Sweet Potato Rolls: Secret Recipe Club

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Bread is a wonderful thing.  Especially when it’s all warm and had a little dab of melted butter on top.

If it were possible, I would like to spend my life curled up inside a warm roll with lots of butter.  That would be my nirvana right there.

For this month’s Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned Lisa’s blog The Authentic Suburban Gourmet.  She had so many great recipes to choose from, but I knew I wanted something wonderfully appropriate for the fall season since Texas is finally getting some of the cooler temperatures outside.  When i came across her pumpkin rolls, I was hooked.  Since I am still a pumpkin newbie, I decided to sub in some sweet potatoes.

These rolls were wonderful.  Soft and tender and just a little bit sweet.  Perfect plain, warm, cooled, with butter, with apple butter, or if you’re daring cinnamon sugar & butter (breakfast of champions right there).  They would be perfect for- dare I say it- Thanksgiving!  I have already started menu planning our Thanksgiving meal (only because I enjoy doing so), but if you are a normal human being and focus on one holiday at a time, you can bookmark these babies for next month.

Leftover turkey sandwiches on sweet potato rolls?  I may need to roast a second turkey just to make sure I can get enough leftovers.

SWEET POTATO ROLLS
Slightly Adapted from Authentic Suburban Gourmet

INGREDIENTS

1 package dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup sweet potato puree
1/3 cup sugar
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 – 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour

DIRECTIONS

Combine yeast, water, and a pinch of sugar. Let sit until yeast is foamy, about 10 minutes.

Place milk in saucepan over medium heat.  Heat, stirring constantly, until scalded (little bubbles will begin to form on the side).  Stir in sweet potato puree, sugar, butter, and salt.  Stir until combined.  Remove from heat and stir in yeast mixture.   Add flour and stir together until a soft dough forms.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface.  Knead until smooth and elastic.  Place in oiled bowl.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 1/2 – 2 hours.  Punch down bread and divide dough into 12 – 18 pieces.  Roll into balls.  Place dough in oiled 9×13 pan.  Cover and lit rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 – 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Bake rolls for 15-20 minutes.

Makes 12-18 rolls.

Make sure to check out what everyone else made for SRC this month!

Fried Sweet Potato Fries

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I am ready for fall.

I know lots of people love summertime, but it’s really not my favorite.  Sure, summer is great when you are in high school and get a solid 3 months off to sleep in, goof off, and hit the beach.  Even though summer is sometimes a little less busy for me, I am slowly losing my ability to sleep in now that I’ve gotten older (saddest fact of my life right now), I still have to work, and the closest body of water is a real sketchy artificial lake outside our mall.

Summer is slowly losing its fun, and I am becoming a ball of sweat.  The heat here is getting real ridiculous.  Oh the heat! I cannot take this constant sweating.  Throughout the night I even wake up sweating a little bit.  I go to work, and I sweat.  I come home, quickly strip off my work clothes, change into shorts and a t-shirt, and sweat.  I make dinner and sweat.  And then I shower.  And then I go to bed, and get ready to sweat.  Basically, I sweat a lot this summer, and I am ready for it to stop.

So I am ready for fall.  Bring on the cool weather, sweaters & scarves, and most importantly the fall food.  Apples, sweet potatoes, winter squash, and cranberries come on down! So while I am outside doing a dance to the fall Gods to bring on cooler temperatures, you all can start taking advantage of fall produce with these fried sweet potato fries.

I know people often eat sweet potatoes as a healthy alternative to normal potatoes and thus prefer baking then rather than frying them, but let’s face it: baking is not the same as frying.  Nothing can rival the crispiness of something being deep fried- sweet potatoes included.  Sweet potatoes are a little tough to fry- they just don’t want to crisp up as much as other food.  I have eaten a lot of sub-par sweet potato fries, but I have found a good recipe for crispy sweet potato fries.

And if you want to bake, check out my method for baking sweet potato fries here.

I promise I eat more than deep fried foods even though my last three posts are all about the oil.

FRIED SWEET POTATO FRIES
Slightly Adapted from Jeff Mauro

INGREDIENTS

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup club soda
Oil, for frying

DIRECTIONS

Heat oil to 375°F. Cut sweet potatoes into 1/2-1/4 inch sticks.

In a small bowl, mix together kosher salt, sugar, smoked paprika, and garlic powder together.  In a large bowl whisk the cornstarch and club soda together.  Dip sweet potato pieces into cornstarch batter.  Let excess drip on and let sweet potatoes drain on a wire rack.

Working in batches, fry the sweet potatoes for 6-8 minutes. Stir constantly while frying, or the sweet potatoes will stick together. Drain on paper towel.  Season with salt mixture.  Eat while warm.

If needed, keep sweet potato fries warm in an oven preheated to 200°F.

Vegetarian Banh Mi

I have always loved Chinese food (excluding a large period of my childhood when I burnt out on stir fry after my sister requested it constantly for dinner), but in my early years my love was mostly devoted to Americanized Chinese food.  Fried, salty, and covered in soy sauce were my requirements, and I always managed to pick around any vegetables that snuck their way onto my plate. I remember being baffled when I went to my aunt’s house and people chose to wrap their egg rolls in lettuce.
While those dishes are still delicious, I have now learned the value of more traditional dishes and including vegetables.  Not only have I begun wrapping my egg rolls in lettuce, but I have also begun to try new Asian cuisines- just recently I went to a good Korean place here in town, and I am now addicted to kimchi   Korean food here in the Texas panhandle- who knew?  I have also begun to try some Vietnamese cuisine as well and have begun experimenting in my own kitchen with Vietnamese dishes.
Banh mi are Asian sandwiches, a result of French colonization in Vietnam.  In general, banh mi sandwiches have fresh herbs and vegetables like cucumbers, do chua (pickled carrots and daikon), and cilantro   Real variety comes with the protein you put on your sandwich: pork, beef, chicken, tofu, meatballs are all possible options.  My version is a vegetarian version of the banh mi.  As soon as I saw the words “tempura sweet potato”, I knew I was had to make and love this sandwich.
This sandwich does require some work: advance prep to let components chill and develop flavor overnight and deep frying- but it. is. so. worth it.  The tempura sweet potato is to die for (please make extra so you can have some tempura sweet potato fries on the side, you will regret it if you don’t), and the mix of the salty veggies and the fresh cilantro is wonderful.  I definitely will be making more banh mi soon.
VEGETARIAN BANH MI
Adapted from Serious Eats
INGREDIENTS

For the Do Chua:
2 carrots, julienned
1/2 medium daikon, julienned
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 cup water
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar

For the Scallion Oil:
4 scallions, chopped
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce

For the Tempura Sweet Potato:
2 sweet potatoes
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup cold soda water
Vegetable oil, for frying
Salt, for seasoning

Toppings:
1 loaf French bread
1 avocado, thinly sliced
Cucumbers, thinly sliced
Cilantro, chopped
Pickled jalapeños

DIRECTIONS

For the Do Chua:

In a large bowl combined carrots, daikon, salt, and sugar.  Massage vegetables until salt and sugar is absorbed.  Add water and rice wine vinegar.  Stir.  Chill overnight.

For the Scallion Oil:

In a bowl combine scallions, sesame oil, and soy sauce.  Set aside.

For the Tempura Sweet Potato

Heat oil to 400°F.

Slice sweet potato in half and cut into 1/4 inch strips.  In a large bowl mix flour, cornstarch, and salt together.  Stir in cold soda water.  Dip sweet potatoes in batter one at a time.  Shake of excess batter and repeat with remaining sweet potatoes.  Fry for 3-5 minutes, agitating often, until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels.  Salt immediately after.

For the Banh Mi:

Wrap French bread in foil and warm in oven.  Slice into four pieces and create a slit in each.  Spread avocado on one side of bread and top with scallion oil mixture.  Layer cilantro, cucumber, jalapeños  and do chau on top.  Place tempura sweet potato pieces on top.

Makes 4 sandwiches.

Streusel Sweet Potato Soufflé

This years Thanksgiving was a tremendous success!  Except for the fact that I did not take any pictures of food or people after the festivities began.  So a Thanksgiving that will have to remain in mental memory but a good one none the less.  I hope you all also had a great day yesterday.

We may have overdone it with the amount of food, but hey, that is what Thanksgiving is all about, right?  We made and ate green bean casserole for the first time, along with creamed onions, apple stuffing, dry and wet stuffing, cranberry sauce, corn casserole, and more.    Our turkey also came out great, I think we now have become a turkey salting family.  I am already feeling ready to tackle all those leftovers we have sitting in the fridge.  During the dinner, I actually didn’t even make it through all the way to dessert this year, which is shocking.  I will have to make up for it with leftovers and learn to plan ahead and work on pacing myself for Christams

One of my favorite dishes from Thanksgiving last year was the Streusel Sweet Potato Soufflé.  It was my first taste of the beloved orange vegetable, and I was hooked.  When I was making it again this year, I realized why it tasted so good.  The ingredients are mostly sugar, butter, and sweet potatoes.  A perfect combination in my mind- make it to go with your Thanksgiving leftover or to enjoy during these winter months.

See my original post for the recipe.

Happy Thanksgiving & Crunchy Peanut Butter Sweet Potatoes

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you are all enjoying your time in the kitchen today.  Remember to try not to stress too much cooking dinner tonight.

I hope you all have plenty to be thankful for.  I know I have a lot this year to be grateful fo.  I am thankful that I am getting starting on a career path I love (even thought it keeps me too busy), I am thankful that I get to enjoy a big, yummy meal today, and I am thankful to spend time with my family, who I’ve been missing now that I live away from home.

Today count your blessings, and not the plates of food you eat!

Here are some great recipes to make with your leftovers:
Thanksiladas
Open Face Turkey Sandwich
Barbeque Turkey Wrap
Open Face Turkey Ruben
Thanksgiving Wraps
Cranberry Chicken Pizza
Streusel Sweet Potato Soufflé
Sweet Potato Fries

If you have some leftover sweet potatoes, here is an easy (but not very pretty) breakfast, or since I hope you all are sleeping in and relaxing, brunch.  Take some time to recover from the big turkey day and enjoy the remaining vacation from work.

These sweet potatoes will give you the energy needed to put up for Christmas decorations.

CRUNCH PEANUT BUTTER SWEET POTATOES
Barely Adapted from Fake Ginger
INGREDIENTS

3 small sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 tablespoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
Peanuts, optional

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400°F. While preheating, have your baking pan in the oven, so it is hot when you will put the sweet potatoes on.  This will help them crisp and not burn.

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine sweet potatoes, peanut butter, butter, cinnamon, and salt.  Stir together until warm and sweet potatoes are covered with peanut butter (you may need more or less peanut butter based on the size of your sweet potatoes).  Spread in an even layer on a greased baking sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Stir and flip potatoes Increase heat to broiler and cook for an additional 8-10 minutes, until crisp.

Garnish with peanuts if desired.  Serve with toast, eggs, or as a side dish.

Serves 2-3.

Sweet Potato Tacos with Yogurt Sauce

Growing up, mom always served us a balanced meal with a protein, a starch, and a vegetable.  When I first was on my own in college, my meals may have become slightly less balanced.  Grilled cheese and cereal for at least four days a week made me miss mom’s home cooking.  The food at our school cafeteria wasn’t awful, but the meat was often overcooked or undercooked (I once got a plate of bloody rotisserie chicken).  So slowly but surely my meat intake dwindled.  Then when I moved into my apartment and began to cook for myself, I began trying new vegetables and began to crave vegetables and other types of protein rather than meat.  I still love a good steak or piece of pork, but many days I got meatless.
Meatless meals are a great way to save some money and try new flavor combinations.  These tacos mimic fajitas without any meat.  I used to not be a fan of sweet potatoes (until I ate this Struesel Sweet Potato Souffle), but now I love them.  And I especially love eating them around this time of year- gets me excited for Thanksgiving (only 2 months away!!).  These tacos are filling, delicious, and vegetarian.
SWEET POTATO TACOS WITH YOGURT SAUCE
Adapted from The Picky Eater
INGREDIENTS
For the Yogurt Sauce:
1 cup Greek yogurt
3 cloves roasted garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper, to taste
For the Tacos:
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 cups frozen corn
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
Salt and pepper, to taste
8-10 corn tortillas, warmed
DIRECTIONS
For the Yogurt Sauce:
In a bowl, combine Greek yogurt, roasted garlic, and ground cumin.  Stir together and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Chill until ready to use.
For the Tacos:
Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Add sweet potatoes and season with salt.  Toss and cover.  Cook for 5-8 minutes, until sweet potatoes are cooked through (time will vary depending on how large or small they are chopped).  Add onion and remaining olive oil.  Cook for 5-6 minutes.  Add carrots and corn.  Cook for 3-4 minutes.  Season with garlic powder, chili powder, and smoked paprika.  Adjust seasoning and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Divide filling between tortillas and top with yogurt sauce.
Serves 3-4.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Barbeque Sauce

So, apparently I like sweet potatoes now.

Or maybe I have really liked them all along and just didn’t know it?  My mom has never been a fan of sweet potatoes, so when we ate the once a year at Thanksgiving, I always steered clear of them since she made it clear they were not her favorite.  Then last Thanksgiving, I made a sweet potato souffle that is a borderline dessert.  And I loved it.  Not sure if I really loved the sweet potatoes or the streusel topping, I still wasn’t convinced.  Then at Half Thanksgiving I tried a few sweet potato fries and enjoyed them.  I was still convinced I was content with eating sweet potatoes only once or twice a year.

But then I couldn’t get sweet potatoes off my mind.  I began to crave the slightly sweet an fluffy taste.  So, I made sweet potato fries baked in the oven to get the final verdict on sweet potatoes, and I paired it with my new favorite barbeque sauce.  Pure success, and I now am a sweet potato eater. Time to look up some different sweet potato recipes…

BAKED SWEET POTATO FRIES WITH BARBEQUE SAUCE
From Cinnamon Freud
INGREDIENTS

For the Barbeque Sauce:
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the Sweet Potato Fries:
2 sweet potatoes, peeled
1 1/2- 2 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 tablespoons brown sugar
Salt
DIRECTIONS
For the Barbeque Sauce:
Combine tomato sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, garlic power, cumin, paprika, vinegar, and lemon juice in a small saucepan.  Over medium heat, bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes, until it reaches desired thickness.  Add ground black pepper to taste.
For the Sweet Potato Fries:
Preheat the oven to 475°F.  Preheat a pizza stone in the oven

Slice sweet potato into 1/8-1/4 inch slices.  Put in large mixing bowl and cover with warm water.  Let stand for 45 minutes- 1 hour.  Drain sweet potatoes and pat dry.  In a large bowl, combine sweet potatoes, olive oil, brown sugar, and salt to taste.  Spread fries over a piece of parchment paper in a single layer.  Transfer parchment paper to preheated pizza stone.  Bake for 20-23 minutes.  Watch the fries carefully to ensure that they don’t burn, baking time will vary based on how thick the fries are cut.
Serve with barbeque sauce.  Serves 2-3.

Streusel Sweet Potato Soufflé

I know that Thanksgiving has already come and gone, but I could not not share (ah…double negative) this sweet potato recipe.

Sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving never were a big interest of mine.  I always focused my eating concentration on foods that I knew I loved:  turkey, cranberries, and stuffing.  But this year I decided I was going to try sweet potatoes for the first time (that I remember).  I was a sweet potato newbie, and I wanted to make the perfect sweet potato dish.

So I went browsing through sweet potato recipes, trying to find the best one out there.  Out of many options, I found a souffle topping with a marshmallow glaze.  It sounded delicious, and I bookmarked the recipe for Thanksgiving.  That was the plan until the night before, only hours prior to the commencement of Thanksgiving, I found this streusel topped sweet potato recipe.  I knew I need look no further- this was it.  This was going to be the sweet potato dish we ate for Thanksgiving.  Luckily, we had all the ingredients on hand already, and I didn’t have to make too many changes to the cooking schedule

This is a great sweet potato dish.  Whipped, creamy sweet potatoes are seasoned with fall spices and topped with a crunchy, sweet struesel topping. For someone who never had sweet potatoes before, I am not sure if I ever want to eat them any other way now.

If you need more convincing that this sweet potato recipe is the best, this is all that was left to take a picture of:

STREUSEL SWEET POTATO SOUFFLÉ
Soufflé adapted from Food Network
Streusel adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything

INGREDIENTS

For the Soufflé:
3 large sweet potatoes
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup evaporated milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the Streusel Topping:
1 stick butter, melted
1 1/3 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

DIRECTIONS

For the Soufflé:
Put sweet potatoes in a large saucepan. Cover almost completely with water. Bring to a boil. Cook for 30-40 minutes, until tender. Remove from water and let cool. Peel skin from potatoes.
Preheat oven to 325°F. 
In a large bowl, combine potatoes, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, eggs, salt, butter, evaporated milk, and vanilla extract. With handheld mixer, beat until combined and whipped on medium-low speed. Pour sweet potato mixture into a greased 9 inch tart pan. Bake for 25 minutes.
For the Streusel Topping:
Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine melted butter, brown sugar, flour, and pecans. Mix until combined.
Increase oven temperature to 375°F. Cover baked sweet potato mixture with streusel topping. Bake for 10 minutes, until golden brown. Let stand 30 minutes.