Posts Tagged With: food

Wordless Wednesday – December Dream House

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The Cookie’s Demise

The unique and cloying smell of burnt chocolate chip cookies wafts through my home like some malicious spirit, hellbent on revenge against its murderer.  It creeps up the stairs, drifting into dark corners, just waiting to suddenly surprise me with its malodorous presence. Like the beating heart under the floorboards of Poe’s story, my crime comes back to haunt me.

It all began innocently enough.  Knowing several folks who are on restricted diets, I decided to try my hand at making gluten-free cookies today. Even though I’m not a big fan of baking mixes, I went with one for this first foray into gluten-free baking.  The dough mixed up nicely and spoonfuls of it were quickly panned and put in the oven to bake.

Since I had a few minutes, I wandered out to my living room, sat down with a notebook, and began working a design for a new bed quilt. As my mind wandered down the pattern and color possibilities, I completely forgot about the cookies.

The faintest whiff of cooking sugar drifted past my nose. I registered it with a passing thought that the oven timer hadn’t gone off yet and kept working on the quilt design. The plan is beautiful, a a star-shaped kaleidoscope of autumn colors based on an angled log cabin pattern. My thoughts were focused, not on the baked goods in my oven, but on the rich tapestry of autumn hues of an imagined quilt.

A few minutes later the smell of burning sugar did not lightly tiptoe past, but rather smacked me in the nose with a gauntlet, challenging me to even try to ignore it. A quick jog to the kitchen revealed cookies that were perfectly browned on top and coal black on the bottom, their short lives destroyed by a quilt. The cookies were quickly given an impromptu funeral in the rubbish bin, while the quilt design remains at large, armed and dangerously beautiful. Me, I’m pleading quilty on all counts.

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Culinary Creativity One Grill + Three Sweet Potato

Am I the only one who gets bored in the kitchen, peruses through her cookbooks to no avail, and then promptly throws together something off the top of her head?

It happened again this week to me.  I was craving a sweet potato salad from a long-since defunct store in a town where I used to live.  Unable to find anything that even vaguely resembled what I was craving, I dug in my culinary heels and went ten rounds in my kitchen until I had something that, while not the original, was good enough to satisfy my cravings.

Note: When I say sweet potato, I mean the brown-skinned, orange bodied potato.  Some people call them yams, but they technically aren’t the same thing.  Whole raw sweet potatoes can be found in the produce section of most major grocery stores here in the States.  Do not, whatever you do, try to substitute the canned or frozen varieties or you’ll be cleaning a sweet, sticky mess off your BBQ grill.

Grilled Sweet Potato Salad

3 medium fresh sweet potatoes
Sea salt
Olive Oil
2 stalks celery, cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 apple, cored and cut into 1/2″ pieces
2 tablespoons diced red or orange bell pepper

Dressing:
3/4 cup mayo
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon fresh minced coriander leaves
1 or 2 finely minced fresh basil leaves
Dash of cayenne pepper (can substitute black pepper)

Leaving the skins on, slice sweet potatoes 3/4″ thick and place in a pot of boiling water.  Cook until they just start to become tender, approximately 6 to 8 minutes.  Remove from water and let drain thoroughly.  Let cool until they can be comfortably handled with bare hands.

In the meantime, mix together all of the dressing ingredients and place in a covered container in the fridge.

When the sweet potatoes have cooled, remove the skins but leave the slices intact.  Brush potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.  Place on a hot grill and cook for approximately 3 to 5 minutes per side. Cooking time may vary depending on your grill.   Potatoes should be cooked through, but firm enough to hold together when handled.  Remove potatoes from the grill and let cool completely.

Cut the potatoes into 1/2″ cubes.  Mix the cooled potatoes, celery, apple, and bell pepper in a bowl.   Add dressing and toss to coat.  Refrigerate at least one hour before serving.  Best when served the same day.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

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