the platters and serving dishes I could find: Fresh fruit salad with limoncello, phyllo-baked brie with almonds and apricots, curried chicken strudels, soppressata and Gruyere puffs, edamame hummus, lox with cream cheese and capers, salsa fresca, guacamole and the centerpiece: mango-ginger glazed ham sliders with cheddar & chive biscuits and sweet potato biscuits. Check my Instagram feed (@thewritegal) for more pics.

Finding a smoked spiral-sliced ham proved difficult in this holiday off-season, but I won’t bore you with the details. The net result is I got my ham, and now have plenty for leftovers (split-pea soup with ham is simmering on the stove as we speak!)

The cheddar and chive biscuits will be featured on a future post, but I want to highlight these sweet potato biscuits, the recipe for which my friend and neighbor Molly gave me. It’s a simple biscuit recipe with cooked sweet potatoes providing much of the “wet” ingredients. I served the biscuits with Dijon mustard and a sweet cinnamon butter that I whipped up. My favorite combination was the sweet potato biscuit with cinnamon butter and smoked ham. Yum!

These are an obvious choice for brunch, or really any breakfast. I love the sweet biscuits with the salty/smoky ham. They are also good alone, with honey butter or cinnamon butter.

Seasoned to Taste - Sweet Potato Biscuits

Thanks for the recipe, Molly!

Sweet Potato Biscuits

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • Heaping 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 5 tbsp chilled shortening
  • 1/2 – 1 cup thoroughly mashed, riced, or pureed cold, cooked sweet potato (two medium sweet potatoes for me, which I cooked in the microwave and scooped out)

Preheat oven to 500.

Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl. Add in the shortening, cutting it into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or your fingers. Add in your mashed sweet potato and just enough cold milk to get the dough to the right consistency (mine was roughly 1/4-1/2 c. milk). Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly, about 10 strokes. Roll out dough to about 1/2 – 3/4 inch thick. Cut into rounds and place on parchment-lined cookie sheet.

Bake for approximately 8 minutes, until golden. The dough can get very heavy when re-rolled, so work scraps as little as possible.

Once baked, slice in half with a serrated knife if you are making sliders.

Best served warm, or cool completely and store in air-tight container.

Season to Taste - Sweet Potato Biscuits

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Quinoa Salad with Fennel and Pomegranate

Seasoned to Taste - Quinoa Salad with Fennel and Pomegranate

I never notice pomegranates until they are gone. They appear in the grocery stores – usually on sale 2/$5 – for a couple months through the fall and winter, and then disappear the rest of the year. I wonder how I can get tomatoes all year round, but pomegranates only during select months? My point is that I save all these pomegranate recipes, forgetting to make them when I can find the fruits in season.

This recipe is very unique tasting. The pomegranate is sweet but very tart, adding a different flavor profile along with the nutty anise of the fennel and the citrus with herbs. It was fresh and had a bite, but will definitely make you stop and think, “Huh?” after the first bite. I think it’s the pomegranate seeds, which literally explode when you chew them.

Adapted from Bon Appetit:

Quinoa Salad with Fennel and Pomegranate

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 medium fennel bulbs (2 1/2 pounds), cut lengthwise into 1/4″-thick slices
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 serrano chile, seeded, chopped (I omitted and just used a pinch red pepper flakes)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (I only had parsley – totally different)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint (didn’t use)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill (hate dill)
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds (from 1/2 small pomegranate)
  1. Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add fennel; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until fennel is just tender and lightly golden, 10–12 minutes. Stir in lemon juice, cumin, and sugar; cook for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, bring quinoa and 3 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until quinoa is cooked, about 10 minutes. Drain; return to pan. Cover; let sit for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork; transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Using a small sharp knife, cut all peel and white pith from lemon (an orange is good here, too). Cut between membranes to release segments; discard membranes and roughly chop. Add lemon with any juices and remaining 1 Tbsp. oil to quinoa; stir. Add fennel mixture, chile, and herbs. Toss gently to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer salad to a platter; sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.

Seasoned to Taste - Quinoa Salad with Fennel and Pomegranate

We had this with some vegetarian tacos that a friend (Teri from A Foodie Stays Fit) made – it was a healthy little lunch!
Seasoned to Taste - Quinoa Salad with Fennel and Pomegranate

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Strawberry Yum Yum Pie

Seasoned to Taste - Strawberry Yum Yum Pie

One thing to love about The South’s culinary history is the abundance of old-timey cookbooks and recipes. Collections of church-ladies’ hand-written cards complete with illustrations, Junior League “receipts” full of whiskey and gelatin, and faded, stained scraps of paper hidden inside cupboards or messy drawers. If the author of “Julie & Julia” had worked her way through a Southern church cookbook, I would have been way more impressed than Julia Child’s novel of a cookbook. Because these old recipes are crafted off generations of memory, without exact science and a good deal of guesswork on the part of the reader.

For example, “Add enough milk” and “Add dessertspoon butter” And “Sprinkle with xxxx sugar.” Part of the fun is guessing, or calling your Southern mother/grandmother/friend to help translate.

For Christmas, one of Grant’s sisters gave everybody a copy of an old family recipe from Ms. Nell Bennett, “Granny’s Strawberry Yum Yum Pie.” Description: “This is an old fashion way of making fruit pies (or cobblers). My! What flavor the juice in this pie has.”

And so it does.

Seasoned to Taste - Strawberry Yum Yum Pie

I made this for a small crowd recently, all who loved the cakey batter made soft with strawberry juices and caramelized bits around the edges. I probably took the baking a bit too far, but the recipe wasn’t exact – I shall learn next time.

Strawberry Yum Yum Pie

Ingredients (I altered for the modern reader):

  • 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 T cold shortening
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • milk (I probably used 1/2 c.)
  • 2 c. sliced strawberries
  • 2 T cold diced unsalted butter
  • 2 T sugar

Mix flour, salt, sugar and baking powder in a large bowl. Cut in the shortening to resemble coarse meal. “Add enough milk to make a soft batter” = use a wooden spoon to stir in up to 3/4 c. milk (I used whole milk), until it comes together like a cake batter. Pour into baking dish. Sprinkle strawberries evenly over, then cover with 2 T sugar. Dot with butter.

Bake at 400 about 25 minutes, increasing the heat to 450 to brown the top, if needed, for the last 10 minutes. The batter rises to the top and forms a nice crust around the strawberries. Again, I let mine brown a little too far, but no matter.

Seasoned to Taste - Strawberry Yum Yum Pie

Set aside to cool to your liking, then scoop onto plates.

Seasoned to Taste - Strawberry Yum Yum Pie

It is wonderful at room temperature or even cold, but is so easy to warm up, which people seem to prefer. Would be fabulous with some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream on top.

Seasoned to Taste - Strawberry Yum Yum Pie

Enjoy, friends! xoxo