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She Rewrote the History of American Cooking

https://www.tastecooking.com/interview-with-toni-tipton-martin-jubilee/

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Toni Tipton-Martin has made it her life’s work to reframe Aunt Jemima, the iconic, reductive pancake figure that has represented black womanhood in American cooking since the late 1930s. Over the course of 30-plus years, the Los Angeles–born journalist and food editor compiled more than 150 black-authored cookbooks spanning over 200 years in pursuit of overturning the prevailing story line that white chefs and home cooks are the sole heroes of American gastronomy.

It’s strange to suggest that there was a time when black chefs were considered to be without agency or authority when considering What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking (1881)—originally thought to be the first book authored by a black cook—or A Domestic Cookbook by Malinda Russell (1866), later proven as the original text. Tipton-Martin’s mission to simply collect such texts functions as self-evident proof of black excellence in early American cooking, but when she published The Jemima Code in 2015, she redefined the history not only of black foodways but of American foodways at large. Now, with her follow-up, Jubilee, she’s translated the food of the Code with historical recipes adapted for a modern-day kitchen.

The first time I encountered Tipton-Martin was in late 2009, when she began posting to The Jemima Code, a blog where she first compiled the stories of black figures that had been left out of the dominant narrative of American food culture. As a young chef and the recent founder of the site Black Culinary History, I was hungry for these kinds of stories. The Jemima Code, with its Tiffany-blue background and defiant red kerchief—a direct challenge to the marginalized narrative of Aunt Jemima—stunned me. Here was a woman who had worked under Ruth Reichl at the Los Angeles Times and become the first African American woman to hold the post of food editor of a major daily paper, at the Cleveland Plain Dealer, a woman who seemed to wholly understand and embrace the power of acknowledging black culinary receipts. With her bold proposal, Tipton-Martin shifted the center of the food universe to a cast of largely unknown names that, until the late 1970s, had quietly represented the base of working culinary professionals.

Jubilee was always meant to be a companion piece, celebrating and bringing to life the food of the people featured in The Jemima Code. From French-Caribbean quick breads, fritters, and rolls to African-influenced gumbo and groundnut stew, these recipes stand as a record of the bloodlines borne out within black culinary tradition. With The Jemima Code, we learned about not only Leah Chase and Edna Lewis, but Liza Ashley, the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion chef who charmed the state’s first families with her chess pie, as well as Vera Beck, the Plain Dealer test kitchen chef whom Julia Child and James Beard sought out for her biscuits recipe. Now, Jubilee exhumes their work from the archives and ushers it to the fore. With it, Tipton-Martin has given us the gift of a clear view of the generosity of the black hands that have flavored and shaped American cuisine for over two centuries.

Back in August, I sat down with Tipton-Martin to talk about her process, the times that Jubilee will live in, and the necessity of reframing marginalized narratives.

[This conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.]

Your career seems to have always been leading you to this space of culinary history, which is historically a white women’s field. It’s also coincided in many ways with the beginning of this modern era of food media. I’m wondering about how the initial mission of the collection and your approach to the scholarship changed with the zeitgeist?

I’ve always approached this project as a journalist on the hunt for a story. As far back as my days with the Los Angeles Times, I was reporting stories that addressed our community’s relationship with food from a health and nutrition point of view, but I was always curious about the people and the stories I couldn’t tell through that lens. I remember when Ruth [Reichl] came to the Times and asked me about my frustration with this framework. It was like being set free to write in a completely new way. She charged me to dig deeper and tell the stories I was interested in without a blueprint. I left the newsroom that day, and it took me three days to come back with my first story. I waited on pins and needles for her reaction.

The resulting story was the beginning of a paradigm shift for me personally and for the industry at large. I think today, with media forms changing so rapidly, the stories are far more personal, allowing writers to infuse themselves into the narrative. The thing that will never change is that the most powerful stories center people. When I began to collect the cookbooks, it was really about these forgotten gems. I’d be gifted an obscure book or come across an out-of-print title in an antique store, and slowly, a story was being born that told a counternarrative about the foundation of American cuisine.

Toni Tipton Martin

I think of your work as wildly subversive, especially given the environment in which you began. To be one of the only black women navigating a mainly white food world—I’m wondering if you could talk a little about the vision it took to start building this canon of research before the zeitgeist was ready for it.

I had to convince a lot of people that there was power in these stories. I also had to convince them that I could present them without recipes. Very few people saw the vision, because our history is so hidden. It’s easy to dismiss or diminish these lives in the absence of written history, but we have to remember who had the power to record history. The journalist in me started with the source material. The books spoke to me and told me stories that were in direct contradiction to the tired tropes of deprivation and servitude. They showed such diverse lives and so much honor and joy that I knew I was onto something.

There were many discussions and versions of what the final book would become, but I’d always wanted to present these ancestors and the truth of their contributions to American cuisine in a way that would honor them. I’d hoped that it would resonate, and I knew the power of what I had, but no, I don’t think that at the time I really understood the way it would shift the conversation. It’s taken the subsequent years to form Jubilee into the project that it’s become, but The Jemima Code had to be first, to introduce the ancestors in archival form.

Once the reader consumes The Jemima Code and understands the 200-year timeline of black culinary history you’ve laid out, Jubilee becomes a tangible way for the reader to then cook the recipes. How did you approach the recipe writing with so much inspiration to draw from?

I’m not a chef, and although I write about food and cowrote A Taste of Heritage with Joe Randall, I wanted to develop the recipes from the point of view of the home cook who would hopefully want to integrate these deep culinary traditions into their everyday cooking. Our heritage is gracious and beautiful. I wanted to show how unique our culture is and to do so through the words and recipes of the ancestors. I want the reader to experience the food and traditions I grew up with that were full of pride and care—the attention to detail that a well-laid table expresses, and the flavor difference that preciously sourced produce brings to the dining experience.

I also had to make sure that, while the recipes read and tasted modern, it was clear that the inspirations were coming through the lens of the women and men of the code. The book is part African diaspora, part regional American, and all heritage, without compromising the source material.

Back in 2015, you hosted Soul Summit to commemorate the 150th anniversary of emancipation. At that event, noted journalist and food writer Lolis Eric Elie shared his manifesto on the notion of soul food as a starting point to define black foodways. In reading Jubilee’s recipes, it feels like you’ve unlocked a blueprint for these modern black foodways. What is your sense of the possibilities for black chefs in translating this wealth of culture into a modern culinary identity?

There is no one black identity. There is a shared culinary heritage that black hands have gifted this country, and I think the way that’s expressed today should be through personal narrative. I wrote the book and organized the chapters in the way I dine and entertain. I wanted to show how these traditions are expressed from my personal point of view growing up in California, having worked and lived across the country. I also wanted the recipes to reflect how cultural influence and regional specificity influence how we consume culture. There is cultural infusion that allows for unique or unexpected ingredient choices added to traditional dishes that is also part of the black migration story that I felt compelled to include.

You talk a lot about the choices you’ve made stylistically in both The Jemima Code and Jubilee. There is a presence and a beauty to both books that seems to be part of your own personal presentation and how you move through the world. Can you talk about the power of beauty?

So much of my work is about restoring dignity to our ancestors. So much of the narrative is about deficit and struggle, and I wanted my books to be beautiful as an homage to the power and beauty the books in the collection all showed me. These lives, these people of the code, deserve it. The Jemima Code was about showcasing the books themselves, so paper quality and the cover art were the focus. It’s a coffee-table book that is also a reference book, but it lives as an art piece. Jubilee, as a cookbook, had to be tactile. I wanted to be sure that I could bring to life these recipes in a way that translated as a usable manual but was still evocative and maintained the complexity.

The process was grueling, but in the end, the ancestors sent me Jerrelle Guy, who wrote the [James Beard] Award–nominated book Black Girl Baking. I knew I needed a team who understood recipes, could handle the food styling and photography, but would also have a love and respect for these foodways. I didn’t know I would find it all in one person, but once I spoke with Jerrelle and explained my vision, she was able to take the ball and run in a way that makes me so proud. Beauty is not a vice. It conveys the message that love and respect are being paid.

You live in Baltimore now. Can you talk about that move and what you have in store for this next phase of your career and the collection?

I’m restoring one of the “Painted Ladies” row houses in Charles Village, and the building is speaking to me. I feel the need to create a space for fellowship. I envision a hub for all of you to come and create and cook that really fosters the energy of the collection. I’m thinking about a home for The Jemima Code book collection and, for the immediate future, just waiting for the world to receive Jubilee.

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Cranberry Sauce with Roasted Grapes, Apples, and Shallots

https://www.rachelcooks.com/2019/11/11/cranberry-sauce-with-roasted-grapes/

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Add this beautiful jewel toned side to your holiday menu!  Cranberry sauce with roasted grapes, apples, and shallots provides a burst of flavor, both sweet and savory, that is unforgettable. 

Add this beautiful jewel toned side to your holiday menu!  Cranberry sauce with roasted grapes, apples, and shallots provides a burst of flavor, both sweet and savory, that is unforgettable. 

Add this beautiful jewel toned side to your holiday menu!  Cranberry sauce with roasted grapes, apples, and shallots provides a burst of flavor, both sweet and savory, that is unforgettable. 

Have you ever tried roasting grapes? Maybe you’re thinking, hmmm, roasted grapes would be like raisins, right? Kind of shriveled up, chewy, and dry? Not that appealing…

I pretty much roast everything (have you tried roasted butternut squash or Brussels sprouts?) so I thought, why not give roasted grapes a try? I had a bunch of grapes in the fridge so I tossed them with olive oil and a little maple syrup, put them on a corner of a pan of roasting sweet potatoes, and was blown away by the results. The grapes do shrivel, just a bit, which looks really kind of intriguing, and the insides turn into a jammy delight. Not even remotely like raisins! 

When I saw a recipe for cranberry sauce with roasted grapes, cranberries, apples, and shallots in Cooking Light, I knew I had to try it. I adapted it quite a bit to make it my own and the results are startlingly delicious.

I almost hesitate to call it cranberry sauce because it’s a total departure from traditional cranberry sauce with ground up cranberries and oranges, or cooked cranberries with tons of sugar. The roasted fruit and shallots make this cranberry sauce a taste experience that outshines any other cranberry sauce. I’m sure you’ll agree!

P.S. Don’t wait until the holidays to try this recipe. You’re going to want to try this cranberry sauce right away now that apples are in season. It’s a great side for chicken, pork tenderloin, grilled salmon, or a vegetarian pilaf. And it’s a breeze to make. 

image of roasted cranberry sauce

image of roasted cranberry sauce

About this Cranberry Sauce with Roasted Grapes

Looking at the photos of this cranberry sauce with roasted grapes, apples and shallots, I can’t believe how beautiful it is! I love how the cranberries and grapes intensify in color as they roast in the oven, and how the apples and shallots absorb the color from the cranberries, turning a deep rose color. It’s a visual feast. 

And the fruit smells heavenly as it roasts in your oven! You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to make this cranberry sauce. 

After preheating your oven, add shallots, apples, and grapes and a bit of mild tasting oil (I used avocado but olive oil would be fine, too) to a large rimmed roasting pan. Roast for five minutes or so, then add cranberries and stir together. Roast for twenty-five minutes or until shallots and apples are tender. 

I mix the roasted fruit and shallots with a mixture of melted butter, maple syrup, and fresh chopped thyme to enhance the flavors and give the fruit a more sauce-like consistency. Oh, so yummy! Be careful if you try a spoonful or two–you may end up eating the whole thing!

Let the mixture cool for a bit before serving. Gently spoon it into that fancy bowl that your great-grandma gave you (or that you found at a thrift shop!). Garnish with a few sprigs of fresh thyme. You’ll hardly need a centerpiece with this beautiful roasted fruit on your holiday table. 

Cranberry sauce with roasted grapes, apples, and shallots is great served at room temperature which makes it an ideal holiday side. You don’t have to be making it at the last minute. Make it early in the day, let it cool, cover it, and set it on your counter until dinner is served. 

If you make it a day or two ahead, I would refrigerate it in a sealable container. Take it out of the refrigerator in the morning and let it come to room temperature before serving. Give it a gentle stir before putting it into a serving bowl.

Image of unique cranberry sauce with roasted grapes, apples and shallots. Garnished with a sprig of thyme.

Image of unique cranberry sauce with roasted grapes, apples and shallots. Garnished with a sprig of thyme.

How to make this recipe your own:

This recipe is really versatile. Here are some suggestions for changing it up to make it your own:

  • Add more grapes, apples or shallots. You could add up to a cup more of each.
  • Use fresh or frozen cranberries; both kinds work well. You don’t have to thaw the frozen ones, just put them right onto the roasting pan. The cranberries add a lot of tartness so be a little careful with adding more, unless you compensate with more maple syrup. 
  • I like Honeycrisp apples but you can use any apple variety that stays somewhat firm when cooked, like Gala, Jonathan, Granny Smith, or Cortland. 
  • Red grapes are beautiful but green or purple grapes would work well, too. Just make sure they’re seedless!
  • If you can’t find shallots, use red onion or sweet onion. Or no onion!
  • Not crazy about thyme? Substitute an herb you like better, maybe chopped chives or parsley. Or just leave out the herbs. 
  • If you don’t have maple syrup, use a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar, honey, or agave syrup to sweeten the sauce. Actually, the fruits are so sweet you could skip the sweetener. 

I hope you enjoy this recipe for cranberry sauce with roasted grapes, apples, and shallots as much as I do!

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1lF7EpUEZSQsUYznJ2rXmmSgls0kW-AUnAx9MaEh1B_w/edit

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1lF7EpUEZSQsUYznJ2rXmmSgls0kW-AUnAx9MaEh1B_w/edit

More holiday sides that are just a little bit unique: 

Like to think outside of the box when it comes to holiday recipes? Looking for healthier alternatives to the traditional? Here’s a few more recipes that I think you’ll love.

 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups seedless red grapes, washed and stemmed
  • 2 cups chopped apple (Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, or other firm variety)
  • 1 cup shallots (3 small or 2 large), peeled and chopped into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil (or olive oil)
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (about 8 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh thyme
  • extra thyme sprigs for garnish, if desired

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place grapes, apple, and shallot on baking sheet and toss with avocado oil. Bake in preheated oven until shallot starts to soften, about 5 minutes.
  2. While fruit mixture is roasting, combine the melted butter, maple syrup, salt, and thyme in a small bowl.
  3. Remove baking sheet from oven, add cranberries, and stir to combine ingredients. Continue to cook until cranberries begin to burst, about 25 minutes.
  4. Remove baking sheet from oven and carefully transfer cranberry mixture into a heat-safe bowl. Gently stir in butter, maple syrup, salt, and thyme.
  5. Cool at least 1 hour before serving. Garnish with sprigs of fresh thyme, if desired.

Notes

  • No need to thaw frozen cranberries, just use them as is.
  • This cranberry sauce would be delicious served with turkey, chicken, pork, or salmon, or vegetarian pilafs.
  • Recipe adapted from Cooking Light.
Nutrition Information:

Yield: 8

Serving Size: 1/4 cup

Amount Per Serving:

Calories: 121
Total Fat: 5g
Saturated Fat: 2g
Trans Fat: 0g
Unsaturated Fat: 2g
Cholesterol: 8mg
Sodium: 71mg
Carbohydrates: 21g
Fiber: 3g
Sugar: 15g
Protein: 1g

RachelCooks.com sometimes provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietitian. Please consult a medical professional for any specific nutrition, diet, or allergy advice.

Verdict: Since I’ve been raving about it for paragraphs on end, it’s probably no surprise that I love this recipe.
Husband’s take: A little bit outside the box for Ben, but he still enjoys it and doesn’t complain.
Changes I would make: None are necessary, but have fun with some of the adaptations I mentioned.
Difficulty: Easy!

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Crispy Sweet Potato Tacos – Vegan

https://www.rachelcooks.com/2019/11/13/sweet-potato-tacos/

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Beer marinated roasted sweet potatoes, charred corn, creamy avocado, crisp onions, and fresh cilantro, wrapped in a soft corn tortilla, make these vegetarian sweet potato tacos a taste sensation! 

Image of vegan sweet potato tacos on a platter with charred corn, onions and cilantro, and avocado. A glass of beer sits next to the platter.

Image of vegan sweet potato tacos on a platter with charred corn, onions and cilantro, and avocado. A glass of beer sits next to the platter.

You’re going to love these amazing crispy sweet potato tacos. They have everything going for them, involving nearly all the senses.

Imagine the texture: buttery roasted sweet potatoes, chewy bits of corn, crisp fresh onions, creamy avocado, leafy cilantro. Then the flavorful smells: malty beer marinade as the potatoes slowly roast, the sharp bright flavor of onions and cilantro, corn tortillas toasting. The colors are so beautiful too: deep orange potatoes, lightly browned, golden yellow corn, bright avocado, fiery red hot sauce, and deep cilantro green. And you haven’t even taken a bite yet! 

The recipe comes from my friend and colleague, Jackie of The Beeroness. They’re from her third book, Lush: A Season by Season Celebration of Craft Beer and Produce, and let me tell you, the book is stunning!

It’s a season-by-season guide to cooking with beer, and it’s all vegetarian recipes full of amazing, seasonal produce. The photos are gorgeous, and the recipes are flavor-forward, yet still very approachable. More on the book soon. But first… let’s talk about these tacos!

Beer marinated roasted sweet potatoes, charred corn, creamy avocado, crisp onions, and fresh cilantro, wrapped in a soft corn tortilla, make these vegetarian sweet potato tacos a taste sensation! 

Beer marinated roasted sweet potatoes, charred corn, creamy avocado, crisp onions, and fresh cilantro, wrapped in a soft corn tortilla, make these vegetarian sweet potato tacos a taste sensation! 

About these sweet potato tacos:

The beer marinated sweet potatoes make these tacos so outstanding! You may wonder whether marinating raw sweet potatoes really works (my mom was super skeptical) and I’m here to tell you, the flavor of these marinated sweet potatoes is outstanding. 

After cutting the peeled sweet potatoes into long narrow planks, they are submerged in a nice brown ale bath for at least three hours and up to twelve hours. They emerge from this soaking smelling of toasty caramel, kind of yeasty, and…well, like a nice brown ale. 

Note:

Jackie recommends a “winter ale” for this recipe. If you’re not a beer aficionado, she has you covered with this description:

 

“Although the idea of a ‘winter ale’ varies wildly from brewery to brewery, there are some common themes. Most often, beer that has been designated a winter ale falls into the category of a strong ale. However, they can also include anything from an IPA to a stout. Winter warmers are generally higher in ABV, have strong malt profiles, range from dark amber to inky black, and frequently contain spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.” 

 

I chose Short’s Bellaire Brown for this recipe. Short’s is a Michigan brewery, and we love drinking this beer as well as using it in recipes like this one, so it was a great choice for this recipe. 

After the sweet potatoes marinate, you’ll want to rinse them well and dry them thoroughly for maximum browning in the oven as they roast. But wait, don’t put them in the oven yet! First, you’re going to coat them with a nice even layer of olive oil, a little garlic and onion powder, and salt and pepper.

Spread them flat on a large rimmed baking sheet and roast until those sweet potato planks are soft on the inside and crisp on the outside. Perfect! I like mine nice and brown so I broil them a few extra minutes. 

The crispy sweet potatoes are the base of these tacos. Next comes charred corn. I add corn to the baking sheet with the sweet potatoes to char it lightly. 

To heat the corn tortillas, set each tortilla over a gas flame for a few seconds on each side or use a hot skillet to heat them. 

Beer flavored sweet potatoes, charred corn, crisp onions, creamy avocado, fiery hot sauce, and fresh cilantro, wrapped in a flavorful corn tortilla! Doesn’t get much better than that!

How to make these tacos your own:

  • As I mentioned above, the sweet potatoes are the base of these tacos. While the beer marinated, roasted sweet potatoes are a grand slam, you could also use mashed, grilled, or these spicy sweet potatoes.
  • For more protein, add black beans, refried beans, cheese, or sour cream. You could add grilled chicken or taco meat, seasoned with my homemade taco seasoning.
  • To add more spiciness, top them with this homemade restaurant style salsa, or another salsa of your choosing. Salsa verde is really, really good on these crispy sweet potato tacos! Another great ideas would be pickled red onions (which are good on almost anything!).
  • You could add shredded lettuce or kale for fresh crispiness. 

Beer marinated roasted sweet potatoes, charred corn, creamy avocado, crisp onions, and fresh cilantro, wrapped in a soft corn tortilla, make these vegetarian sweet potato tacos a taste sensation! 

Beer marinated roasted sweet potatoes, charred corn, creamy avocado, crisp onions, and fresh cilantro, wrapped in a soft corn tortilla, make these vegetarian sweet potato tacos a taste sensation! 

About LUSH: A Season by Season Celebration of Craft Beer and Produce

Highly recommend this book, you guys! It’s not only full of great recipes, but it’s contains a ton of super informative content about beer as well as cooking seasonly. Food tastes better when it’s in season and fresh, so this is a fantastic way to approach cooking and to prevent boredom in the kitchen. 

Here are some more recipes I can’t wait to try:

  • Salt-Roasted Golden Beets with Whipped Belgian Ale Mascarpone and Herb Gremolata
  • English Pea and Bock Risotto
  • Grilled Romain with IPA-Pickled Strawberries (YUM)
  • Beer-Sautéed Apple, Caramelized Onion, and Brie Sandwiches
  • Blueberry-Lavender Summer Ale Clafoutis
  • Roasted Cabbage Wedges with Feta-Mustard Beer Vinaigrette
  • Mexican Street Corn Beer Cakes with Chipotle Creme
  • Spiced Rutabaga and Porter Cake

Truth be told, that was a really hard list to write because I want to make so many recipes in this book! It’s definitely worth checking out if I haven’t convinced you yet!

LUSH Cover ImageLUSH Cover Image

Photo Credit: Jacquelyn Dodd

Tip: This book would be great for gift giving to any beer-lover in your life! Pair it with a six-pack of their favorite beer (or even better, a custom mixed six-pack and you’re good to go!

Reheating and Storage Tips

These are definitely best eaten right away! If you want to make the crispy sweet potato planks ahead of time, you could roast them a day or two ahead. I would store them in a large container so you can kind of spread them out. To serve, reheat on a roasting pan under the broiler for about 5 minutes so they crisp up again as they reheat.

Image of vegan tacos with sweet potatoes and corn.

Image of vegan tacos with sweet potatoes and corn.

Other vegetarian and vegan taco recipes:

If you love these as much as I do, I’m guessing you’ll love these recipes too! They have so many flavorful ingredients that even meat lovers won’t miss the meat.

 

Beer marinated roasted sweet potatoes, charred corn, creamy avocado, crisp onions, and fresh cilantro, wrapped in a soft corn tortilla, make these vegetarian sweet potato tacos a taste sensation! 

Beer marinated roasted sweet potatoes, charred corn, creamy avocado, crisp onions, and fresh cilantro, wrapped in a soft corn tortilla, make these vegetarian sweet potato tacos a taste sensation! 

Ingredients

  • 2 large garnet sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch wedges
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups winter ale (see note)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 corn tortillas, lightly browned over a gas flame or in a hot skillet
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 1 avocado, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 medium white onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • Hot pepper sauce, for serving

Instructions

  1. Put the sweet potato wedges in a large, shallow bowl. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the salt over them and add the beer. Add enough water to fully submerge the potato wedges. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to 12 hours.
  2. Position a rack in the top third of the oven. Place a rimmed baking sheet on the rack. Preheat oven to 425ºF. 
  3. Drain the potatoes and rinse well. Pat them dry with paper towels, removing as much moisture as possible to help them crisp. Transfer them to a large bowl. Add the olive oil, onion powder, garlic powder, pepper, and remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and toss to coat.
  4. Transfer the potatoes to the preheated baking sheet and spread them out in a single layer. Bake for 15 minutes. Flip the potatoes over and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until the undersides are golden brown. Remove the potatoes from the oven and transfer to paper towels to drain.
  5. Top each tortilla with 2 or 3 sweet potato wedges and some of the corn, avocado, onions, cilantro, and hot sauce. Serve.

Notes

  • Recipe used with permission from Lush: A Season by Season Celebration of Craft Beer and Produce, by Jacquelyn Dodd.
  • If you would like the sweet potatoes to brown a bit more, put them under the broiler for about 5 minutes after baking them.
  • To char the corn, add it to the baking sheet with sweet potatoes, spray it lightly with olive oil and broil it until lightly charred.
  • I chose a brown ale with caramel notes for this recipe.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield: 4

Serving Size: 3 tacos

Amount Per Serving:

Calories: 461
Total Fat: 17g
Saturated Fat: 2g
Trans Fat: 0g
Unsaturated Fat: 13g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Sodium: 633mg
Carbohydrates: 68g
Fiber: 12g
Sugar: 9g
Protein: 9g

RachelCooks.com sometimes provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietitian. Please consult a medical professional for any specific nutrition, diet, or allergy advice.

Verdict: I absolutely love these tacos. I couldn’t believe how much you can taste the flavors of the beer…it was such a pleasant surprise!
Husband’s take: I’m not sure Ben has had the opportunity to try these yet!
Changes I would make: None are necessary, but you could definitely have some fun with the toppings!
Difficulty: Easy!

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Easy Apple Compote with Cinnamon

https://www.rachelcooks.com/2019/11/15/apple-compote/

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Apple compote with cinnamon will have tantalizing autumn scents wafting through your kitchen! This versatile compote is a delicious addition to breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert!

Apple compote with cinnamon will have tantalizing autumn scents wafting through your kitchen! This versatile compote is a delicious addition to breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert!

Apple compote with cinnamon will have tantalizing autumn scents wafting through your kitchen! This versatile compote is a delicious addition to breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert!

We Michiganders don’t have to travel far to find apple orchards.  I estimate there are at least four or five apple orchards within a ten mile radius of my home. In fact, we have several apple trees right in our backyard! 

So it’s only natural that I’m bringing you this delicious apple compote recipe. I always have a ready supply of crisp red apples in my fridge. They’re so good eaten fresh but I think that they’re even a little bit better cooked, especially with a healthy dash of cinnamon. Apple cinnamon, cinnamon apple, a match made in heaven, don’t you think? 

I just love this cooked apple compote with cinnamon. It’s very easy to make and you’ll see there are so many ways to use it. It’s perfect for pancakes and so much else!

Cinnamon spiced apple compote in a small cast iron skillet.

Cinnamon spiced apple compote in a small cast iron skillet.

About this Apple Compote:

So easy to prepare, you’ll have this ready to serve in 20 minutes or less, and most of that time is hands off. 

Melt a couple of tablespoons of butter in a small skillet, add chopped apples, peeled or not peeled (your preference), brown sugar, and cinnamon and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender, 15 minutes or so.

I used a combination of Honeycrisp and Gala apples but any flavorful apple will work. I like apples that stay a little firm when cooked, such as Honeycrisp, Gala, Jonathan, Granny Smith, or  Cortland. Use your favorite variety. If you prefer a compote that is more like applesauce, use a softer apple variety. 

This apple compote with cinnamon is delicious as a topping for pancakes, warm and sweet with the slight tartness of the apples shining through. 

But don’t stop there! This versatile apple compote would elevate a humdrum bowl of oatmeal or other cooked cereal. Just swirl it on top and enjoy the extra flavor it brings. Or add it to your morning yogurt or make it part of a yogurt breakfast bowl with crunchy granola added. 

How about lunch? Spread a little apple compote on a sandwich with deli turkey, cheddar, watercress, and a hint of stoneground mustard. Or dollop it on a bowl of butternut squash soup

Imagine dinner with pork roast or pork chops, nestled on the plate with apple compote, mashed sweet potatoes, and roasted green beans. The apples and cinnamon perfectly complement the rich flavor of the pork. 

Or think of apple compote as dessert: a spoonful or two on cinnamon ice cream and a sprinkling of crunchy oat topping  (yum! just like apple crisp!) or top a plain yellow cake with apple compote and a dollop of whipped cream. Add apple compote to a bowl of homemade vanilla pudding for a simple yet elegant dessert. 
Apple cinnamon compote in a cast iron skillet, with a spoon.

Apple cinnamon compote in a cast iron skillet, with a spoon.

How to make this easy compote your own:

  • Cinnamon is a must but you could also add nutmeg, cardamom, ginger, or allspice. Try fresh grated ginger or even a splash of lemon juice.
  • If you prefer a compote that is more like applesauce, use a softer apple variety, like McIntosh, or continue to cook until it is softer. 
  • If you’re not a fan of apple peels, feel free to remove them. I like the color, texture, and nutrition they add, but this compote will be delicious with or without them.
  • You could add other fruits. I love blueberries cooked into this compote! Cherries, chopped pear, or raisins would be so delicious, too. 

Reheating and Storage Tips

If you make the apple compote ahead or simply have some left over, put it into a covered container and store it in the fridge. You can reheat it gently on the stove or in the microwave. It’s delicious at room temperature, too. 

How long does apple compote keep?

Kept in the fridge in a covered container or bowl, this apple cinnamon compote should last five days. I bet it won’t hang around that long, though!

Can you freeze fruit compote?

We like to go an apple orchard and pick a bushel (or two!) of apples. Then we wonder what to do with all those apples! Making and freezing apple compote would be a great way to preserve apples to use later in the year.  Simply make the compote, cool it, and put it into small freezer containers. Thaw overnight in the fridge for best results.

Apple compote with cinnamon will have tantalizing autumn scents wafting through your kitchen! This versatile compote is a delicious addition to breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert!

Apple compote with cinnamon will have tantalizing autumn scents wafting through your kitchen! This versatile compote is a delicious addition to breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert!

Love the idea of fun pancake toppings?

Me too, I’m a toppings girl through and through! Try these ideas next time you have pancakes:

 

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 cups diced apples (roughly ½ inch), unpeeled
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Melt butter In large skillet over medium high heat. 
  2. Add apples and brown sugar. Continue to cook over medium high heat for 15 minutes, or until apples are softened, stirring occasionally. 
  3. Stir in cinnamon. 
  4. Serve over pancakes, cooked oatmeal, vanilla ice cream, or pudding. 

Notes

  • This apple cinnamon compote can be made ahead and stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to one week. Reheat gently until warm, if desired.
  • To freeze, put in freezer containers and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw in refrigerator overnight for best results. 
  • I used a combination of Honeycrisp and Gala. Other varieties that would work well are Jonagold, Jonathan, Braeburn, Granny Smith, or Cortland.
Nutrition Information:

Yield: 6

Serving Size: 1/2 cup

Amount Per Serving:

Calories: 123
Total Fat: 4g
Saturated Fat: 2g
Trans Fat: 0g
Unsaturated Fat: 1g
Cholesterol: 10mg
Sodium: 5mg
Carbohydrates: 23g
Fiber: 2g
Sugar: 21g
Protein: 0g

RachelCooks.com sometimes provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietitian. Please consult a medical professional for any specific nutrition, diet, or allergy advice.

Verdict: So good. On everything. Fall in a frying pan!
Husband’s take: Ben is all about this compote, especially on pancakes.
Changes I would make: None! But have fun adding other fruits or seasonings.
Difficulty: Very easy.

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