Talking the Stalk

Curried Sweet Potato Soup with Lemongrass

I have wanted to use lemongrass in a dish since I purchased my all soup cook book which lists this as an ingredient in many of its soups. I also love watching Luke Nguyen who cooks dishes in the middle of busy towns in Saigon. He often uses lemongrass in his dishes as well as other Asian-type ingredients that I’ve been wanting to try.

I think it was my fear of not knowing how to handle the herb that made me hesitate. But now we have You Tube (as well as numerous other sources of information online) which offers visuals and how-to’s on every subject imaginable.

Check out this informative overview on the herb from the Gourmet Sleuth.

The lemongrass stalk is peeled down similar to a scallion and then cut at both ends. Due to its fibrousness I left the portions added to the soup large enough to fish out before blending. It has a sharp lemon and almost peppery fragrance and added tremendous flavor to this soup.

While I routinely make sweet potato soup, I don’t think I’ll ever make it the way I used to make it since tasting this intensely-flavored soup.

Immersion of flavor…

Blended creaminess…

Swirling the coconut…

This ingredient can add zing to almost any dish and recipes are super simple to locate by searching the ingredient: lemongrass. I love soup and I plan to cook many more containing this herb. Thank goodness it’s soup season.

Can you suggest an herb or spice I can make something with? Would love to hear from you!

Here’s the recipe adapted from the Jenn Cuisine Blog, Sweet Potato Coconut Thai Curried Soup.

Curried Sweet Potato Soup with Lemongrass
Makes 1 ½ quarts

1 ½ C baked peeled sweet potatoes
1 onion
5 garlic cloves
2 T canola oil
1 stalk lemongrass
1 t minced ginger
2 t curry powder (or 2 t of curry paste)
½ t coriander
½ t salt
1 ½ C stock
¾ C coconut milk

Process: sauté onion, garlic, lemon grass and ginger in the canola oil until softened. Add the chicken stock and curry powder and allow these flavors to incorporate well by cooking for about 15 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and remove the lemon grass stalks then puree in a blender. Bring back to heat and add coconut milk and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

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Autumn Returns For Spring

Sweet Potato Banana Cake with Orange Ginger Frosting

It’s love season – Spring, however Autumn’s flavors have returned for this recipe.

Since it’s my sweetie’s favorite mix of flavors, it’s all good…

Yes, BOB created this recipe’s mixture of sweet potato and banana with orange and ginger frosting (my choice would have been lemon ginger since I think these two flavors compliment one another better). Yet all of these flavors worked! And worked well!

I adapted the recipe from one I found on FoodNetwork.com and a non-professional baker created it. Here’s my rendition of the recipe.

Sweet Potato Banana Cake

Ingredients (for 2, 9″ layers)

2 1/2 C flour
2 t baking soda, 2 t baking powder, 1/4 t salt, 2 t cinnamon, 2 t nutmeg
3/4 C granulated sugar
2 1/2 sticks butter
3/4 C brown sugar
3 eggs
1 T vanilla
1/4 C milk
2 1/2 C cooked, mashed sweet potatoes (organic “jewel” are best)
1/2 C banana, ripe and mashed

Process: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two, 9″ cake pans.
Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and granulated sugar in a medium bowl. Cream butter and brown sugar in a large bowl. Add eggs one at a time mixing well then add vanilla. Add dry ingredients, milk, sweet potatoes and banana alternating between these ingredients. Careful not to overmix. Pour evenly into prepared pans and bake for about 45-60 minutes.

Eggs & vanilla, flour mixture and sweet potatoes & banana.

Look at this batter. So rich…

The sweet potatoes are enriching this recipe.

In the pan before baking

In the pan after baking.  The result was a dense, richly flavored, super moist cake.

The frosting was extra sweet so I made half the recipe and used it sparingly.

Orange Ginger Frosting
Ingredients: 3 C powdered sugar, 2 sticks butter, 1 t orange oil (extract), 2 T minced crystallized ginger, 2 T cream.
Process: Mix all ingredients together until creamy.

I made an orange whipped cream which was creamy and less sweet, for between the two layers.

Orange Whipped Cream
Ingredients: 8 oz. whipping cream, 1 t orange oil (extract), 1 T powdered sugar.
Process: Mix all ingredients till fluffy.

This is Bob & Donna’s recipe. Taking my knowledge of food and Bob’s penchant for mixing varying flavors we created a satisfying cake with bold flavor that worked!

My neighbor happened to come by as we were cutting the cake. Her response: “It is delicious! Can I have the recipe?”

Enjoy this cake now, in the Fall or whenever…