4.18.2013

Rain, rain, GO AWAY!

...and do not come again 'til May!

So says all of Central IL as basements, parking lots, and busy intersections become ponds, lakes, and rivers. I would share pictures of this calamitous event, but I've been staying safe and dry in my second story apartment, praying that our unfinished basement, which houses our washer and dryer, doesn't get any more damp! However, with the forecast for next week predicting rain, rain, and more rain, I'm fully prepared to be at least toe-deep in nasty, dirty water at some point in the next 7 days.

SO, what is a girl to do when she's stuck inside all day? (well, other than working on photos from last Fall's engagement session, which was sidelined until recently because of my LOVELY hyperemesis gravidarum).  

Try out some Pinterest recipes, of course! 
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Up first:  SWEET POTATO BISCUITS

These. Are. Magical. The sweet potatoes add an immense amount of moisture to the finished biscuit, and the flavor is subtle but delectable!  Warning: THESE ARE NOT LOW-GI. But because I'm pregnant (see: crrrravinggggs!) and we have a bag of sweet potatoes sitting in he pantry waiting to be used, I chose to give myself a pass from my normal low glycemic index diet.

You will need... 
1-1/2 c mashed cooked sweet potatoes (1-1/2 cups = ~2 large sweet potatoes)  
2-1/2 heaping tsp Truvia (or 4 heaping TBSP sugar)
2-1/2 c all-purpose flour
8 tsp baking powder (I was out of baking powder, so I subbed my own mixture: 2 parts cream of tartar to 1 part baking soda.)
1 stick of butter, softened
4-8 tablespoons milk
Cinnamon and nutmeg (optional)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

First, you'll need to prep your sweet potatoes. Wash and peel them, then cut them into cubes to cook. I boiled them in about a TBSP of cinnamon and a tsp of nutmeg. It flavored them EVER so slightly and made the house smell wonderful!

Cook them over medium-high heat until fork-tender. Let them cool a bit, then mash those puppies up with a whole stick of softened unsalted butter. Make Paula Deen proud.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, and baking powder (or substitute mixture), followed by the cooled potato mixture. Mix to make a soft dough, then add milk a tablespoon at a time to mixture and continue to cut in.
 

Turn the dough out onto a floured board and toss lightly until the outside of the dough looks smooth. Roll the dough out to just over 1/2-inch thick and cut with a biscuit cutter. If you don't have a biscuit cutter, the ring from a canning jar will work just as well! Place the biscuits on a greased pan.

Bake for about 15 minutes, then try not to devour them as they cool!  
Serve warm with butter, cinnamon sugar, maple syrup, or honey.  
Makes around 15 delicious biscuits.
(Adapted from Paula Deen's Sweet Potato Biscuits recipe. Click here for original recipe.)

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Equally Delicious:  ASPARAGUS GRATIN 

I have yet to meet a vegetable that isn't improved by cheese sauce and garlic. Mmmmm...

You will need...
1lb asparagus
1-1/2 c vegetable broth
1-1/2 TBSP unsalted butter
1 TBSP flour (I used whole wheat)
1/4 c Parmesan cheese, grated
3/4 c Colby Jack cheese, shredded & divided
Garlic salt to taste
Feta cheese to top (optional)

Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat broiler to low heat. Cut woody ends off of asparagus and cook, covered, on your stove top in the vegetable broth for 2-4 minutes, until tender.

Remove asparagus from skillet onto a plate, then reserve 1/2 cup of vegetable broth from pan.  Discard additional broth.

Melt butter in now empty skillet over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly until golden, about 1 minute. Whisk in reserved broth and bring to a light boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened. Remove from heat and add 1/4 c Parmesan cheese and 1/2 c Colby Jack cheese. Mix well. If sauce is too thick, cut with milk, 1 tsp at a time until mixture is the desired consistency.

Pour sauce mixture into broiler-safe pan (NOT Pyrex or glazed Corningware - metal pans with no rubber grippers work fine). Line asparagus in pan and top with garlic salt, reserved Colby Jack cheese, and Feta cheese.  

Broil until cheese is golden and asparagus is tender, about 4-8 minutes.  
For an extra-special treat, you can also add bacon crumbles or sautéed mushrooms before broiling!
 (Adapted from an Epicurious recipe I can no longer find. I had altered it enough that I 
decided to delete the pin and just saved my own recipe instead - sorry!)
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WE enjoyed these sides with some delicious crunchy breaded Pollock fillets 
(courtesy of our local Kroger!), but they could easily pair well with other meat selections, too.

Bon Appetit!

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