Tag Archives: sweet potatoes

Thanksgiving in London, 2018

After skipping Thanksgiving last year (and hosting a festive cookie party instead), F and I were keen to put on a Thanksgiving celebration this year. As a bonus, my parents flew over to London for the long weekend! We planned the usual feasting on the Saturday following Thanksgiving, but this time we added a twist: F and I reversed the traditional Thanksgiving order! Around 3pm we enjoyed all the desserts with coffee/tea — German Kaffee und Kuchen style. A few hours later, we devoured the savory feast. Everyone agreed that the reverse order worked really well, because we had time to socialise in between while the turkey roasted, and we weren’t too full after dinner. Here’s what we cooked for 9 people, and what we did with the leftover turkey:

  • Dessert:
    • Our favorite family cranberry upside-down cake.
    • Smitten Kitchen’s pumpkin pie with pecan praline sauce. I made the crust, F made the pie, S made the sauce and it was very nice.
    • J&C brought a lovely apple crumble to complete the trio of desserts.
    • Plenty of freshly whipped cream and custard (do you like yours hot or cold?).
  • Dinner:
    • Turkey! We ordered an 11-pound turkey from our favorite local butcher in Crouch End. F stuffed it with apples and thyme, generously salted, peppered, and buttered the skin, and roasted it for a few hours. It tasted great.
    • Gravy: F made a meaty gravy and a vegetarian gravy, and both were silky smooth and delicious.
    • Stuffing: I made the same stuffing/dressing (what is the difference?) that I have for the past few Thanksgivings: this classic sage and onion bread dressing from The Kitchn. I think it turned out the best this year because I used enough broth to keep it moist.
    • Sweet potato casserolemy mom’s/grandma’s recipe that’s been a staple at our family Thanksgivings since I can remember.
    • Brussels sprout and tomato salad: another family recipe.
    • C&W brought some very nice garlicky green beans.
    • Don’t forget the cranberry sauce!
  • Leftovers:
    • There weren’t very many! What we made fed the 9 of us comfortably, and could have fed 10 people. We mostly had turkey leftover, so on Sunday I made a turkey version of my chicken and dumplings, minus the dumplings (we had bread).

We had quite an international group this year: four Brits (all hailing from different regions), two Germans (S was down from Liverpool for a few days), and three Americans. It was the first Thanksgiving for a few people, and I always enjoy introducing my favorite holiday to others. It was also so nice to have my parents around and to share our style of Thanksgiving with them – and how many of my mom’s family recipes we use!


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Thanksgiving (in London) 2016 – what we cooked

F and I hosted our second (or third? I can’t remember) Thanksgiving celebration in London on the Saturday following the real holiday (a bit hard to take a random Thursday off when it’s not a public holiday where you live). F’s parents were visiting, too, so they got to experience their first Thanksgiving, and a few friends joined us as well. Here’s what we cooked for 8 people (plus a 10-month-old) — recipe links below the pictures:

  • Turkey! We ordered a 5.2kg bird from one of the local butchers in Crouch End. F stuffed it with apples and thyme, generously salted, peppered, and buttered the skin, and roasted it for 3.5 hours. It came out super moist and delicious.
  • Gravy: F made this one from Serious Eats, using the neck and innards from the turkey but not using soy sauce.
  • Stuffing: I made this classic sage and onion bread dressing from The Kitchn; same as last year. It turned out well and got a number of compliments
  • Sweet potato casserole: my mom’s/grandma’s recipe that’s been a staple at our family Thanksgivings since I can remember.
  • Brussels sprout and tomato salad: another family recipe
  • Cranberry sauce: this is my favorite recipe. It’s super easy and always turns out well.
  • My (American) friend S brought a lovely green bean dish and a pumpkin pie.
  • Our friends H&S brought a nice apple crumble.
  • Cranberry cake: in my mind, it’s not Thanksgiving without this cranberry upside-down cake, another one that my mom/grandma always make. It’s one of my top 3 favorite cakes ever.
  • Freshly whipped cream. Need I say more?

It was a lovely and relaxing evening all around, with plenty of entertainment provided by 10-month-old H. And despite the horrific political year it’s been, there is still plenty to be thankful for.

Recipe: Spicy Sweet Potato Fries

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These sweet potato “fries” are a variation on my usual roasted root vegetables. It’s the spice mix that makes these deserving of their own recipe. The sweet potato fries went well with F’s homemade hamburgers for a post-Sunday-cycling lunch. They are a little bit spicy, a little bit earthy, and just salty enough. I call them “fries” for their shape — they did not actually become crispy, as I tossed them with olive oil and baked them in the oven. Next time I might roll the raw sweet potato sticks in a little bit of cornmeal to see if that helps them stay firmer.

Spicy Sweet Potato Fries

Ingredients

  • 2 sweet potatoes, cut into wedges or matchsticks
  • couple of glugs olive oil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1.25 tsp cumin, ground
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1.5 tsp sea salt

Procedure

  • Preheat the oven to 200C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  • Combine the olive oil and spices in a large mixing bowl.
  • Cut the potatoes, toss them in the spice-oil, then spread them on the baking sheet in one layer.
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes or until soft, turning once.

Enjoy!

Recipe: Sweet Potato, Black Bean & Mozzarella Enchiladas

These enchiladas are a definite “make again.” I had been thinking about how to use a seldom-found can of black beans and thought they’d pair well with sweet potatoes in something Mexican-inspired. But I didn’t feel like making tacos; I was in the mood for a warm, cheesy-chewy something. Enchiladas!

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The sweet potato, black bean, and mozzarella enchiladas are my own creation; the sauce is inspired by edible perspective. The result was just what I had been hoping for: sweet potato contrasts beautifully with the tangy sauce and a bite of cool guacamole. Beans and cheese contribute protein and bind it all together. The enchiladas are also easy and quick to put together — we had dinner on the table in less than an hour.

Sweet Potato, Black Bean & Mozzarella Enchiladas (makes 8 enchiladas, enough for 3-4 people; sauce adapted from edible perspective)

Ingredients

  • Sweet Potato-Black Bean filling:
    • 1 onion, peeled & sliced thinly
    • 1 tsp cumin, ground
    • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
    • to taste: salt & pepper
    • 1 large sweet potato, diced very small
    • 1 can black beans
  • Enchilada sauce:
    • 600g tomato sauce/passata
    • 1/3 cup tomato paste
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1 onion, chopped roughly
    • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 tbsp ground sweet pepper/paprika
    • 1 tsp cumin
    • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 8 flour tortillas
  • 300g grated mozzarella cheese
  • Guacamole, for serving

Procedure

  • Make sweet potato-black bean filling: Sauté sliced onion in some neutral oil over medium heat until it begins to soften, 3-4 minutes. Add the spices and diced sweet potato; stir to combine. Cover the pan and let the sweet potato cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 15-20 minutes. Stir in the black beans and turn the heat to low.
  • While the sweet potatoes are cooking, make the sauce: combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and puree with an immersion blender, then bring to a boil and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 180C and grab your largest baking dish.
  • Assemble enchiladas: Scoop ~1/2 cup of sweet potato-black bean filling into a tortilla, sprinkle with mozzarella, then roll tightly and put into the baking dish. Repeat until you’ve used all the tortillas and/or filling — they should be nestled tightly together in the dish. Pour as much sauce as you want over the rolled tortillas (we ended up with extra sauce) and sprinkle the rest of the mozzarella over the top.
  • Bake enchiladas for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is nicely browned. (While the enchiladas are baking, make guacamole.) Serve hot with a big scoop of guac and/or sour cream.

Enjoy!

Recipe: Dianne’s Sweet Potato Casserole

My mom makes this classic family recipe every year for Thanksgiving. I don’t know where the original recipe actually comes from — I just know it as Dianne’s delicious sweet potato casserole.

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There are no marshmallows on this. While marshmallows have their place in s’mores, I believe they have no place A) at Thanksgiving, and B) on top of sweet potatoes. You are welcome to disagree with me on that front.

Sweet potatoes are such incredible things on their own that they hardly need doctoring up (see marshmallow comment, above), but this casserole adds just enough to take them above and beyond your normal weekly pan of roasted root vegetables.

I got this recipe from my mom and made the sweet potatoes for a small Thanksgiving-in-London gathering at Sarah and Joe’s. The dish got good reviews all around and I was pleased that it tasted just like it does when Dianne makes them. The cinnamon and cardamom, along with a healthy dose of orange juice, give the potatoes a warming, autumnal flavor with a bit of zing. This sweet potato casserole is quick to put together — you can even make it the day before Thanksgiving and bake it or just reheat it on the day. It also makes great leftovers.

Dianne’s Sweet Potato Casserole (serves 8-10)

Ingredients

  • 3lbs/1.5kg sweet potatoes (about 3 large ones), peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 2/3 – 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup pecans

Procedure

  • Preheat the oven to 375F (190C).
  • Put the sweet potato chunks in a large pot and add water until the potatoes are just covered. Bring to a boil and let simmer until the sweet potatoes are soft/mashable, 15-20 minutes.
  • Drain the sweet potatoes, then mash them in the pot.
  • Add everything but the pecans to the sweet potatoes, and mix until thoroughly combined.
  • Pour the sweet potato mixture into a casserole dish  (I didn’t have one so used a springform cake pan) and arrange the pecans on top.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes, then let cool slightly before serving.

Enjoy!

Recipe: Sweet Potato, Broccoli & Kale Bowl with Miso-Sesame Dressing

The dish should really be called “miso-sesame dressing drizzled over the best roast vegetables.” While that felt a bit cumbersome for the post title, it aptly describes the following recipe, which was inspired by smitten kitchen (of course).

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It goes like this: Roast sweet potatoes and broccoli in the oven. Toast some sesame seeds. Make this kale (with or without the garlic). Prepare rice or another grain. Whisk together the dressing. Combine and eat. Simple as that!

 

While the miso tastes sort of gross on its own, in the dressing it blends beautifully with tahini, rice vinegar, and sesame oil for a smooth mouth feel with a bit of tang. Roast sweet potatoes are one of my favorite things, and broccoli adds flavor, earthiness, and a health kick. We had kale in the fridge, so I decided to sauté it and include that, too. F and I actually found that the rice was superfluous; include it if you want, but the dish certainly won’t be lacking if you leave it out. Feel free to use your own favorite combination of roast vegetables; the dressing is the star of the show here and would go well with most fall and winter vegetables.

Sweet Potato, Broccoli & Kale Bowl with Miso-Sesame Dressing (adapted from smitten kitchen; serves 2-3)

Ingredients

  • Vegetables/Bowl Components:
    • optional: 1 cup dry rice or other grain, cooked to your liking
    • 2 sweet potatoes, cut into small cubes
    • 1 small-medium head of broccoli, cut into medium-sized florets
    • 1 bunch kale, roughly chopped
    • for baking/sautéing: olive oil, salt & pepper to taste
    • 2-3 tbsp sesame seeds
  • Dressing:
    • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
    • 1 garlic clove, minced
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 2 tbsp sesame oil
    • 2 tbsp white miso
    • 2 tbsp tahini
    • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
    • 1 tbsp honey OR 1 scant tsp sugar

Procedure:

  • Preheat the oven to 200C (400F). Toss the sweet potatoes in some oil, salt, and pepper and place in a large baking pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes, then add the broccoli florets and bake for 15-20 more minutes. When you add the broccoli, start the rice cooking (if using).
  • While the vegetables are baking, prepare the dressing by whisking together all the ingredients. Toast the sesame seeds in a pan over medium heat until golden and fragrant. Sauté/steam the kale in some olive oil in a pot over medium heat with the lid on, stirring occasionally.
  • When everything is done, serve the potatoes, broccoli, and kale over rice, drizzle with dressing, and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Enjoy!

Recipe: Warm Tahini-Citrus Couscous & Kale Salad with Baked Sweet Potato

Today I bring you a totally original recipe — that’s right, an inspiration from my own mind (though I’m sure others have had similar inspirations).

 

Couscous salad tastes great warm or cold. It easily stands alone as a full meal, but you could also enjoy it alongside some kind of protein main. The salad gains texture and chew from kale, color and flavor from cherry tomatoes and sweet potato. Tahini-citrus dressing rounds it off with creaminess and zing — they aren’t mutually exclusive.

photo 3

You do have to prepare the separate components before mixing everything together, but I can’t stress enough how easily and quickly it all happens. Plus, if you’ve made my garlic-sautéed kale, you’ll notice that this uses just that! Feel free to customize to your tastes, and if you don’t have enough time to bake a sweet potato, just leave it out and your lunch will be ready even sooner.

Warm Tahini-Citrus Couscous & Kale Salad with Baked Sweet Potato (serves 4 generously)

Ingredients

  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • Salad:
    • 1 cup dry couscous + 2 cups boiling water
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 3-5 garlic cloves, peeled & sliced thinly
    • 1 large bunch kale, roughly chopped
    • 1.5 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Dressing:
    • juice of 1 lemon (or lime! I used one half of each)
    • 2-3 tbsp tahini
    • 2-4 tbsp olive oil
  • to taste: salt & pepper

Procedure

  • If using sweet potatoes, poke them a few times, place in a baking dish, and pop them in the oven at 400F (200C) for about an hour, until they’re soft.
  • Make the couscous: Put the dry couscous in a small pot and pour the boiling water over it. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
  • Make the kale: Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes, then throw in the chopped kale and stir until it’s coated with oil. Cover and let cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-10 minutes or until the kale is relatively soft.
  • Meanwhile, whisk together the lemon juice, tahini, olive oil, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Add the halved tomatoes. When the couscous and kale are done, add them to the bowl and stir to combine.
  • When the sweet potatoes are ready, you can roughly chop them and add them to the salad or just have them on the side.

Enjoy!

Recipe: Whole Wheat Sweet Potato Quick Bread

 

Yes, more sweet potatoes. They are such versatile vegetables and work well in both sweet and savory dishes. I am personally a fan of quick breads, especially ones that get most of their sweetness from the main ingredient(s) rather than added sugar. Breads like this make a great afternoon snack when accompanied by a mug of coffee or tea; they are equally as good for a quick breakfast, toasted and spread with butter, peanut butter, or cream cheese.

crunchy crust, moist insides

crunchy crust, moist insides

Obviously banana bread is a classic, and you can find my recipe here. But last week I wanted to experiment with a sweet potato-based bread. If I can make sweet potato pancakes, I can surely make sweet potato bread, I thought. With a little help from this recipe, I mixed everything up and got the bread in the oven before I even sat down to breakfast. Forty-five minutes later, out came a beautiful loaf: it had a crunchy crust from the whole wheat flour but was deliciously moist and flavorful on the inside. It’s quite healthy, too, with just a bit of brown sugar and a mixture of butter and oil for the fat.

Whole Wheat Sweet Potato Quick Bread (adapted from Three Clever Sisters)

Ingredients

  • 2.5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup (4 tbsp) melted butter
  • 1/4 cup sunflower oil
  • 1 cup mashed sweet potato
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

Procedure

  • If you haven’t already, make the mashed sweet potato: peel and chop 1 sweet potato into chunks. Simmer in water for 15-20 minutes or until the potato is soft enough to mash. Drain, let cool, and mash.
  • Preheat the oven to 350F (175C) and grease a loaf pan.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the ingredients from flour through salt.
  • In a second bowl, combine the wet ingredients (butter through buttermilk) and stir to combine. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ones and stir until just combined (the batter will be quite thick).
  • Spread the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 40-45 minutes, until a knife inserted comes out clean.

Enjoy!

Recipe(s): Mexican with a Twist

Still craving fresh, colorful foods in preparation for spring, I became inspired when I read this recipe for avocado and egg breakfast pizzas. That would be delicious for dinner, I thought. And why don’t I bump it up a notch and make full-fledged guacamole? Then I thought that roasted sweet potatoes would beautifully complement the guacamole, both in color and taste. Sweet potatoes made me think of black beans. When all was said and done, it turned into a delicious Mexican pizza night. It was German Day so I said to F, “Das war genau, was ich wollte” — That was exactly what I wanted. 

doesn't get much tastier than this

doesn’t get much tastier than this

Assemble separate components, put them all on the table, and create your personalized stack of deliciousness! Recipes and guidelines for guacamole, black bean-tomato sauté, pizza crust “tortillas,” roasted sweet potatoes, cabbage, and fried eggs follow. That’s right — this is an all-in-one post to help you create a fresh, healthy, and delicious Mexican meal with a twist. Feel free to get creative and throw in a twist or two of your own.

Tammela’s Killer Guacamole

Ingredients

  • 3 ripe avocados
  • 1/2 tomato, diced small
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • juice of 1 lime and a splash of lemon
  • handful of coriander (cilantro), minced
  • to taste: red pepper flakes, salt, pepper

Procedure

  • Juice the citrus into a bowl. Scoop the flesh out of the avocado skins and add it to the bowl, then mash with a fork to your desired smoothness. Add all of the other ingredients, stirring vigorously to combine.

Pizza Crust “Tortillas” (guidance from The Kitchn)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 of this pizza dough, at room temperature (ours was frozen; I let it thaw during the day and it was ready to go by the evening)

Procedure

  • Divide dough into four equal parts. On a floured surface, roll each part into a thin round.
  • Pour a small amount of oil into a large skillet on medium-high heat. Put on one “tortilla,” and cook it for a few minutes, pressing it down if it bubbles up. Flip the round and cook for another minute or two. Repeat with the other rounds.

Black Bean-Tomato Saute

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1.5 tomatoes, diced small
  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed & drained 
  • 1 can of sweet corn, rinsed & drained
  • generous handful of coriander (cilantro), minced
  • to taste: salt, pepper, oregano

Procedure

  • Throw the onion and garlic in a small pot with some oil. Over medium-high heat, cook until the onion begins to soften. Add the tomato and cook for a few more minutes, until the tomato begins to break down.
  • Dump in the rest of the ingredients and lower the heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until everything else is ready.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Cumin

Ingredients

  • 2 sweet potatoes, cut into small cubes
  • whole cumin seeds
  • olive oil

Procedure

  • Like with these roasted root vegetables, preheat the oven to 375F (190C), toss everything together in a baking dish, and roast for about an hour, stirring once or twice.

Shredded Cabbage with Coriander and Lime

Ingredients

  • 1 small head of spring (green) cabbage, shredded/sliced thinly
  • handful of coriander (cilantro), minced
  • juice of 1 lime

Procedure

  • Combine everything in a bowl and toss.

———

green + orange

green + orange

Now you are ready to assemble your Mexican pizzas! Pile everything on top of your “tortillas” — we started with black beans, then sweet potatoes, then cabbage, then guacamole. For a little extra protein and flavor, top it all with some grated cheddar cheese and a fried egg.

Enjoy!

Recipe: Sweet Potato Pancakes

Yes, I’m on a sweet potato kick, in case you hadn’t noticed. But what to do with all this extra mashed sweet potato? Make pancakes, of course! Though you could just substitute sweet potato for pumpkin or butternut squash in these pancakes, I decided to adapt the recipe a bit because sweet potato is naturally sweeter — who would’ve thought?! — than squash. The cakes were a beautiful golden-orange color and were moist yet light.  They tasted good with yogurt/sour cream or peanut butter and maple syrup on top. I even flirted briefly with the idea of topping them with more sweet potato, but that seemed like overkill.

delicious topped with yogurt or sour cream

delicious topped with yogurt or sour cream

If you love sweet potatoes, you must make these pancakes as soon as possible. Plus, you’re eating veggies for breakfast! Doesn’t that make you feel virtuous?

Sweet Potato Pancakes 

homemade sweet potato puree: peel, cube, & boil a sweet potato or two, then mash

homemade sweet potato puree: peel, cube, & boil a sweet potato or two, then mash

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup white flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • to taste: cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger, allspice
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp sunflower oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup sweet potato puree

Procedure

  • Whisk together the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Add the wet to the dry and cook in oil over medium heat.

Enjoy!

Recipe: Sweet Potato Rosemary Biscuits

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you have probably figured out that I love pancakes. But did you know that one of my top 5 favorite foods is actually sweet potatoes? I haven’t posted many recipes featuring them, mostly because they do not exist in Ukraine (and that’s where I was cooking and recipe-ing from September 2010 to November 2012). Now that I’m back in sweet potato land, however, they feature regularly — weekly, no joke — in my pans of roasted root vegetables.

Sweet potatoes are delicious baked whole in the oven, split open and juiced up with some butter, salt, and pepper. They also feature wonderfully in these pancakes. (Uh oh, back to pancakes again…) But I’m really here to tell you that I’ve discovered another great use for sweet potatoes: biscuits! I recently learned how easy it is to make biscuits — they’re great alongside beef stew or with whipped goat cheese and tomatoes. Thanks to spoon fork bacon, I can now throw together a variation on simple biscuits that includes sweet potatoes.

orange + green

orange + green

We enjoyed these sweet potato rosemary biscuits with reheated vegetarian chili that we made 7 liters of a couple weeks ago (there was too much to finish…after 3 days we had to freeze the rest before the beans knocked us both out). F had barely taken one bite of his biscuit before saying, “You have to make these again.” Yes, they were that good. Super moist (from the potato), sweet and salty, slightly piney from the rosemary…They were so good I didn’t even dip mine in my chili because I wanted to enjoy the flavors all by themselves. The biscuits are also excellent toasted with butter or spread with a bit of cream cheese.

next time I'll have to make a double batch

next time I’ll have to make a double batch

Sweet Potato Rosemary Biscuits (adapted from spoon fork bacon; makes 6 large biscuits)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain/AP flour
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1.5 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup (113g) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup mashed sweet potato (~1 sm-med sweet potato)
  • 1.5 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
  • 3 tbsp buttermilk

Procedure

  • Peel and dice the sweet potato, then boil it until soft (15-20 min). Drain and then mash the potato.
  • Preheat the oven to 400F (200C).
  • Whisk together the dry ingredients, then cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or your fingers until it is evenly distributed in pea-sized pieces.
  • Fold the sweet potato, rosemary, and buttermilk into the dry ingredient until just combined.
  • Plop globs of dough onto a cookie sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the biscuits look set and have just started to brown on top. Remove the tray from the oven and let the biscuits cool for a few minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

Recipe: Vegetarian Chili

This is F’s chili recipe. Though I find that chili hardly needs a recipe — there are so many variations of it that it’s really up to you to personalize it. So think of the following recipe as a base to riff on. Aside from the fresh peppers — a bit pricey in the wintertime — this is an extremely frugal dish, mostly consisting of canned beans and tomato products. It comes together quickly, though the longer it simmers the better it’ll taste. (Note: if you’re using any dried beans, soak and cook them before adding them to the chili. We didn’t pre-cook the black beans so they were still a bit crunchy when we ate.) Serve the chili with cornbread or over rice, and top it with whatever you like. We prefer gherkins, sour cream, cheese, and avocado.

perfect

perfect

Again, the following recipe and its ingredient ratios are just what we happened to use this time. (We were going to add sweet potatoes but didn’t have any.) Next time it’ll probably be totally different. We made a monstrous amount so we can freeze some to enjoy at a later date. Happy experimenting!

Vegetarian Chili

Ingredients

  • 2-3 medium onions, diced
  • 3-5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 fresh peppers, diced
  • 2 cans cannelloni beans
  • 2 cans kidney beans
  • 2 cans black beans
  • 2 cans sweet corn
  • 2 small cans tomato paste/puree
  • 2 cans diced/chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, diced
  • spices to taste: cumin, allspice, chili powder, cinnamon
  • optional: 1 sweet potato, cubed small

Procedure

  • Cook the onions and garlic in oil on med-high heat until they become slightly brown and translucent. Add the peppers and sauté for a few more minutes, until the peppers start to become soft.
  • Pour in all the canned stuff and the spices. Add enough water so that everything is covered. Throw in the sweet potato cubes, if using. Bring to a boil and let simmer with the lid on or cracked, for 45-60′ or until the beans taste cooked.
  • Serve over rice or alongside cornbread and topped with your preferred combination of gherkins, cheese, sour cream, and/or avocado.

Enjoy!

Recipe: Roasted Root Vegetables

Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite foods. Sometime when I was in high school (man that was a long time ago), my mom came across a recipe for roasted root vegetables. Before that, we used to bake whole sweet potatoes and eat them plain or with a little butter and brown sugar. The roasted root recipe, however, allowed for the addition of other vegetables — think carrots, parsnips, turnips, potatoes, beets, shallots — as well as spices (cumin works well). The first pan of roasted root veggies was a revelation. I took it upon myself to continue roasting, and now it is one of my favorite ways to eat winter’s hearty root vegetables. They are good cold, too; during my senior year of college I would roast a pan of veggies on a Sunday and then keep the leftovers in the fridge for quick post-sports practice dinners.

One of the best things about this “recipe” is that it can be infinitely varied and customized in terms of ingredients and flavors. F and I have roasted cauliflower and Brussels sprouts with cumin seeds. We roasted carrots alone for this salad last summer. I have roasted just sweet potato chunks and garlic cloves. You can roast a combination of veggies with Italian seasonings (oregano, rosemary, tarragon, etc). I will provide you with a basic outline below — it’s up to you to create your signature combination!

Roasted Root Vegetables

Ingredients

  • Any combination of the following vegetables:
    • sweet potatoes
    • white potatoes
    • carrots
    • parsnips
    • turnips
    • beets
    • onions/shallots
    • whole garlic cloves
    • fennel
    • cauliflower
    • Brussels sprouts
  • a healthy pouring of olive oil
  • to taste: salt and pepper
  • Additional seasoning suggestions:
    • whole cumin seeds
    • rosemary + oregano
    • ground ginger + red pepper flakes

Procedure

  • The basic procedure:
    • Preheat the oven to 425F/218C.
    • Chop your veggies into equal-sized chunks. Put them in a baking dish and toss with a generous amount of olive oil and your spices of choice.
    • Put in the oven and bake for 45-60′ or until the veggies are soft to your liking. Stir them every 20′ or so. Once the outsides of the veggies become browned, you can turn the oven heat down to 400F/205C for the remainder.

Enjoy!

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