Sweet Potato Pancakes

I’d like to promise you that this will be the last time I throw something in the shape of a disk, made out of Japanese sweet potatoes, at you, but…well, I just can’t.  I’ll do my damndest, though.

At any rate, last Sunday we invited Jolly and The G Man over for Sunday brunch, and this was it – tomato basil sausage, scrambled eggs, strawberry muffins, and these potato pancakes made with chilled, leftover Vanilla Mashed Sweet Potatoes.  They were pretty tasty – Beloved, at least, devoured his, but I think Jolly would have enjoyed hers more if it had been topped with a little butter and pure maple syrup, so I’ve given both a sweet and savory serving option in the recipe itself.

These are not at all difficult to make, but the trick is to make sure the leftover mashed potatoes (and yes, you can use regular mashed potatoes if you prefer) are well-chilled, and that you fry them slowly, or else you’ll miss out on the lovely golden, crispy exterior.  Which, quite frankly, is one of the tastier aspects of this dish.  Will I make these again?  Indeed, I will – if for no other reason than Beloved carried on about how good they were.

I’ll also be honest and admit that I did not measure the tapioca flour or the ghee – if you find you need more, by all means, use more.

Sweet Potato Pancakes
Sweet Potato Pancakes
Sweet Potato Pancakes
Serves: 8
  • 2 cups [url href=”http://www.janssushibar.com/?p=12637″]Vanilla Mashed Sweet Potatoes[/url], chilled
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons potato flour
  • 2 tablespoons grated onion
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/4 cup ghee or clarified butter
  1. In a large bowl, combine the chilled sweet potatoes, egg, potato flour and onion until well blended. Using wet hands, form the mixture into 8 pancakes.
  2. Dredge the pancakes in the tapioca flour. Melt the ghee, over medium heat, in a heavy skillet large enough to hold the pancakes without crowding them, and gently fry the pancakes until they are crisp and golden brown, about 5 minutes per side.
  3. Serve with sour cream for a savory side, or butter and maple syrup for a sweet side.
  4. Nutrition (per serving): 209 calories, 11.3g total fat, 48.7mg cholesterol, 97.6mg sodium, 369.9mg potassium, 25.1g carbohydrates, 3.2g fiber, 4.2g sugar, 2.7g protein



Barbecue Rabbit

I was maybe 13 when my stepfather killed, skinned and cooked a rabbit.  As he sat it in front of me to try, I burst into tears – how on earth could he expect me to eat a sweet, adorable, harmless little bunny?  Fast forward about 35 or so years, and my tulips and vegetable garden are being decimated by those adorable-but-not-so-harmless bunnies.  It occurs to me that they are probably damn tasty, being so well-fed, and that if I could strangle catch one with my bare hands it would become dinner in very short order.

Odd how age changes ones perspective.

It is also odd that my kids are not in the least bit squeamish about eating critters – I’m not sure why, since I never fed them anything out of the ordinary until relatively recently.  It is particularly puzzling because The Young One, who turns his nose up at sweet potatoes, cabbage, cooked carrots, plantains, beans of any sort (with the exception of green beans), parsnips, beets, radishes, mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, strawberries, cherries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, collard greens, onions, most nuts and quiche will eat just about anything if you tell him it is a) meat or 2) cheese.

We had planned to cook our rabbit over the weekend, but postponed because the boy complained he would not be at home to eat any, due to work and plans with friends.  So, we made it last night and I discovered something amusing, but not particularly surprising:  given the opportunity, my 17-year-old son can decimate an entire bunny by himself.  And while he normally wouldn’t touch rhubarb with a 10-foot pole, if you turn it into a sauce and slather said bunny with it while it is on the grill, he will declare it one of the best things he’s eaten.  EVAR.

Go figure.

I particularly enjoyed this recipe because it forced me to learn to cut up a rabbit, which turned out to be far easier than I anticipated – there’s an excellent step-by-step tutorial here.  One thing to be aware of is that Hank is cutting up a wild rabbit that he has skinned and cleaned himself; if you’re like me, you probably only have access to domestic rabbit that has already been butchered and frozen – ours was already remarkably clean, with very little silverskin to remove.  I also cut the loins from the bones; I’m not very fond of eating things off the spine (although I may change my mind about that).  If you’re squeamish about the process, you might be able to find rabbit that has already been cut down into its component parts.

Young rabbits are small, so count on one only feeding two people (unless, of course, you are feeding a teenage carnivore).  They’re also quite lean, so low and slow is the best way to cook them, even on the grill, and marinating the rabbit prior to grilling is a good idea, even though the flavor is quite mild.

Note:  The carb count on this recipe is probably overstated a bit, since the yogurt marinade is rinsed from the rabbit before grilling.

Barbeuce Rabbit
Barbecue Rabbit
Barbecue Rabbit
Serves: 4
  • 2 small rabbits, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup whole-milk yogurt
  • salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup [url href=”http://www.janssushibar.com/?p=13945″]Rhubarb Chutney Sauce[/url]
  1. Place the rabbit pieces in a large bowl and smear with the yogurt. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but as long as 8.
  2. Remove the rabbit from the bowl and rinse off the yogurt marinade; pat dry. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper and allow the rabbit to come to room temperature, about half an hour. While the rabbit is resting, prepare the grill.
  3. Cook the meat over indirect heat, turning frequently, until it reaches an internal temperature of 160 F – 165 F. Baste the rabbit with the rhubarb sauce during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
  4. Allow the rabbit to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
  5. Nutrition (per serving): 385 calories, 14.6g total fat, 137.2mg cholesterol, 122.7mg sodium, 927.3mg potassium, 12.7g carbohydrates, <1g fiber, 11.1g sugar, 47.9g protein


Rhubarb Chutney Sauce

Happy Tuesday, everyone!  I hope all of my friends in the U.S. had a lovely Memorial Day weekend.  Our time off was nice – we ran errands on Thursday and kept The G Man overnight on Friday.  Saturday we did all of our grocery shopping (i.e. we visited our farmers and went to the farmer’s market); Sunday we went swimming with The G Man and Jolly.  Yesterday we did a whole lot of nothing, and I was ready for it.

I did a little cooking, but not as much as I expected – I did begin curing the pork jowls for the guanciale and the smoked jowl bacon Beloved is going to finish next weekend (the guanciale will take as long as 12 weeks, depending on how it does while dries).  I also cut down 2 small rabbits, and have them marinating in yogurt in the fridge, which we’re going to grill tonight; if they come out well, I’ll post the recipe – probably tomorrow.

This will probably be an integral part of the rabbit recipe.  We have a quite large and prolific rhubarb plant in our back yard, mostly because Beloved loves it.  I do too, but have been hesitant to cook any because it just takes so much sugar to make it palatable.  Unfortunately, this recipe isn’t much of an exception, although I did my best to keep it to a minimum.  Based on the Victoria Sauce in the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, the original recipe called for nearly four cups of sugar.  I replaced the sugar with evaporated cane juice and reduced the amount to 2 cups, as well as increased the amount of onion and raisins called for.  I also added water to the recipe, to keep it from burning before the mixture began to soften and break down.

The results were surprising, really – a sauce – or chutney, depending on your preference – that is tart, but sweet, yet not overwhelmingly either.  It is marvelous on meats of all sorts:  chicken, pork, even beef – the first thing we used it for was as a baste on grilled rib eye steaks, and it was just delicious.  I guess tonight we’ll see how it does on rabbit.

We canned ours, and I’ve included those instructions in the recipe.  If you don’t want to can it, I’ll be interested to hear how well it freezes.  While the original recipe didn’t call for it, I pureed ours with an immersion blender, and the result was the consistency, and color, of a good apple butter.  And it would probably be quite good on toast, if you’re so inclined.

Rhubarb Chutney Sauce
Rhubarb Chutney Sauce
Rhubarb Chutney Sauce
Serves: 64
  • 2 quarts rhubarb, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cups seedless raisins
  • 2 cups evaporated cane juice
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  1. Combine rhubarb, onion, raisins, evaporated cane juice, vinegar and water in a large, heavy pot such as an enameled cast iron Dutch oven. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until thick, about 25 minutes.
  2. At this point the sauce can be used as chutney, or it can be pureed in a blender, food processor or with an immersion blender until smooth, and used as a sauce.
  3. To can the sauce, pour while hot into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1/8-inch head space. Adjust caps. Process in a boiling water bath according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  4. Nutrition (per serving): 39 calories, <1g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 1.6mg sodium, 83.9mg potassium, 9.8g carbohydrates, <1g fiber, 8.2g sugar, <1g protein
Serving size: 2 tablespoons


What’s Shakin’, Bacon?

Happy Friday, everyone!  We’re enjoying our extended weekend quite a bit; yesterday we planted four flats of pink and purple impatiens in our front garden, and this afternoon we’re picking up The G Man from his sitter and taking him shopping, before bringing him home to spend the night with Meema and Papa.  Tomorrow he’s going to visit our egg farmer and attend he farmer’s market with us.

Because it’s never too soon to begin The Indoctrination. 😛  Other than that, our weekend plans are to lay around a lot,which we really need.

Oh – and to make bacon.

We’ve taken two of the hog jowls in our freezer out to thaw, and I’ve got my copy of Charcuterie, by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn, at the ready.  Beloved is going to smoke one for jowl bacon, and I’m going to cure the other guanciale, a cured, not smoked, Italian bacon.

I’m going to document both processes and post them here, if anyone is interested.  Are you?

In the meantime, have a lovely weekend, y’all.  I’ll see you next Tuesday.

Strawberry Dark Chocolate Balsamic Salad

This past winter, I went on something of a casserole kick – since we’re well into the warm weather, I think I’m going to do a lot of salads.  Especially while lettuces are so abundant at the farmer’s market.

Strawberry season is also in high gear here in northeast Ohio and I found myself with a few that needed to be eaten before they were fit for nothing but the compost bucket.  Add to that some honey-infused chevre from Mackenzie Creamery and a handful of pistachios and you have the beginning of a really nice salad.

But what about the salad dressing, you (reasonably) ask?  Well, a balsamic vinaigrette is pretty much the rule when making a salad that contains strawberries, but who wants to play it safe?  Especially when you have some dark chocolate balsamic vinegar from The Olive Tap on hand.  It couldn’t be simpler to make – it’s just olive oil, the vinegar and a pinch of salt, and it elevates the salad above the same old, same old.

Of course, if you don’t have the honey goat cheese and the dark chocolate balsamic, this will still be a lovely salad with a plain chevre and good-quality balsamic.

Strawberry Dark Chocolate Balsamic Salad
Strawberry Dark Chocolate Balsamic Salad
Strawberry Dark Chocolate Balsamic Salad
Serves: 2
  • 4 cups mixed salad greens
  • 2 ounces honey-infused chevre
  • 1 ounce pistachios
  • 1/2 cup strawberries, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons dark chocolate balsamic vinegar
  • pinch kosher salt
  1. Divide the salad greens between two plates; top with the strawberries, nuts and cheese.
  2. Whisk the olive oil, vinegar and salt together in a small bowl until well combined. Drizzle over the salads and serve.
  3. Nutrition (per serving): 315 calories, 26.1g total fat, 13mg cholesterol, 260.6mg sodium, 403.3mg potassium, 12.3g carbohydrates, 3.7g fiber, 5.6g sugar, 9.7g protein