Maple Whipped Sweet Potatoes

2 pounds (approximately 3 medium) sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup half and half
1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
Freshly cracked black pepper

Place potatoes in large saucepot and cover with cold water. Add salt to taste (About 1 teaspoon per quart) and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to simmer and cook until potatoes offer no resistance when poked with paring knife, about 10 minutes. Drain in colander set over sink.

Meanwhile, heat butter and half and half in a small sauce pot over low heat until melted.

Press sweet potatoes through potato ricer into original pot. Using rubber spatula, stir in butter mixture, maple syrup, and mustard. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Black Rice Pudding

1 cup black sticky rice (purple rice)
2/3 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon salt

Soak rice for at least 6 to 8 hours in a large bowl filled with cold water.

The next day, drain the rice and add to large saucepan. Add 8 cups (2 quarts) fresh water to the pan. Add sugar and bring water to boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook, partially covered, until rice grains have split open and the rice is tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. The liquid in the pan will have thickened to the consistency of a light syrupy pudding. Towards the end of cooking time, stir the rice to prevent scorching and sticking on the bottom.

Meanwhile, combine coconut milk with salt and let sit at room temperature.

Ladle rice pudding into serving bowls and drizzle the coconut milk over each portion. Serve immediately. Leftover pudding may be kept in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Reheat before serving.

Birthday Cake French Toast

6 to 8 slices leftover birthday cake, chilled in the refrigerator overnight
4 eggs
1/2 cup milk or light cream
3 tablespoons sugar
Dash of cinnamon or other spices, to taste
2 to 4 tablespoons butter, for frying
Confectioners’ sugar glaze or sprinkles, to garnish

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk or cream, sugar, and any spices you’d like to add, until the mixture is fully combined and lightly frothy on the edges.

Remove your cake from the refrigerator. It will work if you haven’t chilled your cake too, but chilling it overnight keeps the frosting from melting all over when you pan fry the cake. Slice the cake into thick slices.

Put 2 to 4 tablespoons of butter into your frying pan. Heat the burner to medium-high, and let the butter melt. Once it is lightly bubbling, you’re ready to start frying your cake slices.

Dip each cake slice in your egg mixture, coating it fully on both sides (go ahead and submerge each slice). Place the dipped slice directly in the frying pan; depending on the size of your pan, add 2 or 3 slices at one time.

Let each slice fry for a minute or so, until it is lightly coming up on the sides (you can lift a side gently with a spatula to see if it is browning). Turn over and repeat on the opposite side, being sure to turn gently so that you don’t let the frosting smear across the pan.

Remove from the pan and transfer to a serving platter or directly to plates. Repeat with the remaining slices until you’ve finished them all. If desired, top with a confectioners’ sugar glaze and sprinkles. Serve immediately.

Sweet Vanilla Quiche

1 (7-ounce) refrigerated pie crust
4 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups half and half
1 vanilla bean

Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat the oven to 375?F. Unroll pie crust into 9-inch pie plate, tucking back edges of crust or crimping as desired.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, egg yolks, and sugar until pale and frothy, about 2 minutes. Whisk in flour to combine. Whisk in half and half, and scrape in vanilla seeds, mixing to combine.

Pour egg and half and half mixture into pie crust. Place pie plate on rimmed baking sheet, and bake until egg mixture is puffed and golden, about 55 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes. Serve warm or room temperature, in slices.

Swedish Meatballs

For the Pickles:
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1/2 a large cucumber, finely diced (about1 cup)
1 bay leaf
1 fresh red chili split in half
5 whole mixed peppercorns

For the Lingonberry Jam:
1 1/2 cups lingonberries
1 1/2 cups sugar

For the Meatballs:
1 medium onion, peeled and coarsley grated on a box grater (about 3/4 cup)
1 1/2 pounds fresh ground chuck
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons sunflower or canola oil

For the Cream Sauce:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup low-sodium beef stock
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
Pinch of sugar (optional)

For the Pickles: Mix water, sugar, salt and vinegar in a large bowl. Whisk until sugar and salt is dissolved completely. Finely dice the cucumber, and add to the bowl. Make sure they are completely covered by the liquid. Add bay leaf, chili and peppercorns, and place in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

For the Lingonberries: Rinse the lingonberries thoroughly and put them in a bowl. Pour in the sugar, and gently stir until sugar is dissolved. Store in the refrigerator until serving.

For the Meatballs: Melt the butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat until foaming. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 7-8 minutes. Transfer to large bowl.

Add beef to onions and season to taste with salt and pepper. Combine mixture thoroughly and allow to rest 10-15 minutes. Form the meat into small balls roughly one-inch in diameter.

Heat the oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over mediumhigh heat until shimmering. Add as many matballs as fit in a single layer and cook until well browned on all sides, about 8 minutes total. Transfer to a large plate and repeat with remaining meatballs. Keep meatballs loosely tented with foil while preparing the sauce.

For the Cream Sauce:Add two tablespoons water and the stock to the pan, scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Adjust heat to low and simmer until sauce is reduced by one third, about 3 minutes. Add the heavy cream and continue to cook until the sauce is at the desired consistency (you can add more butter at this stage to help thicken it if you’d like). Season to taste with salt and pepper, adding a pinch of sugar if desired.

Serve meatballs, sauce, lingonberry jam, and cucumbers immediately with mashed potatoes and a few sprigs of dill.

German Apple Pancake

2 tablespoons melted butter
2 medium apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2 inch wedges
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 eggs
1 cup milk
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar

Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350?F. Pour melted butter in pie plate and coat bottom. Sprinkle pie plate with brown sugar and cinnamon then arrange apple slices on top. Bake until apples are slightly softened, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk eggs and milk in large bowl. Add flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar, and whisk until just combined.

Pour batter over softened apples and bake for 25 to 45 minutes, depending on size of pan and thickness of pancake. Pancake should be puffed up and a light golden brown color.

Apple Chipotle Salsa

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon finely chopped canned chipotles
1 tablespoon adobo sauce from canned chipotles
1 teaspoon honey
Kosher salt, as needed
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
kosher salt, to taste
2 medium apples, one red and one green

Whisk together lime juice, cider vinegar, chopped chipotles, adobo sauce, honey and salt. Taste, and adjust to create a balance of sweet, tart and spicy. Combine with red onion, bell pepper and cilantro. When ready to serve the salsa, chop apples and toss with dressing. Add salt to taste and combine. Serve with tortilla chips or to accompany chicken or pork.

Persimmon Salad with Ginger and Yogurt

2 tablespoons minced shallot
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 medium-large Fuyu persimmon (the round, squat kind), firm and slightly underripe
4 to 5 tablespoons plain full-fat yogurt
2 teaspoons soy sauce
Freshly ground black pepper
1 or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

In a small frying plan over medium heat, gently saute the shallots and ginger in the olive oil until soft, about five minutes. Turn off heat and let cool.

While the ginger and shallots are cooking, slice the tops off of the persimmons and peel. Cut in half and slice into thin pieces and place into a bowl. Chop or shred the mint and set aside.

Add the shallot-ginger mixture to the persimmons, followed by the yogurt and soy sauce. Toss gently and season with the pepper. Garnish with the mint and serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.

Radicchio and White Beans

For the beans:
6 ounces (about 1 cup) dried cannellini beans,
1 clove garlic
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 to 2 vegetable bouillon cubes

For the radicchio:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 head radicchio, stem and core removed, leaves cut or torn into 1 1/2 inch squares
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
Cracked black pepper, for garnish.

For the beans: Place the beans in a bowl and add cold water to cover by two inches. Allow to soak overnight. The next day, drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again.

In a medium pot, combine the beans, garlic, thyme, and cold water to cover by 2 inches. Place over high heat to bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer until tender, 25 to 45 minutes; do not salt the water. When the beans are tender, add 1 to 2 bouillon cubes, to taste, and cook 5 minutes more; the liquid should be slightly salted. Drain the beans, reserving the liquid; discard garlic and thyme. Set beans and reserved liquid aside.

For the radicchio: In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add radicchio, turning to coat with oil. Add pepper flakes, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a separate skillet over medium heat, add remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add garlic, and saut? until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add beans and 2 cups of the reserved cooking liquid. Simmer until the liquid becomes somewhat creamy, 5 to 10 minutes. Add radicchio and parsley, and simmer 10 minutes more, adding more of the reserved cooking liquid if the mixture seems too thick. Serve in bowls, garnished with a sprinkling of cracked black pepper.