It’s Saturday = Yam Biscuits + Les Halles Market – History of Paris

Here’s a recipe for: “What to do with left over sweet potatoes?” and some thoughts about will the Minneapolis Lyndale Farmers’ Market really lose half the stalls? (I heard a rumor.)

Just for fun I went to the Saturday Winter Farmer’s Market. What did I buy? Some spring onions, fresh spinach, green beans, California strawberries, which a friend in California recommended are really good at this time, plus smoked turkey from Blue Gentian Farm of Wisconsin.  The official Launch Starts on April 21, 2012!  Then the stalls will start to fill with the early vegetables.  Plant sellers will be out in droves with all the garden flowers

Just before I left for the market, I saw a feature about the traditional farmers’ market of Paris.  The Parisian photographer, Robert Doisneau, who witnessed Les Halles from the 1930s through the 1970s, photographed it for 46 years. There is a show of his photos about Les Halles. The market was originally built in the 1860s.

The television feature said it was closed and torn down, against the wishes of the neighborhood, to make room for modern architectural buildings – the Forum des Halles and George Pompidou Center. It was President Pompidou who had the “Vision” to demolish the Paris Market and have a building named after himself. ((HMMM. Pompous Center?)  Let’s get rid of the working class, the smells of the market and the poor. Happens every time.)  The area is being revitalized yet again. (Is there a plan to get rid of the Minneapolis Farmers’ Market?)

From Paris Exhibition: Doisneau Paris les Halles, Feb. 8 through April 28, 2012

By Dali Wiederhoft

“Soup lines at L’église Saint-Eustache were blamed for attracting undesirables who also picked through the same trash in search of food. Doisneau chose to spend his life among such people, photographing the clochards, vendors and their children in their daily activities, seemingly unaware of the photographer and his camera.” By Dali Wiederhoft 2011 from Bonjour Paris Retrieved April 7, 2012.

“Napoléon III conceived Halles de Paris as one of his many projects designed to showcase Paris as the world’s most beautiful city.” Dali Wiederhoft 2011

 Architectural rendering of Victor Baltard’s Les Halles pavillions known as Les Halles. Public domain image

Now on to the Recipe:

Sweet Potato Biscuit Dough

Cider Beans, Wild Greens & Dandelion Jellyby Joan E. Aller

“This is a traditional Cherokee recipe. The Cherokee gathered wild sweet potatoes, or yams, and also cultivated their own vines. In earlier days they would have baked the yams in the ashes around the fire. These browned orange-colored biscuits are a favorite of mine. They’re great with Cinnamon-Maple Butter (recipe below).”

Makes 1 to 1½ dozen


• 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
• 2½ teaspoons baking powder
• 1½ teaspoons sugar
• 1½ teaspoons salt
• 1/2 cup vegetable oil
• 1/2 cup milk
• 1 cup mashed cooked sweet potatoes or yams


PREHEAT the oven to 425°F

. SIFT together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt into a bowl. Pour the oil and milk into a measuring cup, but do not stir them.

PLACE the yams in a large bowl, add the oil and milk, and blend well. Add the flour mixture and mix lightly with a fork until the mixture just holds together. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth, about twelve kneading strokes. Roll the dough out to a thickness of about 1/4 inch and cut it into rounds with a floured biscuit cutter or a drinking glass.

PLACE the rounds on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 10 to 20 minutes, until the yam cakes are golden brown. Let cool briefly on a wire rack, and serve hot.”

Sweet Potato Biscuits

 – Makes about 2 cups

• 2 cups (4 sticks) butter, at room temperature
• 2 drops vanilla extract
• 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

IN A MEDIUM BOWL, combine the butter, vanilla, maple syrup, and cinnamon and whip until it is very light (you can use an electric mixer, a blender, a food processor, or a whisk). Pack the mixture into a butter mold or place it in a serving container and chill it in the refrigerator before using.

Notes: They are moist and good. They do not raise much. I had them warm with drizzled honey.  (Addictive.)

About kunstkitchen

Visual artist and writer hunting words, languages, visions, and insight in my kitchen - connecting Art (Kunst) and culture and slow food cooking. Classically trained artist. Paint and draw with traditional materials. Live in the Northland where it's six months of winter. Appreciate the little things in life. Sharing food and art experiences and the lessons that my talented and generous friends have given me.
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