November 30, 2010

sweet potatoes + pie = rainy day fun

We woke up to a very dark, rainy day today with the temperature dropping into the 40s as the day goes on. I love the winter because it makes me feel like staying home and nesting, decorating the tree like I did yesterday, or cooking a few things that can be frozen for later --to give as gifts or serve up for an easy weeknight dinner.

root veggie dauphinois

I have a lot of root veggies in my pantry right now, all beauties from our CSA: potatoes, sweet potatoes, gigantic pink turnips, parsnips and radishes. I love root veggies because they seem so daunting and a lot of recipes for them are really boring and uninspired. So they present a challenge which inspires me to make something great out of them.

My friend Ellen posted this wonderful recipe on her blog, which she found on design sponge last week. It's for a gratin daupihois (just a cheesy, creamy potato dish) made with turnips and sweet potatoes as well as regular potatoes. The recipe actually comes from the beautiful blog la tartine gourmande.

I loved the photos of those beautiful pink turnips next to the orange sweet potatoes, all of it enveloped in the cheesy, golden brown crust that is the marking of a great gratin. I happened to have everything I needed in the house and more. I actually made two of them, one to eat tonight and one to freeze and give to my friend who will have a baby soon.

coconut-sweet potato pie with spiced crust

I still had sweet potatoes staring at me from the counter. Then, I remembered I had seen this beauty on the nytimes last week as an alternative to the traditional thanksgiving pumpkin pie. Oh, don't make me make this, I said. And with the delicious sweet potatoes from the farmer! I didn't actually make the spiced crust (which sounded amazing) because I had a purchased (!) graham cracker crust in the fridge and wanted to save time.

I should serve this tonight for dessert but I don't think I'm going to make it that far. It is sitting on the counter now, filling my kitchen with the most fragrant sweet potato, spices and coconut smell. How can I resist having a warm slice with my coffee this afternoon?

Who said rainy days had to be boring?

November 22, 2010

surprisingly good green tomato soup

I continue to be amazed at how time is passing by without letting up. My little girl is almost 5 mos. old and changing everyday and here we are already the week of Thanksgiving and I'm still posting about tomatoes! But, alas, life is moving way too quickly and I am trying to enjoy it in the present and not worry about the rest. Time is relative as long as you are happy in the moment. And I'm happiest in my kitchen with my little Junebug watching me cook.

I recently had an overabundance of green tomatoes on my hands and did not know what to do with them. I made fried green tomato sandwiches once and they were tasty, but once the novelty wears off, they are not as exciting as they sound.

So I found this-- a recipe for Green Tomato Soup with bacon and brioche croutons. I see it is from last year which means I must have saved it and never got around to making it until now. But am I glad I did! It was an unexpectedly great soup that was both easy to make and very yummy. Not the usual random-dish-I-made-to-use-up whatever ingredient.

The bacon is a nice smoky counterpart to the tartness of the green apples. And the croutons --any kind will do--offer a good textural bite that complements the soup. This would go really well as a first course for dinner, or as a perfect lunch alongside some grilled cheese sandwiches.

Next year when my tomato plants over-produce at the END of the summer and into the Fall when it's too cold for them to ripen (arrgggh) I will at least know what to do with them.