It's that time of year again. The leaves are gone, the sky is gray, chimneys are smoking and businesses have started to play Christmas music [already]. Thanksgiving is almost here and the holiday parties have commenced!
I attended my first "Friendsgiving" over the weekend, which was done pot-luck
style, my favorite. There was so much good food! I have a habit of making the same thing for most pot-lucks but it varies, depending on the season. This time I made "sweet&spicy deviled eggs" and a "sweet potato-kale gratin" . To me, these dishes are a new take on the traditional ones. Most thanksgiving dinners in my family consist of some sort of yams baked with brown sugar & cinnamon or marshmallows on top and, for me, it's just too sweet. I get made fun of for being the hippie in the family. I mean, I used to go out of my way and make myself a tofurkey for the holidays, which the family really got a kick out of, and they most definitely had their doubts when I brought a dish with kale and blue cheese in it (where's the cheese whiz?). It took a bit of prodding to get them all to try it but, to my surprise, most of them said they liked it! My sister even requests this dish now for our holiday dinners. A couple friends asked me for the recipe, so, here ya go!
Sweet Potato & Kale Gratin
1 large onion (thinly sliced)
1 bunch kale (de-stemmed & chopped)
4-5 large sweet potatoes (thinly sliced)
2 Tbs butter or coconut oil
3 cups half & half (or cream)
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan or shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup Panko (or other bread crumbs)
1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2) Melt butter or coconut oil in large sauté pan. Add onion and cook until soft and translucent. Add kale to onions. Reduce heat and cover with lid. Cook, stirring occasionally, until kale is wilted (about 7-10 minutes). Pour contents into colander and allow to drain.
3) In the same pan, heat half & half (or cream) over medium heat until it starts to boil. Remove from heat and add in nutmeg and blue cheese, whisking to combine.
4) In a well-greased, 13"x9" baking dish, assemble the gratin. Start with a layer of sweet potatoes on the bottom, then a layer of kale, topped with 1/3 of the cream mixture. Repeat layers, ending with a layer of sweet potatoes.
5) Cover with foil and bake until liquid is bubbling and potatoes are tender (about 45 minutes). Remove foil and sprinkle the parmesan or mozzarella and Panko evenly over the top. Dot with butter (optional). Return to oven, uncovered, and bake and additional 10-15 minutes or until the top is browned nicely.
6) Allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving.
*NOTE: It is important to slice the potatoes nice and thin to get the right consistency. If blue cheese is not your thang, substitute it for a cheese of your choice (I've tried goat cheese and sharp white cheddar on different occasions and they both worked great).
Sweet & Spicy Deviled Eggs
~TIP: if you are using farm fresh eggs, trying steaming them instead of boiling them and they will peel much easier!
6 eggs (hard-boiled, peeled and cooled)
dash salt (to taste)
dash black pepper (to taste)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp yellow mustard
2 Tbs sweet hot mustard (similar to ben's or beaver brands)
a little squirt of sriracha or any other hot sauce (*optional)
crushed red pepper flakes for garnish (*optional)
1) Slice the eggs lengthwise. Remove the yolks, adding them to a small mixing bowl, and set the whites aside.
2) Mash the yolks to a fine crumble with a fork. Add salt and pepper and combine. Add the wet ingredients (mayonnaise, yellow mustard, sweet hot mustard & hot sauce*) and mix thoroughly. Give it a taste and adjust to your liking.
3). Spoon the mixture into a quart-size ziploc bag. Use scissors to cut a corner of the bag and pipe the mixture into the egg white halves. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes*.
Happy holidays, y'all!