Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Beurre Noisette

sweet potato gnocchi, gnocchi recipes, Thanksgiving side dishes, sweet potatoes

Rich little pillows of deliciousness, these hearty sweet potato gnocchi are spiced with fresh nutmeg and finished simply with beurre noisette (which, I believe, means “drink me” in French. Only kidding…”beurre noisette” is just a pretty word for butter cooked until it’s hazelnut brown).

Beurre noisette, also called browned butter, is what young, ambitious butter aspires to be. It makes a ridiculously easy and utterly delectable sauce for anything from pasta to fish, and is a fantastic way to elevate any simple protein or pasta dish to “company” status.

Sweet potato gnocchi are perfect for the fall table. Try them alongside roasted ham, chicken, or pork. Consider starting a new tradition and serving these as a side dish with your turkey this Thanksgiving!

Click here to find this recipe on Eat Real.

Review: Del Real Foods Heat-and-Serve Dishes

I’m not generally a fan of pre-cooked packaged foods. I’m picky in a way that makes most of these products fall far short of what I like to eat–and what I like to serve to my family. I prefer scratch-made, authentic food without the chemicals and additives that most processed packaged foods are burdened with. That said, there are times when I’ve used ready-made products on a whim (shopping hungry gets me every time) or by necessity (barely enough time to eat, let alone cook) and have been pleasantly surprised.

Read more at Eat Real

Countdown to Thanksgiving: Indian Pudding with Cinnamon Cream

Thanksgiving dessert
Indian Pudding with Cinnamon Cream

We all know that Thanksgiving dessert is all about the pie. But what if it wasn’t? What if we tried something a little closer to the reality of that original Thanksgiving, when no one had a deep-dish Pyrex or even an oven? It’s far more likely that dessert at the first Thanksgiving dinner wasn’t pumpkin pie but Indian pudding, a homespun cornmeal-and-molasses creation fashioned after the Native Americans’ supawn. Colonists at Plymouth, Massachusetts, were likely looking to re-create some familiar comfort foods from Mother England, but lacking the wheat flour or oats that comprised their staple hasty pudding, they made do with cornmeal, courtesy of their friendly new Native American neighbors. Hence the name “Indian Pudding.”

Visit Eat Real for the recipe: Indian Pudding with Cinnamon Cream.

Countdown to Thanksgiving

T-minus 23

Thanksgiving Ent, Bellagio
The Ent, Bellagio Hotel, Las Vegas

There are many misconceptions about Thanksgiving. Chief among those is the widely held notion that Thanksgiving is a celebration of family and food, good times and happy meals together, plus some football. Nope. In reality, Thanksgiving is a celebration of survival. Of eating and not being eaten. Of not freezing to death. Of not dying from a ingrown toenail or “catarrh”–whatever that is.

I like family and food as much as the next guy (football not so much), but I really dig surviving. I like waking up. I like feeling better. And I like not being eaten. You too? I thought so.

So this year, I’d like to celebrate survival by helping you traverse the treacherous waters of holiday stress and mayhem. Can we agree that hosting Thanksgiving Dinner–especially if you find yourself solely responsible for it–is right up there with facing down a charging bear or trying to survive a six-month winter in a tent, gnawing on fish jerky and hardtack. [I mean, in terms of the cortisol explosion going on in your body. Obviously, facing a bear may be preferable to hosting two dozen family members with high expectations, assorted food allergies, and picky palates.]

You will survive. I will give you recipes, tips, maybe a giveaway or two…we’ll get through this together. And on Thanksgiving Day, we will sit and eat the bounty of our season of survival with everyone else, and we’ll smile and stuff our faces and take a day off of fighting-and-flighting to simply enjoy ourselves…before we buckle down once again, girding our loins and our larders to face the harrowing struggle of the yuletide season.

Now, go fix yourself a Hot Buttered Rum and put your feet up. You need your strength.

 

Carrot Cake Granola Bars

granola bars

I came up with this recipe because I wanted something nice and fall-ish that didn’t involve going all the way to the store to buy pumpkin. Maybe it’s lazy, or maybe it’s serendipity.I love granola bars for post- (or mid-) run snacks. My kids love them for quick, grabby breakfasts. It’s such a simple item to prepare yourself, and they’re infinitely customizable. I make big batches, wrap the bars individually, and store them in the freezer. The bars take less than 10 minutes to thaw (but I’ve gnawed on many a still-frozen bar with no ill-effects). Get my recipe for Carrot Cake Granola Bars on Eat Real.

 

Blue Cheese Cocktail Crackers

cheese crackers

If you like cheese crackers, I have something for you. But first, let me apologize in advance for ruining you for commercial cheese crackers forever. I had a longstanding relationship with Cheez-Its too, and I ruined myself for them. Let’s just say that these savory, buttery, flaky little crackers are to Cheez-Its what your grandmother’s chewymeltydeliciousstraightoutoftheoven chocolate chip cookies are to Chips Ahoy.

Serve these with a glass of wine or your favorite craft beer. And however many you think you’ll need, make more.

cheese crackers

Blue Cheese Cocktail Crackers

The second best thing about these crackers is how quickly they come together. (The first is how they light up all the pleasure sensors in your brain.) The color of the dough will be an odd and somewhat disconcerting shade of cadet blue. Not to worry! They bake up a heavenly golden brown.

Yield: About 5 dozen

  • 4.5 ounces blue cheese (use a good-quality cheese, not blue cheese crumbles)
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cold
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Additional kosher salt and black pepper for sprinkling
  1. Combine blue cheese, butter, flour, cornstarch, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic powder in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the dough comes together in a ball.
  2. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour (or more).
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment.
  4. Roll chilled dough out to about 1/8″ thickness between sheets of parchment or waxed paper. Cut into 1″ squares with a pastry wheel or pizza cutter. (You can also use cookie cutters.)
  5. Transfer crackers to prepared baking sheets and sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper. Bake at 375 degrees F for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden brown and crisp.
  6. Let crackers cool completely before placing in an air-tight container. Will keep at room temperature for 3 days; freeze for longer storage.

Avocado Pound Cake with Lime Browned Butter Icing

Avocado Pound Cake
Once upon a time, a nice girl (or boy) could not go to the market and purchase an avocado without risk of ruining her (his) reputation. Avocados, it seems, were the culinary equivalent of items more typically purchased in drugstores, with much brow-beating and little eye contact. Back in the day, if you were after avocados, you were planning on making whoopee ~ not guacamole.

Simply put, Avocados were a forbidden fruit because way, way back when, the Aztecs thought they were nature’s answer to Viagra. On what did they base this? Let’s just say that the Aztec name for avocado is ahuacuatl because the fruit on the tree grow low and hang in pairs, and they’re shaped just like….
Anyway, avocados were considered to have such potent aphrodisiac powers that maidens were kept under lock and key during key harvest times.

Then in the 1920s, American avocado growers decided to get proactive about cleaning the naughty image of their fruit. To that end, an advertising campaign was launched declaring that avocados were not, in fact, aphrodisiac. Anatomical resemblances aside, sometimes a fruit is just a fruit ~ a yummy, buttery, wholesome fruit that would never dream of inflaming sexual appetites or endangering the virtue of maidens.
image
Happily, the advertising campaign was a success! Now the avocado was safe for consumption by good girls and nice boys, and the “alligator pear” ~ a much cuter nickname than “testicle fruit” ~ began its rise to Status: Inoffensive!

And that’s why, today, we do not have to buy our avocados online or in windowless stores that feature private viewing booths. We can boldly walk right into our supermarkets and walk out with an armload and, I assure you, no one but no one will suspect we have plans to get lucky.

Which is a little bit ironic if you’re buying avocados to make this cake. Because in that case, you’ll be feeling pretty lucky to be enjoying a piece or few of this incredibly luscious, intriguingly flavored, pale green pound cake. Who knows? After all, the Aztecs were a pretty populous bunch before they made some very bad choices in the making-new-friends department.
corner
Avocado Cake with Lime Browned Butter Icing
The avocado in this delicate pound cake is present but subtle ~ don’t be afraid to try it, even if you’re not a tremendous fan of the flavor of avocados. It’s really very delicate.

  • 6 ounces (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup finely ground cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 very ripe Haas avocados, peeled, pitted, and mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F; grease two 81/2 x 41/2 loaf pans. If your pans are not nonstick or well seasoned, you might want to flour them as well.
  2. Cream butter and sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add mashed avocado and continue beating until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add vanilla extract and beat to combine.
  3. Whisk together flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Turn mixer down to low and add half of the dry ingredients. Add the buttermilk, then add the remaining flour mixture. Mix on low just until ingredients are incorporated. Use a spatula to scrape down the bowl.
  4. Divide the batter between the loaf pans and bake at 350 degrees F for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean. If loaves are browning too quickly, cover lightly with a piece of foil.
  5. Let loaves cool on rack in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto rack to cool completely. Glaze with Lime Browned Butter Icing (recipe follows) if desired.

Lime Browned Butter Icing

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 11/2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon lime oil
  1. Cook butter in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until golden brown (about 5 mins); remove from heat and let cool to lukewarm.
  2. Whisk together confectioner’s sugar, lime zest, lime juice, and lime oil. Gradually pour in browned butter while whisking. Adjust texture of icing, if necessary, by adding additional confectioner’s sugar 1 tablespoon at a time until a thick glaze consistency is reached.
  3. Use an offset spatula to apply glaze to cooled avocado cake; let set for 30 mins, then slice and serve.