Are you planning a kitchen garden this year? Looking for a few tricks of the trade, or maybe some stylish green-thumb inspiration? Look no further than From Seed to Skillet, written by clothing designer-turned-nursery-owner Jimmy Williams. Part memoir, part gardening primer, and part cookbook--Mr. Williams draws from his childhood memories of his Grandmother Eloise's garden, and shares his journey from working runway fashion shows to selling organically-grown produce at farmers' markets.
Enlisting the help of friend and writer Susan Heeger, he describes valuable techniques and illustrates "how-to" instructions on everything from container gardening and composting to the merits of companion gardening. Mr. Williams even offers up an edible "A" list of over 40 must-have vegetables, herbs, and fruits for you to grow, including artichokes, asparagus, blueberries, carrots, chives, potatoes, a multitude of greens, and much, much more.
Lastly, he shows how to enjoy the fruits of your labor with a selection of seasonal dishes inspired by his grandmother's Carolina kitchen. This book is chock-full of great advice for the novice as well as more experienced gardeners.
Flipping through Seed to Skillet, it didn't take me long to figure out which recipe to try first. The sweet potato is my absolute favorite vegetable, and this recipe for Sweet Potato Biscuits--straight from Grandmom Eloise's kitchen--can't be beat.
Sweet Potato Biscuits
Recipe from From Seed to Skillet by "Jimmy Williams, Susan Heeger" (Chronicle Books, 2011)The addition of sweet potato gave my Nana's biscuits a distinctive color and sweetness that set them apart from the others we ate-often-in my house. We had hers mainly in the winter, when it was time to use the root crops and squash we had picked in fall and stored in our root cellar. For variety, she sometimes swapped in butternut or acorn squash for the sweet potato.
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup cooked, mashed sweet potato
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 envelope (3/8 teaspoon) active dry yeast
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Heat the milk in a small saucepan until it's just about to boil, then stir in the sweet potato, butter, sugar, and salt. Remove from heat.
Dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup warm water in a big bowl and let it sit for 10 minutes to activate.
Stir the flour and sweet potato mixture into the dissolved yeast, cover, and let rise in a warm place overnight.
The next day, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Roll out the dough on a floured board to 3/4 inch thick. Cut the biscuits with a 2- to 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter (rerolling the scraps), and put them on a buttered baking sheet to rise again, until almost doubled, 1/2 hour to 1 hour.
Bake until slightly brown on top, 15 to 18 minutes.
Makes 12 to 18 biscuits
Disclosure: Review copies of books discussed in this post may have been provided to Project Foodie by publicists and/or publishers.