Category

Snacks

Paleo Cinnamon “Oatmeal” Raisin Cookies

By | Desserts, Food, Paleo, Recipes, Snacks, Vegetarian | 12 Comments

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Cookies! If you hadn’t noticed, we’ve been in a bit of a baking drought since going Paleo. Initially it was because we chose to abstain from treats to better acclimate to being newly grain free. I also quickly found that Paleo baking had a learning curve that I didn’t have time for while finishing grad school. There were new flours I’d never heard of and substitutions we’d never experimented with. Needless to say, I was a little overwhelmed (and still am). My cabinet filled with bags of whole wheat flour are turning into smaller clusters of canning jars filled with various things I’m collecting as our budget allows—things like coconut flour and tapioca starch. I feel like I’m learning to bake all over again.

Thankfully I didn’t have to tap my newb skills too deeply for these cookies. They are completely grain free, and while this means they aren’t true oatmeal cookies, they’ve definitely fooled a few people.

Ingredients:

1 cup pitted dates, chopped into chunks
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons coconut oil
1/2 cup pecans
2-3 tablespoons honey
1 cup shredded coconut
2 cups almond meal
2 eggs
3/4 cup raisins

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Place dates, coconut, oil, spices and pecans in a food processor. Pulse until nuts and dates resemble large and loose crumbs.
  3. Transfer mix to a large mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix using hands.
  4. Form into tight hamburger-like patties and place on a greased cookie sheet
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly golden.

Makes 8-10 cookies.

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Fair warning, make these once and you’ll be consumed by the desire to make them often. They are super healthy as well as easy to adapt for other flavors. Last night (upon Neil’s request), I added a little vanilla and cacao nibs and made chocolate chip cookies. Next, I’d like to make snickerdoodles, because my Udi’s habit is very expensive.

Shrimp and Sweet Potato Baked Wontons

By | Appetizers, Recipes, Sides, Snacks | 6 Comments

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We never leave a vacation without a new favorite food, and the Sweet Potato and Shrimp Croquettes (Bolinhos) at Cafe Brazil were by far a new and already much-missed favorite. Inquisitive and with the excuse of having nearly all the ingredients already in the kitchen, we decided to give our own inspired variation a try. A perfect cheat snack for a relaxing Friday night!

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons coconut oil/olive oil
1/2 pound shrimp shelled and deveined
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup minced shallots, minced,
1/2 cup minced scallions, sliced thinly
1 tablespoon minced serrano pepper
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 teaspoons coconut sugar
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1 egg
1 package wonton wrappers

Directions:

  1. Peel and de-vein shrimp, rinse thoroughly. Heat half of the coconut oil/olive oil in a medium skillet. Saute shrimp for 2-3 minutes. It is okay if they are not completely done through.
  2. Heat remaining coconut oil/olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until soft. Add ginger, serrano pepper, sugar and sweet potato and saute for 3-5 minutes, or until soft.
  3. Transfer shrimp and sweet potato mixture to food processor and pulse until thoroughly blended. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Crack egg into small bowl and whisk until blended. Position a wonton wrapper with point facing toward you. Place 2 heaping teaspoons of filling in the center of wrapper. Fold bottom corner over filling; fold sides toward center over filling. Roll toward the remaining point. Moisten top corner with beaten egg; press to seal. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling. (You can also fork the edges to seal if desired.)
  5. Place on baking sheets coated with cooking spray; lightly coat wontons with additional cooking spray.
  6. Bake at 400° for 10-14 minutes or until golden brown, turning once halfway through the time. Serve with salsa or sweet chili sauce if desired. Makes about 4 dozen.

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Crunchy, salty and sweet — irresistable! We served them with some salsa Blake canned and brought by around Christmas. It’s a favorite, but man is it SPICY!

Apple Spice Granola

By | Breakfast, Food, Paleo, Recipes, Snacks | 9 Comments

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The past month has been a roller coaster of reevaluating our workouts and nearly everything in our diet (update coming soon!). Understandably, the fact that we’er now working out more means we’re also eating more, which of course leads to additional food expenses. Luckily the lack of more expensive convenience foods in our diet gives us a little extra wiggle room, but we’d still like to minimize additional expenses where we can — without going hungry. Enter fun DIY snacks!

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Our favorite store-brought granola to date — luckily scored on sale recently!

As we are now hungry or eating every four or so hours, easy snacks like granola, jerky and other mixes of nuts and dried fruit are often our go-to. They particularly come in handy before and after workouts, in the morning when we’re rushing off to work, and that annoying time around 3pm where it feels like ages before dinner. Of all the snacks we’ve bought or made, our favorite seems to be granola.

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There is a lot of benefits and misperceptions of granola. While it can provide a cohesively tasty blend of a lot of good-for-you nuts, fruits and light grains, modern variations seem increasingly loaded with sugar and oil. Not all granola is created equal, and if you can identify a good brand or blend you like, it can be a great snack or better yet, something you can make in your own kitchen!

This is my first attempt at granola with a base I developed based on the history of granola I plucked from books and articles and about 20 recipes with varying proportions of wet to dry mixes. Fair warning, this recipe proved not to be my “idea” of “perfect” yet; it’s a work in progress. But I wanted to share the progress of getting to my ultimate goal: A paleo-friendly granola with a perfectly light sweetness, lots of crunch and no oils or additional sugar (if possible). I think it’s cool to watch recipes transform, rather than just see the pretty picture end product don’t you?

Ingredients:

5 cups rolled oats
1 cup raw almonds
2 cups dried apples, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 teaspoons apple pie spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¾ tsp. salt
¼ cup brown sugar (working my way down)
1 ¼ cup applesauce
¼ cup maple syrup
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup pepitas or sunflower seeds

Ingredients:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325° F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat
  2. In a large bowl, combine oats, almonds, dried apples,  apple pie spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and brown sugar. Stir until thoroughly mixed.
  3. In a small bowl whisk in applesauce, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Continue to whisk until smooth. Pour wet ingredients into oat mixture and stir until oats are completely and evenly coated and moistened. Spread mixture onto the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove pan from the oven and slowly stir and turn oats. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the granola is golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and slowly stir in dried cranberries and pepitas. Let cool completely before transferring to an airtight container.

Enjoy as a snack, meal or a topping.

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This granola has a perfect warm spice flavor, but for someone who likes crunch, I’m still craving more. I want more things to munch on and more crunch within the oats themselves. I think part of that will come from bigger, better quality oats in the next batch. Stay tuned for V.2!

Kentucky Bourbon Bacon Chex Mix®

By | Camping, Food, Recipes, Snacks | 4 Comments

Kentucky Bourbon Bacon Chex Mix®

A few weeks back, our recipe for Caramel Cashew Shortbread Squares was randomly picked up by Betty Crocker’s Facebook page. Huge spike in traffic, the most traffic we’ve ever received to our site. We were stoked. Of course, it all dropped off the next day, but for a thrilling moment it was cool to see so many people stopping by to check out something we’d done.

Up until then, I’d never really given Betty Crocker’s website much thought. Since we cook a lot from scratch and rarely bake and they make a lot of convenience products especially tailored to baking it never felt like there was much of a match to be made. But while searching it on a whim the other day before our camping trip, I came across their recipe for Kentucky Bourbon Bacon Chex Mix®. We never really leapt onto the bacon craze, but with an impending male-dominated camping trip, where could I possibly go wrong with a snack that contained both bacon AND booze?

Ingredients:

Adapted from Betty Crocker
7 ½ cups Corn Chex® Cereal
7 ½ cups Honey-nut Chex® Cereal
1 ½ cup pecan halves
½ pound bacon (6-8 slices), crisply cooked and chopped
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
2 cups pretzels (we used the sticks)
1 cup unsalted roasted peanuts
½ cup butter
¼ cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons bourbon
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Kentucky Bourbon Bacon Chex Mix®

Kentucky Bourbon Bacon Chex Mix®

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 300°F. Line two 15x10x1-inch pans with foil. Spray foil with cooking spray. In large bowl, mix chex cereals, pretzels, peanuts, pecans and bacon. Set aside.
2. In 2-quart saucepan, heat brown sugar, butter and corn syrup over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until bubbly around edges. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally; remove from heat. Cool 2 minutes. Carefully stir in bourbon, chipotle chili powder and cinnamon. Pour over snack mixture; toss until evenly coated.
3. Spread snack mixture on pans. Bake 15-25 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, to caramelize mixture. Cool completely, about 1 hour. Break into pieces. Store covered in refrigerator.

Chex Mix® is always a staple on our overnight and weekend camping trips. It’s easy to make, it keeps well, and doesn’t require any preparation. However, this recipe is a little different than our others. First, it has meat in it. If that skeezes you out, I’d skip this recipe. However, if you don’t mind it, and you like your breakfast bacon served with a little pancake syrup, then this recipe is definitely for you. It seriously tastes like breakfast — if your breakfast includes a shot or two of bourbon. Typically, most of the flavoring in our Chex Mix® recipes comes from powdered seasonings. The flavor in this recipe however comes from caramelizing several ingredients. The consistency of the final product is therefore more of a coated, sticky brittle that you eat in clumps rather than individual pieces.

Each piece is a little salty and sweet piece of heaven, at least that is what I gathered from the few small hand-fulls I managed to get away from the guys.

Brown Butter Butterscotch Banana Bread …with Greek Yogurt?

By | blogging, Breadmaking, Breakfast, Food, Kitchen, Snacks, Vegetarian | 6 Comments

Browned Butter Butterscotch Banana Bread

It’s official. My Greek yogurt obsession is out of control. It’s become almost a game. “Can I put Greek yogurt in this?” The latest challenge was born out of Neil’s insistence that I find a use for the two black bananas in our freezer. We have only our tiny refrigerator freezer and it is stuffed to the gills. These bananas had shifted positions four or five times and he was tired of making room for them.

That and I think he was hoping they’d end up in banana bread. Isn’t that the best home for wayward forgotten bananas?

Ingredients:

2 medium bananas (or 1 cup mashed banana)
½ cup butter softened
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup cake flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
¾ tsp salt
½ cup greek yogurt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup butterscotch chips

Browned Butter Butterscotch Banana Bread

I’d never roasted bananas. They came out sounding like they were about to pop!

Browned Butter Butterscotch Banana Bread

Some yummy Chobani

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Just missing the butterscotch chips…

Browned Butter Butterscotch Banana Bread

Browned Butter Butterscotch Banana Bread

The first slice, end pieces are the best.

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Roast bananas with peel for 15-20 minutes. If you want to skip this step, simply mash the bananas (you’ll need 1 cup of mashed banana). Grease an 8″ x 4″ loaf pan.
2. In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Carefully move the saucepan around to melt and move the butter, but do not stir. Allow to foam until it subsides, then remove from heat and set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, mix together brown sugar, salt and sugar. Stir, adding browned butter, Greek yogurt and vanilla. Stir until combined but don’t overmix. Add peeled roasted bananas and mix for 1-2 minutes.
4. In a separate bowl, mix together the flours, cinnamon and baking soda, mixing until combined. Slowly add flour to the wet mix while stirring. Mix until the bananas are unseparated and throughly blended throughout the mix.
5. Add butterscotch chips and slowly fold them into the batter until evenly distributed. Make sure to taste test a few for quality. Safety first.
5. Pour into greased loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Cool completely before removing from loaf pan and onto a cooling rack.

The combination of Greek yogurt and Cake flour give this bread a fine, soft, almost creamy crumb that is only made smoother by the butterscotch chips. Of all the banana cake recipes I’ve made thus far, it is my favorite. This bread lasted less than two days, evidence of both how good it is and how gluttonous Neil and I are.

While I have you all here, I wanted to tell you about a Twitter project I’m excited to be involved in. It’s called #Cookchat, and it’s a casual conversation about food and cooking. I am co-hosting with the awesome Kate of The Guavalicious Life, and although there are tons of food-related Twitter hashtag conversations, ours really is a conversation, not a structured Q+A.

This week we’re meeting early (3pm CST) to check in on your New Year’s food resolutions before the Oscars, but I hope you’ll consider joining us every Sunday at 7:30pm CST for a range of special topics, meal ideas, and what’s cooking in your kitchen this week.

Sour Cherry and Coconut Fudge Brownies

By | Desserts, Food, organic, Recipes, Snacks, Vegetarian | 2 Comments

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Things have been CRAZY this week, and like always, when the going gets tough, blogging ends up taking a backseat. I hate that it happens that way, but it’s always the fun stuff you LOVE doing that falls by the wayside when you get busy. I think too that when I was on winter break, I got spoiled by being able to blog whenever on a whim without a schedule or a plan. Now that things are crazy again (understatement of the century), I’ll have to make up for luxury with chocolate. Brownies to be exact.

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These tart Cherry and Coconut Fudge Brownies were my contribution to Super Bowl Sunday this past week, along with Neil’s annual crock of cocktail wienies. Neil only watches the Super Bowl if they are involved. I on the other hand prefer brownies with my football. As a Minnesotan hard-wired to hate the Packers, they made losing a tad bit easier. Plus, my Chocolove organic chocolate had poems inside AND was made in Boulder, CO. Can’t get much better than that right?

Ingredients:

adapted from Citrus and Candy
½ cup unsalted butter, chopped
1 cup brown sugar (or regular white sugar)
1/3 cup honey
9.6 ounces/1 ¼ cups of dark chocolate (around 60%, although I used a few different bars)
4 eggs
1 cup flour
¼ cup unsweetened dessicated coconut
½ cup dried sour cherries (or bing cherries if you prefer)

Directions:

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1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9×9 inch baking pan.
2. In a medium to large pot over low heat, gently melt the butter, sugar and honey together until combined and sugar has dissolved.
3. Add chocolate and stir to melt and combine. Remove from heat and cool slightly for 5 minutes Add eggs and whisk until combined. Whisk in the flour and coconut.
4. Scrape batter into baking pan and bake until skewer comes out relatively clean. Baking times seem to vary for this recipe, but my brownies were done at around 40-45 minutes. Watch carefully!

Love these brownies. Fudgy, chewy, with that little flaky, crumbly top that I love and I bet you do too. And in case you were wondering about the poem, here it is:

Toffee

from Love (3)

Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
If I lacked anything.

“A guest,” I answered, “worthy to be here”:
Love said, “You shall be he.”
“I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear,
I cannot look on thee.”
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
“Who made the eyes but I?”

“Truth, Lord; but I have marred them; let my shame
Go where it doth deserve.”
“And know you not,” says Love, “who bore the blame?”
“My dear, then I will serve”
“You must sit down,” says Love, “and taste my [treat].”
So I did sit and eat.

-George Herbert

Perfect huh? Do you like poetry? What is your favorite poem/poet?

Spiced Maple Banana Muffins

By | Breakfast, Food, Recipes, Snacks, Vegetarian | 6 Comments

Maple Banana Muffins

I’ve been experimenting lately with alternative ways to sweeten our food. I mean, there’s no way around sugar for everything, but as a web designer I’m fascinated (read: borderline obsessed) by the different ways to bake to improve the nutrition of what we eat. Plus, let’s face it, good maple syrup tastes amazing!

This recipe is a variation of one I found among some old notecards at my mom’s house. I have NO idea where it came from, but kudos to the creator as it’s become a template recipe and starting point for a lot of the quick breads and muffins I’ve baked.

Ingredients:

6 tablespoons butter
½ cup maple syrup
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 ripe bananas, mashed
1 ¼ cups flour (I used whole-wheat)
1 cup cornmeal
2 teaspoons nutmeg
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon sea salt

Directions:

Maple Banana Muffins

1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Grease or line 12 cups of a standard muffin tin.

Maple Banana Muffins

2. In a large bowl, blend the butter and syrup. Add the eggs and bananas. Mix in the remaining ingredients. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tin.

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3. Bake 16-18 minutes, until the muffin tops are golden and a tester inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Transfer to a rack and cool.

Maple Banana Muffins

A muffin that tastes like banana pancakes! They are lightly sweet and taste mostly of the banana. Since I’ve been under the weather, they were super easy to throw together and ready in under an hour. In future batches, I’d like to know how they taste with agave nectar in place of the maple syrup, since agave is sweeter than sugar and maple syrup is roughly 60% as sweet as sugar.

I’ve never baked with agave nectar, do you find it to be too sweet or just right to substitute in baking?

Cleaning Up our Snack Act: Light and Creamy Crab Salad on Endive

By | Appetizers, Food, Healthy, Recipes, Salads, Snacks | 2 Comments

Crab Salad on Endive

Even though I’m proud to say we’ve eliminated a lot of processed food from our diet, one of the main areas we still tend to lapse and indulge in it is snacks. We really only treat ourselves to snacks on the weekends, but when we do, it’s chips and crackers with some of Neil’s stash of fancy cheese and maybe an apple. Sure, it’s no longer whole bags of Doritos and ice cream, but I still think we could be doing better.

I actually made this as an appetizer for New Year’s and it was awesome. I’ve totally underestimated the ability to use greens as a platform for sandwich salads and dips. I didn’t eat the whole plate myself, but I easily could have.

Ingredients:

1 French or Belgian endive
2 cups cooked cooled crab meat, (or prepackaged, sorry guys I was in a hurry)
1/2 cup of raisins or other dried fruit
2 stalks of celery, diced
1/8 teaspoon of sriracha sauce
1/8 teaspoon sweet chili sauce (or a little sugar)
1/8 teaspoon of paprika
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons mayonnaise (or mashed tofu with a little cider vinegar)
3 tablespoons Greek Yogurt (can you tell I’m obsessed?)

Directions:

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1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir thoroughly to combined. Peel, wash and drive endive and fill each with 1 tablespoon of mixture. Serve and enjoy immediately!

Crab Salad on Endive

These mimic the same wonderful creamy to crunchy combination of chips and dip but without all the salt and carbs. The best part is that it only takes a few to fill you up, unlike chips which are easy to eat to the bottom of the bag. Although endive is a little hard to come by, I’ve been able to find it pretty consistently, albeit a little more expensive than cheap chips and crackers.

As we embark on New Year’s Resolutions, what are your favorite ways to substitute veggies for guilty-pleasure snack foods?

Easy and Fast: Baked Jalapeño Poppers

By | Appetizers, Food, Kitchen, Recipes, Sides, Snacks, Vegetarian | 2 Comments

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I think more often than not (and I’m as guilty as anyone mind you), people overlook spicy peppers as always the “part” but never the “whole.” They’re something to be used to enhance something else, but never appreciated for how well they stand up on their own. I think this is because while they have endless possibilities when it comes to their use in other things, people have a hard time coming up with ways to enjoy them on their own without burning their faces off.

I rescued the last of our peppers last week before a particularly cold night and wanted to use them and not freeze them like the rest of our hot peppers. We’ve been trying to use up some stuff in the fridge/pantry, and I just happened to have cream cheese, cheese, bread crumbs and one egg. It was like the universe was calling to us to make our Baked Jalapeño Poppers. We learned a lot from our last venture into popper-dom: warm ingredients equal mush. So everything was right out of the fridge, including the peppers. By the way, can you believe it’s been almost a year since we bought our little corner of the internet!?

Ingredients:

12 fresh jalapeño peppers, halved lengthwise with stems, seeds and membranes removed
1 8-ounce bar reduced fat cream cheese (not softened!)
1 cup grated part-skim mozzarella cheese (we used Monterrey jack)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, slightly crushed
1 teaspoon mild ground chili
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 cup seasoned dry breadcrumbs
1/2 cup wheat flour (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

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1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with non-stick spray or use a non-stick sheet.
2. In a large bowl, mix together cream cheese, mozzarella, cumin seeds, mild chili powder and black pepper. In a shallow dish, whisk egg and milk. Spread the breadcrumbs out on a sheet of wax paper or into a separate shallow bowl. If you’re using flour, also pour into a separate dish or onto a sheet of wax paper.
3. Fill each half pepper with a tablespoon of the cream-cheese mixture. Then, one at a time, dredge in the flour (if using), dip into the egg/milk, and roll in crumbs until coated. Repeat with the rest of peppers. Place the coated peppers, on the baking sheet, and bake until golden, about 25 to 30 minutes. Enjoy immediately!

I love having appetizers for dinner! We popped toothpicks in them this time around to make them not only easy to eat but to keep the tops from sliding off as they baked in the oven. These have just the right amount of bite without being over the top and too spicy, and if you take away the cheese they aren’t too awfully bad for you. Neil was reading up on jalapeños as we ate and it turns out they are excellent sources of dietary fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Thiamin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Potassium, Copper and Manganese. They are also good sources of Riboflavin, Niacin, Iron, Magnesium and Phosphorus.

Is that enough to negate the cheese AND the fact we baked them?

Sweet Potato Garlic Knots for the Narcs

By | Appetizers, Breadmaking, Food, Kitchen, Rant, Recipes, Sides, Snacks, Vegetarian | 20 Comments

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Because we were in St. Louis all day Saturday, I didn’t get around to making these until early Sunday afternoon. If you know us in real life you know that we live in an interestingly diverse neighborhood. I say that because nearly every facet of humanity is somehow represented in “Andersonville,” which encompasses several city blocks. We live in the more colorful section and every day is seemingly a scene right out of the movie The Burbs.

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So as I was trying to play Susie Homemaker in the kitchen, Neil was out trying to take advantage of the seasonally warm weather and get our dying, unkept yard cleaned up. Somewhere in there, smoke started pouring out of our neighbors back yard. I don’t know approximately how many people live in the house, but I can only really describe them as DIY Hippie Backpackers? Their house really looks more like a massive campsite.

I just want to state for the record that we are not assholes. If you live in a residential neighborhood, you probably know that there are ordinances against burning within city limits. Why? Because the already tight, corridor layout of older neighborhoods is exacerbated by smoke from your neighbor’s illegal bonfire pouring into your windows and dropping ash all over your car. We are pretty passive about a lot of the weird stuff that goes on in this neighborhood, but the smoke, falling ash and their complete oblivion was a little more than annoying, not to mention we’re in the middle of a high-risk code red burn warning. All it takes is a little inattention with fire, and we make CNN before dinnertime. So we called the non-emergency police number thinking they’d send a squad car and tell them to knock it off.

Nope.

Fire trucks came blazing down the street, prompting the rest of our neighbors to spill out onto their lawns. Somewhere in there, one of their dogs got loose and bit one of our other, more crazy neighbors (Kim, the one who pushes the shopping cart around and shops our trash on trash day). She of course went bananas, and called animal control, who apparently now have some kind of immediate-response team, so in no time there were two white government trucks parked alongside the fire trucks. One phone call and less than thirty minute later our block looked like a scene out of Shaun of the Dead and Neil and I were mortified and hiding our shame under the bed.

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Luckily we had these Sweet Potato Garlic Knots to keep us company. Adapted from (Never Home)makers’s Pumpkin Garlic Knots recipe, they were just out of the oven just as Neil closed the door to hide from the neighbors. We gobbled them up pretty quickly too, as they are perfectly-sized addictive little morsels.

Ingredients

1 cup warm water
1 envelope active dry yeast
2 tablespoons honey (or agave nectar)
½ cup sweet potato puree (canned or fresh)
2 tablespoons olive oil (I used an herbed variety)
1 ½ teaspoons coarse kosher salt
3 ½ cups unbleached bread flour (I used ½ bread flour, ½ whole wheat flour)

For the drizzle:
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup olive oil

Directions

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1. To make sweet potato puree: Wash and peel sweet potato and cut into 1-inch squares. Place in a large pot and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil for 20-25 minutes or until soft. Remove from heat and drain into a colander and return to pot. Mash and allow them to sit while you prepare your other ingredients.

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2. Pour warm water into a medium bowl and slowly whisk in yeast. Let sit for 10 minutes, then add honey, olive oil and mashed sweet potato. Whisk until thoroughly combined and smooth.

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3. In a separate bowl, mix flour and salt. Slowly stir in wet ingredients and continue to stir until it becomes impossible. Then use your hands to continue mixing and slowly start kneading your dough, adding more flour to your hands to keep it from sticking.

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4. Once you’ve created your nice dough ball, add olive oil to the bottom of your bowl and roll the dough ball in it until it is coated. Cover with saran wrap or damp towel and store in a dry place (I use my microwave) for two hours.

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5. Around the last 15 minute mark, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Divide your dough into pieces you can easily hold in your fist and roll them into long strips around 8 or 9-inches long. Don’t worry if they’re skinny, they’ll still get fat when they bake. Tie each into a knot, and tuck the edges under each side, then place each on the pizza stone.

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6. Bake until golden, around 10-15 minutes. Brush with minced garlic and olive oil immediately after removing from oven. Allow to cool 3-5 minutes.

Makes 16 garlic knots.

The hissing sound the oil and garlic makes as it drips off the roll and onto the pizza stone is to die for. I made a few changes to the original recipe, but not many. If we could have stopped ourselves from eating them long enough, I would have sliced a little honey and butter into them, but they really didn’t need it. Neil’s already fantasizing about sweet potato crust for our pizzas, so stay tuned, I’m sure that will happen sometime in the near future. Until then, make these and let whatever is going on in your world disappear for a while.