sweet potato

Sweet Potato Breakfast with Gingerbread Pecan Crisp

Why'd you have to go and make things so complicated?

I wasn't sure why that song had been looping through my head, endlessly, for days on end.

But now I think I know.

I spend so much time and energy thinking about and planning the look of my food photos - choosing and setting up the background, deciding on props, playing with and adjusting light(s), tethering to my laptop, adjusting my tripod, switching out lenses - ugh. The list of small details involved in getting a decent shot goes on and on and on...

Yesterday morning I said, 'Fuck it'.

If you scroll down to my previous post, you'll see I received a copy of Allison Day's gorgeous new cookbook, Whole Bowls. It's a truly lovely book and one of the recipes I'd bookmarked was the Sweet Potato Breakfast with Gingerbread Pecan Crisp. In my mind's eye, I knew that the bright orange of the sweet potato and citrus would be so luscious and vibrant, I should grab my camera and snap a quick shot.

So I did.

I chose a bowl from my prop closet, quickly assembled the dish and then photographed it in less than 5 minutes. Set up on the small green table, with no props, from the top of a stepladder, and using one small piece of white foam board to bounce a bit of like back in to the shadows, it's so...


And I'm so happy about that.

This was a great exercise for me to just let go, relax, and have a quick bit of fun before I sat down and ate the most delicious breakfast ever.

Click here to learn more about Allison and her blog, Yummy Beet, or here to check out her book, Whole Bowls : Complete Gluten-Free Vegetarian Meals to Power Your Day.

Sweet Potato Soup with Acadian Maple Syrup

One of the beauties of Twitter is the ability to hold conversation with people you would not normally meet. Last week, Tim Pratt of Real, Creative Eats tweeted about his weekend trip to the Earltown Maple Syrup Festival. I responded with a big 'I LOVE MAPLE!!!' tweet to which I then got a response from@AuthenticCoast with a link to the DesBarres Manor Inn recipe for Sweet Potato Soup with Nova Scotia Maple Syrup.

DesBarres Manor Inn is one of Nova Scotia's stunningly beautiful historic properties that has been faithfully restored to the full splendour of it's 1837 heritage. Located in the town of Guysborough, along the scenic Marine Drive of our Eastern Shore, DesBarres Manor has become a go to for lovers of local food and wine. 

'From our spectacular open kitchen, our culinary team uses fresh ingredients from the Manor’s organic garden along with seasonal gourmet treasures from local farmers and fishers to create contemporary Canadian cuisine with an East Coast flair. Seasonally inspired menus are complemented by the Proprietor’s extensive wine collection, offering you a personal selection of fine wines from around the world. Combined with our attentive service, the DesBarres Manor dining room creates a culinary experience as warm as our people.'

I followed DesBarres' recipe to a T and the end result was pretty good but I was left wanting a little more of a flavour kick. Maybe it's because I've been working for the Bertossis too long but my tastebuds have developed a serious need for intense flavour. 

DesBarres Manor Inn Sweet Potato Soup with Nova Scotia Maple Syrup

1 Tbsp Olive Oil, 1 tsp chopped garlic, 1/2 C chopped celery, 1/2 C chopped onion

1 Litre Chicken Stock, 2 Lbs peeled and diced Sweet Potatoes

4 Tbsp Maple Syrup, 1/4 tsp Nutmeg, 1 C Whipping Cream, 4 Tbsp Brandy

Sour Cream and Garlic Chives to garnish

Kelly's Modified Sweet Potato Soup with Acadian Maple Syrup

1 Tbsp Olive Oil, 1 clove chopped garlic, 1 stalk chopped celery, 1/2 med onion, chopped

1.5 Litre Chicken Stock, 2 Lbs peeled and diced Sweet Potatoes

8 Tbsp Acadian Maple Syrup, 1/2 tsp Nutmeg, 1/2 tsp Cardamom, 1.5 C Milk, 4 Tbsp Brandy, pinch of dried chili flakes

**Sautee garlic, celery and onion in olive oil 2 minutes

**Add chicken stock and sweet potato - bring to the boil - reduce heat - simmer one hour or until potatoes are soft

**Puree - add all other ingredients - simmer 15 minutes

**Garnish with sour cream and garlic chives

I simmered my sweet potatoes for one hour as the recipe calls for. I should have taken them from the heat when I checked them at 1/2 an hour because that's when they were done. By the end of one hour, my sweet potatoes had reduced too much and were so thick that I had to add more liquid, hence the increased measurements of stock and milk in my version. Also, my whipping cream was expired so I had to substitute milk for cream.

The only real difference in my version is the seasoning. I doubled the Maple Syrup because I found the original amount got lost among the sweetness of the potatoes. I increased the amount of nutmeg and then added cardamom to bring forth another flavour dimension. The pinch of chili flakes, once pureed, rounded out the bottom end of the sweetness with a little fire. I ate my first bowl with a dollop of sour cream and some chopped baby chives (I couldn't find garlic chives). The chives added a nice hint of oniony crunch but I think the soup could stand alone without the sour cream. 

All in all, this was a really nice recipe from one of Nova Scotia's best!!