Once again, a Heidi recipe hits one outta the ballpark for me. Occasionally, there’s a recipe of hers I’ll try that I don’t like; but
not her sticky kissed teff loaves, another recipe out of her book Super Natural Cooking.
Sadly, while I already know they will be killer tasty, I may not be able to get them out of the pans. Just after putting them in the oven and after more recipe wrangling than I normally do, I realized that while I did butter the pans, I forgot to FLOUR them. I am not a martyr. I was not about to pour the batter back into a bowl, wash the pans and rebutter AND FLOUR them. So my Sticky Kissed Teff Loaves will be very sticky indeed.
Per usual, I tweaked Heidi’s recipe a bit. I didn’t have all of the molasses or any of the honey the recipe called for so I used what molasses I did have, some maple syrup and some brown rice syrup. I had some coconut oil I wanted to use up so I used that in place of half the butter. The sugar I used was grated from the cone I bought at my local Brazilian grocery store, not quite a cup but this recipe will be plenty sweet for me. Can’t wait for it to be out of the oven. I can wait to scrub the pans however. Hmmmpfh, maybe I can get Marty to do them.
If Alice validated my love of simple, Heidi encouraged me to experiment. To be adventurous with ingredients I have or don’t have. To seek a foundation for the ingredients I have on hand and adapt a recipe to them. And I’ve been successful! When I was much younger (although it doesn’t seem as much!), I used to think exotic spices, herbs and other ingredients created a great dish. I could not have been more wrong.
I have since learned that good old salt and pepper can be the best seasoning, maybe butter, garlic and olive oil, too.
Heidi does create recipes with ingredients that I would not necessarily consider combining though and her Sweet Potato Spoon Bread recipe is one of them. But, like I said, she taught me to take more risks in the kitchen. After all, if I’m going to live on the edge, the kitchen’s a fairly safe place to do it. So, I gave the spoon bread a try. And it was delish! So good that I have since repeated it and also discovered another blogger’s recipe that is a sweet potato soup with goat cheese biscuits. In the interest of simple and ease though, I use Heidi’s from her cookbook Super Natural Cooking, leaving out the shallots. So it’s basically just the mashed sweet potatoes with some whole wheat pastry flour and eggs stirred in, layered in a casserole with dollops of creamy goat cheese and baked. Even Marty likes it! Super Natural Cooking was the first cookbook I’d bought new in decades. I highly recommend it with the caveat that one way I’ve figured out I must buy a certain book is when I’ve checked it out from the library several times, keeping it on my shelf longer than the library’s probably had it on theirs!
Hmmm, what to make for dinner? Truth be told, I love to bake but am not crazy about cooking. Or perhaps I should clarify…involved cooking. I like simple food. Straightforward ingredients. Seasonal and as local as I can get is good, too. This makes me a huge fan of Alice Waters. If I ever needed someone to validate my need to cook (and bake) this way, it is Alice. Why validate? Because Alice elevates simple cooking to the sublime. It doesn’t have to be complicated to be divine. So thank you, Alice, for helping me realize that I am a great cook sometimes and an even better baker most times.
And here is one of Alice’s recipes from The Art of Simple Food: Potato Gratin. For the details, I encourage you to get her book…if you can’t buy it, borrow it from your local library system.
What I use: several potatoes, thinly sliced and layered in a buttered casserole pan. Salted and peppered on each layer. Overlap the layers and if you’d like, layer in some thinly sliced onions or other veggie you may love (even kale!). Marty, me matey, doesn’t like onions so I sprinkle a light layer of smoked Gouda or other cheese we like. When I’ve used up the potatoes, or filled my casserole, I pour a mixture of milk and heavy cream over it to cover the potatoes. Sprinkle on some paprika, maybe some bread crumbs, and bake at 350 degrees, uncovered, for about an hour. Serve with greens and/or whatever accompaniments feed your soul at that moment. Breathe deeply and enjoy!