Colcannon

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We demoed this in March — actually the day before St. Patrick’s Day, so totally appropriate for a uniquely Irish dish. And still appropriate by the way. When is mashed potatoes not appropriate? Because we were doing a series on radishes, turnips and potatoes, we used the turnip and radish greens in the colcannon. Man, was that a hit! Something about the slight bitterness in the greens with the sweetness of potatoes — I love Yukons, in case you hadn’t heard that before. Don’t over mash any of this — potatoes or greens. A little chunkiness goes a long way.

2 to 2½ pounds potatoes of your choice, peeled and cut into large chunks
Salt
5-6 T butter (with more butter for serving)
3 lightly packed cups of chopped kale, cabbage, chard, or other leafy green
1 bunch green onions (including the green onion greens), minced (about 1 C)
1/4 C milk or cream

Put the potatoes in a medium pot and cover with cold water by at least an inch. Add 2 tablespoons of salt, and bring to a boil. Boil gently until fork tender (15 to 20 minutes). Remove potatoes to a colander, reserving the potato water. Bring potato water back to a boil and add greens; reduce to a simmer and cook 3 min. Pour into a sieve, reserving the water for another use as needed. Return pan to heat. Add butter, 3/4 C green onions and cooked greens; simmer gently about three mins until onions are wilted and most of the water has cooked off. Add the potatoes back in; mash with a fork or masher, mixing well with the greens. Add milk or cream until you have the right consistency (may not use the full cup). Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve colcannon with a knob of butter in the center. Serves 4-6.

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Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole

sweet potato casserole

 

 

 

Sautéed apples, a crunchy pecan crust, and spicy mashed sweet potatoes make for a sophisticated update.

3 to 3¼ lb. sweet potatoes (about 3 large)
4 T unsalted butter; more for the pan
1 C toasted and very finely chopped pecans
1 1/3 C breadcrumbs
2 T finely chopped fresh parsley
Kosher salt
1 C heavy cream
Eight ¼-inch-thick slices fresh ginger, unpeeled and crushed
2 whole star anise
One 2- to 3-inch cinnamon stick
2 T plus 2 t bourbon
1½  t pure vanilla extract
3 large tart-sweet apples, peeled, quartered, cored, and thinly sliced

Bake the sweet potatoes

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400̊F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Prick the sweet potatoes all over with a fork and bake them on the sheet until completely tender when pierced with a fork, 55 to 60 minutes. Let rest until cool enough to handle. Meanwhile, if not working ahead, reduce the oven temperature to 375̊F.

Discard the skins and put the flesh in a medium mixing bowl. With a potato masher, work the sweet potatoes until they’re well mashed (they don’t have to be perfectly smooth).

Make the crumb topping

Melt 2 T of the butter and combine with the pecans, breadcrumbs, parsley, and two big pinches of salt in a small bowl.

Infuse the cream

Combine the heavy cream, ginger, star anise, and cinnamon stick in a small saucepan. Bring to a full boil (watch carefully so that it doesn’t boil over) and remove from the heat immediately. Let steep for 15 to 20 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into a liquid measuring cup, pressing down on the solids with a spatula to extract all of the liquid. Stir in 2 T of the bourbon, the vanilla extract, and ¼ t salt.

Cook the apples

In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, melt the remaining 2 T butter over medium-high heat. Add the apples, season with ¼ t salt, and toss well. Raise the heat to high and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and lightly browned, 8 to 9 minutes. Lower the heat if the apples are getting too dark, but not so much that they soften without browning.

Turn off the heat, carefully add the remaining 2 tsp. bourbon and stir until it evaporates, a few seconds. Pour in 1/3 cup of the infused cream and stir until the apples have absorbed most of it, a few more seconds. Set the pan aside and let the apples cool for about 15 minutes, turning them occasionally to release steam.
Assemble the casserole

Butter a shallow 3-quart baking dish (9×13-inch works well). Add the remaining cream to the mashed sweet potatoes and mix thoroughly. Season to taste with salt. Arrange the apples across the bottom of the baking dish. Spread the sweet potato mixture over the apples in an even layer. Top with the pecan-crumb mixture.

Bake the casserole at 375̊F until the crumb topping is dark brown (it will be browner around the edges) and the casserole is heated through, about 25 minutes.

Make Ahead Tips

You can bake and mash the sweet potatoes and make the crumb topping a day ahead (cover both and refrigerate). Bring the potatoes and crumb topping to room temperature before assembling the dish. You can also assemble and refrigerate for up to 8 hours before baking. Return to room temperature before baking.


Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Apple and Sage-Maple Butter

roastedRoasted sweet potatoes have a lush, tender texture and concentrated flavor. When paired with maple syrup and apples, they make a deliciously sweet side that works with anything from pan-seared steak to roasted turkey or pork loin. Use a firm, tart Granny Smith apple or try a crisp, slightly sweeter Honey Crisp or Pink Lady. Adapted by Danielle from a recipe from Fine Cooking and demoed September 23, 2014 at US Botanic Garden. Read More



Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Baby Potatoes with Miso-Maple Dressing

roasted carrot and two-potato salad-7

Miso, made from a combination of fermented soybean paste and a grain, is available in several colors from light (mellow) to dark (robust, depending on which grain the paste is made with (usually barley or rice). It’s a great source of vitamin 12. While  high in sodium, miso is also a great source of vitamin B12. It’s quite versatile as well, commonly used in sauces, soups, marinades, salad dressings and dips. Kept in an airtight container, it can be stored in the refrigerator for several months. Danielle made this for folks at US Botanic Garden March 6, and then again for Brookside Botanical Gardens March 12 2014. Read More


Burnished Chicken with Parsnips and Sweet Potatoess

burnished

At the end of a full day of work putting the garden to bed — pulling out the spent tomato plants, bringing in the last of the peppers and eggplant, clearing, weeding, pruning, then clearing some more and mulching — this was a great meal to sit down to.   Especially since the parsnips were part of what came in from the garden.  Make-ahead tip: Marinate the chicken in the morning and stick it in the refrigerator; prep your veggies. At dinner time, all you have to do is put them all on a baking sheet and in about 40 minutes it’ll be ready.  Oh, and don’t forget that green salad – what goes well with this is a mix of arugula (still going strong in the jardin) and shredded radicchio with a wine vinegar-olive oil dressing. The chicken dish will make four hearty appetites very happy. Adapted from our buddies at Fine Cooking. Read More


Roasted Roots

Photo Deborah Mele

Using a colorful combination makes this dish as appealing in appearance as it does in flavor. Four servings

1 bunch carrots
1 bunch parsley root
2-3 large parsnips
1 sweet potato (optional)
½ C olive oil
½ t kosher salt
sprinkling of mace (optional)
chili powder (optional)
pumpkin seed oil or walnut oil for garnish (optional)

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Remove to tops of carrots and parsley root. Wash and peel all roots. If the carrots are small, leave them whole; otherwise slice lengthwise into quarters. Repeat for parsley root. Parsnips should be trimmed of the long slender part, which can be quartered lengthwise to match the parsley and carrots; the larger portion can be sliced into medallions. The sweet potato can be sliced into medallions or sticks, whichever is preferred. Place roots into a plastic bag and add olive oil to coat; this will have to be done in several batches for proper coating of olive oil. Add a pinch of kosher salt to each batch. Cover two rimmed baking sheets with aluminum foil; spread roots out on foil in one layer. Roast until golden, 15-30 minutes. Remove and sprinkle with your choice of mace or chili powder, or both. Drizzle with pumpkin seed or walnut oil and serve hot. Makes a wonderful accompaniment to roast chicken or beef.