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.


Pear Gorgonzola Triangles

gorgonzola-pear-turnovers-inside

 

You can assemble these ahead of time and keep them in the freezer or refrigerator until you need them. Bake a few to serve with our Hungarian Mushroom Soup for a hearty and delicious pick-up lunch – make the soup ahead of time too. We baked them up for our holiday buffet at Brookside in December 2015. Adapted from the blog out of Vancouver called Baking Obsession.

1 # homemade puff pastry or good quality store-bought
2 large pears, peeled, cored, finely chopped
2 t lemon juice
1/3 C raw sugar
1/3 C dry cranberries
1/3 C finely chopped hazelnuts
3 oz Gorgonzola, crumbled
1 t finely chopped fresh thyme
1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp water for egg wash
Coarse raw sugar for sprinkling

Center the oven rack and preheat the oven to 375F. Line two large baking sheets with silicone mats or non-stick aluminum. In a small bowl, combine all filling ingredients. On a lightly floured surface, roll out half of the puff pastry (keep another half refrigerated) into a square about 11×11-inches. Trim the edges to get a perfect 10×10-inches square. Using a pizza wheel, make two vertical and two horizontal cuts through the equal intervals to get 9 smaller squares. Spoon about a tablespoon of filling in the center of each square, brush two edges with a little bit of egg wash and fold the pastry over to make a triangle. Press the edges well to seal. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Chill for about 20 minutes before baking. Meanwhile, work on the other half of puff pastry. Once chilled, brush the triangles with the egg wash being careful not to drip any excess onto the baking sheet (it will prevent proper rising), sprinkle with some coarse sugar, make small holes on the top of each turnover for steam to escape, and bake for about 25 minutes, until puffed and golden brown. Cool on a rack until warm and serve.


Kabocha Wheatberry Salad

Kabocha-squash-salad-

 

 

An Autumnal combination — you get the sweetness, nuttiness, crunch, and the tahini in the dressing brings it all together. Kabocha is Japan’s pumpkin — slightly flattened and green dappled with white. Its flavor is similar to pumpkin, but sweeter. If you can’t find kabocha squash, substitute acorn or delicata. With its assertive creaminess and mild saltiness, the French feta, made from sheep’s milk, is particularly good in this dish, but you can definitely substitute your favorite feta. This recipe was adapted from the blog honestlyyum.com by Adrienne for a class Brookside November 18 2015. 

1 kabocha squash
½# shiitake mushrooms
1/4 C olive oil
1 C of wheatberries, cooked
1/3 C hazelnuts
2 large handfuls of baby arugula or kale
French feta

Dressing:
1 T tahini
1 T honey
juice of 1 large lemon
1 T apple cider vinegar
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil (more as needed)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven 400 degrees. Halve kabocha across its equator and scoop out seeds; using a large chef’s knife, cut squash into wedges. Toss wedges with half the olive oil and lightly season with sea salt and black pepper. Roast squash 25-30 minutes until tender. Remove and discard stems from shiitake; slice tops into strips. Toss in extra virgin olive oil and lightly season with sea salt and black pepper. Roast in the 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes until they begin to get dark and crispy around the edges. (You can also roast the shiitake and squash together, just remember to remove the shiitake before the squash).Toast the hazelnuts in a small pan over medium heat. Keep the hazelnuts moving to prevent them from burning. When you begin to smell their fragrance, remove them from the pan. Cool and chop roughly.

Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk tahini and honey; add lemon juice and vinegar and incorporate well; slowly add olive oil and continue whisking until the ingredients are emulsified and the dressing is smooth; if the dressing is too thick, add more olive oil to achieve the right consistency. Season with salt and pepper.

To assemble the salad, arrange the squash wedges on a plate. Combine the arugula, hazelnuts, shiitake mushrooms, and wheatberries in a bowl and toss with dressing. Place the salad between the wedges and top with several cubes of French feta; drizzle with additional olive oil.


Warm Brussels Sprouts with Lemon and Hazelnuts

slaw1 lb. Brussels sprouts
2 T unsalted butter
1 medium shallot, minced
Zest of 1 lemon
1 T fresh lemon juice
½ C toasted hazelnuts, chopped
Sea salt and pepper, to taste

Halve the Brussels sprouts lengthwise and them thinly slice crosswise, discarding ends that may be slightly brown. In a medium-sized sauté pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and Brussels sprouts and sauté until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice and hazelnuts. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 6.