savory sweet potato quinoa muffins

Savory Sweet Potato Quinoa Muffins | A Brown Table | @abrowntable

With only a few days left to the start of the holiday weekend, I should have the usual dishes that  are the staple of the Thanksgiving dinner but oddly enough, I have breakfast on my mind. But why not, breakfast needs a little love too during this special time and I have it all sorted out for you. 

I'm more of a savory breakfast type of guy and a huge fan of any baked good or pastry that might have some savory component to it. These quinoa flour muffins are easy to make, they're loaded with sweet potatoes and cheese packed with a hint of bright turmeric and seasoned with a little dash of garam masala. Slap a warm muffin with a little salted butter and I'd say you're good to go this week. I was tempted to add a little onion or garlic to these guys but that could be tricky way to start the day with all those potential fiery breath issues! 

Happy weekend!

Savory Sweet Potato Quinoa Muffins | A Brown Table @abrowntable
Savory Sweet Potato Quinoa Muffins | A Brown Table | @abrowntableSavory Sweet Potato Quinoa Muffins | A Brown Table | @abrowntable

 Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find helpful when preparing these muffins,

  • You can make you own muffin cup holders using regular parchment paper. Cut out twelve 6 inch squares of parchment paper (for a standard 12 cup muffin pan) and place each square in the center of the muffin pan. Using your hands, press the paper down in the center of the muffin well to create a cup. When you fill the cups with the batter make sure the paper cup sinks and touches the metal pan
  • You could play around with the type of cheese, parmesan or gruyere might also work here.
  • Once the batter is completely mixed, move quickly and get the muffin pan filled up and in the oven. 
  • You can bump the heat up in these muffins by adding a little more freshly chopped green or red thai chili peppers. 
Savory Sweet Potato Quinoa Muffins | A Brown Table | @abrowntable

Here are some fun links that, I've been thinking about all week. Some Thanksgiving themed and others just simply delicious!

Savory Sweet Potato Quinoa Muffins | A Brown Table | @abrowntable

savory sweet potato quinoa muffins

yields: one dozen standard muffins

ingredients 

3 large eggs

1 packed cup (4 ounces) of shredded sweet potato, raw

1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

1 cup (4 5/8 ounces) quinoa flour 

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon garam masala

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried red chili flakes

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup plain unsweetened greek yogurt, lightly whipped

2 tablespoons melted butter, unsalted

1. Place a wire rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350F.  Line a standard 12 cup muffin pan with parchment paper or muffin cups. 

2. Place the eggs in a large mixing bowl and whisk for about 4-5 minutes using an electric mixer on high speed until they have almost doubled in volume. 

3. In a small bowl, mix the sweet potatoes and cheddar together and keep aside.

4. In a medium sized bowl add all the ingredients from the quinoa flour to the baking soda and dry whisk until combined. 

5. Add half of the flour mix to the eggs and whisk by hand, until almost combined. Add the yogurt and the melted butter and whisk by hand for one minute, then add the rest of the flour mix and whisk until completely combined. Fold in the sweet potato and half of the cheddar with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. 

6. Divide the batter equally between the 12 muffin cup holders in the prepared pan. Top each of the muffins with the rest of the cheddar (divide the cheddar up equally between the 12 muffins) Bake at 350F for about 20-25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through during baking. The muffins are cooked when the tops are golden brown and the centers have risen and firm and spongy to touch. Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool in the pan. Serve warm with butter. 

sweet potato soup with cauliflower croutons

Sweet Potato Soup with Cauliflower Croutons | A Brown Table @abrowntable

With Thanksgiving around the corner, things start to get busy. It's the same theme every year, there's the excitement of the holiday and the food but the anxiousness of the impending crazy that might rear its ugly head. A good example of this is shopping during the holidays, it's drives me absolutely nuts, it tests my patience and I hope makes me a better person for weathering through it. Don't get me wrong, I love going to stores at this time of the year, they're all gorgeously decorated for Christmas (those ornaments keep popping up earlier and earlier, each year!) and there are a lot of fun things to try (new holiday flavored teas at one of my favorite tea stores) and the strollers, yes the strollers! Strollers make nervous, they keep getting wider and larger with time, they can even take up entire sidewalks but in a mall that's already packed they can become a tool of danger. While trying on a couple of pairs of sneakers, I had two encounters within a short span of time, the first involved a bump to the head and the second, my toes. I'm going to go with the notion that these could be considered "war wounds" of the holiday season and a reason why I prefer to shop online during the holidays! What do you prefer, online or in-store? 

Sweet Potato Soup with Cauliflower Croutons | A Brown Table @abrowntableSweet Potato Soup with Cauliflower Croutons | A Brown Table @abrowntable

Let's talk about holiday meals and ingredients, though I love both of them, I love sweet potatoes a little more than pumpkins. They are simply perfect, I always get a slice of sweet potato pie at Thanksgiving and if I can manage, there'll even be a pie after the holiday. But sweet potatoes also make wonderful savory dishes and I can never have enough!  So when the folks at The Society asked me to share a Thanksgiving recipe at their site, I knew I'd be giving a shoutout to my favorite tuber with this simple and easy soup that's served with some Indian-inspired cauliflower croutons. The sweet potato soup is lightly flavored with coriander with a smooth and velvety texture. It helps take the craziness away and comforts and calms. So go ahead and make yourself some soup,  the recipe is available here!

Sweet Potato Soup with Cauliflower Croutons | A Brown Table @abrowntableSweet Potato Soup with Cauliflower Croutons | A Brown Table @abrowntable
Sweet Potato Soup with Cauliflower Croutons | A Brown Table @abrowntable

cranberry walnut cream whole-rye tartlets

Cranberry Walnut Cream Whole Rye Tartlets | A Brown Table

Let me just start this post by saying, that if you enjoy a buttery and nutty flavored pastry then this tartlet recipe is for you. If you like the taste and flavor of rye flour then you will enjoy this pastry. 

I've been practicing making several different types of classical pastries at home but using whole grain based flours. They make a richer and more flavorful pastry base though they can be tricky to work with depending on the type of flour being used. In this pâte brisée recipe, rye worked just fine, I stuck with the , I did work as fast as possible and keeping things as cold as possible to get the butter mixed into the flour and keep gluten formation as minimal as possible. I used a little bit of vodka to provide the alcohol necessary to prevent gluten formation. 

Cranberry Walnut Cream Whole Rye Tartlets | A Brown TableCranberry Walnut Cream Whole Rye Tartlets | A Brown Table
Cranberry Walnut Cream Whole Rye Tartlets | A Brown Table
Cranberry Walnut Cream Whole Rye Tartlets | A Brown Table

Cranberries have a natural tart and bitter flavor. I used sugar and red wine to balance the tartness but there was still the stubborn issue of its bitterness. Adding more sugar would be an obvious choice to hide the bitter taste but the filling would get too sweet and I didn't want that. Walnuts on the other hand, take away the bitterness and also make one rich and creamy cranberry filling (This cranberry walnut cream is delicious by itself and I think it would also be perfect as a holiday dip served with a little cheese on the side).

Cranberry Walnut Cream Whole Rye Tartlets | A Brown TableCranberry Walnut Cream Whole Rye Tartlets | A Brown Table
Cranberry Walnut Cream Whole Rye Tartlets | A Brown TableCranberry Walnut Cream Whole Rye Tartlets | A Brown Table

Here are some of my kitchen tips when preparing these tartlets,

  • The trick to working with an all butter pastry crust such as the pâte brisée is to prevent gluten formation as much as you can and to get all that butter mixed into the flour as fast as possible. Ideally, pâte brisée is prepared by incorporating the butter into the flour with your fingers but a food processor really cuts back the time required to mix in the butter and also reduces gluten formation by reducing the amount of heat generated. 
  • To prepare ice-cold water, I take one or two ice cubes and dump them into about 1/2 cup of cold water and let it sit for 5 minutes. Then I use the necessary amount of ice-cold water from this mixture.
  • If you find the taste of an all rye flour pastry too intense, you can use an half and half mixture (5 ounces each) of all-purpose and rye flour. Everything else will remain the same.
  • Marble and stainless steel surfaces are great to work pastry dough on. They stay cool and reduce the chances of the fat from melting and reduce gluten formation.
  • Walnuts are a great way to get rid of the natural bitterness of cranberries and give a rich and creamy finish.

Cranberry Walnut Cream Whole Rye Tartlets | A Brown Table

cranberry walnut cream whole-rye tartlets

yields: six 6 inch tartlets

whole-rye flour pâte brisée

ingredients

2 1/2 cups (10 ounces) whole-rye flour + a little extra for dusting

1 teaspoon kosher sea salt

2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into cubes and chilled

2 tablespoons ice-cold water 

1 tablespoon vodka, ice cold

1. Attach the dough blade to the bowl of a food processor. Place the flour, salt and butter in the bowl and pulse for a few seconds until the dough begins to form small crumbles. Pour in the water and vodka, and pulse until the dough is comes together. There should be no visible flecks of butter, it should be completely combined into the flour. Remove and transfer the dough to a clean surface and bring it together to form one large disc. Do this quickly and to reduce the chances of melting the butter with the heat of your hands. Wrap the disc tightly with cling film and refrigerate for at least 4 hours to overnight. 

2. After chilling the dough, unwrap and divide it into 6 equal parts. Take one part and wrap and keep the rest in the refrigerator. Using a scant amount of flour, roll out the dough into a 0.5 cm thick circle with a rolling pin. If the pastry begins to get too soft, place it on a sheet of parchment paper and refrigerate for about 5-10 minutes until slightly firm. Line a six-inch tartlet ring with the pastry and trim the edges using a rolling pin. Smoothen the top surface of the edges with your fingers. Freeze the pastry for at least 30 minutes before baking. Prepare the remaining five tartlets similarly. (At this point, you can also prepare all the tartlets and freeze them for 30 minutes, then wrap them with cling film, place them in an airtight container and return them to the freezer until ready to use).

3. To bake the tartlets, place a wire rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. Place the tartlet shells on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover the inner surface of each tartlet shell with parchment paper and then cover the surface with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 40 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through the baking process. Remove the tartlets from the oven and allow them to cool completely in the tartlet rings on the baking sheet. Remove the pie weights/beans and parchment paper lining the surface of the shell. Keep at room temperature or refrigerate until ready to use.

cranberry walnut cream

ingredients

12 ounces fresh cranberries

1/2 cup red wine (I used a merlot)

1 teaspoon lime juice, fresh

3/4 cup (5 7/25 ounces) brown sugar

1 cup (4 ounces) walnuts, raw (with or without skin) (without skin will give a smoother cream)

1 teaspoon madagascar bourbon vanilla extract

1. Place the cranberries, red wine, lime juice and sugar in a large thick bottomed saucepan and heat on medium-high. Cover with a lid and cook for 7-8 minutes, stir occasionally. Once the sugar has melted and the cranberries have burst. Remove from stove.

2. Transfer the contents of the saucepan to a blender and blend for a few seconds until smooth. Clean the same saucepan and wipe dry. Remove and pass the pureéd cranberries through a sieve into the saucepan, Add the walnuts and vanilla to the pureéd cranberries and cook on medium-low for another 2 minutes with constant stirring. Remove from stove and transfer and blend the contents of the pan until smooth. Place the cranberry walnut cream in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator until ready to use (You can also use an immersion blender to do both the blending steps)

Assembling the tartlets

1 tablespoon lime zest, fresh

1. Fill each tartlet shell with about 4-6 tablespoons of the cranberry walnut cream. Smoothen the surface with an offset spatula (dip the spatula in running hot water for a smooth finish).

2. Garnish with a little lime zest. Serve at room temperature.