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Chocolate alert: Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes

Good evening:

Well, yesterday was cooking day, and boy did I ever. I started out with a trip to my local Kroger stores. I say “stores” because I couldn’t get everything at the first Kroger, so I had to drop by the second. Next time I may go all the way to Friendswood and visit the one by LK’s place. Oh, wait, is she in League City? I forget. it’s over there on Bay Area and 518, or 528. . .I get those two mixed up. Anyway. . .I did get online and open up my online Kroger account and add some “digital coupons” onto my Kroger card. I also had some paper coupons that arrived in the mail on Friday. I saved a total of $45.45, which made me feel kinda stoked. Nevermind how much I actually spent, but I stocked up on some things and even tried something new.

It was great to watch that $90 tab go down to $63 in a heartbeat when my Kroger card was scanned. But I don’t do that every day.

I roasted a big ol’ pork loin roast, so that was easy. I made some barbecue sauce, because one thing I picked up on sale were some cross-cut shanks. Those went into the slow cooker this morning–delicious! Also made some more of the low-carb fruit muffins I made a couple of weeks ago.

And then I made some of the muffins I told you about in the last post from GF and Methe chocolate hazelnut muffins. Yes, they are worth the trouble to make, including with Somersweet. Wanna see?

First, you mix the cocoa powder and olive oil:

Chocolate and oil, mixed

Sounds a bit odd, but roll with it

Then you whisk up the dry ingredients:

Hazelnut flour and other goodies

Hazelnut flour and other goodies

Then beat the eggs until nice and frothy:

My Suzy Homemaker mixer again!

My Suzy Homemaker mixer again!

And then add this wonderful elixir:

Vanilla extract, HeatCageKitchen style

Vanilla extract, HeatCageKitchen style

And a little of this, too:

All Natural SomerSweet!

All Natural SomerSweet!

 

Add the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture first:

WHIZ!

WHIZ!

Mix in the dry stuff and stir it all up:

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And then bake them at 375F for 25 to 30 minutes.

Here’s a tip: let them COOL. Overnight, if necessary. Why? Well. . .the GER came by last night, and I gave him the only one that came out perfectly. The rest, well. . .all I’m saying is let them cool completely. And maybe use paper muffin liners, too:

They sorta didn't come out of the pan exactly right. . . .

Delicious, but mine were not a feast for the eyes.

They sorta didn’t come out of the pan exactly right. . .don’t judge me. Or maybe I didn’t grease the muffin tins enough. Or maybe I need new muffin tins. . . .

I just talked to the GER and he’s not tried his muffins yet. I gave him one chocolate muffin and two of the blueberry muffins. When I mentioned that I was making some gluten-free muffins, he said, “oh, no! You nearly killed me the last time with that dinner!” Like the long-ago dinner with my brother and his family in 1997, I will likely not live that one down. Ever.

I didn’t feel like messing with the Nutella frosting, even though I could have whipped up some Homemade Nutella to make it.

Verdict: Delicious!! With hazelnut flour/meal more available in grocery and health food stores, it wouldn’t be difficult to whip these up anytime you wanted. If you’ve got a gluten-sensitive honey, get started on them Friday afternoon/evening so they’re cool on Saturday, which is Valentine’s Day. If you’re making frosting, I would do it ahead of time, too.

Note that Brenda’s original recipe calls for sugar. But because I’m a fiend for the alternative sweeteners and eschewing sugar, I used SomerSweet, which is primarily erythrytol. If you have something called Sweet N’ Natural, or another erythrytol-based sweetener, and prefer to use that, it might take some fiddling to get it right. But SomerSweet measure identical to sugar, so that’s what I go with.

And if you’re like me, don’t have a special someone, make them for yourself, (the recipe makes 6 or 7) because they’re just delicious. The rich chocolate-hazelnut taste is like nothing else you’ve ever had, and will become one of your favorites.

Happy Valentine’s Day, and Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate alert: GF Valentine's Day reblog

Good evening:

OK, so I once again can’t find the “reblog” button on a website, but I have to tell you about some delicious stuff over on Brenda’s site, GF And Me. I don’t know Brenda or Geoff personally, but I do get her blog posts. According to the site, they live in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada. All I know is it’s north of Dallas, above the Mason-Dixon line, and it’s cold. My friend Shelley on Facebook tells me how cold it is up there; she’s nice like that.

So, I logged into WordPress tonight to check something and was greeted with this picture:

chocolate-hazelnut-cupcakes-001

Holy Shish Kebab. Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes with Nutella frosting. If you don’t believe me, go back and read that again. Even if it wasn’t gluten free, I’d still be panting over the chocolate AND hazelnut AND Nutella in one place.

If you’re not familiar with the combination of chocolate and hazelnut, well, that’s a shame, please go try it. They go well together, just like chocolate and raspberries. And as I’ve often told people like Neighbor K, if there’s chocolate and raspberry to be had, I’ll knock you over to get to it.

Well, OK, I’m exaggerating on that one. . .but both combinations are worth trying, if you’ve never had either one. (And Neighbor K is taller than me, too.)

Brenda also has links to other recipes in this blog post, such as a very dark chocolate cake, a GF sponge cake you can make in the microwave, and even GF Ferro Rocher. How’s THAT for cleaning it up?

Because Brenda does more recipes than I do, if you want to find something tasty and GF that I’ve not written about, cruise on over to GF And Me. (You can use the search function on my site to find recipes on HeatCageKitchen as well.) You can find the recipe for THOSE cupcakes at this link.

Brenda’s V-Day post from last year is available here. I think I reblogged that one, too!

You know you want some. And yes, so do I. If I try them, I’ll let you know what happens.

Happy Chocolate, I mean, Valentine’s Day!

Happy New Year!!

Good evening, Dear Readers:

Did you have a great holiday period? Even good? Did you eat some good food? Great food? Of course I did! But I hope everyone enjoyed everything, even if you’re groaning about it now. It was delicious, but we move on to better eating and exercise, at least for a while.

The big holiday is over, and now everyone is trying to figure out how the heck to get back into their clothes that are suddenly tight. Well, you’ve got options: yoga, walking/running, weight training, Pilates, take your pick.

I am in pain. My feet hurt, my elbows hurt, my shoulder hurts, my back hurts, and yes, my butt hurts. For the last two weeks I have been doing what most people call “spring cleaning.” I figured that nobody was doing anything in the corporate world (including marketing departments) so I took the two week holiday period and cleaned the closets, my desk, all of it. The process of cleaning started because Neighbor K was worried about all the fabric and the possibility of another mouse in ‘da house. Well, all the fabric scraps are now sealed into huge Ziploc bags, patterns all went into huge plastic containers with click-to-seal tops, and then. . .the closets needed cleaning. The bathroom needed a cleaning and re-arranging. The kitchen, with the exception of the pantry, also got a once-over. Then the desk area, including the filing cabinet. The living room, the bedroom, and then finally, carpet cleaning. I also had to clean dog and cat hair from the carpet cleaner, since Neighbor K uses it occasionally and buys the soap for us to use. (That’s nice of her!)

I made five trips to the Salvation Army on NASA Road 1, the last one being today. After the third trip, just for fun, I did a bit of shopping and found a fabulous pair of knee-high boots with heels on them that actually FIT. My calves are large from years of walking and driving a 5-speed manual transmission, so most knee-high boots don’t fit me, much less with jeans on. They were not expensive, either, and look like they were never worn. The no-slip rubber soles make them safe. A dose of shoe polish made them look fantastic. I’m going to town tomorrow, and I think I’ll wear them with that new Guy Larouche jacket I finally finished New Year’s Eve.

Finally--3 years later!!

Finally–3 years later!!

Yes, it’s supposed to look like that. Check out the pattern if you don’t believe me.

It’ll be cold enough.

I also went to Half Price Books twice, returned an old cell phone to Verizon for recycling, and put out several extra bags of trash, including two huge bags of shredding. I can’t believe I still had old stuff that should have been discarded and/or shredded a long time ago, but I keep finding stuff to get rid of. Friend of the blog ND has also been going through boxes that she hasn’t looked through in years. She said it was the track of her life, then realized that if she didn’t make it home one day, her family would find all that stuff. I reminded her that if there’s anything she doesn’t want anyone to find, now is the time to get rid of it–while she still can!

So now the whole HeatCageKitchen headquarters is neat and organized for 2015. Soon I’ll be working in the garden, which, surprisingly, is now free of weeds since my August experiment with non-toxic weed killer. I just noticed it the other day–a little grass, but NO WEEDS. Hot DAWG!!

I have a confession: I did indeed make the biscotti I blogged about right before Christmas. I got up Christmas morning and made them first, carefully dipping them into the chocolate and carefully sprinkling on some French grey sea salt just like in the picture.

I told you I made some.

The exalted biscotti

Guess what? They were AWFUL! No joke–they were OK before the chocolate dip, but once I finished them off, yuck. They just did NOT entertain my palette. So, my apologies. I had planned to give some to Neighbor K, but that idea tanked quick. I ate them, but mostly to get rid of them. K says they are awful because they are gluten free. Oh, well.

On a recent trip to a local go-to grocery, I saw this sign:

Seriously?

Seriously?

Please explain to me how bananas are “no gas.” Bananas are high in starch/sugar, which is the best way to get gas. A bit like “cancer cures smoking,” isn’t it? But I’m sure a number of folks believed that one, considering what store it was in.

So, let’s start with Christmas lunch, which I enjoyed by myself while the all-day Doctor Who marathon was on. The recipe was Gingery-Hot Duck Salad from Nigella Lawson’s book Nigella Bites. It was partly exotic and partly to use up this duck I bought months and months ago and has been bouncing around in my freezer until I figured out what to do with it. Quack:

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Yes, from American raised duckies.

The instructions on the duck breast call for scoring the fat, so I did as I was told:

It's about the size of a chicken breast, really.

It’s about the size of a chicken breast, really.

And put that baby in a fry pan, skin side down:

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Now it gets interesting, doesn’t it?

While that’s going on, you get on with the salad part. You can find the link to the recipe here, but I will tell you that the American version of the book calls for “one small red chili, finely chopped.” Well, I couldn’t seem to find me a red chile, so this is what I ended up with:

The infamous Scotch bonnet, which is one of the hottest peppers available.

The infamous Scotch bonnet, which is one of the hottest peppers available.

Chop that baby up good:

I even used a knife like Nigella uses! (But that's not one from her collection.)

I even used a knife like Nigella uses! (But that’s not one from her collection.)

Here’s a tip: after handling hot peppers, don’t touch your eyes for any reason. If you do. . .get an eyedropper with milk, and use it. No kidding. If you’re not alone, get help–an eyedropper full of any kind of dairy milk, and drop it in your affected eyes. How do I know this? I had to look it up on a mobile device while my eyes were burning. I did it once with contacts in my eyes, too–and saved the contacts, thank heavens.

Well, anyway. . .you get on with the dressing and the salad part:

Salad!! My favorite!!

Salad!! My favorite!!

The pepper is well chopped, so it’s distributed into the citrus-based dressing. I actually bought some Thai fish sauce just for this recipe; it’s not expensive, and I found it in HEB so I didn’t have to go to Hong Kong Market. Woo hoo!

Duck is not like chicken. Blander, with a slightly gamey taste. I’ve long wanted to cook duck for Christmas, and a whole one was a bit on the high side for me. No matter, I’ll do it one day–just not in a Suzy Homemaker oven.

No, I didn’t get any more Suzy Homemaker appliances, but I look at them every day. I bid on an absolutely pristine Super Grill last weekend but didn’t win it. RATS! Sold for $20 plus shipping. Next time. . . .

I asked Neighbor K if she’d like to have some Christmas lunch, but she declined. (The GER was also invited and declined, he wasn’t feeling terribly festive. Then again, he rarely is without beer.)

So what was for Christmas dinner?

That will be the next blog post, possibly tomorrow. But I’ll leave you with a preview, one of the finished Cafe Gelatins I made just because I wanted it again. Sugar-free and delicious, but a LOT of trouble. I’ll tell you about it next time, too. Take a look:

IMG_1639[1]

I don’t have the fancy $130 per stem wine glasses Martha Stewart used for the photo shoot. Mine are $9.50 a dozen from IKEA. But no matter, they worked just as well. I did offer Neighbor K one, and she accepted. She ate it a day or so later, and texted me that it was “excellente, chica!” Something like that. In other words, she loved it. Me too. Neighbor R was gone for a week, so I sorta finished them off before she got back. YUMMMmm. . . .

I did talk to my sainted aunt a day or so after Christmas, and tried to describe this to her over the phone. She has no computer, so emailing a picture is not an option. She said, “well, I have some sugar-free Jello I can make!” No. . . as I’ve said before, I don’t *DO* Jello. But Auntie doesn’t read this blog, either.

Oh, and dinner was also roast chicken, but not just any chicken. But you’ll have to wait for the next blog to hear all about the Cafe Gelatin and the roast chicken.

Happy New Year!

Biscotti with chocolate and cranberries

Good evening, Dear Readers:

OK, I just found this delicious recipe and HAD to share it. And I plan to make them. I LOVE biscotti, but don’t have it anymore because it’s empty calories and white flour.

Here you go.

Cranberries. Chocolate. Almonds. Sea Salt. Yum

Cranberries. Chocolate. Almonds. Sea Salt. Yum

 

Does that not just say “tasty Christmas treat” to you? No flour, some sugar (which we can fix) and even vegan. I can’t wait–because it looks DELISH. You know I always want to have my cake and eat it too. . .as it should be.

I found this recipe on Facebook, and it’s very similar to a Martha Stewart recipe I’ve made a few times with pecans and cranberries. I made some last year, but it was flour-based, and not for me. I did nibble on the ends of the biscotti, but you know what? As delicious as I remember them, they tasted like baked flour balls with pecans and cranberries thrown in. Neighbor K went bonkers for them, and if I get around to it, I’ll bake her some next week. But to me, the long-ago memories that I couldn’t get enough of were just, meh.

I will try this biscotti and report back, but I thought you should have the recipe now, so you have time to make some for yourself, your family, or your gluten-free friends if you want them.

You can find the recipe here.

Thanks to the nice folks at Blog.FreePeople.com for this awesome treat. I can’t wait to make some!

Enjoy!

Chocolate, Meyer Lemons and Sweet Potatoes

Good Evening, Dear Readers:

This post, and maybe your evening supper, is a bit like the title. Some things tossed together. I hope you enjoy it.

For my gluten-free folks: I just received an email today from thyroid advocate Mary Shomon about something called the FODMAP diet. Kind of hard to explain, so here’s the link if you’re interested. It looks to mean high-sugar/carb content foods,but I can’t say I understand all of it from a quick read. For anyone reading that’s interested, I am passing along info.

Two topics are on chocolate, so I’ll start with the first one: Lindt. You probably heard about the incident in Sydney, Australia in a Lindt cafe yesterday: the terrorist went down and two hero hostages didn’t make it out. The company is offering full support for the people affected; I’m sure that includes medical assistance. Awfully nice of them. There is a worldwide call to support Lindt (#buyLindt and #supportLindtchocolate) by buying something they make, i.e., one of those delicious balls of chocolate at the register in my fabric stores. I know, fabric stores. . .but despite everything going on around here, I’m ready to head out for a couple of Lindt dark chocolate truffles with the deliciously soft insides. Maybe tomorrow, but I will. I am also thankful that my wonderful Aussie friends live in Melbourne, some distance away from where this happened.

Please say a prayer for Sydney as the city puts itself back together, buries its heroes and heals from this horrific incident. Much like Boston, it will take time to sort out what happened.

The second topic is a different chocolate company here in the US, and I occasionally drop in their shop in Baybrook Mall when I have to go in there. See’s Candies is a company in the US with some locations in Asia that is more of what you’d call a “chocolate boutique” (my term.) I always thought they were a Texas company, or even a Houston company, but no, they’re headquartered in Carson, California.

Last week I headed to Baybrook Mall for some fact-finding. Because I was slowly becoming claustrophobic, I stopped in See’s for one of their Sugar Free Dark Chocolate Bars, which are pretty darn good. In the store, they’re also sold individually, so it’s not a problem to pop over and get one on the way out. (There is also a Godiva store next to Starbucks, but I’m not going in there.)

Sorry, I forgot the picture until it was gone.

Sorry, I forgot the picture until it was gone.

See’s is white and shiny on the inside, like an old-fashioned candy shop, but of course, it’s mostly chocolate. I don’t go to the mall very often, especially this time of the year, unless I have to. But every time I’ve been there, I’ve been happily greeted by this nice man, even if I’m not feeling nice:

The very nice Malcolm, who always greets me with that smile when I go in there.

The very nice Malcolm, who always greets me with that smile when I go in there.

Note: I was NOT rude to him, I just mentioned that I wasn’t in a good mood, and apologized for being a grouch. By the time I left Sees, I felt better. Please do not be rude to Malcolm, either!! He’s very friendly, doesn’t bite.

I’ve seen him several times, so I know he’s been there a while–which is more than I can say for Staples! (They’re nice too.)  Malcolm always tells me about the delicious new things they have, whether or not they are sugar-free. I can vouch for them all being delicious, even if I don’t know what they are. . .because I’m too busy listening to him tell me about what’s new.

I happened to mention to last week that I write a food blog sometimes, and, DUH–how about a blurb about See’s? I didn’t say I was the best food blogger. . .but Malcolm did mention that he’s also been to culinary school.

So now I know he’s smart, too. But I never doubted it. Once he starts telling you about what See’s has, you know he knows his stuff and isn’t “just working there.”

If you’re in Baybrook Mall sometime, stop in and see Malcolm and his very nice coworkers and see what they’ve got in the way of truffles, candy bars, and if you’re so inclined, sugar free chocolate. Whether for gifts or for yourself, Malcolm will make sure you are not disappointed.

Did I mention that chocolate is the Food of the Gods? I thought I should. . . .

Now, longtime readers of this humble blog are familiar with my attempts at gardening. I’ve had some successes, but I haven’t yet been able to grow enough to make a significant dent in my grocery bill. I’ve had a couple of small bell peppers, three Anaheim chili peppers, and four Meyer Lemons. The lime tree had flowers on it when I bought it, but no fruit this year. Then again, that Meyer lemon plant is about two years old.

The GER told me “you might get one or two from it.” HA! I got four. Take that! I need to ask him how the pineapple plant is doing. . . .

Well, the day finally came where they were ripe and I had to pick them. So what the heck was I going to do with them? Look no further than picture-based social media site Pinterest, where I found this delicious recipe for a gluten free cake made with almond flour and. . .FOUR Meyer lemons.

YESSSS!!!!

Now, the only “objectionable” thing in the recipe is sugar. . .so, naturally, I went with Somersweet, and it worked beautifully. Honest, it’s a little time consuming, but otherwise pretty simple.

First, you boil the lemons, no kidding:

I know--it's weird to boil lemons, isn't it?

I know–it’s weird to boil lemons, isn’t it?

When it cools, you cut them open to get the seeds out:

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I cut them into pieces on that plate while they were still hot so they’d cool faster. (That one’s a Corelle, so it’s hard to hurt.)  When they cooled, I got the seeds out, which may be planted in the spring and make more lemon trees:

More lemons!!

More lemons!!

Next up, the secret–the food processor!

Meyer Lemon Mush!

Meyer Lemon Mush!

You puree the entire lemon–yes, peel and all–until it’s nice and smooth. Separately, the eggs and sugar/Somersweet get combined.

With my Suzy Homemaker, I mean, Suzanne Somers electric blender.

With my Suzy Homemaker, I mean, Suzanne Somers electric blender.

Then add this:

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Next you mix in the almond meal, lemon puree and baking powder to make the batter.

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Pour every bit of this into a greased 9″ springform pan and bake it for 50-60 minutes, or until the obligatory cake tester comes out clean:

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Now, while that’s going on, clean up a little, and then get on with the icing–I used the fourth lemon, which was half-zested, and juiced it.

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Look! It came out of its shell!

One thing I will tell you is that Meyer lemons, while bigger and slightly sweeter than regular lemons, are NOT edible as is. I tried it. Ended up with this much juice.

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With 3 tablespoons of soft butter and 1.5 cups of confectioner’s sugar, or in my case, SomerSweet, you beat that all together and get this thick, stiff, tart, sweet icing that tops that sweet, nutty cake perfectly.

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No, it’s not something you’d get in a fancy bakery, but you know what? It’s a rustic, homey, delicious cake that will really make you happy. Gluten free, and if you’re so inclined, sugar free.

Yeah. Take a bit outta that.

Yeah. Take a bite outta that.

Neighbor K and Neighbor R have both given two thumbs up to the slice I gave them, so I know it’s good–and neither one cared that it was healthy, either. Try it soon, (even with regular grocery store lemons) and you’ll be happy you did. This cake is good about anytime you want something different, and it’s not chocolate.

Many thanks to fellow blogger Sue over at The View From Great Island for this wonderful cake. It’ll happen again. . .because I have more pureed Meyer lemon in the freezer!!

Now for something REALLY different. . . .dinner.

I was flipping through Nigella Kitchen on Sunday, thinking about what to do with something that’s been in my freezer for a while, and I found an unusual recipe I’d never noticed before. You know I just HAD to try it! Keep reading. . . .

Over the weekend I had the occasion to drive into town. I had no idea that the stretch of freeway was under construction and was closed, I had a fun time taking detours and getting lost. I got where I needed to go, eventually, but on the way home, I stopped at Trader Joe’s for a few things. I took two pictures of what I needed from Trader Joe’s, (paperless grocery lists!) missing only olive oil. I was told by one of the workers that it had not yet been unloaded, and was still sitting on a ship in the Houston Ship Channel.

Oh, well. At least I’m not out.

This recipe is on page 340, and is called Sweet Potato Supper. First thing that caught my eye was “sweet potato.” (The complete recipe is at the bottom of this post.)

Take a look at the picture in the book:

Sweet Potato Supper

Sweet Potato Supper

Well, I needed asparagus and thyme, but was unable to find the cold-pressed canola oil, so darnit, I just used some olive oil. And instead of “smoked lardons” (you try finding them in Houston, OK?) or the 16 slices of bacon, I used. . .bacon. Because lardons are bits of pork fat anyway, darnit.

Why bacon ends? Because they're CHEAP!

Why bacon ends? Because they’re CHEAP.

And because I didn’t notice the half-cup measure of smoked lardons, I just used the entire packet of the bacon ends and pieces:

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Because, ladies and gentlemen, there IS no such thing as “too much bacon.” At least, not here. But maybe next time I’ll try half the packet.

Scrub, but don’t peel, two sweet potatoes:

IMG_1502[1]Drop most of the bacon, six unpeeled garlic cloves and washed, trimmed asparagus on top:

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I lined the pan with parchment paper first, made cleanup real easy.

Toss some fresh thyme (or one teaspoon dried) on top. Like this stuff:

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The rest will be used to make more of my favorite dry BBQ rub.

This pan goes into a 425 degree oven; naturally, in the HeatCageKitchen, it was the toaster oven. The broiler pan for the toaster oven was perfect for this (without the top grill part, of course.)  Roast for 30 minutes, flip the sweet potatoes, then roast for another 30 minutes. . .and this is what comes out:

This is SOOO good!!

This is very delicious. Trust me.

 

I chopped the sweet potato smaller than Nigella recommends, but I didn’t turn them right at 30 minutes like I should have, so they overcooked on the bottom. No matter. Nigella also recommends mango chili sauce, but I didn’t think to look for it in Trader Joe’s. I think I have some Tabasco Habernero, which has mango in it to tame the heat. . .but I forgot about it. I also forgot to use the lettuce leaves under this, as suggested.

Who cares.

This is SOOO good. . .you will not believe it. I texted Neighbor K, who had gone out for the weekend with her girlfriends, and told her how good it was. I offered her the other half, but she was still full from the morning, so she declined. That means I had it again the next day for lunch!  Maybe next time.

This recipe serves two, but could easily be doubled for four people. It does take an hour to cook, but that frees you to do other things, like make an easy dessert you don’t have to bake.

Seriously, this is amazingly delicious. Want something different for dinner this week? Give this a try. You won’t be sorry.

Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sweet Potato Supper, from Nigella Kitchen. (Serves 2)

  • 2 sweet potatoes or yams (washed and dried, but not peeled) cut into quarters
  • 8 ounces (1/2 cup) smoked lardons, cubed pancetta, or 16 slices smoked bacon, snipped (or bacon ends)
  • 8 ounces asparagus tips
  • 6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • a few sprigs fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 tablespoons cold-pressed canola oil (or olive oil)
  • salt to taste
  • Salad leaves, to serve (optional)
  • Chili sauce, to serve (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 425, and get out the roasting pan for all the ingredients.
  2. Arrange the sweet potato chunks in the pan and then drop in most of the lardons/bacon, followed by the asparagus tips and garlic cloves, and finally, the remaining lardons/bacon.
  3. Sprinkle with the thyme, pour the oil over, then bake in the oven for 30 minutes, before turning the sweet potatoes over and bake for another 30 minutes.
  4. Let everything cool a bit, then divide between 2 plates on top of salad leaves (if desired) and sprinkling with some salt or chili sauce as desired.