9/29/13

Ethiopian Spiced Sweet Potato Fries


It's that time of year when our cooking minds turn towards pumpkins, baking, and warm dinners. I had a small bag of organic sweet potatoes and wanted make something for dinner with them that involved cinnamon, but I didn't want to use sugar, so I researched different spice mixtures. I thought maybe to go with a Moroccan style spice which often use cinnamon, but then I came across recipes for classic Ethiopian spice mixtures and decided to try making berbere instead (recipe here). The mixture is spicy, so you may want to cut way back on the chillies if you don't like their heat.

I used the recipe above and ground the whole spices in a coffee grinder.

To make the sweet potato fries:

Preheat and oven to 425 degrees. Peel and thinly slice the potatoes (about 1/4-1/2" thick). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and evenly coat it with spray oil. Lay the sweet potatoes in a even, single layer and give them another light spray of oil. Place sheet in oven and cook for about 15 minutes, flip potatoes, and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes (or when they can be easily pierced by a fork and are evenly browned). Remove the potatoes from the oven and sprinkle with salt and about 1/2 - 1 TB of the berbere spice mixture. Toss to evenly coat and serve immediately.

9/19/13

The Fall Harvest: Sunflower Seeds & Baby Pumpkins


Truth be told, we have a huge yard and we don't use it to grow food. I wish we did. I wish we had enough time. The kids find the process by which a tiny seed can produce a giant plant like this gigantic sunflower to be both magical and fascinating. And it truly is. The reality is, though, we travel far too much in the summer to really tend to a full-blown vegetable garden. Maybe next year. There's always next year.

But, for now, what we do have growing are lots of herbs that just never seems to die (even through the winter) and these two plants that my daughter grew from seeds for a science project at the end of her last school year. Supposedly she had two pumpkin seeds, but, as they grew, one seemed far taller and developed a different set of leaves. "I don't think that is a pumpkin, sweetie. Let's plant it outside and see what happens." Well, it turns out it, it was actually a giant sunflower. We watched great anticipation as it grew taller and taller over the summer--reaching a height of about six feet--until it finally unfurled into a luscious yellow flower. It's current state is pictured above. We have eaten shucked some of the shells and eaten the seeds raw. They have a flavor similar to new English green peas. The remaining seeds will be harvested and roasted in the next week.



One seed, was in fact a pumpkin, but after the vine produced male upon male flower, we had no hopes that it would actually produce a pumpkin. Birth, after all is a right granted to the female.


Then one day, I noticed one vine started growing up the brick wall, and what did I see, a little pumpkin. Coerced down to the ground, I placed the baby safely on the dirt where it is now thriving. My daughter was thrilled. A few other little guys are fighting to make it; let's see if the insects let them survive with their more developed green sibling. Crossing fingers!

9/17/13

Coconut Red Curry Rice Bowl Recipe (Vegan)


Everyone loves a rice bowl and they are a certainly favorite at our house! They are easy to make and can be tailored to each diner's individual tastes.

Not only are they a quick nightly meal, they can also be a fun, casual dinner party dish. You could set up a "rice bowl station" in your kitchen or at a buffet. Have take-out containers and chopsticks ready, a couple of different types of rices, sauces, and several toppings and let your guests build their own meal. This set up allows you to get everything together beforehand and actually be able to socialize instead of being cooped up in the kitchen.

For this rice bowl, I topped it with steamed kale, carrots, and broccoli, fried baked tofu sticks, Sriracha, and peanuts. The kicker is, I didn't leave the rice plain like I normally do; I combined it with a yummy, low-fat and vegan coconut red curry sauce before it was used as the foundation of the dish. The recipe below is for the sauce. I only needed about 1/3 of it for 3 cups of rice. Refrigerate the remaining and use it as sauce for noodles or the base of curry soup!

Coconut Red Curry Rice Bowl Recipe (vegan) (gluten-free)
makes about 2 cups

Sauce Ingredients

  • 1 can of lowfat coconut milk
  • 1 TB (or less) of red curry paste (Tailor this to suit your tastes. Some curry pastes are super spicy.)
  • 1 TB minced ginger
  • 3 TB gluten-free tamari
  • 1 clove of minced garlic (or 1/2 tsp of hinghing)
  • 1 TB brown sugar (maple syrup or agave would also work)
  • 1/8 cup chopped cilantro
  • The juice of 1/2 lime
  • Small squeeze of Sriracha

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small food processor and blend until smooth.
  2. Add sauce to cooked rice, but do not add as much as to make the rice soupy. Add salt if necessary. Refrigerate remaining sauce.
  3. Add rice to individual bowls, and top with toppings of your choice.

9/5/13

Bowl-a-rama! Vintage Pyrex and Cathrineholm Preview


Follow me on Instagram to see new items (like the bowls above) before I list them in the shop.  Restocking will happen once the kids are fully in school; I don't know how people work from home and have kids that are also home! If someone know how, please tell me!

Speaking of the shop (and the blog too!), big changes are on the horizon and will happen very, very soon. Please stay tuned. Thanks to all my customers and blog readers for your support. I truly appreciate it!

9/4/13

Steamed Kale with Maple, Miso, Tahini, & Thai Chili Dressing

My kiddos are still not fully in school yet (my son has one more week before his school starts), so dinners are pretty simple and easy round these parts. But! That doesn't mean they aren't tasty. This dressing is so bowl-licking good that you'll want to put it on more than just steamed kale!

Steamed Kale with Maple, Miso, Tahini and Thai Chili Dressing (vegan, GF)

Ingredients

  • About 4-5 cups steamed, chopped 
  • 1 TB Tahini (use 2 TB if you want it thick)
  • 1 TB white mellow miso
  • 1 TB tamari
  • 1 TB olive oil (or a neutral tasting oil)
  • 1 TB sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp Thai dry chili paste (or Sriracha)
  • 1-3 TB water (Start with one and increase, depending on how thick you would like the sauce.)

Directions

  1. Steam kale until soft.
  2. Mix all remaining ingredients in a small food processor and blend. Add more water to reached desired consistency.
  3. Toss with kale. Serve hot or chill and serve cold as a salad.