Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

While The Man was on a week long trip to Dallas, I only had to run the dishwasher once. A typical week around here sees no less than 6 dish cycles. Needless to say, I cook alot and we eat alot! But with him gone (and numerous friends or family inviting us for dinner) I barely touched the stove. However, I did take advantage of his absence to re-create a salad that uses 2 ingredients that he hates – sweet potatoes and pecans.

Sweet Potatoes and Onions

Thrive is a cool carry-out cafe. They tout their use of locally sourced, organic ingredients and are the only “green certified” restaurant in Savannah. I’m not sure what that means….but trendy claims aside, their food is very good. One of their side dishes is a roasted sweet potato salad. A great mix of savory and sweet that can be served cold or room temp. Makes for a healthy lunch, or an ideal side dish at dinner. Here is my knock off of their salad (which I think is a knock off of a Whole Foods salad….)

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

  • 1 Lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and large diced
  • 1/4 C. red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 tsp. Chinese 5 Spice
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 C. spinach
  • 1/4 C. raisins
  • 1/4 C. pecans, roughly chopped
  • 3 T. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T. honey
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, toss together sweet potatoes, onion, Chinese 5 Spice and pepper. Mix until spices evenly coat. Pour onto a parchment lined sheet pan. Evenly spread vegetables, so they are in a single layer. Roast at 400F for 40 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through and lightly browned.

Transfer roasted sweet potatoes and onions to a bowl. Add spinach, raisins and pecans. In a small bowl, combine vinegar, honey, oil, cinnamon and salt and pepper. Whisk until incorporated. Pour over sweet potato mixture. Toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate until read to serve.

Can be served cold or room temperature.

Banana Sour Cream Coffee Cake

banana s.c.c.cake

While sitting in my mom’s kitchen waiting on our traditional New Year’s Day fare (black eyed peas and collard greens), we started looking through her recipe box. She has been keeping and filing away recipes for decades, and it is full of some great ones. She was looking for one in particular (Cheese Crescents she snipped from a early-1980’s issue of Women’s Day) but I came across a few that I had to jot down – including this gem. Banana Sour Cream Coffee Cake. Not only does it sound awesome, I also happen to have 3 ripe bananas (I had considered making some banana bread this morning), sour cream, and all the other ingredients. Except the pecans…..but I “borrowed” some from my mom, with the promise of coffee cake in the near future.

The complete recipe, with measurements can be found at the bottom of the post

This is my first time baking this recipe. And unlike many of the recipes in her box, this one was void of any side notes or tips. She also didn’t have much to say about it, nor could she remember the last time she made it….so we are going to explore this one together…

UPDATE! Long time family friend Paula Reynolds read this post, and recognized the recipe. “The best banana bread I ever found” she said – and her banana bread has always been my favorite. Well turns out, this is it! She found the recipe 20+ years ago in Southern Living, and passed it along to my mom at some point. Thanks Mrs. Paula!!

There are two elements to this coffee cake – the banana cake batter, and a sugar/pecan topping. The pecans are also layered into the cake. In a small bowl, combine the chopped pecans (I chop mine small, The Man hates nuts….) sugar, and cinnamon – set it aside for later. Go ahead and peel / mash the bananas in a small bowl. And while you are getting bowls out – whisk your dry ingredients together in a medium sized bowl.

bananas and nuts

The batter starts with creaming Crisco and sugar.

cream sugar and butter

Scrape the bowl and beater down, then add in the eggs one at a time. Next you add the bananas and vanilla. Once combined, scrape the bowl down again and add in the sour cream.

sour cream

Stop the mixer and add all of the flour mixture into the batter. Turn the mixer on low, and stir until just incorporated. Don’t over beat, or the cake will be tough.

stir until just combined

Now we are ready for the layers! Grease your bundt pan (I used Crisco because it’s in the recipe and I already had it out). Spoon half of the nut mixture into the pan, followed by half of the batter. Then spoon in the second half of the nuts, and final half of batter.

pecans on bottompecan layeroven ready

After the cake bakes, set it on a wire rack for at least 5 minutes. I know, it smells good….but be patient! Then unmold the cake onto the rack.

fresh out

I’ve just finished eating my first slice. The man also had a piece (he loves it – even with the nuts!). I think one thing is unanimous – the cake is moist, tender and delicious. But I think the nut layer needs some work. First, I’m going to use brown sugar next time and a little more cinnamon. I also made a mistake and kind of piled the nuts / sugar into the bottom of the pan – instead of spreading it out and trying to get at least some sugar going up the sides of the pan. But for a first try recipe, I’m pretty happy with the results! Now if we can keep ourselves from eating it all – I still owe my mom half a coffee cake!

Dry ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine in a medium bowl, set aside

Pecan layer

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine in a small bowl, set aside

Batter

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 ripe bananas (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • dry ingredients

Cream shortening and sugar. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add eggs one at a time. Mix until combined and scrape down sides again. Add in bananas and vanilla. Once combined, add in sour cream. Scrape down sides of the bowl, and add in dry ingredients. Stir on low until just combined. Do not over mix.

Thoroughly grease a bundt pan. Spoon half of pecan mixture into bottom. Top pecans with half of batter. Layer second half of pecan mixture followed by second half of batter. Bake at 350F for 40 – 45 minutes.

Allow to cool at least 5 minutes on a wire rack before unmolding.