sweet potato crostinis

sweet potato crostinis | A Brown Table

I never appreciated the rain when we lived on the East coast but now when it rains here in California, I get excited and I'm game to walk the dog when it's wet. Snoopy doesn't share my enthusiasm. Wet rainy weekends are the best and this past weekend, I took some time to get things a little more organized in our home and to get the ornaments out of the boxes. We hung our stockings and pulled out the lights to decorate with. 

Holiday parties and events started a little earlier than usual this year or so it seems. I attended two before Halloween, then two more just before Thanksgiving. I think I even saw a Bûche de Noël at one of these events. A bit too soon if you ask me and this is coming from someone that would love to celebrate Christmas year round. But it's finally time (at least for me) to start talking about what to cook for holiday parties (and what to eat).

Crostinis make the best appetizers because they're flexible little boats to carry whatever tasty thing you can come up with. These sweet potato crostinis are easy to make and I've included two of my favorite ones, a fresh mozarella and thyme topping and a date wrapped in proscuitto that's topped off with salt flakes. Pair this off with the delicious Pinot Noir from Dark Horse Wine and you will have a tasty appetizer that's a fun take on the usual crostini.

sweet potato crostinis | A Brown Table
sweet potato crostinis | A Brown Table
sweet potato crostinis | A Brown Table
sweet potato crostinis | A Brown Table

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

  • You can bake the sweet potato slices a little longer to make them crispier on the edges.
  • I sometimes like to add a little marinara sauce under the mozarella cheese and even play around with the herbs I use. Oregano and rosemary are two of my favorites that I also add to the cheese topping.
  • Maldon salt flakes - use the smoky variety for an added flair but the regular kind works great too!
sweet potato crostinis | A Brown Table

sweet potato crostinis

servings: 4

ingredients

2 large sweet potatoes (any color is fine but preferably pick ones that are long)

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

1/2 teaspoon white pepper, freshly ground

1. Place a wire rack at midlevel in the oven and preheat to 350F. Wash the sweet potatoes under running cold tap water and scrub any soil off. Pat dry with a clean paper towel.

2. Using a sharp knife slice the sweet potatoes across their length into 0.5cm thick slices (you should get at least 6 slices depending on the width of your sweet potato). 

3. Brush each slice with a little olive oil on both sides and place them on a wire rack. Season each slice with a little salt and pepper. Place the slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Proceed to the toppings and choose which ever one you want to.

toppings

a. Mozarella and Thyme (for 12 slices)

12 fresh mozarella Ciliegine

12 sprigs of fresh thyme

1. Place a piece of mozarella over a prepared slice of sweet potato. Add the sprig of thyme over the cheese and gently press it down. Prepare the rest of the slices similarly. Bake in the preheated oven for at least 15-20 minutes or until the sweet potato is tender. Serve warm.

b. Salted Date and Proscuitto

12 medjool dates, pitted

12 slices of proscuitto

1/2 teaspoon Maldon sea salt flakes (smoked or regular) (you might need a little more or less)

1. Wrap each date with a slice of proscuitto and place it over the prepared slice of sweet potato. Sprinkle a little maldon sea salt flakes over the proscuitto wrapped date. Prepare the rest of the slices similarly. Bake in the preheated oven for at least 15-20 minutes or until the sweet potato is tender. Serve warm.

Note: This post was sponsored by Dark Horse Wine. All opinions stated here are purely my own.

avocado fries two ways

avocado fries two ways | A Brown Table

I first heard about avocado fries through my friend, Hannah of Nothing but Delicious! She's convinced me they might just be one of the best things to do with avocados, convinced me enough that I decided to make them at home and share the recipe here. She's right they're good!

Usually, I'll put a few slices of avocado on toast with sriracha or some cheese, make guacamole, or use it as a fat substitute in baking, among other things but fries are a new one for me. But thanks, to Hannah, about a year later after she introduced me to the idea, I decided to make avocado fries at home. A little late but I'm happy I did!

I've shared both techniques I used to cook the fries, baking and frying. Both methods will give crispy fries but each with their own unique taste. The seasonings, you can use breadcrumbs or semolina both will be nice and crispy to eat. Both semolina and breadcrumbs can be used interchangeably with either seasoning mentioned below but again feel free to explore. I use a wheat semolina here but there is a rice version too which might work (I haven't tested it) but if you're gluten-sensitive it might be worth trying out. 

For the dipping sauces, I think sour and tart savory types will be winners to go along with the fries. I used a very simple lemon flavored yogurt dip and some baba ganouj. A fresh salsa would also be a great dip to serve the fries with. If do end up with leftovers, store them in an airtight bag and refrigerate. You can microwave them for about 30-45 seconds to warm them up.

avocado fries two ways | A Brown Table
avocado fries two ways | A Brown Table
avocado fries two ways | A Brown Table
avocado fries two ways | A Brown Table

Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing these fries,

  • Buy firm yet ripe avocados, they hold their structure and shape well during coating and baking/frying.
  • Play around with seasonings and have fun! I'm sharing two flavors which are my favorites.
  • I'll be honest, the fried ones taste much more crispier than the baked ones. I mean anything fried is tasty but I'm giving you options on how to do it either way. One is less fattier than the other.
  • You can use panko breadcrumbs or semolina for the breading, both give a great crunchy texture to the fries.
  • I'm sharing two types of breading flavored mixes but you would use two avocados for either mix you decide to go with. 
  • Speaking of fats, you'll notice the serving size I've suggested. Avocados are pretty fatty so, technically the serving size is small but to be frank, I think this is one recipe where one fry, ain't gonna cut it! So use your own judgement here. 

Here are some other recipes you might like;

avocado fries two ways | A Brown Table

avocado fries - 2 ways

yields: 4 servings 

ingredients

2 large haas avocados, ripe but firm

1 large egg white 

3 tablespoons water, at room temperature

use either seasonings listed

Breading Mix 1 

1 cup panko bread crumbs or semolina

1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

1 teaspoon garam masala 

1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground

1 tablespoon fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped 

Breading Mix 2

1 cup panko bread crumbs or semolina

1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt 

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper 

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground

1 tablespoon fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped 

vegetable oil for frying (optional) 

1. Cut the avocado in half, remove the pit and cut into wedges. Keep the wedges on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. 

2. Using a fork, beat the egg white and water in a small bowl. Keep aside until ready to use.

3. To prepare the breading mix (1 or 2) place the ingredients in a medium-sized baking pan or bowl and mix to combine evenly. 

4. Dip each avocado wedge into the egg white to coat evenly. Drain excess egg white back into the bowl. Then coat the avocado wedge in the breading mix lightly on each side by pressing it gently. Prepare all the wedges in the same manner and keep on a sheet of parchment paper lined baking sheet until ready to cook.

5. To Bake: Place a wire rack at midlevel in the oven and preheat to 450F. Bake one sheet of avocado wedges for 8 to 10 minutes until they turn golden brown and are crispy. Serve immediately.

To Fry: Heat enough vegetable oil in deep pan. When the oil reaches around 350F, the avocados are ready to be cooked. Deep fry the wedges. Fry around 4 pieces at a time if you're using a small pan to fry. The fries are cooked when they are golden brown around 3 to 4 minutes, remove with a slotted spoon, drain excess oil  and place them on a tray lined with absorbent kitchen paper towels to remove any extra oil. Serve immediately. 

Dipping sauce: 

lemon yogurt dip

yields: about 1 cup

ingredients

1 cup plain yogurt (not Greek)

1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, fresh

1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

1/4 teaspoon white pepper, freshly ground

1/2 teaspoon sriracha (or your favorite hot sauce)

1 tablespoon fresh cilantro leaves, chopped 

1. Mix all the ingredients from the yogurt to the sriracha in a small bowl. Transfer to a serving bowl/dish and garnish with the cilantro. Serve with fries.