Southern Sweet Potato Puffs

Culinary contemplation over how I could up my holiday side dish game brought me to a delicious conclusion.  How ’bout pairing the highly holiday requested Southern Sweet Potato Casserole with the OMG as in oh my goodness of puff pastry.   Southern Sweet Potato Puffs it is!

southern sweet potato puffs

Impressing the palates of those who gather together is a part of the holiday dinner and entertaining equation.   As someone who puts stock in the you eat with your eyes first approach to dining, the looks so good has to match up to the tastes so good.  Let’s begin with the recipe for Southern Sweet Potato Casserole.

sweet-potatoes-pecans-flour-brown-sugar

Southern Sweet Potato Casserole

Ingredients

3 cups mashed sweet potatoes

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ cup milk

¼ cup Southern Comfort whiskey

1/3 cup butter, melted

For Topping:

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/3 cup flour

1 cup chopped pecans

1/3 cup butter, melted

Directions

Preheat oven to 350° F.   Lightly spray a 2 quart baking dish with cooking spray.  Boil  sweet potatoes under tender.  Carefully remove from heat, drain, peel and mash sweet potatoes. 

sweet-potatoes-vanilla

In mixing bowl, mix together the mashed sweet potatoes, brown sugar, eggs, melted butter, milk, vanilla extract, Southern Comfort, ground cloves and ground nutmeg.  Spread mixture evenly in prepared baking dish. 

stirring-sweet-potatoesIn a separate mixing bowl, mix together brown sugar, chopped pecans, flour, and melted butter.  

sweet-potato-toppings

Spoon over sweet potato mixture.  Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean.  

Southern-sweet-potato-casserole

Southern Sweet Potato Puffs

Ingredients

southern sweet potato casserole for filling

1 box puff pastry sheets

1 egg

flour

Directions

Allow the casserole to cool before using as the filling for the puffs.  The reason I elect to fill the puff pastry with cooked sweet potato casserole is to work with a dryer filling.  Baking off the casserole absorbs the liquids into the baked casserole, and makes it easier to work with a firmer filling.  The next step in the making of Southern Sweet Potatoes Puffs brings puff pastry into the mix.  I used the defrost in the refrigerator overnight method of thawing the puff pastry sheets.  Unfold 1 puff pastry sheet and place on  lightly floured countertop or large baking sheet.  Roll puff pastry out using a lightly floured rolling pin.  Lightly dust pastry sheet with flour.  Using a knife, cut the pastry sheet into six (6) squares.

sweet-potato-puff-pastry

Spoon 1 tablespoon of the Southern Sweet Potato Casserole mixture in the center of each pastry square.

floured-puff-pastry

Pull corners of each square up over the filling and twist at top to seal.  Repeat with the remaining pastry sheet.  Place the pastry squares onto a large baking sheet that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray.

sweet-potato-twist-puff-pastry

Beat 1 egg and 1 teaspoon of water together in a small bowl with a fork.  Brush each puff with the egg mixture.

southern-sweet-potato-puffsBake for 20 minutes or until puffs are golden brown.

Note:  Southern Sweet Potato Puffs make an excellent small bite appetizer for the holiday cocktail hour.

enjoy

Kick Up The Fall Flavor Spiced Apples

Ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg and ground cloves sprinkled over peeled and chopped apples kick up the fall flavor in this recipe for spiced apples.  It most certainly is beginning to look, smell and taste a lot like fall and yes, even the holidays.  Earlier and earlier we see holiday articles and postings in our inboxes and social pages, and who can blame those of us who find fall and holiday decorating, cooking and baking news so shareworthy.  October through December is the most wonderful and delicious time of the year.

fall-leaf-rain-waterflickr

Into every unseasonably warm fall day some rain must fall for the cold front to move through that’s bringing highs in the low 60s and lows in the low 40s.

fall-blankets-throws-temps

Hanging out in the kitchen cooking is oddly relaxing and a great way to spend a rainy day afternoon.  The Home for the Holidays season is right around the corner (can you believe it?), and the sweet and savory recipes to holiday impress by aren’t going to develop themselves.  Do you know what a bowl of softening apples is called?

Recipe inspiration.

bowl-green-gala-apples

A local grocery store sells bags of day old produce for $1.00. My mother, the produce whisperer, hit the market at the precise moment the produce manager was putting out the marked down bags.  She got the price pick of the day, and the deal dished this recipe for spiced apples.  I washed and peeled six apples of assorted variety and color, searched the spice inventory and refrigerator for what’s on hand ingredients, and proceeded to recipe develop.  This recipe is really a no-brainer based on the natural connection between the fruits, flavors and spices we associate with the taste of fall.  Here’s what I came up with.

Spiced Apples

Ingredients

6 apples, peeled and chopped

1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cloves

¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 generous Tablespoon fig preserves

2 generous Tablespoons orange marmalade

1 Tablespoon molasses

2 Tablespoons butter

Directions

Preheat oven to 300°.  Lightly butter baking dish and set aside.  Wash, peel and chop six medium size apples.

apple-bowl

Place apples in baking dish.  Squeeze the lemon juice over the apples.  Sprinkle ground cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg over apples.

apples=brown=sugar

Add the brown sugar and stir gently to coat apples.

coated-apples

Stir in 1 generous Tablespoon fig preserves and 2 generous Tablespoons orange marmalade.  Spread apples in single layer in baking dish.

apples-butter-molasses

Lightly drizzle molasses over apples.  Cut butter into small pieces and place on top of the apple mixture.  Bake uncovered at 300° for 45 minutes.

chopped-apples-butter-molasses

Spiced apples pair deliciously with pork tenderloin or spiral ham.

foodie-gift

Spiced apples scrumptiously complement a slice or two of toasted pecan-pumpkin bread.

pumpkin-bread-loavesPecan-Pumpkin Bread Recipe from Southern Living

Spiced apples lend the perfect taste of fall to a scoop of vanilla ice cream drizzled with honey.

spiced applesHungry yet?

enjoy

Fall Traditions of Kitchen Style, Spice and Seasoning

Spending time in the Places In The Home kitchen on a fall afternoon coincides with traditions of kitchen style, spice and seasoning rooted in memories dating back to the little kitchen in our first home where my love of developing recipes inspired by the tastes of the fall ~autumn season all began.

first-house

Designing, decorating and stocking the kitchen, pantry and cupboard with personal style, staples and spices became an adventure in discovery of taste and tastes.  When fall comes around each year, the memories flood my mind reminding me these are special times for making fall traditions of kitchen style, spice and seasoning.

copper-bundt-pan

The crimson and gold Anjou and Bosc pears from the produce section of our local Kroger colorfully complemented my fall dining room decorating scheme, but as it goes with fresh fruit and shelf life, nothing lasts forever.

pears-cake-plate

Once photographed and admired, it’s time to give thought to delicious ways of putting a seasonal spin on it.

figs-honey-sour-cream-pears

Tradition is the key ingredient of my recipes.  The recipes and kitchen philosophies of my great grandmother, my darling Mama Two, inspire and influence the salads, entrees and desserts developed and prepared in the Places In The Home test kitchen.

Mason-Cash-mixing-bowlsMason Cash Mixing Bowls

I leave myself a mixing bowl full of wiggle room by referring to the Places In The Home kitchen as a test kitchen.  If a recipe exceeds taste expectations, my kitchen is the culinary kingdom in which I rule over complete with crown roast and wooden spoon scepter.  If a recipe fails, then my kitchen is simply a test kitchen where taste perfection is not an absolute and I remind the family that Domino’s delivers.

domino's

A jar of Mrs. Bridges fig preserves is my autumn jam.  Fig and pear preserves were a Mama Two staple, especially in her baked goods that I associate with fall traditions of kitchen style, spice and seasoning.  Isn’t it funny the things that play traditional fall favorites with our memory?   It’s a question asked and deliciously answered by the fresh pear salad with sour cream, fig preserves and honey I came up with.

Fresh.

Delicious.

The taste of fall on an vintage porcelain dessert plate.

Slice a fresh pair of your flavor choice in two.  Using a spoon, gently spoon out the center of each pear half.  Place each pear halves core side up on a plate.  Spoon ½-1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice over pear halves.  Spoon a generous dollop of sour cream into center of each pear half.  Top sour cream with 1 heaping teaspoon of fig preserves.  Lightly drizzle honey over pear halves.

A perfect union of flavors for a fresh fall salad option, and a gathering of ideas for fall kitchen style, spice and seasoning.

kitchen style

pears || cake~bundt pan ||  cookbook ||  fig preserves ||  cake plate || dessert plates  || marmalade crock ||  autumn wreath || sugar bowl  ||  lazy susan   ||  hand soap  ||  pumpkin spice candle

enjoy

 

Pin to Table Favorites: Main Dish Recipes from Pinterest

Sharing is a big part of Places In The Home.  The concept of sharing useful tidbits of interior decorating information and striking images of all things house that make a home interest to social media platforms is genius.  The knowledge gained, friends made, inspiration gleaned makes the experience so worthwhile.  During a recent ringing the dinner bell pinning session, it occurred to me a blog post of select recipes from Pinterest as featured on my A Taste Odyssey Pinterest board may pique your Pinterest interest, and make for an inspiring and appetizing show and tell.


recipes from Pinterest

Rather you call the evening meal dinner or supper, you’ll call these pin to table main dish recipes from Pinterest favorites.   I’m including the original link to each recipe so you can check it out.

Melt in Your Mouth Caesar Chicken

Caesar-chicken-recipe

Melt in Your Mouth Caesar Chicken from The Cookie Rookie is made with only 3 ingredients. Recipe link:  Melt In Your Mouth Caesar Chicken

Fried Pork Chops with Peas and Potatoes 

Fried Pork Chops with Peas and Potatoes Recipe

Southern Living recipes hold a delicious spot near and dear to my heart. This Fried Pork Chops with Peas and Potatoes Recipe ranks high on the mighty tasty, y’all list.  Fried Pork Chops with Peas and Potatoes Recipe

Creamy Four Cheese Garlic Spaghetti Sauce

Creamy Four Cheese Garlic Spaghetti Sauce

This recipe for Creamy Four Cheese Garlic Spaghetti Sauce from Julia’s Album is a favorite.  Creamy Four Cheese Garlic Spaghetti Sauce

Salisbury Meatballs and Mashed Potatoes

Salisbury-Meatballs-and-Mashed-Potatoes

The newlywed couple called home last night from IKEA to share their latest wedding gift purchase.  The subject of IKEA, meatballs and the concept of a furniture store-restaurant pairing got me to thinking and craving meatballs.  This recipe for Salisbury Meatballs with Mashed Potatoes from Maya Kitchenette is comfort food fantastic.  Salisbury Meatballs with Mashed Potatoes

Easy Crock Pot French Dip Sandwiches

easy crock pot french dip sandwiches

The first three words in this recipe for Easy Crock Pot French Dip Sandwiches from Fox Valley Foodie qualify it as a must try.  Factor in the ooh la la licious tastes brought forth by combining French onion soup, beef consomme and Guinness beer together with beef roast rump roast and you’ve got a crowd pleasing easy dinner option.  Easy Crock Pot French Dip Sandwiches 

julia-child-cooking-well-doesnt-mean-cooking-fancyTown & Country

What Julia said.

Bon Appetit.

enjoy

Big Flavor for a Small Supper: Ranch Quick Bread

The hotter it gets in the dog days of summer, the less time spent in the kitchen cooking and baking the better.  Yes, I know we live in the modern age of central air, but the excuse of it’s too hot to cook gets me out of many a late summer what’s for dinner dilemma. That’s where this recipe for Ranch Quick Bread comes in.  This easy to mix, quick to fix, and deliciously filling Ranch Quick Bread recipe hits the spot with big flavor for a small supper.

ranch quick bread

Ranch Quick Bread

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 package dry Ranch seasoning mix

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 large eggs

1 cup buttermilk**

½ stick unsalted butter, melted

1 cup cottage cheese

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, onion powder, garlic powder and pepper in a large mixing bowl.  Set aside.

dry-ingredients

Whisk the eggs, buttermilk, and melted butter in a medium bowl until combined.

** How to Make Homemade Buttermilk:

Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup milk.  Let stand at room temperature 5 to 10 minutes.

eggs-butter-milk

Add the cottage cheese and stir to combine.

wet-ingredients

Pour mixture into the flour mixture.

mixing-dough

Gently fold ingredients together until the flour is incorporated.

quick-ranch-bread-dough

Spoon batter into loaf pan.  Bake 50 minutes until golden brown or until knife inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.

bread-doughAllow bread to cool in loaf pan for 10-15 minutes.

ranch-bread

Transfer bread from pan to bread board or wire rack or serving tray. Allow bread to cool for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

sliced-bread

Wrap any leftover bread in waxed paper and store in airtight container.  I added fresh rosemary sprigs to canister for good seasoning measure.

bread-storage

Summer Fabulous in a Jar: Lavender Rose Summer Body Scrub

The look of summer fabulous does not just happen.  Getting our decor, porches, patios, decks, lawns and gardens summer wow ’em ready comes with a fair amount of work.  Unfortunately, this labor of summer outdoor living love does not go unnoticed on the hands, feet and elbows of those who do the time in the summer salt mines putting a lot of elbow grease into it by performing the let’s pretty things up around here task at hand. Consulting my handy dandy Thesaurus for a nicer word for work, I thought these synonyms for the word work make a point.

Task at hand.

Elbow grease.

Salt mines.

Hand.  Grease (oil).  Salt.  I’m thinking a sweet summer season body scrub is in order.

Targeted emails, BOGOS and promo codes complement the necessary essential oils order needed to create the latest addition to my DIY beauty scrub recipe collection.  Let me introduce you to a fabulous summer hand, feet and body beauty treatment– Lavender Rose Summer Body Scrub.

essential oil

I almost forgot to add this little tidbit of inspired information to the post.

crystal kiss dishGodinger Hershey’s Kiss Candy Dish

Back at Christmastime I ordered the crystal replica of the Hershey’s Kiss from Godinger Crystal for Dave the Builder’s Christmas stocking gift.  The busy shipping elves at Godinger mistakenly sent me a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup dish instead of the Hershey’s Kiss dish.  One quick and courteous call to customer service later, the issue professionally became a non-issue resulting in a sweet deal.  With all this talk and type of the rule of kiss aka keep it summer simple, container inspiration stylishly struck.

salt sugar coconut oil

I spooned ¼ cup of the scrub into the kiss dish and added a few of the dried lavender buds for keeping it lavender rose summer body scrub stylishly scented and summer scrub simple.

body scrub jar

I keep the remaining scrub in a lidded jar, the lavender buds nearby in a lovely vintage dish.  The pairing of lavender and rose together is summer scent divine!

purple lavender

Lavender Rose Summer Body Scrub

Lavender Rose Summer Body Scrub

½ cup sugar
½ cup kosher sea salt
½ cup coconut oil, melted
10 drops lavender essential oil
10 drops rose essential oil
1 tablespoon dried lavender buds

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.  Spoon scrub into a lidded jar of choice and seal tightly.  Scrub will keep for several weeks.

C’est Si Bon of Home: Crawfish Cheesecake

Louisiana cooking often begins with Louisiana Cookin’.   When the local crowd craves the c’est si bon of home or culinary curiosity piques the palate of the connoisseur in seasoned search of what Louisiana cuisine is all about, Louisiana Cookin’ magazine details the Louisiana lagniappe.

Louisiana=Cookin'

Featuring delectable details of our unique culture, cuisine and recipes to beat the jazz band, Louisiana Cookin’  is the guide we consult.  Crawfish is in season, and this recipe for Crawfish Cheesecake places the season and seasoning spotlight on the regional delicacy and c’est si bon of home.

Crawfish Cheesecake

Crawfish Cheesecake

Ingredients

½ (13.7-ounce) box Ritz crackers

1 cup unsalted butter, melted

½ pound andouille sausage, sliced

½ pound crawfish tail meat

¼ cup chopped fresh jalapeño pepper

24 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/3 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

3 large eggs

½ cup Crawfish Beurre Blanc, recipe follows

Directions

Preheat oven to 325°.  In the bowl of a food processor, add crackers, and process until finely chopped.  In a medium bowl, combine cracker crumbs and butter.  Press mixture into bottom and 1 inch up sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake 10 minutes; set aside.

In a medium skillet over medium high heat, add sausage, and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.  Add crawfish and jalapeño, and cook until jalapeño softens, about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Set aside, and let cool.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sour cream with a mixer at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add crawfish mixture, thyme, salt, and pepper, and beat until combined.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined after each addition.

Pour cream cheese mixture over prepared crust. Set springform pan in a roasting pan, and fill with water half-way up the sides of the springform pan.  Bake until set and cheesecake jiggles lightly in the center, about 1 hour.  Remove from oven, and let cool completely on a wire rack.  Cover, and refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to 3 days before serving.  Serve with Crawfish Beurre Blanc, if desired.  Serves 8

Crawfish Beurre Blanc

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

¼ pound crawfish tail meat

¼ cup chopped shallot

1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

½ cup dry white wine

½ cup white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon hot sauce

4 sprigs thyme

1 tablespoon peppercorns

2 cloves garlic

½ cup heavy whipping cream

1 cup unsalted butter, cubed

Directions

In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, add oil.  Stir in crawfish, shallot, and ½ teaspoon salt; cook until shallot is tender, about 3 minutes. Set aside, and let cool.

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine wine, vinegar, hot sauce, thyme, peppercorns, and garlic, and cook until reduced by one-third, about 15 minutes. Strain liquid through a fine mesh strainer; return liquid to pan.

Add cream, and cook until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low.  Stir in butter, one cube at a time, until butter is melted and the sauce is smooth; stir in remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Stir in crawfish mixture.  Serve immediately. Serves 6.

Louisiana Cookin’

cest-si-bon

Creole Seasoned Brown Sugar Pecan Crusted Baked Tilapia

Creole Seasoned Brown Sugar Pecan Crusted Baked Tilapia.  Now that I have your attention, let me share with you this delicious recipe developed in the Places In The Home test kitchen over this past Mardi Gras celebration weekend.  In this the season of crawfish, Mardi Gras and Lent, fish recipes are in the menu spotlight.  Mama Places In The Home (my mother) picked up a 2lb. bag of Tilapia fillets at our Walmart Neighborhood Market Friday afternoon, and promptly placed her order for fish.

tilapia fillets

Dave the Builder requested potatoes in cream sauce topped with fresh parsley, and my brother placed his order for my family famous creamy coleslaw.  I do like a now we’re cooking weekend.

A bag of pecans and a bag of walnuts left over from holiday baking started the wheels of recipe development turning.  Creole seasoning is always on hand, and everything is better with brown sugar on it. Baking fish, chicken, chops, etc… is healthier not to mention I can’t stand the smell of fried foods in the house.  I contemplated soaking the fish in buttermilk, mustard and Tabasco, but will keep that flavor key exclusive to my catfish recipe.  Traditional bread crumbs, fresh lemon slices and fresh chopped parsley round out the ingredient list.

tilapia on plate (1)

Creole Seasoned Brown Sugar Pecan Crusted Baked Tilapia

Ingredients

2 pound bag (approximately 9 fillets)

1½ cups traditional bread crumbs

¼ cup brown sugar

1 Tablespoon Creole seasoning (see recipe below)

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, finely chopped

2 sticks butter

2 lemons, sliced

½ cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a baking dish, stir together the breadcrumbs, chopped pecans/walnuts, brown sugar and Creole seasoning.

creole seasoning pecans walnutsLine a cookie sheet with heavy duty aluminum foil.  Place defrosted tilapia fillets on foil lined sheet.  Melt one (1) stick of butter.  Pour melted butter over fillets to lightly coat.

tilapia

Working with one fillet at the time, dredge each fillet in dry mixture, coating each side.  Place the fillets on the cookie sheet.  Top each fillet with a lemon slice.  Top each lemon slice with a pat of butter (1½ teaspoons).

coated tilapia baking sheet

Place cookie sheet in preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes.  Turn oven up to 400 degrees F.

fresh parsley1

Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and top each fillet with a generous pinch of fresh parsley.

baked tilapia1

Return the cookie sheet to the now 400 degree F oven.  Continue baking fillets for an additional 5 minutes.  Serve immediately.

pecan walnut crusted baked tilapia2

Recipe for Creole Seasoning

1/3  cup paprika

3 tablespoons dried oregano

3 tablespoons ground black pepper

2 tablespoons dried basil

2 tablespoons kosher salt

1 tablespoons cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon granulated onion

4 teaspoons dried thyme

4 teaspoons granulated garlic

In a medium bowl combine paprika, dried oregano, ground black pepper, dried basil, kosher salt, cayenne pepper, granulated onion, dried thyme and granulated garlic.  Stir to combine.  Can be stored in an airtight container for up to three months.

enjoy