offcntr: (berto)
Been meaning to post this since Christmas: an easy and not overly sweet sweet potato side dish.

We never did the marshmallow-topped thing with sweet potatoes when I was growing up. Instead, my mother would precook them, peel and slice them and candy them with brown sugar and butter in a cast-iron frying pan. They were wonderful... for about two forkfuls. After which, your pancreas would start to whimper.

I tried a few other things with them over the years, including a couple of "Sweet Potato Praline Casseroles", all of of which were too sweet and too complicated. So here's my own, simplified take on a sweet potato side dish.

The night before your holiday (or even a few days before), wash and dry three medium sweet potatoes. Pierce all over with a fork or paring knife, put them on a baking sheet, and bake an hour at 350° F. Cool and refrigerate until ready to assemble.

The day of, peel your 'tatoes and mash them into a small oval baking dish. Mix together 1/4 cup softened butter, 1/3 cup dark brown sugar, 1/3 cup quick oats/oatmeal, 1/3 cup chopped pecans. Spread crumble mixture over top. Place on lower rack of oven (your turkey or ham are on the upper rack, of course) for the last hour of roasting. Temperature not that important, as you're just heating through the sweet potatoes and crisping up the topping.



Dec. 21st, 2018 03:54 pm
offcntr: (Default)
What do you use this for? is probably one of the most common questions I get (after Did you make this?). Since I've not been spending all my time in the studio making pots this last week, I've been able to spend time in the kitchen, using pottery. For example, I started by blind-baking a single pie crust in an Off Center Ceramics pie plate (9 minutes at 475° F). Dice up some bacon and fry it down while the crust waits.

Microwave/steam some broccoli florets in a covered small baking dish while you dice the onions, slice the mushrooms and shred the cheese. Sweat the onions and sauté the mushrooms in the bacon fat, then drain. Load everything into the crust, bacon and onions first, then broccoli, mushrooms, and cheese.

In a small batter bowl, whisk together 5 eggs, 2 cups half-and-half, 3/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper and 1/8 tsp. cayenne. Pour over all the other stuff in the pie crust.

Bake 15 minutes at 425° F, then drop the oven to 300° for another 35 or 40 minutes. Let stand at least 15 or 20 minutes before slicing in, or cool completely and serve at room temperature.

There, that's three uses for pottery (four if you count the soup bowl holding the sliced mushrooms). And a darned good meal.
offcntr: (bella)
I do a lot of slab work in the studio, sculpting mostly. This time of year, the skills carry over into the kitchen: it's time to make my Christmas potica!

Potica is the traditional Slovenian holiday nut bread. The dough is rich with butter and egg yolks; the filling is even richer. Ground walnut meats, honey, butter, cream, brown sugar, whipped egg whites. Then the whole thing rolled up, raised, and baked.

I got my recipe from my mother, who got it from Grandma Gosar. I had to tweak it a little--store-bought eggs aren't quite as big as farm-grown, so I have to add a little extra liquid to the dough. And since I'm not making it for a family of nine, I cut the recipe in half, which is just the size to fit in one of my small squared bakers. (Required pottery content.)

I set the dough up the night before, overnighting in the fridge. I let it warm up during breakfast, then set it aside while I make the filling. Then it's time to assemble: roll out your slab, er, dough on a floured cloth, as thin as you can make it. Spread out the filling, licking fingers liberally. Roll it up ("Like jelly roll," all the recipes say), bend into a spiral and transfer to the greased square baker.

My mom claims her potica takes an hour to raise. My kitchen must be super cold, because mine takes more like four hours, and that's sitting on top of a heating pad. At which point, it's time to poke a few holes to let out any air bubbles, egg wash, and pop into a 325° oven for about an hour.

The result is gorgeous. Also delicious.
offcntr: (chinatown bear)
My favorite Thanksgiving side dish recipe, invented to take advantage of my small oval bakers:

Twice-baked Sweet Potatoes

3 large sweet potatoes

3 T softened butter
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup quick oats
1/3 cup chopped pecans

The night before Thanksgiving, scrub and pierce the potatoes, and put  them on a baking sheet for an hour in a 350° oven. Remove and cool.

The next day, about an hour before the Turkey is done, peel and mash the potatoes, and put them in a greased baking dish (my small oval dish is perfect for this). Mix the butter and sugar until combined, then stir in the oatmeal and pecans. Spread evenly over the top and place on the bottom rack of the oven, (next to the dressing in the small square baker) for about an hour at 325°.

You can see the result in the bottom of the photo here.


Jul. 26th, 2015 11:59 am
offcntr: (live 1)
Another Off Center Ceramics baking dish in action, a large squared baker with an improvised apple crisp. As I was far from my kitchen and cookbooks, I made up the recipe on the fly.

Improv Apple Crisp
Seven apples (unpeeled. I used three Gala, four Granny Smith)
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 cup flour
1/2 cup oat flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 cup margarine (or butter. In this case, we needed it to be vegan)
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

Wash, core and slice the apples. Mix together flour, sugar and cinnamon, and toss together with apple slices. Place in ungreased large square baker.

Whisk together flour, oat flour, brown sugar and cinnamon and salt. Cut in margarine with a pastry blender until crumbly. Stir in oats. Spread topping evenly over apples.

Bake in 350° F. oven for 45 minutes or until apples are tender at the center of the crisp.

offcntr: (live 2)
After the party.

Oh, by the way, here's my pie recipe.

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