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Italian Sweet Potato Gratin

Posted Dec 12 2010 6:35pm

For what seemed like such a looooong week – this weekend sure flew by!

There was lots of pancakes. The best pancakes of my life.

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There was lots of finishing up on schoolwork.

There was lots of Bruins watching.


There was lots of sweet potatoes.

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There was lots of following recipes…

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…as well as creating recipes.

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There was lots of rain. Too much rain.

I’m sick of rain. And wind. I just want snow. And blizzards. I want to be snowed in. I want to step outside and be up to my waist in fluffy, pillowy snow. I want to hear the stillness of a town covered in snow. To look down my road and see nothing but pine trees covered in white, and the road revealing that only the plow truck and sander braved go out.

I don’t want rain. Or wind. Last time we had rain and wind, we had no power for three days, anyway. And I got cold.

Okay, anyways. I’ve cried my river (and it suddenly makes sense why it’s raining) and now I’m building my bridge.

How do I build my bridge?


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By baking. Naturally.

I think the only part of working all week last week that I hated (besides not riding Teddie – that’s a given) was not being prepared or getting to spend time in the kitchen.


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Unfortunately, it’s still too early to get some real Christmas baking done – but it’s never too early to just bake for fun, at least. I chose Vegan with a Vengeance’s Orange Glazed Scones, while my mom baked some of her classic anisette cookies.

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…and got an arm workout while she was at it. And reminded me of a night with a certain alcoholic substance that tastes of anise. I never realized it until today but that is probably what anise will forever remind me of. Shudder.


Before anyone asks, no, I will not post this recipe. I don’t post recipes from cookbooks when I haven’t changed anything, or have only changed a fraction of the ingredients, or have only made a simple swap. I don’t consider  a recipe to be “adapted” when I’ve simply switched the flour or added some nuts. I used Earth Balance in place of the oil, sure – that’s pretty far from me adapting the recipe, however. Regardless of how I feel about “adaptations” of recipes, however – these scones are delicious enough that they could convince you to buy the book Winking smile


At one point, my mom tempted me with her food coloring and I attempted to turn my glaze orange. The color frightened me, but hey – it’s a special occasion and I was playing – but I had to start over when the glaze was way thinner than it should have been. I started over sans icing. That fascination was short-lived.


I did, however, make what I consider adaptations of a couple recipes while in the kitchen today! I wanted to prepare stuff for the week so if I am working every day again, I won’t be so frantic and at a loss as to what to have for lunches and dinners. One recipe was for burgers that I’ll share sometime soon (tomorrow?) and another for an Italian Sweet Potato Gratin.

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This is an adaptation of Moosewood’s Italian Sweet Potato Gratin. I realize I’ve done dinners like this before…but this one is good. I don’t think casseroles ever get old!

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The only bad thing about this gratin?

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It used up the last of my Bove’s pasta sauce Sad smileWell worth it, I suppose – you’ll want to use a good tomato sauce for this recipe! I suppose that’s silly to say, though; I can’t really imagine when you would want to use a bad tomato sauce?

Anyways. Here you go.

Italian Sweet Potato Gratin

serves 4 as a side, 2 as a main

  • 1 medium sweet potato, sliced thinly
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced thinly
  • 2 T. basil oil (or olive oil) divided
  • 1/2 t. italian seasoning
  • 1 T. balsamic vinegar
  • 1T. water
  • 3-4 large kale leaves, chopped
  • 1 c. sliced mushrooms
  • salt, to taste
  • 1/4 c. + 1 T. roasted red pepper hummus (or garlic)
  • 1 t. yellow mustard
  • 1 T. nutritional yeast
  • 2-3 T. water
  • 1/2 – 3/4 c. good tomato sauce
  • 1/4 c. whole wheat bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 400*.

In a small bowl, whisk together 1 T. of the oil, italian seasoning, vinegar, and 1 T. water. Set aside.

In another small bowl, mix together the hummus, nutritional yeast, mustard, and 2-3 T. water. Set aside.

In a casserole dish, spread the remaining 1 T. of oil and then uniformly layer half the sweet potatoes followed by half the onion. Sprinkle with salt and then pour half of the oil mixture over top. Spread half the hummus mixture over top, and then half of the tomato sauce. Layer on the kale, followed by the mushrooms. Sprinkle with salt and repeat the layering process, finishing everything: sweet potato, onion, oil, hummus and pasta sauce. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over top.

Cover and bake for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, remove cover and bake another ten. Let set for 10 minutes before serving.



Oh, yes. This was pretty simple to prepare, even though there was a bit of hands on and hands-off time. The perfect warm meal to make on a weekend and enjoy on a week-day Smile

In other news, I was finally able to replenish my peanut butter that I’ve been going through like crazy:

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I may or may not have made that in my mom’s bathroom. I didn’t think whirring a food processor for five minutes straight was going to go over very well.

I still get all excited when peanut butter reaches that peanut butter state. It’s like this clumpy ball one second, and then the next…peanut butter. It’s magic. I don’t know if I can ever buy it again.


To jazz it up a little this time, I combined:

  • 1/2 c. honey roasted peanuts
  • 1 1/2 c. dry roasted peanuts
  • 1/4 c. sunflower seeds
  • drizzle maple syrup
  • pinch of nutmeg, cinnamon and clove
  • crystallized ginger pieces

And of course I replenished my banana stash so I can resume having bananas dressed up in peanut butter for snack Winking smile

So! That is all for now…but! stay tuned for:

  • lemon-poppyseed blueberry cornmeal-oatbran pancakes
  • broccoli and cashew white bean burgers
  • more fun things that I don’t even know about yet. I hope.

What’s your favorite peanut butter add-in?

What was one fun thing you did this weekend?

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