Tag Archives: sweet potato

Farmer’s Market Bounty: Simple Asparagus Dishes

16 Apr

Sweet potato fries and asparagus

I got a little over-excited at the farmer’s market last weekend. I’m just so excited that we are finally seeing a couple new vegetables after a very long winter, that I had to buy a ton even though I knew I already had a lot of food in the house. I’ve been most excited about seeing asparagus everywhere (though as soon as the rhubarb comes in I’m sure I’ll be buying that up by the truckload), but I’d gotten bored of steaming it so I decided to do a couple other, equally simple, dishes with it this week.
The first was my justification for buying a pint of fingerling sweet potatoes, purely because they were adorable. I figured they would be perfect for baked sweet potato fries– hardly any cutting to do! And since roasted asparagus is delicious, I plonked some asparagus on to the pan for the last ten minutes of baking. Perhaps not a complete meal, but a delicious one.

Fingerling sweet potatoes from farmer's market versus massive sweet potato from Whole Foods

The next night I realized I still had a ton of asparagus, and my swiss chard was quickly looking very sad indeed. So I sauteed up the vegetables, added some lemon and spaghetti, and made a delicious pasta. Hooray for spring!
Baked Sweet Potato Fries and Asparagus
Equipment:
Baking sheet, sharp knife
Ingredients:
As many sweet potatoes as you want
As much asparagus as you want
About 1 tbsp olive oil
Salt, pepper, chili powder, and cinnamon, to taste
Method: Preheat the oven to 450F. Peel the sweet potatoes if you want, but I don’t find it necessary. Cut the sweet potatoes into some sort of fry-shape (with the fingerlings, I just quartered them lengthwise). Toss in olive oil, and sprinkle over any seasonings you want (I used those listed above). Spread out into a single layer on the baking sheet, and put in the oven for about 15 minutes. While baking, break off the tough ends of the asparagus, and toss in bowl you tossed the sweet potatoes in, adding more oil if you want.
After 15 minutes, the sweet potatoes should be fairly tender. Stir them around a bit, and throw the asparagus on top, trying to spread it out evenly again but don’t worry if it doesn’t fit in one layer. Put back in the oven for about 10 minutes, at which point the asparagus should be done, and the sweet potatoes crispy in places. Devour in one sitting.

So many good things in one pan

Spaghetti with Swiss Chard and Asparagus
Equipment: Pot, frying pan, knife
Ingredients:
One bunch swiss chard (it will shrink a lot)
Half a bunch asparagus (or more)
Spaghetti
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
Juice 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp butter
Salt and pepper
Method: Put a large pot of salted water on to boil. While waiting to boil, roughly chop the swiss chard. Break off the tough ends of the asparagus (if you bend the stalk, it will naturally snap where it is tough). Discard or save for another use (such as in broth). Cut the stalks and heads into roughly one-inch pieces. Peel the cloves of garlic, and smash with the broad side of a knife. When water boils, add enough spaghetti for about two people. While it is cooking, heat olive oil in frying pan over medium heat. Put garlic in oil, and cook until it softens at edges, about a minute. Add asparagus and swiss chard. Season with salt and pepper and saute, stirring occasionally, until swiss chard is wilted and asparagus is cooked, but with some bite, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat if it is done before spaghetti.
When it is cooked al dente, drain spaghetti and toss into frying pan along with 1 tbsp butter and juice of half a lemon. Return pan to heat, and toss with vegetables until butter is melted. Taste, and add more lemon juice or seasonings if desired. Eat immediately. Serves two.


Sweet Potato and Kale Soup

17 Feb

Thanks to Spice cousin Alida for the beautiful Polish bowl!

It’s true, Father Spice has finally gotten to me with his kale-obsession. I was craving kale hardcore last week and so went and bought two huge bunches from Whole Foods. Two bunches of kale for one person (who is going away for the weekend and thus needs to eat it quickly) is, apparently, quite a lot of kale, but I have been enjoying it thoroughly. I made some delicious kale chips to snack on, steamed it as a side to my pancake dinner tonight (surprisingly a good combination), and put it in this soup.

About this soup. It’s awesome. The chunky sweet potato base makes it very filling– I tried eating bread with it once and it was way too much. It also kind of blew my mind because it’s a puree-type soup that I made without a blender. You can just mash the sweet potatoes once they are boiled, and then add the other stuff! This is a revelation that has me itching to go back and see if I can adapt all those soup recipes I’ve passed over because they require a food processor or blender… except that suddenly it is 60 degrees out and I am not craving soup quite so much anymore.

The curliness is deceiving-- use more kale than this!

But yes, this soup was delicious. I would definitely make some adjustments next time though, and have reflected that below. 1) Not enough kale! The kale-y flavor kind of got lost in the sweet potato and spices, and I just didn’t put enough in to begin with. 2) I definitely saw why sweet potatoes have the “sweet” in the name. Again, probably my fault as I omitted the pepper flakes when making it because I wasn’t feeling the spice. It probably would have done a good job at balancing the soup better. 3) I totally skimped on the raisins because I felt like a lot was already going on. They were actually awesome in the soup, and I added more every time I heated up leftovers.

Just bubbling away. It smelled awesome, by the way.

And finally, a word of (obvious) warning: I forget every time I make soup myself that it will be much hotter than soup I have heated up from a can. Do yourself a favor, and let it cool for a few minutes before you dig in! The hot pieces of kale were especially vicious.

Sweet Potato and Kale Soup (Adapted from KERF)

Equipment: Pot, potato masher or blender, big knife

Ingredients
About 2 pounds of sweet potatoes (What college kid has a kitchen scale? I used two huge and one mini one, for a very thick soup)
2 cloves garlic
1 can light coconut milk
1 cup other kind of milk (ie cow’s, but I used almond)
1 tsp garam masala or 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp cumin, and pinch of cloves (or other spice combination of your choice!)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
4 cups kale (Ie however much kale you want)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup raisins

Method
Wash sweet potatoes and cut into small (about 1 inch) cubes, leaving skins on if you want awesome pieces of chewy skin in your soup (you do). Dice the garlic. Add a bit of olive oil or cooking spray to a large pot over medium high heat, and add potatoes and garlic. Add coconut milk, other milk, and spices. Make sure potatoes are covered in liquid, otherwise add a bit more. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about thirty minutes, or until potatoes are soft.
While potatoes are cooking, wash and trim kale of thick stems and tear or chop into bite-size pieces. When potatoes are soft, turn off heat and mash with a potato masher in the pot (or blend). Potato pieces should be gone but pieces of skin will remain. Add raisins, kale, and vanilla, and cook 8-10 more minutes, until kale is bright green. Allow to cool slightly, and serve!

Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup

5 Nov

Finished butternut squash and sweet potato soup, aka fall in a bowl

I’ve decided that the main difference between Gina and I on this blog (and also in life) is that she is a much more calculated and pre-planned type person.  I won’t say that she is more organized than me because I know both of our parents would beg to differ based on the permanent messy states of both of our rooms.  Anyway, she seems to be more of a follow a recipe pretty closely type of gal, while I like to experiment, and usually get ideas from a couple of recipes and then combine them or change most of the ingredients so that the end product is totally different and completely my own.  This is all my very roundabout way of saying I had absolutely no idea if this soup would be at all edible or good at all, but it was!  Which is good news for everyone because I would feel a little bad putting a recipe up that made everyone gag and encourage Gina to ditch her big sis and do this blog thing by herself.

Roasted veggies out of the oven. Try to resist just grabbing a fork and eating all of these.

I’d never ventured into the land of soup before this, but found it surprisingly easy.  This particular recipe really couldn’t be simpler in terms of execution- all you have to do is throw the vegetables onto a pan to roast and then heat them in a pan with some stock and puree or mash them if desired.  I’ve been getting into Indian-type spices recently because they add so much flavor so easily, and here I used cumin, coriander, and garam masala, which all complimented the sweet potato and squash really well without being overwhelming.  If you don’t have all of those spices you could definitely only use a couple and up the quantities, or even just use some curry seasoning to get the same general effect.  I blended about half of the finished soup in my mini-food processor to make it smoother, but you could keep it all chunky and just mash up the vegetables with a spoon/potato masher, or you could puree the whole thing if you want.

The end product was seriously good and a perfect welcome to fall, which it seems has finally come out of hiding and arrived to DC.  Both butternut squash and sweet potatoes epitomize fall and thanksgiving for me, and they are very good ingredients in a soup since they can be broken up easily.  They also caramelize very well in the roasting, and I will definitely be making this soup or a variation on this again very soon!

Big bowl of soup before the mashing begins

Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup
Makes about 4 servings

Equipment: Sheet pan, good knife, oven, big pot or two smaller pots, potato masher/wooden spoon, food processor or immersion blender (optional)

Ingredients:

1 whole butternut squash, peeled and cut into medium dice
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into medium dice
1 yellow onion, cut into medium dice
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups (about 32 oz) chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon dried cilantro
1/4 cup half-and-half (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

Start by peeling and cutting up the butternut squash, sweet potato, and onion. Put vegetables on a sheet pan covered with foil and drizzle with the olive oil and salt and pepper generously. Toss the mixture with your hands to coat everything in the oil, and roast in the oven for 30 minutes, or until squash and potato are tender.

When vegetables are ready, put them into a large pot with the chicken stock, and add cumin, coriander, garam masala, and cilantro. Bring pot to a simmer, and mash vegetables with a potato masher or spoon to break them up. Puree about half of the mixture to make it smoother, either in a food processor or with an immersion blender. Add the pureed mixture back into the pot, add the half-and-half if you want a richer taste, and serve.

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