Thursday, November 24, 2011

Sweet Potato Galettes and being on the mend.

For the past couple of days I have been in a rather sad place, cooking wise.
My stepchildren kept complaining the food I was putting in front of them wasn't tasty.
(Or at least not as good as their grandmothers which doesn't come as a surprise really given the fact that my mother in law cooks traditional Arabic food with lots of rice which they are accustomed while I prefer lighter dishes centering around vegetables rather than meat.)

I cannot really blame them. The food I have put in front of them those past days didn't live up to my own standards. I wasn't happy with what I made, they didn't like it.
In just three days I came to dread dinnertime. But even before all those flops I felt terribly uninspired to even come up with a meal plan for this week.
Not sure where this all comes from.

When I looked at the meal plan yesterday and the dish I was supposed to make, I was ready to call my husband and order in which is something that never happens.
And then it hit me: Instead of trying to make food my stepchildren would like to eat too, I should just make what I want to eat and serve them a sandwich and a salad (they are great salad eaters, by the way, and eat a warm lunch made by my mother in law so there really isn't any need for me to feed them warm dinner too).

And so I made this. And loved it. So did my husband.
(Another big accomplishment yesterday: Taking pictures without any natural light. It's something I have been struggling with ever since we switched to winter time and a sunset well before 5pm, which makes dinner photos nearly impossible. So yesterday, I set up my tripod, two pieces of canvas paper and fidgeted around with my camera settings until the light sources I have available in the kitchen (let's not get into that) didn't make my food look totally horrible. I still have a long way to go in taking good pictures, let alone styling my food but I am, I have to admit, rather pleased with myself.)

Sweet Potato galettes

These are sweet potato galettes from the Ottolenghi cookbook, a book I don't pull out often enough even though his food is amazing.
(I served the galettes with this salad on the side and it turned out great too, although not as pretty and vibrant as its pictured.)

I did make a few changes to the original recipe, namely in quantities and size. I also swapped the hard goat cheese for parmesan because it was all I had on hand and wouldn't advise you. Of course, I wouldn't. Yotam Ottolenghi had a point in using a salty, rather strong cheese: to offset the sweetness of the puff pastry and the potatoes. Next time I would probably crumble some feta cheese or ricotta salata on top.

This could be a great starter, maybe made a little smaller. Or as a light lunch with a big green salad. Or for brunch. It was very easy to make and didn't take a lot of time, except for roasting the sweet potatoes. But that hardly counts as work.

Sweet Potato Galettes
loosely adapted from "Ottolenghi: The Cookbook"

I halved the recipe feeding two adults well.
I actually had enough sweet potatoes left over to make another, fifth, galette but decided against thawing another piece of puff pastry and instead broiled them with some cheese for my stepchildren to eat with their salad.
Below is the recipe the way I made it, halved

2 sweet potatoes, weighing about 500 grams
125 grams puff pastry
1 free range egg, lightly beaten
100 ml soured cream
100 grams hard goat's cheese (MM: I think feta cheese would be a great substitute but haven't tried it myself)
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds (MM: I didn't have any, but didn't miss them much.)
1 medium hot chili, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
coarse sea salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 200°C/390°F. Bake the sweet potatoes in their skins for 34 to 45 minutes, until they soften but are still slightly undercooked in the center (check by inserting a knife). Leave until cool enough to handle, peel and slice into 3mm rounds.

While the sweet potatoes roast, take out your puff pastry, let it come to room temperature.
Four sheets of ready available puff pastry weighed in at exactly 125grams and although not the 7 by 14 cm rectangles the recipe calls for, they were the required 2mm thick, so I didn't do anything with them. I don't know how your puff pastry is sold, but if it doesn't come in sheets already, roll it out about 2mm thick on a lightly floured surface and cut into four rectangles.
Prick the dough all over with a fork, place it on a baking sheet and leave it to rest in the fridge for at least half an hour.

Remove the pastry from the fridge, brush with the lightly beaten egg and spread a layer of sour cream on the pastry, leaving a 5mm border. Arrange the potato slices on top, slightly overlapping with a clean border. Season with salt and pepper and crumble the cheese on top. Sprinkle with the chili and pumpkin seeds, if using.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes (mine took 30) or until the pastry is cooked through. (Check underneath if it's golden brown.)

While the galettes bake, stir together the olive oil, garlic and parsley with a pinch of salt. As soon as they finished cooking, brush them with the mixture and serve warm or at room temperature.

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