Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sweet Potato Rosemary Biscuits

So tasty and fluffy you will probably eat them all in one sitting. And that's okay, because you'll be getting some of your vegetables as you do.

Makes about 8 biscuits
Total Time: about 30 minutes


  • 2 C all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 Tbsp rosemary butter, chilled, cut into pieces (recipe follows) 
  • 1 medium-sized sweet potato, boiled, mashed, and chilled (should yield about a cup)
  • 1/3 C whole milk

Preheat the oven to 425F with rack in the lower-middle position in the oven. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a very large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, brown sugar, and salt. Scatter the butter pieces on top and with your fingers, rub the butter pieces into the flour, breaking up a few large chunks as you go. (This does not have to be perfect. You don't want to melt the butter with your hands by working it too much. If you "undermix" it the worst that can happen is that you're left with yummy gooey butter pockets in your cooked biscuits.) In a separate bowl combine 1 cup of the chilled, mashed sweet potatoes and the milk. Scrape the mashed sweet potato mixture into the flour mixture, and again with your hands, fold the flour into the liquid ingredients until combined, kneading a bit with the heel of your hand to create a dough.

Turn the dough onto work surface (you probably won't need much flour, if any at all). Gently pat the dough into a disk about 1 inch thick. Cut the biscuits with a 2 1/4- or 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter. Place the biscuits onto the prepared baking sheet so that their sides are just touching (this helps them poof up in the oven). Gather the dough scraps together and cut out more biscuits. (You can gather and cut a third time to use the remainder of the dough, but these biscuits will be tougher and lame. I usually don't care, but it's up to you.)

Bake in the oven until golden, about 20-24 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Serve warm.


Rosemary Butter:

6 Tbsp butter, at room temperature
3 (6-inch) sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves roughly chopped

Mix herbs with butter in a small bowl until well combined. Refrigerate until firm.

Note: I like to roll the butter up in a little log using some plastic wrap. This makes it easier for cutting slices if I'm not going to use it all at once.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Yogurt Parfaits: Make-Ahead Breakfast Meals

I'm feeling pretty awesome today. I've been really productive, planned all of our meals for the week, already done the grocery shopping for them, and I did the dishes after dinner like a real adult. I've even made breakfasts for the rest of the week: these little "parfaits". 

You can substitute whatever ingredients you'd like here. This isn't actually a real recipe; it's more like a set of guidelines for creating your own healthy, layered breakfast. Once you've got your ingredients down, throw them in jars and store them in the fridge so you can take one on the way to work in the morning. They should keep for about a week.

Makes 5 half-pint jars
Total Time: 10 minutes

  • 2 1/2 C plain yogurt or Greek yogurt
  • about 3/4 C granola
  • 4 oz frozen fruit of choice, thawed and pureed (in these I used mixed berries)
  • about 1 C chopped fresh fruit (here I used plums)
  • ground cinnamon, for sprinkling
  • honey, for drizzling

Dollop about 1/4 cup of yogurt in the bottom of each clean half-pint jar (you should have about half of the yogurt left). Sprinkle about two heaping tablespoons of granola, and 2 tablespoons of fruit puree in each jar, divide the chopped fresh fruit evenly and layer it on top of the puree. Distribute the remaining yogurt between the jars, sprinkle a little cinnamon, and drizzle a bit of honey on top. Put the lids on and store in the refrigerator.

Happy Birthday to The Zippicurean!

It's been one year since my first post and launch of this blog! It was probably the worst year for me to start a blog and attempt to keep up with it--I began writing my dissertation, moved to a different state, and started a new job, but some how I managed to keep this going and actually gain some readers along the way. Here's to another year of writing, eating, and sharing!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sesame Oil Pesto

I wanted to make a different kind of pesto to go with our steak and gingery cabbage slaw, so I decided to replace the pine nuts and parmesan with ground sesame seeds and the olive oil with toasted sesame oil. It has a great nutty flavor and definitely stands up to steak, but would also be great spread over toast or tossed over rice noodles.

Makes about 1/2 cup
Total Time: 5 minutes

2 Tbsp sesame seeds, ground with a mortar and pestle or in a spice grinder
1 handful of parsley (I like leave a bit of the more tender stems on)
1 handful basil leaves
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
1 tsp low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
1/4 C toasted sesame oil

In a food processor or blender, add the ground sesame seeds, parsley, basil, soy sauce, and chopped garlic. Pulse a few times until everything is finely chopped and well combined. Drizzle in a bit of the sesame oil and pulse to combine. Add as much sesame oil as needed to get the texture you desire. Serve over whatever you'd like.

Note: Pesto freezes really well. I like to make a big batch and freeze it in ice cubes trays. That way, once frozen I can just pop the cubes into freezer bags and take a few out when I need it.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Red Onion-Bacon Marmalade

A little sweet, a little tangy, and perfect for putting on pretty much anything--meat, bread, eggs, you name it. Make up a batch, put it in a jar and keep it in your fridge for about a week (if it lasts that long).

Makes about 2 cups
Total Time: about 45 minutes

2 1/2 lbs red onions, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 oz bacon, chopped into small pieces
1/2 C sherry
1/2 C apple cider vinegar
3 Tbsps brown sugar
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground ginger

Over Bangers and Mash
In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring, until it is brown and slightly crispy.

Remove the bacon pieces with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

With a toasted bagel and fried egg
Lower the heat to medium and to the leftover bacon fat, add the red onions, cover, and cook until the onions are tender (10 minutes or so). Add the sherry, vinegar, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, black pepper, and ginger and stir to combine.

Bring the mixture to a simmer, cover, lower the heat, and let simmer gently for 15 minutes. Remove the lid and simmer until the mixture is thick and syrupy. Add the cooked bacon, stir to combine, and spoon over whatever you'd like!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Simple Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

We experienced the first cool, crisp fall day yesterday so it was the perfect night for a nice warm, hearty pasta. Even though the sauce takes some time to make, it couldn't be easier to put together. You probably have everything to make this in your pantry and fridge already. This is an adaptation of Marcella Hazan's "Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter" (published in Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking).

Makes 4-6 servings
Total Time: 1 hour
Active Time: about 10 minutes

3/4 lb ground beef (I used lean; you'll have to adjust the amount of butter you use based on the fat content of your beef)
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
28 oz canned diced tomatoes (preferable San Marzano)
1 white onion, cut in half at the equator and peeled (root and stem ends left intact)
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp vermouth
freshly grated Parmesan (optional)
1 lb dried spaghetti, or pasta of choice

In a 4-qt pot, melt two tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef, season with salt and stir, breaking up with a wooden spoon or spatula, until the beef is browned. Add the tomatoes, onion halves, pepper to taste, and another pinch of salt (depending on how salty your tomatoes are). Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and let barely simmer for about 50 minutes. This is the great part--you don't actually have to touch the sauce at all during this time. After all that simmering, fat should have risen to the top of the pot.

Meanwhile, boil a large pot of water, season generously with salt, and cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and keep warm while the sauce finishes.

Remove the onion halves from the sauce and discard or save for another use. Stir and taste for seasonings. Turn up the heat to a medium boil and add the vermouth. Stir and let cook for 5 minutes or so. Divide the pasta between bowls and spoon sauce over. Add cheese if you'd like and enjoy!