Sweet Potato & Scallion Salad

25 08 2010

The name of this blog originally intended to be Liminal Plates, playing around with the idea that I am in a very liminal space right now, somewhere between college and the “real world”, not really sure where to head. Well, I am still there. There’s a lyric in a Why? song that reads, “What should these earnest hands be holding?” And I find myself asking that a lot of the time. A camera, a spatula, a guitar, a pen. My passions flood me, but ultimately divide my time, leaving me feeling like I’m clutching a buoy for support in this here real world. So who knows where I’ll go. In the meantime, I’ve made sweet potatoes. Try it out. If I made this again, I would half the amount of liquid in the dressing because the veggies are drowning in it (pardon my nautical theme-age). But it’s still delicious.

Sweet Potato & Scallion Salad
Adapted from Bobby Flay

4 large sweet potatoes, par-cooked & cut into 1/2-inch slices
8 scallions
1/2 red onion, sliced into moons
1 avocado, cut into chunks
3/4 cup olive oil, divided
2 tbs. Dijon mustard
1/2 cup cider vinegar (I’d cut this in half)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tsps. honey (I used agave nectar. Any sweetener will suffice)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup coarsley chopped flat-leaf parsley

Preheat grill to high. (Note: I used my oven’s broiler because it was pouring outside). Brush potatoes and scallions with oil and arrange on grill. Grill potatoes for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until tender. Grill scallions until softened and marked.
In a large bowl, whisk together the 1/2 cup olive oil (or less), mustard, vinegars, and honey. Season with salt and pepper. Add potatoes, scallions, red onion, avocado and parsley. Toss until everything is well coated.

Ricotta Pear Pancakes

20 08 2010

These are Tom Waits’ ricotta pear pancakes. I made them while strutting around the kitchen in my shorts, drinking black coffee, tango-ing til I was sore. And no need for stupid sugary sweet syrup! As I exclaimed while eating them, “There’s like, built in syrup!” Not really, but the mix of ginger/cinnamon and moistness of the pears and ricottagive you that pancakey feeling. There’s enough flavor already there that all you really need is that drizzle of yogurt on top. If my boyfriend were around while I was making them, I probably would have pulled my super cheezy move of, regardless of whether there’s pancakes around, placing my hand flat on his face and saying “Pancakes.”  So I do it to you, reader. Pancakes.

Ricotta Pear Pancakes
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking: A Commonsense Guide
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsps. baking powder
2 tsps. ground ginger
2 tbs. sugar
4 eggs, separated
12-oz ricotta cheese (I used half ricotta, half cottage cheese)
1 bosc pear (the brown ones), peeled, cored & grated
1 1/4 cups milk
3 pairs, unpeeled
1 tb. brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
7 oz. plain yogurt

Sift the flour, baking powder, ginger, and sugar into a bowl and make a well in the center. Combine the egg yolks, ricotta, grated pear, and milk, then pour into the well and mix until it just binds together.
Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form then fold into the mixture.
Melt some butter (or spray) a pan over medium heat. Pour in the batter to create even pancakes. Cook for 1-1 1/2 minutes, or until bubbles begin to form on the surface, then flip and cook on the other side for another minute, until all the pancakes are made. Keep warm.
Cut the pears into thick slices lengthwise. Melt some butter in a pan. Add the brown sugar and cinnamon, then stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add the pears and cook, turning once, until tender.
Serve the pancakes in stacks, topped with the pear slices and drizzled with yogurt.

Chili-Cheese Bread

18 08 2010
The only thing I can really say about my experience this evening with chili-cheese bread is that I was probably feeling a little bit too Eat, Pray, Love-ish, as I sliced in and proceeded to eat 3 thick slices at 11:30 pm, melting butter over the tops with my bare fingers and thinking about how I purposefully didn’t call my boyfriend this evening. Make this. Don’t phone your significant other. There’s connection in the disconnect. Add some chopped jalapeno to it too. The recipe called for it. I forgot.
Chili-Cheese Bread
Adapted from eat me, delicious
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsps. sugar
1 tb. baking powder
1 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 4-oz can chopped green chilis, drained
1/2 cup finely chopped bell pepper

Preheat the oven to 375F, and grease or spray an 8×3 inch loaf pan. 

Sift together the flour, salt, pepper, sugar, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Add the cheese and gently toss and stir until it is evenly distributed throughout the mixture.

Whisk the milk, oil, egg, green chiles, and red bell pepper in another bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour and cheese mixture, and pour the milk mixture in the center. Briefly blend with a spatula, only until the dry ingredients are just incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and place in the oven. Bake until the top is golden-brown, and springs back when touched in the center, about 45-50 minutes. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove the bread from the pan and cool completely.