February 8, 2012

Get Creative With One Ingredient

In my last post, I explored how sweet potatoes can become healthy desserts. This delicious vegetable, which is rich in beta carotene to promote healthy skin and keen eyesight, also offers a wide array of anti-oxidant plant compounds that ease digestion and reduce intestinal inflammation.

When you purchase a few pounds of sweet potatoes, try to prepare a few different dishes with them. This practice will reveal how versatile one vegetable can be when combined with various spices and other ingredients. Savor this rooting, warming food as winter's coldest full moon wanes its way into spring.

Sweet Potato Spread
Chop one large sweet potato into ¼ inch cubes.
Place in stock pot, cover with water, cover with a lid, and bring to a boil.
Boil for 10 minutes or until cubes are tender when poked with a fork.
Drain water and place boiled sweet potatoes in food processor
Add:
            ¼ cup olive oil
            ½ teaspoon each: cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg, cardamom
            2 teaspoons salt
            You can also add 1 Tablespoon almond butter or ¼ cup fresh ground almonds if desired
Blend at highest speed for 2 minutes.
Serve and enjoy with oatmeal, on toast, or by itself as a snack.Garnish with chives if you like.

Sancocho de Habichuelas Rojas – Dominican Sweet and Sour Red Bean Stew
Soak 2 cups kidney beans in water overnight. Rinse, drain, and boil in 5 cups water until tender (about 35 minutes). You can also buy 1 can cooked kidney beans. I like Eden Organic salt-free brand.

While beans are cooking, prepare these vegetables:
            1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced
            2 medium sweet potatoes, skin on, rinsed and cubed
            2 medium gold potatoes, skin on, rinsed and cubed
            3 cloves garlic, minced
            ½ bunch fresh parsley, chopped
Set aside.
Coat the bottom of a soup pot with 4 Tablespoons vegetable oil (I like olive or sunflower).
Add onion, reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.

When onion is translucent, add sweet potatoes and potatoes. Increase heat to high and sear the vegetables for 5 minutes, until their surfaces turn golden.

Reduce heat to low and add:
            2 teaspoons salt
            1 Tablespoon each: dried thyme and coriander powder
            ½ Tablespoon dried oregano
            1 Tablespoon lemon or lime juice
            1 can crushed tomatoes (I like Muir Glen) or 3 large whole tomatoes (when in season)
            ½ cup water
Mix well and simmer for ½ hour. Add garlic and parsley, simmer for 5 more minutes, and enjoy! Keeps in fridge for 5 days.

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