Apricot Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

It was a hot day and I knew, I was going to be in the kitchen for several  hours, preparing for the Sabbath.  It meant making fish, chicken, side dishes and salads.  Dessert was going to be cold or from the freezer.  I did not plan on baking.  I got around using the oven except for one item.  Cholent is made in a crock pot.  The chicken was cooked on the barbecue.  Most foods were made in the microwave or did not cooking.  I did pull out the frying pan and a sauce pan for short periods of time.  The bottom line was that I did not heat up the kitchen very much.

I was stymied with what to do with a sweet potato.  Of course, the beauty of the sweet potato, is you can bake it, put on a pat of butter and enjoy it. Simple and delicious is the way to go.  Of course, it can be candied but I find, it is usually sweet enough by itself.  I do love mashed sweet potato and started off on that path.

It was over 90 degrees in the sun and my kitchen didn’t feel much cooler and I didn’t want to use my oven.  I microwaved the sweet potatoes whole, for 8 minutes.  I would have baked them after I finished shaping them but again, it was not worth using the oven so I fried them in a smidge of margarine.   What is a smidge?  Just a little bit…..

Apricot Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

4 sweet potatoes

1 pat or margarine

1 tablespoon honey

8 dried apricots

1 tablespoon olive oil

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Microwave whole sweet potatoes for about 8 minutes until completely cooked.  Since each microwave is different, the timing may be different.  Stick a fork in the potato at about 5 minutes and see how it is.  I would check it every minute, after that, until the fork goes in easily.

Peel the sweet potatoes and mash them with the margarine and honey. Mash well.

Make a two-inch ball out of some of the sweet potato and while you are rolling it, push a dried apricot inside.  Place in a frying pan with hot olive oil.  Do the same with the remaining sweet potato.  Brown lightly on each side.  If you are not dealing with hot weather, I suggest baking this in the oven.

Serve plain or with a little maple syrup.  I was thinking of adding chopped scallions and I will try that, next time, I make these.

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The softer, orange-fleshed variety of sweet po...

The softer, orange-fleshed variety of sweet potato, commonly referred to as a yam in the United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mexican Style Fruit Salad with Broiled Fish – The Food Matters Project

This week, at the Food Matters Project, we are making this fruit and fish dish which sounded strange, to me.  I could not imagine a bed of fruit with fish on top and explained this way, it does not sound good.  These are the times, I am thankful, I don’t follow my instincts and skip the week and go ahead and make the week’s designated recipe.  I did only make one piece of salmon which was definitely a mistake.

Of course, when I went to cook, the fruit supply had diminished greatly, leaving me with mango and more mango and a few pears that I was saving, for a cake.  If you don’t tell, I will share with you what I did.  I opened a can of guava  and that with the mango and some cranberries and coconut, I made the fruit part of the dish.  This was supposed to have hot  chiles but hubby does not do well with anything hot.  I subbed in some Mexican chile powder, I just got – only a tiny bit.  The only other seasoning used was  basil and home-grown oregano.

Inspiration hit and after topping this fruit mixture with broiled salmon, I sprinkled some pistachios, on top, and they made quite a difference.  It rounded out this recipe beautifully.

Thanks, Sara from Food and Frederick for picking a dish, we really enjoy

ed, despite some hesitancy.  The recipe is found on  her blog and please do drop by The Food Matters Project and see what the other foodies have made.

Now for my confession.  It is hard to believe, we make such foolish mistakes.  When, I went to broil my fish, I decided to put it on a cookie sheet and my sheets always have parchment paper covering them, so I put this precious salmon, in the oven with the paper.   Yep, you can imagine what happens to paper at a high temperature with the flame burning down on it.  Fortunately, my husband walked in and smelled the burning paper and saved it.  I am sharing a picture.  I have certainly learned a lesson and if anyone out there would make such a silly goof, you can learn also.

This is linked to the Gallery of Favorites      Southern Fairy Tale

Spinach, Mango and Strawberry Salad

Spinach, Mango and Strawberry Salad

Ingredients

1/4 cup blanched slivered almonds

1/8 cup white wine vinegar

1 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoons dry mustard

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon tarragon
2 cups baby spinach, rinsed, dried and torn into small pieces
3 strawberries sliced
1/2 mango – peeled, seeded and cubed                                                                                              

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Arrange almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and lightly toasted.

In a small bowl, mix white wine vinegar,  balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, olive oil, dry mustard, tarragon, salt, and pepper.

In a medium bowl, toss the  vinegar mixture with the spinach, strawberries and mangos. Top with the toasted almonds.

This is linked to Allergy Free Wednesday      Real Food Wednesday    Cast Party Wednesdays           Pennywise Platter                     Made from Scratch Mondays        Scrumptious Sunday            Passionately Artistic               Hearth and Soul

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Full Plate Thursday 

Fit and Fabulous Friday

Cranberry Apple Walnut Cake

I love to bake and I have not been doing too much of it.  Usually, I bake for my husband.  I rarely eat what I bake but he makes up for that.  The problem, I do have, is that with only two of us, at home, it is for special occasions, I make the chocolate and the cookies, pies or cakes.  For my husband, it is coffee cakes, nut cakes, and tons of muffins.  They are all easy to do and I am limited but I love to bake, anyway.

I decided to surprise my husband with what I hoped would become a favorite cake.  This cake can be made with many variations.  In fact, the original recipe from Better Homes and Gardens is for a cranberry pear cake.  I changed it to an apple – cranberry walnut cake because I have apples handy.  I would like to make it with pears and use another dried fruit or maybe fresh cranberries, when in season.  Of course, the nuts can be changed as well.  Even the seasoning lends itself to the fruit selected.  Cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice sounded right for the apples.

Cranberry-Apple-Walnut Cake

Ingredients

cups gluten-free flour mixture

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 pumpkin pie spice

2 tablespoons margarine

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup  brown sugar

2 eggs

 1  cup Rice Dream

1 cup dried cranberries

2 apples, peeled and diced

3/4 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup additional gluten-free flour

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease and flour a  9-inch baking pan.

Combine 2 cups of the  GF flour mix, baking powder, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice.

In a large bowl beat the margarine on medium to high

Ocean Spray Craisins brand dried cranberries

speed for 30 seconds. Beat in sugars.

Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.

Add flour mixture alternately with Rice Dream beating on low after each addition until combined.

In a bowl mix cranberries, apple, and walnuts with remaining 1/2 cup flour. Stir into batter. Spoon into prepared pan.

Bake for  50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes .

This is linked to Gluten-Free Wednesdays        Cozy Home Party     Trick or Treat Tuesday         Pennywise Platter 

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Lemon Blueberry Loaf

While, I am enjoying the cold weather fruits, I do miss our summer crops.  The beauty of blueberries is that frozen blueberries work in baking.  I am nervous, each time I use them, thinking there will be too much liquid in the batter but the blueberries stay intact and we get to bite into them and taste that juice.  It may not be exactly the same as fresh blueberries but they are good and we get to have our blueberries in the winter months.

The tartness of the lemon plays off the blueberries and makes for a favorite cake.  Usually, I turn my loaf cakes into muffins or mini-cakes but this time, I stayed true to the loaf form.  There is something to be said about slicing a loaf.  It is certainly easier than slicing a bundt cake.  I feel, I have more control over the size of the slices, but that may just be me.

I brought a little sunlight into our kitchen with this cake.

Lemon Blueberry Loaf   adapted from Joy of Baking

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups  gluten-free flour mix

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons margarine, room temperature

3/4 cup  granulated white sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup milk

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Lemon Glaze:

1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F  and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. 

Spray with a non stick vegetable spray) the bottom and sides of a loaf  pan (9 x 5 x 3 inch).

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until softened (about 1 minute). 

Add the sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest.

With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture (in three additions) and milk (in two additions) alternately, starting and ending with the flour. Mix only until combined. 

Gently fold in the blueberries.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 55 to 65 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring the 1/4 cup  of sugar and the 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves.

When the bread is done, remove from oven and place on a wire rack. Pierce the hot loaf all over with a wooden skewer or toothpick and then brush the top of the loaf with the hot lemon glaze.

 Cool the loaf in the pan for about 30 minutes then remove from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.

This bread is best served on the day it is made.  (I don’t think it will last, longer than that.

Makes 1 loaf.