Stokes Purple® Sweet Potatoes – Two Ways

We’re carrying a fun new (to us) produce item this year – Stokes Purple® Sweet Potatoes.  These sweet potatoes are unique in a number of ways – they are a patented, certified non-GMO crop that used to be grown exclusively on family farms in Stokes County, North Carolina as an alternative to tobacco.  They are now being grown by a number of different farms and growers, including AV Thomas Produce, the largest conventional and organic sweet potato producer in the US, located in Livingston, CA.

We were very excited when the boxes of organic purple sweets started coming in from our distributor, and produce staff took some home and tried them right away.  We thought it’d be fun to feature them in a Thanksgiving demo because not too many people are familiar with them.  Their flesh and skin are both a deep purple, which becomes more pronounced with roasting (boiling them does take away a bit of their vibrancy, but they are still pretty).  They are such a beautiful  deep purple that they are now being used as natural food coloring, and they are also being studied as having anti-colon cancer benefits.  But first and foremost, my, they are tasty!

I decided to cook them a couple different ways for my in-store demo.  Commonly sweet potatoes are served as a sweet side dish, but they really do work as a savory dish as well.  For my more traditional dish I roasted them with a honey glaze and for the other I roasted them whole and served them with a white miso scallion butter that was surprisingly delicious (I’ve never mixed miso with a dairy product before, but this pairing with the scallions really worked well).  Customers really enjoyed both flavors, and many couldn’t decide which they liked better and planned to make both on Thanksgiving!  I personally loved the savory version with the miso butter as it could be an unexpected dish at the traditional table.  These recipes are so easy you can also make them both and decide for yourself!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Roasted Purple Sweet Potatoes with Honey Glaze

Roasted Purple Sweet Potatoes with Honey Glaze © Sassy Sampler 2013

Roasted Purple Sweet Potatoes with Honey Glaze

Recipe adapted from http://www.epicurious.com

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/4 pounds purple sweet potatoes (or any sweet potato), peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces (about 7 cups)
  • 6 T butter or margarine (3/4 stick)
  • 3 T honey
  • 1 t fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Arrange sweet potatoes in 13×9 glass baking dish.
  3. Stir butter, honey, and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat until butter melts.
  4. Pour butter mixture over sweet potatoes and toss to coat.
  5. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
  6. Bake sweet potatoes until tender when pierced with a skewer, stirring and turning occasionally, about 50 minutes.

Makes 6 servings
Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Honey Glaze PDF

Roasted Purple Sweet Potato with Scallion Butter

Roasted Purple Sweet Potato with Scallion Butter © Sassy Sampler 2013

Roasted Purple Sweet Potatoes with Scallion Butter

recipe adapted from http://www.epicurious.com

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 small and slender Sweet Potatoes (or garnet yams) – 4-5 pounds total, washed.  I recommend purple sweet potatoes or Japanese sweet potatoes.
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter or margarine, well softened
  • 1 1/2 T miso paste (preferably white)
  • 3 T finely chopped scallion (green onions)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F with the rack set in the upper third of the oven.
  2. Prick potatoes all over with a fork and put on a foil–lined large baking sheet.
  3. Bake until very soft when squeezed, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  4. While the potatoes bake, stir together butter, miso, and scallion until combined.
  5. Slit hot potatoes lengthwise and, using oven mitts, push sides in to puff up the potato insides.
  6. Serve with some scallion butter in the center of each potato, with additional scallion butter on the side.

8 Servings
Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Scallion Butter PDF

Flourless Chocolate Cookies, and a Bellingham Gluten-free Restaurant Guide

Chantel holding a plate of yummy chocolate cookies made with Dagoba organic and fairly traded cocoa powder.

Chantel holding a plate of yummy chocolate cookies made with Dagoba organic and fairly traded cocoa powder.

We’ve been busy over the last year redesigning our website, and one of the new things we are doing is picking a staff favorite item to feature on the site as well as in our print ads – for December, long-time staff member Chantel was selected (who is our Membership Coordinator and also works on the Front End at our Downtown store).  She loves to cook and bake, and one of her favorite recipes features her staff pick of the month – Dagoba Fair Trade Organic Cocoa Powder.  We thought it would be fun to tie that into the Sassy Sampler blog this month, so the recipe was an easy pick since Chantel had already chosen it!

These flourless chocolate cookies are scrumptious – they come together very quickly and contain no added fats (although plenty of sugar, so don’t get too excited about the basically fat-free status!).  They taste like a meringue brownie – they are a delicate cookie that is packed with chocolate flavor and only contain a few ingredients.  They are similar to the Triple Chocolate Cookies that I have blogged about before, but these are much easier to make and don’t contain any flour at all.  Customers loved their flavor, and also loved their simplicity…and the fact that while they contain egg whites, you don’t have to whip them for this recipe!

One other new addition (to my blog) is that I have created a list of restaurants in town that offer gluten-free selections/substitutions.  I urge anyone to comment on them and to offer suggestions to add to the list – you can either email me (address is located on the bottom of the About page) or use the form – most of the restaurants listed are ones that myself or my coworkers have personally eaten at so it is by no means a comprehensive list.  You can find the PDF document (and places to comment) here.

Flourless Chocolate Cookies © Sassy Sampler 2012

Flourless Chocolate Cookies © Sassy Sampler 2012

Flourless Chocolate Cookies

adapted from www.kumquatblog.com

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 c organic powdered sugar
  • 2/3 c organic cocoa powder
  • 1/4 t sea salt
  • 4 large organic egg whites, room temperature
  • 2 t organic vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4—1 1/2  c organic semi-sweet chocolate chips

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper (and sprayed lightly with oil) or Silpat mats.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, and sea salt.
  4. Stir in the egg whites and vanilla until the batter is well combined (if the batter seems too thin you can add more powdered sugar until it reaches school glue consistency).
  5. Spoon thick fudgy batter onto cookie sheets in 12 small, evenly spaced mounds (about 1 T).  Chill for 5 minutes or so to keep them from spreading when they bake.  Refrigerate remaining batter.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the tops are glossy and lightly cracked.
  7. Slide the parchment onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely before removing from the sheet.
  8. Repeat steps 5-7 with remaining batter.

Cookies can be kept in an airtight container for up to three days and taste just like brownies!

There are many variations of this recipe on the web—you can use anywhere from 2-4 eggs (depending on how thick you want the batter—I definitely think the thicker the better) and some recipes use as much as 2 cups of chocolate chips.  Nuts can be added to these cookies as well—hazelnuts, walnuts, or pecans would be a great choice.

Flourless Chocolate Cookies PDF

1/3/13 – Since posting this recipe I’ve made a batch using Dutch processed cocoa powder.  They turn out much darker (in color) and have a slightly richer chocolate flavor – give it a try if that is your preference!

I just have to mention that when I made the cookies, three of my four eggs had double yolks!!!  Just thought that was weird...

I just have to mention that when I made the cookies, three of my four eggs had double yolks!!! Just thought that was weird…

Green Bean and Tomato Salad; Eat Local Month

September 1st was the kick-off for Sustainable Connections annual Eat Local Month.  The first event was a BBQ featuring local grass-fed beef burgers from Matheson Farm and locally grown portabella mushroom burgers, held at the Downtown Co-op and we have another BBQ scheduled for tomorrow at the Cordata Co-op from 11am-2pm featuring both vegetarian and beef kabobs.   There will also be live music from Kuungana marimba band and lots of other delicious local food.  There are many other events scheduled this month, including the annual Whatcom Harvest Dinner, held this year at Bellewood Acres farm and store.  Check out Sustainable Connections website for more information on upcoming Eat Local events happening this month.

Mama Jay and some happy customers

Me at my demo station inside the Cordata Co-op

Today at the Cordata Co-op, KAFE 104.1 came to promote Eat Local Month.  We asked local BBQ sauce guru Mama Jay to come to sample her delicious sauce with local pork, and we featured a local lunch special (a meatball sandwich with Breadfarm hoagies and Matheson Farm beef, plus an Italian-style coleslaw made with local ingredients).  A few of us gave interviews to be aired as part of the promotion, and in honor of the festivities I decided to make a salad using as much local produce as possible.  It didn’t turn out to be too hard, since we have over 50 local produce items in stock right now!  I settled on Green Bean and Tomato salad, a recipe I found on Epicurious via Yummly.

Scotty from KAFE 104.1 and me, hamming it up for the camera.

The salad came out fresh and delicious – I used organic green beans from Moondance Farm, organic cherry tomatoes from Spring Frog Farm, organic slicing tomatoes and organic Italian parsley from the Growing Garden, and organic hard necked white garlic from Rabbit Fields Farm.  It’s pretty simple to make – just blanch the green beans (and plunge them in ice water to stop the cooking process), chop your tomatoes, mix up the herb dressing and toss.  Everyone who sampled the salad really loved it, even a couple picky kids.  The green beans stay crisp and the two kinds of tomatoes lend to the overall flavor.  I don’t usually put oregano in my balsamic dressings, but this tasted great so I will remember it in the future.  Enjoy!

Green Bean and Tomato Salad © Sassy Sampler 2012

Green Bean and Tomato Salad

Serves 8; adapted from http://www.epicurious.com

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 # green beans, snapped (or cut) into 2 inch pieces
  • 3/4 c tomato, chopped and seeded
  • 1 c cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/3 c extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • 1/4 c Italian parsley, chopped
  • Sea salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the green beans  until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes.
  2. Drain beans, and transfer to a bowl of ice water to cool.  Drain again, and place in a large bowl.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes to the bowl.
  4. In a measuring cup, mix the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, and oregano.
  5. Pour dressing over salad and mix.  Add the cherry tomatoes and parsley as garnish.  Season with salt and pepper.

Green Bean and Tomato Salad PDF

Peanut Butter Cup Mini Cheesecakes

It’s December, and that always means I’m looking for some kind of delicious treat to make…’tis the season!  While I was perusing the web looking for a recipe to prepare today, I ran across Paula Deen’s recipe for Peanut Butter Cheese Cake Minis.  Game over.

These little confections are amazingly simple to make – no greasing, no chopping, and no special tools are needed (aside from a muffin pan and a mixer).  I wanted to make a gluten-free version, and that was also very simple.  For the crust, I used our Bakery’s gluten-free “graham” crust mix – this is a tasty mix that is super easy to use (simply mix in some butter or margarine and press into your pan).  I also used the too-yummy peanut butter cups from our bulk department, although I will note that while they don’t contain gluten they are made in a facility that also uses wheat flour.  A couple of packages of Organic Valley Organic cream cheese, some organic granulated sugar, and a couple organic eggs later I had beautiful little cheesecakes!

You have a few options when making this recipe – if you can tolerate wheat, you can just use crushed graham crackers for the crust; we also carry gluten-free “graham” crackers that you can crush to use for the crust; and as for the candy center, I’ve heard that Snickers minis also are fantastic in this recipe.  I did end up chopping up the peanut butter cups for the batch I sampled in the store (so they would be easier to cut into smaller portions) and it worked really well, so that is another option if you want chocolate in every bite!

This is my last post for the year, so I want to wish everyone a very happy and safe New Year (Glückliches Neues Jahr, Heureuse Nouvelle Année, etc.).

I also want to mention that 2012 has been declared the International Year of Cooperatives by the United Nations.  Our co-op was one of eight in the nation chosen to take part in a video series (starring Kevin Gillespie from Top Chef) highlighting different ways that cooperatives help communities thrive (our videos will be released in late February and in March) so look for those and other events throughout the year!  Go Co-op!  For more information on cooperatives of all kinds, check out Stronger Together, the International Cooperative Alliance, and the Northwest Cooperative Development Center.

Peanut Butter Cup Mini Cheesecakes © Sassy Sampler 2011

Peanut Butter Cup Mini Cheesecakes

INGREDIENTS

Crust

  • 1 1/2 c graham cracker crumbs or Co-op Bakery gluten-free graham crust mix
  • 2 T granulated sugar
  • 1/4 c (1/2 stick) butter, melted
  • 12 bite-size peanut butter cups *

Filling

  • 2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1/4 c flour, either gluten-free baking mix or unbleached wheat flour
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs

*note—The peanut butter cups we carry in bulk do not contain gluten, but they are processed in a facility that also uses wheat flour so there may be trace amounts.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Place a cupcake liner in each cup of a standard muffin tin.
  2. To make the crust—in a bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter until the crumbs are moistened.
  3. Press crust very firmly into the bottom of each muffin cup with the back of a soup spoon.
  4. Place one peanut butter cup in the center of each crust.
  5. To make the filling—beat the cream cheese with a handheld electric mixer until fluffy.
  6. Add sugar, flour, and vanilla and beat well.
  7. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  8. Spoon cream cheese mixture over peanut butter cups and graham cracker crust.
  9. Bake until set, about 20 minutes.
  10. Allow to cool completely before serving.

Mini Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecakes PDF