Thanksgivukkah! Spiced Sweet Potato "Gelt" with Orange Honey Cinnammon Sour Cream ~ ElephantEats.com

As I mentioned in my last post, I have a Thanksgivukkah recipe for you guys today.

What is Thanksgivukkah you ask? It’s when Thanksgiving and Chanukkah coincide! Chanukkah goes by the Hebrew (lunar) calendar and so it’s not always in December like Christmas. It has been in November before, but it’s extremely rare that in falls on Thanksgiving. 

Thanksgivukkah! Spiced Sweet Potato "Gelt" with Orange Honey Sour Cream ~ ElephantEats.com

Nate is a lovely hand model

According to Wikipedia, the last time it happened since Thanksgiving was declared a U.S. federal holiday by President Abraham Lincoln was 125 years ago, in 1888. The next time Thursday, November 28 will fall during Chanukkah will be in the year 79811, assuming the Jewish calendar is not revised. Crazy huh?

Being that Jews love to eat, and food bloggers love to cook, you can guarantee that this Chanukkah will have some awesome Thanksgiving/Jewish inspired treats.

The traditional Chanukkah foods are latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (donuts). If you notice, both of these foods are deep fried in oil, which is no coincidence. Oil is very important to the holiday of Chanukkah. You can read more about it here if you’re interested.

Thanksgivukkah! Spiced Sweet Potato "Gelt" with Orange Honey Sour Cream ~ ElephantEats.com

I’ve already seen plenty of riffs on latkes for Thanksgivukkah, involving sweet potatoes rather than regular spuds. Honeslty I don’t think that’s so original, as Jews have been doing that already for years. Then I saw people made turkey donuts, which is just plain gross. I also saw a pumpkin rugelach or pumpkin kugel (pudding). 

But I wanted to be original. So I tried to think of other Chanukkah “things.” The other traditional food to eat on Chanukkah, if you can call it a food, is chocolate “gelt” or chocolate coins.Usually these coins are used to gamble while playing dreidel, a game involving a little spinning top.

Thanksgivukkah! Spiced Sweet Potato "Gelt" with Orange Honey Sour Cream ~ ElephantEats.com

Gelt is really just money, or coins, so I figured a recipe could look like gelt without actually involving the candy that we love to eat on this holiday. That’s when it occurred to me- sweet potato gelt! I thought about using carrots since they’re smaller and would look more like coins, but they’re not as Thanksgiving-y as sweet potatoes. 

I added the dipping to sauce to make it more kid-friendly (kids love dipping!) and also to inject some more fall flavor (citrus and cinnamon) into the dish. Obviously this dish goes way beyond Thanksgivukkah and would be a welcome addition to any dinner, or even as a fun pass-around appetizer. 

I hope you enjoy, and have a wonderful Thanksgivukkah! You know you want to celebrate it ;)

Thanksgivukkah! Spiced Sweet Potato "Gelt" with Orange Honey Sour Cream ~ ElephantEats.com

Spiced Sweet Potato "Gelt" with Orange Honey Sour Cream Dipping Sauce
Serves 4
A perfect appetizer or kid's food for Thanksgivukkah or just any day of the year!
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Potatoes
  1. 4-5 sweet potatoes/yams (try to find ones with a small diameter to make smaller "coins")
  2. Cooking spray or olive oil
  3. salt/pepper/cinnamon for sprinkling
Dipping Sauce
  1. 8 oz. sour cream (I used low fat)
  2. 1 Tbsp orange zest
  3. 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
  4. 1 Tbsp honey
  5. 1/4 tsp cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425. Cover a large baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.
  2. Cut sweet potatoes crosswise into 1/2" thick rounds. Either toss with oil or place on the prepared baking sheet and spray with cooking spray. Sprinkle with salt/pepper/cinnamon.
  3. Put potatoes in oven and cook, flipping them halfway, 20-25 minutes or until cooked and soft enough to be pierced with a fork, but firm enough to be picked up without falling apart.
  4. While potatoes are cooking, whisk dipping sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.
  5. Let potatoes cool to room temperature so you can pick them up without burning your fingers and serve with sauce on the side for dipping!
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Smoked Cheddar Sweet Potato Pot Pie

While Nate’s been gone, I’ve been getting my fill of girly activities. This past weekend one of my best friends (and one of my Maid of Honors at my wedding), Emily, came into the city from Jersey. She spent all day Saturday with me, and we did a ton of walking.

Smoked Cheddar Sweet Potato Pot Pie

Since she had travelled so far to get to me, we planned for a sleepover! Since we had worked up an appetite walking around the city, we decided to make this yummy dinner. Then we watched chick flicks :) As much as I miss my hubby, getting to have girl time was great.

If you can believe it, I actually lightened up the recipe I based this from considerably, while adding veggies to give it more bulk per serving. It’s still fairly high in fat content (due to the turkey sausage…who knew??), but it’s only about 500 calories per serving, which is pretty reasonable for a tasty and filling dinner.

Smoked Cheddar Sweet Potato Pot Pie

The smoked cheddar is vital to this recipe, as it adds an amazing flavor. I don’t think it would be nearly as good with regular cheddar. In fact, the cheese sauce was so yummy, I feel like it would be great to make Mac and Cheese out of. I bought way too much cheddar, not knowing how much it would increase in volume when I shredded it, so I may just have to try it out that way next ;)

Smoked Cheddar Sweet Potato Pot Pie

This recipe is delicious and Emily gave it two thumbs up. Sadly it’s also a recipe that Nate would love. Plus, I have so much left and I’m sick of it, whereas he would have made short work of the leftovers. Another reason I need my husband to come back to the east coast!

Smoked Cheddar Sweet Potato Pot Pie

Sausage, Sweet Potato and Smoked Cheddar Pot Pie (lower cal)

Adapted from Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice

Print this recipe!

Serves 8

1.25 lb lean italian turkey sausage
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
2 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2″ pieces
8 oz sliced mushrooms, coarsely chopped
10 oz. chopped frozen broccoli, thawed and well drained
pinch of red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp + 1 Tbsp flour
2 cups chicken stock
3/4 cup fat free evaporated milk
1 heaping cup shredded smoked cheddar cheese
1 sheet puff pastry
1 egg

Take puff pastry sheet out of freezer so it has time to thaw (about 40 min at room temp). Preheat oven to 400.

Put sweet potato pieces in a pot with water. Bring to a boil and cook 8-10 minutes or until cooked but still firm. Drain and set aside.

Heat a large saute pan over med-hi heat and add turkey sausage to pan, removing casings. Cook turkey sausage, breaking it up into small pieces with a wooden spoon. When no longer pink, remove turkey with a slotted spoon to a bowl and set aside.

Add the olive oil to the pan. Add onions and saute until translucent. Add mushrooms and garlic and cook until mushrooms are soft. Add the broccoli, sweet potato and turkey to the pan and warm up. Turn off heat and set to the side.

In a saucepan, add butter until melted. Whisk in 2 Tbsp of the flour, continually cooking for 2 minutes. SLOWLY add the broth, whisking well so no clumps form and it evenly distributes in the broth. Whisk in the evaporated milk and the last tablespoon of flour.

Bring to a boil, whisking often. Simmer for 2-3 minutes or until it thickens. Turn off the heat and whisk in the cheddar. Add red pepper and salt/pepper to taste.

Pour the cheese sauce over the veggie/turkey mixture and mix thoroughly.

Place mixture in serving dish(es). I used individual ramekins for portion control, but it should fit in a 9×13 pan. Cut puff pastry into 8 pieces and place one on each portion.

Whisk egg with 1 Tbsp of water and brush tops of puff pastry. Place in oven, putting a foil-lined pan underneath to catch drips. Bake for 35-40 min or until puff pastry is golden brown.

Cool for 5-10 minutes before eating, as it will be VERY hot. Also, it thickens as it cools.

Twice Baked Sweet Potato with Apple

Nate and I went upstate last weekend with a couple of our friends to Poet’s Walk Park…where Nate and I were exactly one year ago when Nate proposed.

Nate wanted to go back to shoot a couple things for the wedding video (which is now officially done, and completely awesome!!!) and we needed the help of our friends to do this. We also wanted to take a few pics at the proposal location since we completely forgot to snap a pic of it when it was actually happening. Oops :)

The bridge where Nate proposed…one year later!

This park is fairly small but it has gorgeous views.

It was a two hour drive north of the city, so we thought we’d take advantage and stop at Fishkille Farms on the way home to do a little apple picking! Rosh Hashannah, the Jewish New Year, was coming up and apples are traditional to eat (with honey) for a “sweet” New Year.

Nate and bridesmaid, Kim, showing their apple excitement!

We picked a ton! I wanted to make sure we got enough for eating plain and for cooking, although i didn’t have anything specific in mind yet.

We also got some hot cider for me (cold for Nate) and some fresh cider donuts. YUM!

I knew I wanted to make a recipe to use apples. On Rosh Hashannah, since all my family and jewish friends were travelling, I decided to just make a nice dinner for the two of us.

I roasted up a chicken and set off the fire alarm. The recipe had me cooking it at 450° with just the chicken in the pan, nothing under it. After it completely smoked out our apt, I looked up what to do and someone suggested putting a layer of potatoes under the chicken and roasting it at 425°. Luckily I had one lone potato sitting on the counter so i sliced it up and put it under the chicken and shoved it back in the oven.

Twice Baked Sweet Potato with Apple

Success! Well kinda. It stopped the chicken from smoking, but when I checked the temperature of the chicken after the allotted time, it was at the correct temp. I took it out of the oven and the breast was perfectly cooked, but other parts were still raw! Ugh, I’m never cooking a chicken again. I’d rather just buy a rotisserie one from the market.

Anyway, I wanted some nice side dishes to go with dinner and since I had some freshly picked apples to use, I pulled out this apple cookbook that I got last year that hasn’t ever gotten used, and found a really tasty recipe for The Best Twice-Baked Potatoes.

Twice Baked Sweet Potato with Apple

They were really good. I think I was expecting them to be more sweet with the apples and the sweet potato, but they were definitely more on the savory side, but still delicious! I highly recommend these as a side dish for your next holiday meal…or even just an every day dinner :)

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes with Apple

Very slightly adapted from The Comfort of Apples Cookbook

Print this recipe!

Serves 6-8

1/4 cup olive oil
4 medium yams (about 3 pounds total)
salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups light cream
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 1/2 Tbsp minced fresh thyme
3 cups peeled and diced apples (1/4 inch dice)
3/4 cup bread in small chunks
3/4 cup parmesan in 1-inch chunks
1/2 cup parsley

Preheat oven to 400.

Line a baking sheet with foil and spread with olive oil. Roll the yams in the oil to coat and season well with salt and pepper. Bake until tender, about 1 hour, and remove from oven. **Alternatively, pierce potatoes several times with the tip of a knife, wrap in paper towels and microwave until soft.

Bring the cream to a simmer over medium-high heat in a small saucepan, and whisk in the butter. Reduce heat to medium, add the garlic, thyme, and apples, and season with salt and pepper. Cook until apples are tender, 8-10 min.

Slice each yam in half and scoop out the hot insides into a medium bowl. Fold in the hot cream mixture. Spoon the mixture back into the potato shells.

Place the bread, parmesan, and parsley in a food processor and pulse until fine. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the potatoes, return to oven, and bake until yams are lightly browned and crisp, about 1/2 hour.

For Christmas, Nate surprised me with a quick long-weekend trip to San Francisco over MLK weekend. He considers SF his “hometown” because he was born there- never mind that his parents moved to the east coast when he was 3 months old.

If you try to tell him that he’s from Delaware, he will vehemently deny it. I used to ask him why it was so important for him to be “from” San Francisco, but now that I’ve been there I can see why he’s so adamant about it being his birth place. It’s a beautiful city with equal parts beach, mountains, forests, suburbs, city. It has a little bit of everything.

view of SF from the Rock.

On Saturday we went to Alcatraz. The audio tour was beyond cool. If you haven’t been, you must go! We also visited the ferry building with its amazing food, the gorgeous Palace of Fine Arts, the Wharf where dozens of sea lions come to sunbathe, and the picturesque Land’s End walking path with views of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Sunday morning we ventured out to Muir Woods, hoping to get there before the crowds. I think it could be one of the prettiest, most serene places I’ve ever been. There’s something about a damp, shady forest that I find so relaxing…not to mention how amazingly fresh it smells!

I don’t know about you, but my sense of smell is my strongest sense and I find myself smelling everything. It’s a little weird, actually, the way I smell any new thing I encounter. For some reason I feel the need to assess a smell even if I know it’s going to be a bad one. Maybe I’m part dog.

Though nothing will even come close to the smell of that cool damp forest, odors emanating from the kitchen come a close second ;) While this soup isn’t the most fragrant thing I’ve ever cooked, it smells pretty darn delicious on a cold winter’s day, warming the room (and your belly!) right up.

It’s a very light soup, lighter than I’d imagined. I served it with some Cheddar Dill biscuits (recipe on Friday), but perhaps it would be best as a first course or a very light meal with some crusty bread.



Winter Vegetable Soup with Lentils

Slightly Adapted from Real Simple

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serves 6

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 leeks (white and light green parts), cut into 1/4-inch-thick half-moons
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 bunch kale, thick stems removed and leaves cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips
1/2 cup brown lentils
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp hot sauce (such as Tabasco) or more to taste
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup grated Parmesan (1 ounce; optional)

Heat the oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat.

Add the leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook, breaking them up with a spoon, for 5 minutes.

Add 6 cups water and bring to a boil. Stir in the sweet potatoes, kale, lentils, thyme, 1 ½ teaspoons salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.

Simmer until the lentils are tender, 25 to 30 minutes.

Serve with crusty bread, biscuits, or as an appetizer.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away!

Well, that’s what they say. I’m not sure how true it is, though, because I eat an apple almost every single day and I get sick way more than Nate. Although, come to think of it, Nate eats an apple every.single.day with his lunch (I told he he’s a creature of habit!). So maybe the old saying IS true :)

Regardless, I think apples are pretty tasty. As soon as fall comes and the air starts gettin chilly, I do a lot of apple-eating. So when October’s #lovebloghop got announced with the ingredient-of-the-month as apple, I was pretty pleased.

Since I’ve been on a flatbread kick, I decided to do a little experimenting. I don’t how this zany little idea got in my head, but I wanted to make a dough out of sweet potato that wouldn’t require yeast.

Because the dough would hopefully have a nice sweetness to it, I wanted a topping that would complement it. I settled on sauteed onions and apples with rosemary. I just felt that those flavors would all meld so well together.

And then, I added cheese. Cheese? Yes, please.

You know what else they say about apples? An apple pie without the cheese is like a hug without the squeeze.

Ok, so I’ve never actually had apple pie with cheese, but I’m told that putting a little cheddar in the crust or on top is just delightful.

I’m not usually a recipe-creator, but I thought I did a pretty good time this time around.

October is #applelove month!  Hosted by:

Baker Street http://bakerstreet.tv/
Bloc de recetas http://blocderecetas.blogspot.com/
Bon a croquer http://www.bonacroquer.com
CafeTerraBlog http://www.cafeterrablog.com
Cake Duchess http://www.cakeduchess.com
Elephant Eats www.elephanteats.com
Hobby And More http://hobbyandmore.blogspot.com/
Knitstamatic http://knitstamatic.wordpress.com
Mike’s Baking http://www.mikesbaking.co.uk
Mis Pensamientos http://juniakk.blogspot.com
My Twisted Recipes www.mytwistedrecipes.blogspot.com
Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives http://lisamichele.wordpress.com
Queen’s Notebook http://www.queensnotebook.com
Skip to Malou http://www.skiptomalou.net/
Teaspoon of Spice www.teaspoonofspice.com
The Daily Palette http://www.thedailypalette.com
The Spicy RD www.eastewart.com/blog
Vegan Miam http://www.veganmiam.com
Versatile Vegetarian Kitchen http://versatilekitchen.blogspot.com

Please join in on the #applelove fun by linking up any apple recipe from the month of October 2011.  Don’t forget to link back to this post, so that your readers know to come stop by the #applelove event. The twitter hashtag is #applelove :). 

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Yeast-Free Sweet Potato Flatbread with Apples, Carmelized Onions, Cheddar and Rosemary

Recipe by Me

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Serves 6 as an appetizer

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 small onions, thinly sliced
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 Tbsp sugar
s+p to taste
1 cup mashed sweet potato (about 1-2 small potatoes)
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup shredded cheddar (or more if you like things cheesy)

Heat oil in saucepan over med-hi heat.

Add onion and cook 10 min or until soft.

Add 1 tsp vinegar to deglaze, scraping up all stuck bits, and add apples and rosemary.

Cook 5 min or until soft. Add rest of vinegar and sugar and cook 5-10 min more.

Bake (or microwave) sweet potato until soft. Remove skin and mash. Combine sweet potato, flour and baking soda in a small bowl and combine well. Add more flour as needed. Knead until dough forms into a ball. Dough will be slightly sticky.

Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle (or desired shape) until 1/4 inch thick. It should fit on 1/2 of a baking tray.

Bake for 20 minutes at 375.

Remove from oven. Sprinkle with more olive oild and spread apple mixture and cheese on top. Bake 5 more minutes at 350 or until cheese melts.

Cut into squares and serve immediately.