Sweet Potato Rounds with Cilantro Pesto

Use fairly skinny sweet potatoes that are pretty even to avoid rounds of different dimensions and to keep the appetizers bite-sized. This recipe comes from the farmer’s market at St. Stephen’s Church in Richmond VA.  If you’re ever in the area on a Saturday morning, it’s well worth stopping in and checking it out. Adrienne demoed tghe recipe for our Holiday Buffet extravaganza at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton MD December 2015.

2 pounds sweet potatoes
1 T olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the pesto:
2 bunches cilantro
¾ C unsweetened shredded coconut
¾ C shelled pistachios
4 cloves garlic
1 hot pepper, such as jalapeño or Thai, optional
1 lemon, juiced
¼ C olive oil
Salt to taste

Heat the oven to 450°F. Slice the sweet potatoes in rounds about 1/2-inch thick. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and brush with the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast 10 minutes, flip and roast five more minutes until just tender and slightly browned.

While the sweet potatoes are roasting, make the pesto. Roughly chop the cilantro and blend both leaves and stems with the coconut, pistachios, garlic, hot pepper (if using), and lemon juice. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and blend until smooth. Add the rest, if desired. Taste and add salt (or more garlic, or more acid) until satisfied. If desired, thin the pesto with water to make it spreadable.

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Cranberry & Fig Chutney with Walnuts

FigCranberryRelish

 

 

 

A perfect accompaniment for all of the holiday cooking ahead, this side dish is a new spin on an old favorite. Don’t overcook it, you want it luscious and thick, not sticky.

12 ounces fresh cranberries
¼ C onion, minced
1 C light brown sugar
½ C orange juice
½ C apple cider vinegar
¼ C raisins
8 dried black mission figs, cut into eighths
1 T fresh ginger, finely minced
½ t ground cinnamon
½ t red pepper flakes
1/3 C walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped

Add all the ingredients, with the exception of the chopped walnuts, to a medium pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to bring the mix to a simmer, and cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chutney thickens some. Remove from the heat, stir in the nuts and let cool slightly before serving. Serves 12-15.

 

 

 


Cranberry-Lime Shrub

shrubPopular in colonial times, a shrub is a sweetened fruit and vinegar syrup. It’s mainly used as a drink mixer, as in this recipe, but you can also use it to brighten a pan sauce for chicken or pork, to boost the flavor of a vinaigrette, or to add some zing to whipped cream for a unique dessert topping. Yields about 1 quart shrub, enough for 16 drinks.  This recipe is from the archives. We demoed it at a class at Brookside Garden in November, 2011. We trot it out every year for teetotalers and anyone looking for something fresh and thirst-quenching. Adapted from Fine Cooking.

12 oz. (3 C) cranberries, rinsed and picked over
1 C granulated sugar
3/4 C white wine or apple cider vinegar
lime zest from one lime
Seltzer or water
Vodka (optional)

In a 4-quart saucepan, combine the cranberries, sugar, vinegar, and lime zest with 3 cups of water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the cranberries are completely broken down, about 20 minutes. Let cool.

Purée with an immersion blender or in a food processor. Strain through a fine sieve set over a large bowl, pressing hard on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible.

Per drink, combine 3 to 4 Tbs. of the chilled shrub with one cup cold seltzer or water, or to taste. Add vodka as desired.

The shrub will keep, refrigerated in a jar, for up to two months.