Sweet Potato Biscuits

These flaky and tender sweet potato biscuits make the perfect housing for Easter ham, or enjoy them on their own with a bit of butter and honey. My husband is lactose intolerant, so using butter in the recipe was not an option. I subbed coconut oil, although vegetable shortening would have worked well too, and used lactose-free milk in the recipe and for brushing the tops of the biscuits.

sweet potato biscuits

Sweet Potato Biscuits

Adapted from www.chow.com/recipes/10/886/sweet-potato-biscuits

serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 cup mashed sweet potato
  • 3/4 cup whole milk, (I used lactose-free), plus more for brushing
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, chilled
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4  teaspoon baking soda
sweet potato biscuits

Directions

The day before, or at least a few hours before, roast off 2 medium sweet potatoes in a 400 degree oven for 40-45 minutes. Cool completely, remove skins and mash. 

Preheat oven to 425 F. Combine dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar), and set aside. Combine milk, vinegar and mashed sweet potato. Add the chilled coconut oil to the flour and using 2 butter knives, cut the fat into the flour mixture. Work the mixture with the knives until the coconut oil is about the size of peas. 

Add milk mixture to dry ingredients and gently combine. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead gently until the dough comes together (the dough will not be smooth). Dough will be sticky!

Flatten dough with hands or rolling pin to 3/4 thick. Using a floured cookie cutter, or glass, cut the dough into rounds. Place biscuits on parchment lined baking sheet about an 1/2 inch apart. 

Brush tops of biscuits with milk and bake for 12-15 minutes. Serve hot or warm. Biscuits are best the same day.

Sesame Maple Tofu

This one is a breeze of a recipe to pull together on a weeknight. I usually press the tofu during the day while I'm at work, then slice and marinate it for 15 minutes before searing. It's awesome with rice, or noodles, or even just served with an easy salad and a green veg. I love the subtle sweetness provided by the maple syrup. In a pinch you could use agave or honey as a substitute.

An easy weeknight tofu dish that everyone in the family will enjoy.

An easy weeknight tofu dish that everyone in the family will enjoy.

Sesame Maple Tofu

Adapted from Book of Yum

serves 2-4

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of firm tofu 
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (for cooking tofu)
Sesame Maple Tofu is great over rice or bean thread noodles.

Sesame Maple Tofu is great over rice or bean thread noodles.

Directions

Remove tofu from packaging and drain water. Line a plate with paper towels, place tofu on top of paper towels, cover with more paper towels and place a second plate on top of the tofu. Weight the second plate with canned goods or other heavy (stable) items. Press tofu for at least 30 minutes (un-refrigerated is fine), or up to 10 hours refrigerated. I do this before I head out to work. Pressing the tofu removes excess moisture, allowing the tofu to suck up the flavorful marinade.

In a wide dish, mix together marinade ingredients (soy sauce, maple syrup, rice vinegar, sesame oil, ginger and garlic). Cut tofu block in half length wise, and diagonally in the center to create 4 large triangles (see pictures). Place tofu in marinade in one layer and marinate between 15-30 minutes. Preheat a nonstick skillet with vegetable oil over medium high heat. Gently dry off the tofu with another paper towel to ensure a good sear. Sear tofu on both sides for 2-3 minutes. Serve hot or warm. The recipe is easily doubled or tripled for a crowd. Just remember not to "crowd" the pan. Sear in batches so you get it right!

Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin

This is a showstopper of a dinner entree, but it does involve getting your "crafty on" by basket-weaving bacon. Okay, I know that sounds complicated, but I am positive that everyone can do it =)

The key to success with this recipe is to par-cook the bacon. Skipping this step will result in overcooked pork tenderloin and limp, chewy and under-cooked bacon. Neither of which sound good to me! Follow my tips below and all of your dinner guests (or just you), will be thrilled with this yummy recipe.

bacon wrapped pork tenderloin

Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 pork tenderloin, ~1 lb.
  • 10 pieces of thick cut bacon
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and preheat oven to 400 F. On a microwave safe plate or dish, place 2 sheets of paper towels and lay out your thick cut bacon into a single layer. You may need to do this in two batches. Cover bacon with 2 more sheets of paper towels and microwave on high for 1 minutes. Flip the entire bacon/paper towel packet. Microwave on high for another minute. Flip and microwave 1-2 more times, or until the bacon is half-cooked.

While the bacon cools, prepare the pork tenderloin. With a sharp knife, remove the silver skin (here's Fine Cooking's video tutorial: http://www.finecooking.com/articles/how-to-trim-tenderloin.aspx). Stir together the salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder and evenly cover the pork tenderloin.

Thick cut bacon would have given me better structure in my first attempt at a BACON BASKET-WEAVE!

Thick cut bacon would have given me better structure in my first attempt at a BACON BASKET-WEAVE!

On the parchment-lined sheet pan, lay out 5 pieces of par-cooked bacon vertically, directly next to it's neighbor. Fold EVERY OTHER piece of bacon in half. Lay one strip of bacon horizontally, butted up tightly against the folded seam, and unfold the previously folded bacon strips. For the next set, fold the opposite EVERY OTHER piece of bacon in half and repeat the horizontal piece. Repeat the process until you have used all 5 horizontal strips. You should have a relatively even square bacon basket-weave.

Place the seasoned pork tenderloin on the edge of the square and tightly roll the weave around the meat. Secure with 2-3 toothpicks, or place the seam side down to secure. Roast the tenderloin for 15-20 minutes, checking the internal temperature at the 15 minute mark. Pull the pork as soon as it hits 145 F. Tent with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Slice and enjoy your masterpiece.

The finished product enjoying a bit of a rest.

The finished product enjoying a bit of a rest.