Cajun Sweet Potato Fries

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Many years ago, my friend Betty brought a sweet potato pie to our Friendsgiving potluck and it was left untouched the entire night. She was sent home with it. Nobody was very fond of sweet potatoes, including me. I didn’t appreciate sweet potatoes at the time, but if it were now, I might have had to fight Betty for that pie. There’s been a number of restaurants that serve cajun food in the Bay Area, which all serve sweet potato fries. They’re sweet, savory, crispy, and just plain ol’ delicious. I saw a picture of some thick cut potato wedges and wondered how thick sweet potato fries would be since sweet potatoes become softer and are more moist than regular potatoes.

I cut the wedges extra thick. The fries were soft and buttery on the inside with a slight crisp on the outer edges and the spiciness of the seasoning goes great with the sweetness of the potatoes. Try these cajun sweet potatoes fries as a snack or as a side dish.

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CAJUN SWEET POTATO FRIES

Cajun Seasoning:

You will have plenty of seasoning leftover. It can be used for seafoods, poultry, and even cooked with rice

3 Tbsp. salt
1/4 C. smoked paprika
3 Tbsp. herbes de Provence
3 Tbsp. cumin
1/4 C. cayenne pepper
1/8 C. freshly ground pepper

2 large sweet potatoes
vegetable oil for drizzling
salt for sprinkling

1. Preheat oven to 450 F and prepare a cookie sheet.

2. Microwave sweet potatoes for several minutes until they become fork tender.

3. Carefully cut each sweet potato into wedges. The potatoes will be hot.

4. Place the wedges onto your prepared cookie sheet and drizzle each wedge with oil, making sure each wedge is coated. Sprinkle the wedges with the cajun season and flip the wedges and again, drizzle oil and the seasonings.

5. Bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle lightly with salt immediately.

Enjoy!
-C

Honey and Gochujang Brussel Sprouts

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How many of you grew up hating brussel sprouts? I know I did. I think I hated them before I even tried them. That’s because there’s this horrible rumor going around that brussel sprouts are disgusting. Well… I quickly learned that they’re over-hated and underrated. The secret is to not boil them until they’ve become balls of mush or under-bake them leaving them tasting like crunchy mounds of black licorice. YUCK. No wonder so many people hate on them.

Today is the day you discover the deliciousness of brussel spouts! So, I kind of accidentally came across this recipe because I was being lazy. Originally, these brussel sprouts were going to be finished tossed in bacon fat topped with crisp bacon, but I bypassed the whole bacon step (I know, how could I.. Well, I did), and tossed them in some pre made sauce I normally use on chicken. The brussel sprouts become crisp on the outside and creamy on the inside while baking in the oven. The outcome was a bowl of crispy, sweet, and spicy brussel sprouts-almost candy like. Delicious.

Gochujang is a sweet, salty, and spicy Korean fermented chili paste used in many Korean dishes and can be found in almost any Asian market.

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Honey and Gochujang Brussel Sprouts

1 lb. brussel sprouts, cut in half
1 Tbsp. oil
salt and pepper

SAUCE:

3 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. gochujang
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
pepper

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Cut the edge (flat edge) of each brussel sprout off to cut off any dirty parts then cut each sprout in half, horizontally, cutting along its rib.

Toss with oil, salt and pepper.

Place on a foil lined sheet and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

While the brussel sprouts are baking, make the sauce.

Combine the honey, gochujang, balsamic vinegar, and pepper in a small bowl and mix until everything is combined. If the sauce is too thick, stick the bowl into the microwave for about 20 seconds and mix again.

When the brussel sprouts are done baking, use a spoon to lightly drizzle the sauce over the brussel sprouts and toss to lightly cover them. Don’t drown the brussel sprouts with sauce.

Extra sauce can be refrigerated and used for round 2!

-C

Cranberry Viennese Sandwich Creams

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Wow, my favorite month (October) has come and gone in a blink of an eye… Did it even happen? The last couple of months have been such a busy whirlwind of activity that I haven’t been able to take in the season change… Or the time change (I’m still waking up an hour earlier than my alarm on my work days… at 4am… -_-).

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Despite my gripe with daylight savings, Fall is definitely my favorite season and its arrival just doesn’t sink in until something autumnal is made in the kitchen. I know that making a pumpkin sweet of some sort is the usual knee-jerk reaction for some once the leaves start to turn, and it is for me, too… Usually.

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BUT when I saw these cookies on my IG feed, I could not get them out of my mind. I don’t know if it was the beautiful magenta hue of the cranberry cream or the prettily piped out cookie dough… I just had to try my hand at them.

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The cookie itself reminds me of alfajores (post coming soon… when I get my act together). The corn starch makes them incredibly light and crumbly and they just seem to melt in your mouth. The cranberry cream that is sandwiched in between fills me with thoughts of turkey day and the canned cranberry sauce that I so loved as a kid. No homemade fancy cranberry sauce will ever replace the canned version in my heart. So what if it plops out and keeps the shape of the can? It’s delicious.

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Anywho, I hope you visit the Lady and Pups blog for the recipe soon! Her content is amazing!

Happy baking!

-A

Salted Caramel Almond Filled Chocolate Dipped Macaroons

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Salted Caramel Almond Filled Chocolate Dipped Macaroons. Whew, that was a mouthful!

A friend of mine asked me to bake for her wedding of over three hundred people and without thinking, I said yes. After realizing what I had just agreed to, I decided I had to come up with some very simple recipes in order for this to be possible without dropping dead. After making about 300 of these, I was ready to ex out coconut, almonds, salted caramel, and chocolate out of my life forever but quickly came to conclusion that that is absolutely impossible!

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These macaroons were extremely easy to make. Messy, but easy. They’re not overly sweet, very easy to put together, and have a surprise in the middle. They’re also pleasing to the eyes so nobody would ever know how easy they were to put together! Let me let you in on a little secret… Get one of these ball scooper things. It’ll make your life that much easier to form these macaroons.

4 large egg whites
1/2 C. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
5 1/2 sweetened coconut flakes, put in a food processor
24 roasted almonds
1/2 C. salted caramel (homemade or store-bought)

Dark chocolate chocolate melts (I used ghiradelli)
Sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350 F and line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Add the coconut flakes to a food processor and pulse a few times to create smaller pieces of the coconut flakes then set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites until frothy.

Add the sugar, salt and vanilla extract and continue to whisk until combined and you can no longer see lumps of sugar.

Add the coconut flakes and mix until all of the flakes are covered in the egg white and sugar mixture.

Pick up about a tablespoon of the coconut mixture and place one almond and a dab of salted caramel in the center then cover with more of the coconut mixture and roll to create a ball.

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After a few tries, I decided to take my handy ball scooper out and scooped up some of the coconut mixture, dipped an almond into the salted caramel then jammed that salted caramel almond into the center of the coconut mixture. I then added more of the coconut mixture into the ball scooper to cover up the almond in the center. SO MUCH SIMPLER!

Place each ball about an inch apart from in each other.

Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the surface reaches a golden brown. Let the macaroons cool on the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring onto a cooling rack.

In the meantime, melt your chocolates. You can do this in the microwave or on a double boiler.

When your macaroons have cooled, dip the bottoms of the macaroons into the chocolate then place onto the parchment paper, chocolate side down.

Pour the leftover melted chocolate into a pastry bag or a zip-lock bag and cut the corner just large enough for chocolate to drip out. Drizzle chocolate over the macaroons and quickly sprinkle the sliced almonds over the chocolate.

-C

Jalapeno Cheddar Hot dog Buns

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These buns though…

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I never thought the pillowy softness of asian bakery breads could be achieved until I heard about tangzhong roux. Using this method has changed bread baking for me forever!

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I’ve attempted many bread recipes in the past with outcomes that have all varied in texture and in density, but this is officially my favorite bread baking method. It always turns out fluffy, moist and delicious. It tastes the best straight out of the oven, but also holds up well in the fridge to be re-heated for later consumption… If you can wait that long.

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If you’ve ever baked bread, you know that it’s a commitment. It can take a bit of time to proof the dough (usually twice) and knead it to the right texture. Nothing is more disheartening than a failed recipe, but a failed recipe that you committed half a day to is just depressing. And who wants to be depressed? Not me. I want to be happy whilst eating happy bread.

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I used this tried-and-true RECIPE and added some cheddar and chopped up jalapeños to the dough to resemble the flavor of my favorite kind of bagel. Yes. BESTDECISIONEVER.

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Happy baking!

-A

Strawberry and Peach Frangipane Galette

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I can’t believe its August already… The older I become the faster the time goes by. I made this galette a couple of weeks ago and realized that I need to post it here before it becomes irrelevant amongst the autumnal treats that are sure to dominate the internet food world thing.

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I’ve never been good at making pie. When the filling turned out excellent, the crust was lackluster and when the crust was excellent, the filling cooked down too much leaving a huge gap between filling and top crust. Someday I will proudly present to you all a pie success, but in the meantime…

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You get a galette! And it’s GOOD. The first time I made this it spread out quite a bit becoming a little too oblong for my liking. Baking it in a 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom fixed this for me. If you choose to do this, make sure to place the tart pan on a baking sheet before placing in the oven as the butter from the crust tends to seep out through the removable bottom as it bakes.

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I mean, it’s practically a pie… Whatever, it’s so delicious I can’t be bothered with the details.

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Get the recipe here! I just added a few strawberries to mine as I had them on hand.

Happy baking!

-A

Blueberry Fritters

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As a young child, blueberries were always one of my favorite fruits in pastries. My dad would buy a variety of those $0.25 hand pies that are found in the junk food aisle and I’d always grab the blueberry one first. They’re probably a buck fifty now, but still very inexpensive. Oh no, did I just reveal my age?! Anyways, as I grew older, my love for blueberries continued to grow. You’ll see them in my morning smoothies, oatmeal and if I’m at a bakery that has blueberry pastries… ONE OF EACH PLEASE!

In the last 5 years or so, I discovered blueberry cake donuts at my local donut shop. The blueberries in them aren’t real, but I could probably eat one everyday for the rest of my life, if my heart allowed it. Thankfully this recipe doesn’t make over a dozen fritters otherwise you’d have to fight the urge to to eat them all, lose the urge, then be mad at yourself. Self control, people! I made about 8 fritters (more like donut holes as you can see) and shared amongst the family as they’re best eaten warm. The blueberries come out plump and juicy and add the perfect amount of sweetness to the dough. Covering the fritters with confectioners sugar isn’t necessary, but it sure makes them look pretty!

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Blueberry Fritters
Adapted from Southern Fried by James Villas
Servings: 4-6

1 C. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 C. sugar
1/4 tsp salt

1/3 C. milk
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 large egg
1 C. blueberries, rinsed and dried

vegetable oil (about 2 inches of oil in your heavy pot)
3 heaping Tbsp. confectioners sugar for sprinkling

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar and salt until combined.

2. In another medium bowl, whisk together the milk, ground nutmeg, ground cinnamon, and egg.

3. Gradually add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing with a spatula.

4. Once the dough has come together, fold in the blueberries. Do not over mix.

5.Heat oil in a heavy pot until the oil reaches 350 F.

6. Use a spoon to scoop up dough and use a second spoon to push the dough off of the first into the hot oil. Continue until the pot gets about half full. The balls of dough will get slightly larger as they fry so don’t overcrowd the pot.

7. When the bottom of the dough gets golden brown, flip the dough. When golden brown, remove from the oil and lay on a paper towel on a cooling rack.

8. (Optional) Put confectioners sugar in a strainer or a sifter and sprinkle over you fritters.

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Enjoy!!

-C