Monday, January 30, 2012

sweet potato supper

Sweet potato, I'm a fan.  You're just so tasty.  My Grandmother likes a good sweet potato, and I was recently at a steak restaurant that served my little steak with a side of baked sweet potato.  So, I've just been loving these fluffy, knobbly little spuds lately.  And word on the street is that they're really good for you (perhaps sans that delicious butter and cinnamon sugar).  Tonight, I was making supper out of my sweet potato.  It was a total invention, but turned out so yummy.

 Mmm.  Fluffy, creamy sweet potato piled high with slightly-bitter balsamic roasted radicchio, nutty gruyere, salty proscuitto and  fresh parsley.  What a tasty combination.  I'm always watching the Food Network, and they speak about creating food that combines as many flavors as possible (sweet, salty, acidic etc) and this hits on all of them.

First, you need to bake your potato.  Give it a good prod with a fork (there are urban legends that potatoes baked without doing this explode.  Let's face it, who really wants to put that to the test?).  

Put your sweet spud on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake at 400ºF/204ºC for about an hour.

 In the meantime, you can prep your radicchio. Some of you may have never heard of this little guy.  It's Italian chicory, with a pungent flavor that adds an earthiness to whatever you put it in.  Give it a rinse and chop into bite-sized pieces (removing the extra bitter white core).

Look at my purty fleur de sel!  I found it at a local specialty store.  It's the exact same stuff I bought for my mom when I was in Geneva.  And yes, fancy salt gets me excited, y'all!

Toss on a baking sheet with salt and pepper, evoo and a hearty dash of balsamic vinegar.  The sweetness of the balsamic counteracts the bitterness of the radicchio beautifully.  Roast at 400/204 for 15 minutes, until nearly tender and slightly crispy at the edges.  I actually roasted the radicchio after my potato was done baking, because I spent the potato baking time skyping with delightful Jo in Cambridge.

Here's how it will look when it's done.  I know it looks burnt, but it's not!  It's a deep purple already and the balsamic vinegar caramelizes a bit on it.  Yum yum.  If you find that it's still too bitter for your taste, just add a bit more balsamic vinegar.

 Now, for a salty kick, chop up some pancetta.  Since we're going with an Italian veggie, this bacon is a great choice.  It's unsmoked (but quite salty), and you can get it at the butcher nice and thick and just cube it up.  (You can, of course, just use regular bacon.)

Saute on medium-high until crispy.    

And then drain on a paper towel.  Feel free to nibble on a couple pieces.  It's a Monday, y'all.  You've earned it!

 Chop up some fresh parsley.

Open that brilliant orange potato and smush it a bit (technical term) so it has room for all the goodies.
Pile it high with roasted radicchio, some large grates of nutty gruyere cheese, crispy pancetta and fragrant parsley.  It doesn't need butter or oil at all...just a final drizzle of balsamic vinegar around your plate to dip each bite in will do ya.

Now that's an elegant baked potato.  Balanced, powerful flavors, vibrant colors and pretty healthy, too.  What a way to begin the week.

(Sadly, there was none left for the precious pup once I was done.)

Bon appetit!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

chocolate cake for the soul

Pastoral care takes many forms.  Today, this is what it looked like as I met with a teenager in my church, chatted with her about friends, prom dresses and life goals and helped her write Prayers of the People for Sunday.  And we ate this amazing chocolate cake.  And homemade creamy hummus with crunchy grilled bread.

In other news...I start Zumba classes tomorrow.  :)

Bon appetit!

Friday, January 20, 2012

dominos schmominos

You ain't gettin' this at Dominos, y'all.  This is Rachael Ray's asparagus prosciutto pizza and it's my go-to easy peasy entertaining idea.

I don't have step-by-step instructions with pictures, because I was making it super-quick after work before a friend came over to discuss more churchy stuff.  I used to make this all the time in seminary when gals would come over every Tuesday night.

The leftovers make a delicious lunch: just reheat in the oven to get nice and bubbly and crispy.

Bon appetit!

Rachael Ray's Asparagus, Cheese and Prosciutto Pizza


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound store-bought pizza dough  (that little dough boy's always great)
  • 1 1/4 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pound thin asparagus, trimmed and halved
  • 6 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated (2 cups)  I used smoked Gouda instead, because I love it so and it was half the price!
  • 3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into strips

DIRECTIONS:Preheat the oven to 425°. Brush a rimmed baking sheet with the olive oil. Place the pizza dough on the pan and stretch to fit (if the dough is resistant, cover with a kitchen towel and refrigerate for a few minutes). Spread the ricotta on the dough. Sprinkle the Parmesan on top and season with salt and pepper. Nestle the asparagus pieces in the cheese and sprinkle the Gruyère Gouda on top.Bake the pizza until the crust is brown and the cheese is bubbling, about 20 minutes. Scatter the prosciutto over the top (I put the prosciutto on in the last couple minutes of baking so it gets a little crispy) and cut into squares.