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Friday, December 19, 2008

Kumquats, Sweet Potatoes, and Parsnips

Kumquats are unique in that the flesh inside is tart and the skins are sweet. You don't need to peel them because the skins are completely edible, but I suggest cutting them in half and popping out the seeds before eating. They also make great jams and relishes. Try out some of these great recipes from Epicurious.com

Orange Cheesecake with Candied Kumquats

Gingered Cranberry and Kumquat Relish

Hazelnut Crunch Cake with Honeyed Kumquats

Gingerbread Layer Cake with Candied Kumquats

Kumquat Compote with Sauternes and Ginger

Spiced Kumquat Chutney

Sweet Potato Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour (about 9 ounces)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup pureed cooked sweet potatoes, cooled
1/3 cup fat-free milk
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400°. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Combine sweet potato and milk in a small bowl; add potato mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead lightly 5 times. Roll dough to a 3/4-inch thickness; cut with a 2-inch biscuit cutter into 10 biscuits. Place biscuits on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Gather remaining dough. Roll to a 3/4-inch thickness. Cut with a 2-inch biscuit cutter into 6 biscuits. Place the biscuits on prepared baking sheet. Discard any remaining scraps.

Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from pan; cool 5 minutes on wire racks. Serve warm or at room temperature. 16 servings (serving size: 1 biscuit)

Sweet Potato Soufflés
Even people who dislike sweet potatoes will love these easy to make soufflés. If you have never made a soufflé before, don't worry these are easy to make and can be made up to 2 days ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake them. 8 servings.

Granulated sugar for coating ramekins
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 pound, 12 ounces)
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (about 1 ounce)
1/2 cup half-and-half
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg yolks
5 large egg whites
Cooking spray
Chopped pecans for garnish

Preheat oven to 425°. Coat 8 ramekins with cooking spray and lightly coat with granulated sugar. Pierce sweet potatoes with a knife; arrange on paper towels in microwave oven. Microwave at high 7-10 minutes or until tender, rearranging potatoes after 5 minutes. Peel potatoes. Combine potatoes, butter, flour, half-and-half, and next 6 ingredients (through egg yolks) in a food processor; process until smooth. Transfer potato mixture to a large bowl.

Place egg whites in a large mixing bowl; beat at high speed with a mixer until soft peaks form. Add 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form (do not overbeat). Gently fold one-fourth of egg white mixture into potato mixture; gently fold in remaining egg white mixture. Gently spoon mixture into prepared ramekins. Place ramekins on a baking sheet; place baking sheet in a 425° oven. Immediately reduce oven temperature to 375° (do not remove soufflé from oven). Bake for ~25 minutes or until soufflé is puffy, golden, and set. Sprinkle with chopped pecans. These soufflés can be served immediately, but they are still excellent after they have cooled off for a few minutes and fallen.

Roasted Parsnips
These roasted parsnips have a nice crispy exterior and are soft inside. Simply peel the parsnips and cut into 1/2" dice. Place on a baking sheet lined with Aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast at 425F for 25-30 minutes. Turn the parsnips over with a spatula after 15 minutes to ensure even cooking on both sides.