life's been a bit full-force these past few weeks, as i'm sure everyone feels the crazy holiday vibes out there. i'm finding it a bit hard to escape it all, even when i try. i've been saying yes to a lot of fun projects, running myself a little thin, all with a wacky as heck sleeping schedule as of late. weekends spent working have been awesome creatively, but i would be lying if i said that i didn't feel like it was taking something away from time with my husband and our pup. getting consumed and overwhelmed easily is a problem of mine (or at least it can feel that way), so much so that i need someone to shake me out of that. i love it more than anything when my husband, who is the most even, kind and gentle man, tells me i need to put it all down and relax. i listen. and then i remember that balance is clutch, and tuning in to the present moment is what can be the difference between a freak out and and cool calm look at the world.
balance, balance, balance. to me, something that always need balance is the sweet potato. as the sweet potato is already quite sweet, i find that the addition of sweet things this time of year is a little over the top for my personal taste. in an effort to combat that problem, with all the sweetened sweet potato dishes out there, i took a family favorite from years ago and gave it an update. twice baked potatoes were something my mom and i made each year around the holidays. we would make tons of them, and subsequently have those stuffed spuds for days and days, after all the holiday craziness was over - a tried and true favorite we're talking. if you've never had a twice baked potato, it's kind of like eating the creamiest, yummiest mashed potatoes inside a crisp, salty potato skin. some people like eating just the whipped potato filling (hi, mom), and some love eating the whole shebang (hi, rest of the world!). i started recreating this dish with sweet potatoes in mind as i've come to really love them - mostly for their nourishing properties, but also because white potatoes don't sit the best. and since roasting acorn squash the other week with za'atar, and loving how the spice blend cut through the sweetness of the squash, i thought incorporating a super punchy dukkah spice blend would be great here with the sweet potato. fragrant flavors of coriander, fennel, and cumin, some thyme, and my favorite: tangy sumac. i don't know how i didn't put these ingredients together sooner, definitely a power combo!
twice baked sweet potatoes w/ pumpkin seeds dukkah (v + gf)
dukkah is a nut and seed spice blend hailing from egypt. most times it's made with hazelnuts, on occasion i've seen it with peanuts, and sometimes pumpkin seeds. since it is pumpkin season, i only thought it was appropriate that they represent here, but feel free to add what ever nut or seed you like. below i indicate more sumac for garnish.
| makes 12 halves |
twice baked sweet potatoes
- 6 medium sweet potatoes
- 1/3 cup scallions or green onions, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 3/4 cup tofutti (or vegan cream cheese of choice)
- 2-3 tablespoons hot, unsweetened almond milk
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, extra for greasing and cooking
- fine salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- parsley, for garnish
- sumac, for garnish
- 3 tablespoons pumpkin seed dukkah (recipe below)
pumpkin seed dukkah
- 1/4 cup hulled pumpkin seeds
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme (1/2 tablespoon is using dry)
- 1 teaspoon sumac
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- take cream cheese out to reach room temperature. preheat oven to 350° and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. grease and salt skins of potatoes; place on baking sheet and bake for 1 hour. remove from oven and cool to handle, about 30 minutes.
- while potatoes are cooling, cook the onions and garlic. heat a skillet over medium heat, add enough oil to coat bottom of pan, and saute the scallions/onions until soft, about 3 minutes. add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant. remove from heat and set aside.
- once potatoes have cooled a bit, cut in half and carefully scoop cooked potato into a bowl, being careful to reserve skins. using an electric mixer, mash potatoes, cream cheese, 2 tablespoons milk, scallions, garlic, olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper. depending on your preference, add more milk. (2 tablespoons is usually enough to get a creamy consistency.)
- using a spoon, carefully fill skins with potato mixture. sprinkle tops with pumpkin seeds dukkah blend and place back in the oven for 20 minutes more. serve hot with fresh parsley and extra sumac
pumpkin seeds dukkah
- heat a heavy skillet over high heat - toast pumpkin seeds, until slightly browned and fragrant, 1-2 minutes. repeat with place coriander, cumin, and fennel seeds; remove from pan. toast sesame seeds, then peppercorns. allow spices to cool, add the peppercorns to a mortar and pestle, and crush. add seeds, sumac, salt, and thyme, and grind until mix is crushed. spice blend can be stored at room temp in an airtight container