Market Finds

Market Finds
Farmer's Market Bounty

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Power of Ten

One of my favorite cooking jobs, are the Saturday morning classes at the Cancer Wellness Center.  I never thought that working on a Saturday would be something that I looked forward to.  But these programs where Chef Nancy and I  join with wellness facilitator, Angela Buttimer, are great fun.  Last weekend, the subject of the class was "The Power of Ten", i.e. what you can do in just ten minutes each day to facilitate your life.  Chef Nancy and I took the theme of the number ten and came up with ten pantry and ten refrigerator staples that you could combine in various ways to make quick meals.

Here are the ten fresh and pantry staples we had to work with:
Pantry: Beans, Canned Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives, Cornmeal, Pomegranate Molasses, Capers, Quinoa, Brown Rice, Nuts
Fresh: Peppers, Lettuces, Vegetable Stock, Non Fat Greek Yogurt, Onions and Garlic, Cauliflower, Carrots or Parsnips and Parmesan Cheese

I love being given a series of ingredients and playing my own version of Chopped or Iron Chef.  Days like this allow the creativity to flow and most often produce some of our most successful recipes.  I hope  you will enjoy this warming stew, created from our "Power of Ten" pantry.

Moroccan Spiced Stew:
1 head cauliflower, in florets
1 red pepper, rough chop
2 large carrots, rough chop
2 parsnips, rough chop
1 red onion, rough chop
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
4 cups vegetable Stock
1 15oz can fire roasted and diced tomatoes
1 15oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1cup quinoa

Step One:  Place vegetables in a large bowl, drizzle with olive oil and spices.  Toss to combine and spread on a two foil-lined baking sheets and place in a 425 degree oven for 30-35 minutes, until tender and beginning to caramelize.

Step Two: Place roasted vegetables in a large stock pot or dutch oven along with the vegetable stock.  Using and immersion blender, puree the vegetables and stock together to a smooth consistency.  Add the tomatoes and chickpeas and bring to a boil.  Add the quinoa and reduce to a simmer.   Allow quinoa to cook for about ten minutes, until done.

Spoon soup into bowl and garnish with non-fat Greek Yogurt and cilantro if desired.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Taking the "Sweet" Out of the Sweet Potato

Over a long lunch with a good friend recently, I found myself up on my soap box, extolling the virtues of the sweet potato. My friend, who was less than enthusiastic about the tuber's place on her dinner table, did her best to make me acknowledge how hard they were to peel, that they are boring,  and pretty much an all-around annoyance to her.  This annoyance, was rooted in her husband's new found love of sweet potatoes, as he makes efforts to improve his diet.  I asked her if she ever ate sweet potatoes with her husband.  She admitted she did not, and that when she baked a sweet potato for him, she made a white potato for herself.  With this declaration, I was determined to change her opinion of this nutritional powerhouse.

I was not going to win her over with a cinnamon-spiced, marshmallow-topped casserole.  I needed to hit her in her wheel house with a familiar flavor profile.  As we commonly meet for Mexican food, I knew that this was the angle I should take.  I can typically get my children to eat just about anything that is stuffed inside of a tortilla, and figured this tactic would work just as well on a sweet potato loathing adult.

With that, I give you my simple and delicious roasted sweet potato and black bean taco recipe.

Kipley's Tacos:
1 large sweet potato, cubed
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground corriander
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper to taste
8 taco size whole wheat tortillas

Optional Garnishes:
Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
Fresh Cilantro
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Chopped Scallions
Beautiful fresh ingredients

Step One:
Place chopped onions and sweet potatoes on a foil-lined sheet pan.  Drizzle with olive oil, spices and salt and pepper. Toss to evenly distribute oil and spices over the vegetables.  Place in a 425 degree oven for 25-30 minutes, until veggies are cooked through and starting to caramelize.

Onion and sweet potato, seasoned and ready for the 425 degree oven
Step Two:
Combine the black beans, onions and sweet potatoes on one sheet pan and place back in to oven for five minutes to warm up the beans.

Roasted veggies tossed with the black beans
Step Three:
Place bean an vegetable mixture into a warm tortilla and garnish as desired.
Tuck the veggies and beans into the warm tortilla and garnish as desired

This is one plate that even a sweet potato hater could be passionate about!  Enjoy!