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Sweet Potato Everything Bread... Necessity Breeds Invention

I had this big fat sweet potato staring at me for a week. As some people in this household are not to fond of them, and I wasn't having a taste for it. I wanted to use  the sweet potato in  another way. I also had some Poppy Seeds that have been whispering for me to use them, every time I open my cabinet. 
Sweet Potato + Poppy Seeds + Yeast =A beautiful relationship
I call this my Sweet Potato Everything Bread. I'm feeling pretty confident as a baker now, where I can take liberties with a recipe base and expand. One of my first Daring Bakers Challenges a few years back was a great Potato Bread which I have used from time to time and seems almost fail proof. Using that recipe as a base I decided to switch out the white potato for sweet. Unfortunately I did not have the total amount of All Purpose Flour and didn't want to use more  Whole Wheat Flour , which was also required. I looked on my shelf and found some King Arthur's Rye Blend Flour and used some of that with the other two flours. I figured if anything it would be a great experiment. I also made an egg wash with some honey . The bread was topped with Poppy Seeds, Sesame Seeds, Dried Minced Onion and Sea Salt. The recipe yielded enough for a 20 rolls and 1 medium sized loaf of bread to slice. Certain Someone, who is very picky about bread was pleased with the results. He liked it. I take that as a  huge compliment because Europeans are finicky about their breads and are often disappointed with the  commercial findings here in the United States. The loaf and rolls have a tender crumb that would be great with jams or savory items.
Sweet Potato Everything Bread
12 oz of sweet potato pieces
4 cups of water
1 Tablespoon and 1 tsp seas salt
2 Teaspoons Active Dry Yeast
6 Cups All Pupose Flour
1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 tablespoon butter at room temp/softened
Egg Wash
1 egg
1 teaspoon of milk or cream * Cream gives more glaze
1 teaspoon honey
2 Tablespoons Poppy Seeds
2 Tablesppons Dried Minced Onion
2 Tablespoons Sesame Seeds
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
Boil the sweet potato chunks with skin in the 4 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Cook until tender. Drain the sweet potato, but save the water! Do not throw away the cooking  water as it will be used in the recipe. Peel of the skins and mash the sweet potato. Run  the sweet potato with the 3 cups of the cooking  water ( you may  have to add more water to make up difference) in a blender to make a smooth liquid mixture. Pour warm mixture into the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Cool down until lukewarm .Add the yeast to sweet potato water and mix gently. Let rest for 5 minutes. It will start to bubble slightly on the surface.

Whisk together the all Purpose Flour and Rye Flour in a separate bowl to combine.  Add a few cups of this flour blend to the yeast , sweet potato mixture. Add the butter and salt and with the paddle attachment slowly blend to incorporate. Continue to add the remaining flour and the whole wheat flour as well. Switch to the dough hook. The dough will be sticky still but will start to take hold as more flour is added. It will still be a stickier dough however. With the dough hook , beat for several minutes ( about 8-10 minutes) until the the dough starts to hold its shape .Turn out into a clean bowl or container with lid. Cover and let rise in a  warm place for 2 hours or until double.
 On a clean counter surface which is lightly floured,  turn out the risen dough and punch down and knead to shape. Place the rolls or loaves into the respective baking  tins and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise again for approximately 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450F
Mix the Seed Topping ingredients.
Mix egg,milk, and honey for egg wash.
After second rise, brush the formed dough with the egg wash and sprinkle with Seed Topping.
Bake at 450F until golden for about 30-40 minutes depending on size and shape of dough. If the topping starts to brown to fast . lightly cover with foil.
Remove from oven and let cool on wire baking racks for 1 hours or more to let bread rest.

I submit this to BYOB

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Chocolate Angel Food Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Speckled Buttercream

I may be be called cute at times, but one thing I'm not is cutesy. Nor am I follower of fads. That's why the whole cupcake craze just never appealed to me much. I will have one now and then, but I am not obsessed . Although I admit there are those that have taken the cupcake to pure art form. I wrote about the whole craze here. Give me a multi tiered cake to bring out the artist in me. However when it comes to a portable dessert to break my dry spell of not baking , the cupcake comes to the rescue. The small parcels of sweet goodness are just  the right thing to tote to work to satisfy  the few people that had been missing my sweets.
The security guard and customer service representative were beginning to wonder what was going on with me. They got spoiled over the holidays.  But with New Years and personal vows to get my health and weight  in check before things got out of control, baking was sidelined. Then Certain Someone, decided to remodel, which I am grateful, but it takes time with our schedules and figuring out what to do with all my stuff. So my kitchen just isn't in the state I would like it to be for things to flow. I moved things around and lost my Mojo. The other day I moved my Kitchen Aid back to its original place and I got the urge back . With egg whites in the freezer and visions of lightness, I decided on Angel Food. Chocolaty Angel Food, cause that what's I am. Then topped with an Italian Meringue Butter cream speckled with vanilla bean paste. Light and rich. Certain Someone is not one for sweets but that didn't stop him from asking for his "Honig to bring me another bite of cake. Ein Bisschen".

I exaggerate, but that's the gist. At work , those managed to partake scarfed them down in a bite. They are that light, but with a rich decadent topping. I choose Rose Levy  Beranbaum's Chocolate Lovers Angel Food Cake from the Cake Bible as my guide. The recipe is designed for a cake,but it made 24 cupcakes plus one 6 inch plain cake.
You can find the recipe here for the cake.
I used my recipe from from the French Pasty School. Here you can find an classic Italian Meringue with a tutorial that's based on a Rose Levy Beranbaum  recipe.
Some quick tips:
  •  Make your own cake flour by substitute by sifting  together 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour with 1/4 cup cornstarch.
  • Make sure the egg whites hit the stiff beak stage. To test hold up whisk attachment and see it the beaks hold their shape.The recipe has 3 stages, frothy, soft, and stiff.
  • Don't be deterred if your Italian Meringue curdles. It's one of those things that has looks really bad before it shapes up and comes to life. Just keep beating on. It will come together , promise.
  • I used Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Bean paste which is a great alternative to actual vanilla beans.Just add to butter cream  to achieve speckled effect. 
  • If making cupcakes , fill liners 2/3 of the way. Tap pan to settle batter.

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Spicy Cauliflower Pate for Meatless Mondays

In our household its spring cleaning time. We are literally tearing down and cleaning up, to make  and transform my condo into a joint expression of us. It's hard to let go of some things, and fun to transform and refurbish others. It's a long process with our joint schedules , but we are getting there, gradually. The Main room which houses the kitchen, living , and and dining room is now painted completely. Next task is to move all the furniture back, and declutter. I am actually selling some stuff on Ebay, so its fun to make a little cash while cleaning up.One thing I will not let go are my books! So while moving the large bookcases  and bookstore paint the final long wall, I found an cookbook I have been looking for for two years!I's that bad.Certain Someone says I collect, and don't read books. I read them all.He's just not here to see me do so most of the time, and when he is here I don't have time to read.The cookbooks are endless source of reference for me. The long lost book was a bargain basement find of which I have never seen anything else like  it.Terrines and Pates from the Brockhampton Healthy Home Cooking series. Filled with lots of old world type beautiful terrines in Aspic, it also has  many ideas for light vegetable pates and terrines and desserts. Spicy Cauliflower Pate was a recipe I found I could manage without a trip to the store. I still lacked some ingredients, so I made some twists and variations for delicious dish. We ate this as starters for a normal  Sunday dinner with meat (Lamb breast with the Rhubarb Onion Sauce from the previous post). However on Meatless Monday , it will be my lunch. I served it with some frozen whole wheat pizza dough I had, which I grilled in some oil,( seasoned with dried onion, herbs, and salt),to replicate a Naan style of bread. Again, using what I had with little fuss.Enjoy this flavorful starter. The ginger gives it a zesty bite.

Spicy Cauliflower Pate
 inspired and adapted from Terrines and Pates 
Brockhampton Healthy Home Cooking Series
* I changed some ingredients and proportions. 

1 tablespoon Grape seed or Vegetable Oil
1/2 onion , diced
7 sun dried tomato pieces( in oil)
 2 plum tomatoes  chopped
4 garlic cloves chopped
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp paprika
2 tablespoons dried minced onion
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp salt
1  cauliflower broken into small florets
1 inch ginger minced

Heat oil in a skillet on high. Add chopped onion, reduce heat to medium, and saute for 1 minute. Add chopped tomatoes, garlic, cumin, turmeric, chili powder, paprika , and garam masala ,dried minced onion, and salt.Continue to cook the mixture on medium until the tomatoes soften  for the next five minutes.At this point the cauliflower florets and cover pan. Cook on medium low until softened for 15-20 minutes. You may need to add a bit of water so it doesn't stick. Add minced ginger at the last few minutes of cooking.
  Puree the cooled mixture wither in a food processor or use and immersion blender until a smooth paste ios formed. Transfer to serving dish and place in the refrigerator for 15  minutes. Serve at room temp ( allow to to come to). Garnish with Paprika. Serve with crackers, Naan, or Pita.

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