Monday, May 16, 2011
When I was invited to an Easter lunch and needed to come up with a dish to bring, I immediately thought of sweet potatoes. I don't typically associate sweet potatoes with Easter, but I guess I was in the mood for them. I didn't want to make the typical southern sweet potato casserole that has more sugar than I care to think about, so I was excited to find a recipe for a low sugar sweet potato casserole at 101 Cookbooks. This dish was just sweet enough that this could have been a dessert (I ate some of the leftovers this way), but it was also a nice accompaniment to the main meal. I loved the combination of sweet potatoes and coconut, and I'll be using the two together more often now. Unfortunately the sweet potatoes that I bought were very stringy, but otherwise it was amazing.
Sweet potato casserole (adapted from 101 Cookbooks)
6 pounds sweet potatoes
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp honey
2/3 cup grated coconut (ideally unsweetened), toasted
4 Tbsp melted butter
2/3 cup sliced almonds
Pierce the sweet potatoes in several places with a knife, place them on a large baking sheet, and bake at 400 for an hour to an hour and a half, until they are very soft. Let the potatoes cool until you can handle them, and then peel them and put all of the flesh into a large mixing bowl. Add the coconut milk, ginger, cinnamon, salt, and honey to the bowl and mix well. Lightly grease a 9"x13" pan and spread the potato mixture in the pan. Sprinkle the coconut on top of the potatoes and drizzle the butter over the coconut. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, and then sprinkle the almonds on top and cook for another 10 minutes, or until the almonds are toasted. Serves 10.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
About a month ago I got a grill. It was one of those days that I won't soon forget, and not because I'm that obsessed with the grill (but I am enjoying it often!). You see, I have a Corolla, so transporting most furniture, appliances, and other large objects is out of the question. Luckily my parents visit often and we've transported all kinds of things in Mom's CR-V. In fact, Dad now has a theory that if you push hard enough you can fit anything in there. We weren't so lucky with the grill, though. The grill was too tall to stand up in the back of the CR-V and the permanent extensions on both sides of the body of the grill prevented it from fitting in sideways. The only way that it would fit was to stick the legs in the car and let the body of the grill and both of the extensions hang out of the back. Dad sat in the back seat and held the legs, and I crammed myself in the back of the car around the grill legs and hung halfway out of the car to hold the lid of the grill closed. As we drove out of the Lowe's parking lot, several people pointed and laughed. Luckily we made it home without me or the grill falling out of the car, and I've never been so happy to be home.
Thankfully the trip was worth it, and I really like the grill. I had almost no grilling experience before, so I've been experimenting with various meats and veggies. The last few things that I've made have turned out fantastically, though, so I'm gaining confidence in my skills. This week I decided to try one of my family's favorite marinades, mojo sauce. This sauce comes from Cuba and has a citrus base that is very refreshing and perfect for most meats, particularly chicken and pork. This was the first time I've made it (when I was growing up we primarily used the bottled version available in most grocery stores), and it was incredibly easy and turned out really well.
I also made some grilled eggplant, and it was a nice addition to the meal. Eggplant goes from good to amazing when grilled, and I was so excited to finally find some in the store this week that didn't look like they had been through a war.
Grilled mojo chicken
2 large oranges
1 lemon or lime
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced (or 1 tsp garlic powder)
salt and pepper
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Juice the oranges and lemon/lime and combine juice with olive oil, cilantro, garlic, and salt and pepper. Marinate the chicken breasts in the sauce for at least 6 hours. About 30 minutes before you're ready to cook the chicken, sit it out to come to room temperature. Cook chicken over medium-low heat until done (mine took about 10 minutes per side). Serves 3-6, depending on the size of the chicken breasts.
Cut eggplant into 1/2 inch slices. Spread the slices out onto foil, sprinkle one side generously with salt, and then flip and salt the other side. Let the slices sit for about an hour and then rinse the eggplant and let drain for a few minutes. Place the eggplant in a ziploc bag with just enough olive oil to coat all of the pieces when tossed around (it won't absorb much if you do the salting step), and then place the slices on a medium-low grill. Sprinkle with desired seasoning (simple salt and pepper work great, but use anything you want) and grill each side about 5 minutes, or until they're almost falling apart. Serves 3-4 per eggplant.