Posted tagged ‘fresh ginger’

Sweet Hot Potatoes

February 20, 2013

Koimo sweet potatoes are my new love.  (If you use the link:  the only mention I could find for Koimo sweet potatoes was on Wikipedia.  You will need to scroll down to Japan to read about Koimo sweet potatoes.)  I bought them at Hmart in Burlington, thinking they would behave like the ordinary orange sweet potatoes we eat raw.  The flesh was a creamy white and I expected the same sweet, crisp crunch.  Instead, they were hard, starchy and bland.  Disappointed, I tucked the rest in the back of my vegetable crisper.  One late afternoon while rummaging for dinner possibilities, I decided to roast them.  The dense, buttery sweetness was unlike any other sweet potato I have ever eaten.  I had prepared a simple lentil dal recipe I adapted from my best Indian cookbook—Indian Home Cookingphoto-3I roasted some asparagus and mushrooms and served the dal on top of the Koimo sweets.  Now it’s all I can think about eating on these cold winter nights.

I invited my friend Heather to lunch, wanting to share this incredible pairing with someone else who gets as excited about food as I do.  She writes a wonderful food blog and loves to try new vegetables.  We ate in my dining room, talking about our daughters, running, and of course, food.  In the end, I sent her a link to the Koimo sweets (because, naturally, I had taken a picture of the display at Hmart.)IMG_0024 and she asked for the lentil dal recipe.  The lentil dal is perfect to serve over roasted potatoes of any kind, sweet or not.  It is also delicious spooned into half of a roasted squash, or over rice or quinoa.  You can tweak the heat up or down, depending on how much spice you enjoy.  Here you go, Heather!

Roasted Koimo Sweet Potato with Simple Dal.  Roasted Mushrooms and Asparagus for extra beauty and deliciousness.

Roasted Koimo Sweet Potato with Simple Dal. Roasted Mushrooms and Asparagus for extra beauty and deliciousness.

Simple Lentil Dal with Fresh Ginger, Green Chiles, and Cilantro  (adapted from Indian Home Cooking)

Ingredients:

1 c lentils (I use yellow split peas, but you can use red or pink lentils)

1/2 t turmeric

1 t salt

4 c water

Tempering oil:

2 T olive or canola oil

2 t whole cumin seeds

3 whole dried red chiles

1/4 c minced fresh ginger

2-3 T chili garlic sauce (found in the Asian section of any grocery store) OR 2 cloves minced garlic and 1 minced hot green chile

1/4 c fresh chopped cilantro

juice of 1/2 lemon or lime (either is delicious)

Method:

Rinse lentils and put into a large saucepan with the turmeric, salt and water.  Bring to a boil and skim well.  Reduce heat and simmer until lentils are soft, about 20-25 minutes.

For the tempering oil:  Heat the oil with the cumin seeds in s small skillet over medium-high heat.  Cook, stirring, until the cumin seeds begin to darken and become fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Ad the dried chiles, ginger and chili garlic sauce OR garlic and green chile and cook, stirring, until the ginger softens, about 2-3 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat and add a little water to stop the cooking.

When the lentils are soft, remove from heat.  Using an immersion blender, blend until about half of the mixture is smooth.  If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can mash the dal with a fork, or puree half in a food processor.

Add the tempering oil, stir, and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes more.  Stir in the cilantro and the juice.  Serve hot as is, or over roasted sweet potatoes, potatoes, or grain of your choice with a salad or other green vegetable.  This recipe freezes well, so if it turns out that you really like it, double it and save some for a night when there’s no time to cook!

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Sunday Night Supper

January 28, 2013

Eileen and Nathan hang out in the kitchen as my husband works his cocktail magic.  The tiny counter space is arranged with martini glasses, St. Germaine, Absolut Wild Tea vodka, an old-fashioned ice crusher, and drink condiments—fresh ginger, crystallized ginger, and fresh lime juice.  He is about to make Wildtinis, a delicious drink we had last summer at Victor’s in Provincetown.  I squeeze by him, trying to reach to stove to stir the soup.

We have our drinks and I finish cooking dinner.  Tonight we are having cream of broccoli soup to start, then tempeh sausage with black beans and coriander chutney.  I roast beets, onions, red bell peppers, carrots, sweet potatoes, red potatoes and broccoli in garlic olive oil until the vegetables are tender and browned.  I steam a basket of fresh kale, and the frilly edges of the greens peek out around the steaming roasted vegetables, making a bright, earthy bed for the spicy tempeh sausage.  There is lemon-peach glazed gingerbread for dessert.

We eat leisurely in the dining room, candles lit, and catch up on a month’s worth of time.  We talk about their upcoming wedding, Nathan’s band‘s CD release party at Oberon in Cambridge, Eileen’s circus tours.  They ask about our lives—the kids, our jobs, and soon the space between us magically melts together in a lovely spell that only good company, food and drink can work.  In the end, the soup was the favorite and I promised the recipe.  It takes about 15 minutes to make this from start to finish, even if you have to make the cashew cream fresh.  I try to keep some cashew cream in the freezer—it makes any soup or chowder extra rich and yummy.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Ingredients:

1 large onion, peeled and chopped coarsely

2 whole cloves garlic, peeled

2 large crowns broccoli, washed and chopped coarsely, stems included

6 c vegetable stock or vegetable broth

2/3 c cashew cream

1/3 c nutritional yeast

generous pinch freshly grated nutmeg

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

minced scallions, green ends only, for garnish if desired

Method:

In a soup pot, combine the onion, garlic, broccoli and vegetable stock or broth.  On stove top, bring pot to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to medium-low and partially cover.  Boil soup for 10 minutes.  Turn off heat/remove pan from heat.  Using an immersion blender, puree soup until there are no chunks left.  (To puree without an immersion blender:  allow soup to cool for 10 minutes, then transfer in small batches either to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth, then return soup to pot.)

Return pot to stove and turn heat to medium-low.  Stir in cashew cream, nutritional yeast, nutmeg, and black pepper until well combined.  Cook over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes more, or until very hot.  Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with minced scallions.  Serve with warm, crusty bread as a starter, or add a hearty green salad for a meal.

Curried Veggie Burgers

August 2, 2012

Ah, summer and burgers.  The grill.  The bun.  The condiments!  I love veggie burgers— at least I love the idea of them.  Easy to heat and eat, can dress them up for company, or down for a quick summer supper with some lovely greens on the side.  The problem?  Some are bland.  Some are squishy and too fragile.  Store-bought varieties often have ingredients I do not recognize.  And, unfortunately, many online recipes fail when it comes to texture, flavor, and nutritional punch.  After a moderately successful attempt at an online recipe that tasted great but would never stand up to a bun and serious condiments, I finally marched myself into my kitchen, ready to face the veggie burger challenge.

I dug around in the fridge, knowing these burgers would have to include some leftovers.  Quinoa, small white beans, mushrooms, and a bowl of fresh ginger would be the main ingredients from which to build.  I wanted lots of veggies, so took out most of what I had and lined it all up on the kitchen counter.  I wanted lots of flavor, so dug around in the spice cupboard and came up for air holding handfuls of Indian spices.  I chopped and diced, sauteed and sprinkled.  I even measured, just in case I liked the end result.  Good thing I did!

Currie Veggie Burger with Indian Paratha, Chutneys, Onions and Greens

Ingredients:

1 c cooked quinoa

1 c cooked small white beans

2 T ground flax seed

2-3 T coconut oil

2 c peeled, diced sweet potato

1 c diced mushrooms

1/2 c minced onion

2 cloves minced garlic

1/4 c minced fresh ginger

1/2 red bell pepper, minced

4 c fresh kale, tough stems removed; chopped fine

3 T curry powder

1 t turmeric

1/2 t ground cinnamon

1/2 t salt

1/8 t cayenne pepper

1/3 c water

1 c frozen green peas

olive oil (for the cookie sheet)
Method:

Process the quinoa, half the beans, and the ground flax in a food processor until mostly smooth.  Set aside.

In a large, heavy, nonstick skillet, heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat.  Add the sweet potato, mushrooms, onion, garlic,  ginger, red bell pepper and kale.  Saute until the kale begins to wilt.  Add the curry powder, turmeric, cinnamon, salt and cayenne pepper.  Stir and saute the spices into the vegetable mixture until incorporated.  Add the water, cover, lower heat, and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 7 minutes.  Uncover and remove from heat.  Spoon half of the vegetable mixture into the processor and process until the mixture is mostly smooth again.

Scrape down the sides of the processor and spoon the mixture into the vegetables that are left in the skillet.  Stir everything together until well mixed.  Fold in the remaining 1/2 c white beans and the peas.

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Generously oil a cookie sheet with olive oil.  Use an ice cream scoop or cup measure to divide burger mixture into 10 rounds, each about 3/4 c.  Press and shape into patties on cookie sheet.  Bake 15 minutes.  Gently turn with spatula and bake 15 minutes more.

These can be served right away and are great with Indian condiments, such as coriander chutney, tamarind chutney, and onion chutney.  We liked them on Indian paratha with all the condiments and sliced onion, tomato, and bell pepper.

As the burgers cool, they firm up quite a bit.  They can be frozen and reheated on a cookie sheet at 375° for 18-20 minutes, or heated in a lightly oiled skillet over medium heat until crisp on the outside and heated through.