sweet potato with sautéed tomatoes and figs

Eating clean is an experiment in texture and flavor. You experiment with combinations you wouldn’t usually try because usually you’d have a Everything bagel slathered with cream cheese. Eating clean takes discipline.
mmmm. cream cheese . . . 

Ahem. Right. Clean eating.

It’s September second and the inter-webs are flooded with words about and recipes for pumpkin spice. I was initially thrilled, (because PUMPKIN SPICE!) and then amused, and then alarmed. My thoughts of adding to the glut here at EatWriteRepeat dissipated because of the overwhelming backlash. I had no idea pumpkin spice was such a heated topic! I mean, I know it’s all about rushing the season and what not, but good grief. No one grows this worked up over Christmas decor before Thanksgiving. The injustice!

Anyway. I’ll spare us all the drama. Here’s a sweet-potato recipe instead. Be warned though, I’m working on a savory pumpkin soup recipe for as soon as the temperatures dip a bit. And there’s a good possibility I’ll run by Starbucks this afternoon. *wink*

BAKED SWEET POTATO WITH SAUTÉED BABY TOMATOES AND FIGS

2 sweet potatoes
2 teaspoons clarified butter
1/2 cup baby tomatoes—halved (the Constellation mix is my fav)
6-8 fresh figs—halved
dash of salt
dash of pepper
dash of cinnamon

Bake sweet potatoes in the oven at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes. Until the skin is slightly crisped and the potato pierces easily with a fork.

In a pan, over medium heat, melt 2 teaspoons clarified butter. Toss tomatoes and figs into the pan with salt, pepper and cinnamon. Sauté until soft and the juice from the fruit is beginning to caramelize.

Spoon over baked sweet potato and serve warm.

• Makes two servings

rustic pastry with preserves

This recipe totally cheats.
Just felt like I should start with that so you’re prepared when you see pancake mix on the list of necessary ingredients.
Like I said. Cheating.
If it bugs you, you can totally mix up your own dry pancake mix from scratch. In fact, I have a great recipe right here. Just leave out the wet ingredients!

There. That’s done.
Moving on.

I love this recipe for its simplicity. And yet the end result is gorgeous in a rustic, french-breakfast kind of way. I imagine myself enjoying a slice while on a balcony in Paris, early morning sunlight filtering through white curtains as I lounge about in a silk robe.

Clearly this is my imagination at work, because reality looks more like a mad rush of chaos between changing diapers and serving slices of this pastry up on paper plates, to small humans who are clearly dying of starvation (as evidenced by their whining for food before the sun rises).
A far cry from balconies and silk robes, but it’s nice to know we can whip up beautiful food that meets us where we’re at. So here. Here’s to pretty food that tastes good, nourishes, and meets us where we’re at. Cheers, and enjoy!

RUSTIC PASTRY

3 cups of pancake mix
1 egg
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/2-3/4 cup fruit preserves of your choice

In a large bowl or stand mixer, combine butter, egg, and yogurt. Gradually stir in pancake mix until a thick dough forms. Use your hands or a dough hook to finish combining the dry ingredients with the butter mixture.

On a large sheet of parchment paper, roll dough out in a large rectangle, approximately 1/4 inch thick. With a spoon, spread fruit preserves down the middle of the dough and then cut notches along either side of the preserves, folding each strip up on top of the preserves as you go. A kind of braid will form with each new strip you layer. Lightly sprinkle the finished braid with cinnamon and sugar. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown across the top.
Allow to cool slightly and set before serving.

Ps. This would be super good with Nutella filling in place of the preserves. Just saying.

Cinnamon Rolls

Weekend food is not typically my favorite. Often I feel as though I get stuck in the kitchen while my tribe goes off galavanting.
HOWEVER. Sunday morning food traditions are an exception.

When I was a child, my Mom used to make a large pan of cinnamon roll on Saturday night. They would rise, gaining girth and height until she would pop them into the oven Sunday at dawn. The whole house would smell of baking cinnamon rolls and I swear to you, my spiritual life is wafted-over with the smell of baking cinnamon and brown sugar. It’s a beautiful thing. My mom is particularly good at recognizing both the physical and spiritual needs of her people. Food when we’re hungry, naps when we’re weary, prayers over all. It’s a motto she lives by, though I’m not sure she’s ever stated those words exactly. I’ve inherited some of that from her.
And also cinnamon rolls on Sunday morning.

These are so easy to whip up, I rarely make them Saturday night. Sunday morning before my tribe starts rolling out of bed is enough time. Thirty minutes or so and these guys are in the oven. Also, they rise as they bake, so no need to wait overnight.
Enjoy!


CINNAMON ROLLS

DOUGH:
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon quick-rising yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup very warm water
3 cups flour

FILLING:
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 to 3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon (or more) cinnamon

In a stand mixer or large bowl, combine warm water, melted butter, sugar, salt, and yeast. Whip vigorously until yeast mixture is foamy. Add in flour, one cup at a time, stirring until you can no longer work with a spoon or spatula. If you’re using a stand mixer, attach the kneading hook and finish the last cup of flour with that. If you’re using elbow grease, dump soft dough onto the counter top and work the last cup in by hand. Allow to rest for ten minutes.

Work dough on a floured surface into a large, long rectangle. Dough should be no more than 1/2 an inch thick. If the dough continues to shrink dramatically every time you stretch it out, allow it to rest a couple more minutes. Feel free to use a rolling pin if you like.

Spread the surface liberally with butter, then sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. Roll up, working the long side of the rectangle closest to you toward the opposite side, smoothing and stretching as you go. When you reach the opposite side, pinch the open side onto the roll, sealing it up. Turn the roll seam-side down, and using a sharp knife, trim off the ends. Cut the roll in eighteen to twenty slices, about 2 inches long each.

Place rolls in a well-buttered pan (you should have enough small blunt-ended rolls for two round pans) and allow to rest for ten minutes or so. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 20 minutes, or until golden brown across the top. Serve warm.

Blueberry-Banana Yogurt Muffins

August is the season of Blueberries.
Well, so is July, but it’s still early August and blueberry season kind of runs over into August around here. It’s glorious. I have six little blueberry bushes in my garden and this is the first year they’ve produced fruit. It feels like a real victory. I so look forward to what future summers hold in the blueberry department. Good things ahead, people.

IMG_1386

This morning, it seemed like a wise idea to do more than just nom those fresh berries straight from the bushes, so I picked what I could and decided muffins would showcase their sweetness best. Throw in a couple of over-ripe bananas and yogurt for consistency, and presto—muffins.
Enjoy!

BLUEBERRY-BANANA YOGURT MUFFINS

1/2 cup butter (1 stick, softened)
2 eggs
1 soft banana
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon almond
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup Greek Yogurt
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups flour
1 pint fresh blueberries

In a mixing bowl or stand mixer, blend butter (softened), sliced banana, sugar, yogurt, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon until will combined. Feel free to really work the batter so no banana or butter lumps remain. Then mix in the flour, but don’t overdo it or the muffins will fall when they bake. A little visible flour in the batter is okay.
Fold in fresh berries with a soft spatula until they are well-dispersed.

Scoop batter into a greased muffin tin (about 2/3 full in each), and bake in a 350-degree preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until golden-brown across the top.

rhubarb cake

I have this patch of rhubarb in my garden—the grandchild of a plant that has been growing at my house for more than thirty years, and it’s fantastically huge. In the height of summer it takes up a full 8-foot by 12-foot raised garden bed.
I love it.
I call it Gertrude.

It’s only the middle of May in Minnesota but I’ve already harvested two batches of rhubarb from Gertrude, and yesterday’s harvest was a whopper. I had to use a laundry basket to bring it all inside. A batch of rhubarb sauce ensued. Also this cake.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that baking is not more forte. I’m better with main dishes and soup. There’s just so much chemistry in baking and I’ve never been great with chemistry. But.
But. But. But.
This cake.
—Custard-like, loaded with fruit, and finished with a crisp sugared crust. The almond flavor adds a hint of something magic, and topped with a fresh dollop of whipped cream, it’s basically perfection.
Enjoy!

RHUBARB CAKE

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/2 cup sugar-in-the-raw
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs
1 3/4 cup flour
4 cups diced rhubarb

In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together. The larger grains of sugar give everything a different texture, but trust me, the end result is amazing. Add almond extract, salt, baking powder, and eggs. Mix well. Scrape down the sides of your bowl and add the flour. The batter should be thick, almost thicker than expected. No worries, the juice from the rhubarb will thin it out a bit. Add the rhubarb and mix again. It’s going to look like too much fruit for the cake. But not to worry. The eggs and flour will eventually hold everything together.

I have a deep 8x 12, casserole pan I use to bake this cake. It will overflow a standard 9 x 9 cake pan. If you have a 9 x 16 cake pan, that may work better. Grease the pan well and spread the batter evenly with a spatula.
Sprinkle sugar-in-the-raw generously over the top.

Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees and then turn the heat down and bake for another hour and a half (yes, that’s correct) at 325 degrees. Keep an eye on it and cover the cake with aluminum foil if it begins to brown too darkly over the top. After it had been in the oven for a total of two hours, give the pan a light shake. If the center is still jiggly, continue baking at 325 until it sets. (The “insert knife until it comes out clean” trick won’t work on this one because the finished cake has an almost custard-like texture).
Allow the cake to cool once it has finished baking.
Serve with whipped cream or ice cream!

orange crescent rolls

  Food anchors memory. Ever noticed that? I have so many amazing food memories associated with family, friends, childhood, and holidays.
Pecan pie on Father’s Day (because that’s his favorite).
Clam chowder on Christmas Eve.
I remember one summer when my mom made like twenty-five chocolate cheesecake tortes to sell at a bake sale, only they didn’t all sell so we had chocolate cheesecake torte for weeks.
My Dad made a lobster-shaped birthday cake for my mom one year because lobster was her favorite food, but money was too tight for the real thing.
I had breakfast with my grandpa at the lake growing up—eggs over-easy on toast.
My grandma would make fried bread dough with sugar dusted over top when we came for lunch.
And my great-grandmother was the QUEEN of Sunday dinner.
I have a heritage of being loved and nourished through food. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

This recipe is an Easter tradition—one that goes back as far as I can remember.
We would go to bed Saturday night anticipating the rejoicing that would greet us Sunday morning, and all the wonderful shouts of “He is Risen! He is Risen indeed!” ringing throughout the house. This was followed by Easter basket hunting, getting ready for church, and these beautiful, light-as-air, orange crescent rolls for breakfast.

So from my family to yours, Happy Easter!

PS. I’m giving this recipe to you a day early so these rolls can rise in the refrigerator overnight and bake first thing Sunday morning!

ORANGE CRESCENT ROLLS
ROLLS
3 cups flour
1 package active dry yeast
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 teaspoon grated orange peel

GLAZE
1 1/2 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel
Enough orange juice to make desired consistency

Advance Prep:
In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 3/4 cups iof flour ad the year. In a saucepan, heat together milk, water, sugar, butter, and salt until just warm. Stir occasionally until butter is melted and then add this to the dry mixture. Add the egg and orange peel. Beat on low with an electric mixer or a stand mixer for a couple minutes and then scrape the side of the bowl continually. Beat for three minutes on high. Then, by hand or with a dough hook, add in the remaining flour and mix well. Place dough in a greased bowl and turn to grease all sides. Over with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2-24 hours.

Before serving:
About two hours before serving, remove dough from fridge and divide in half. roll each ball into a 9-inch circle and with a pizza cutter, cut into 12 wedges. Starting at the wide end, roll up each wedge. Let rise in a warm oven until doubled. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes. While still warm, spread with glaze.

To make glaze, combine sugar, peel and juice in a small mixing bowl and whisk with a fork.

Serve warm

Makes 24 rolls

Originally adapted from CRISCO PRESENTS FAVORITE FAMILY FOODS, copy write 1973, Proctor and Gamble Company.

yogurt pancakes

I’m not a breakfast person. The ratio of breakfast recipes to dinner recipes on this site speaks clearly to that. And yes I’ve read the research. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
Yada-yada-yada. Even so. No.
Coffee. I’m all about coffee.
Coffee is my breakfast.
Coffee is my love language.
Coffee.
Ahem.
Unfortunately my kids won’t drink the stuff.
So there are things like poached eggs on toast. Sweet potato hash with sausage. Spiral-skillet apples. And these pancakes. —Buttery, light but heavy with yogurt, slightly sweet. Ultimately, the perfect breakfast for a lazy weekend.
Enjoy!

 

YOGURT PANCAKES

2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup greek yogurt
2 eggs
2 tablespoons butter

Start by melting the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs, sugar, salt and whisk well. Add the baking powder and whisk again until frothy. Finally, whisk in the yogurt. (Greek Gods Honey-Vanilla flavor is my favorite for this recipe!) When everything is well combined add the milk and flour, stirring until the whole mixture is well blended without lumps.

Heat a large griddle or flat-bottom pan over med-high heat and melt a little butter in the bottom of the pan to prevent the pancakes from sticking. Using a 1/3 or 1/4 measuring cup to measure out the batter for each cake, cook one side until it bubbles, flip, and cook the other side until golden brown. Top with your favorite flavor of deliciousness. Jam, syrup, fresh fruit, yogurt, or as one dear friend of mine showed me: peanut butter, maple syrup, and whipped cream. (Decadent!)