The Golden Touch

Growing up in a small town, you eventually begin to accept that there is only one “grocery” store, one gas station, and one convenience store (that also acts as your post office and pharmacy.) If you forgot to pick up bulk toilet paper when you were “in the city” you’d either cross your fingers that you didn’t run out before you returned to the “city” or you paid the price of gold for two rolls of one-ply toilet paper.

It was a rough life…

But at least we had one restaurant. Or rather, one restaurant that was worth stepping into. What is it about small towns that have more restaurants per capita than it does toilet paper rolls? Think on that one for a minute…

Fortunately, the one restaurant we had happened to be one of the best restaurants in all of the neighbouring towns and cities as well. My family would go to the Gasthaus for all major celebrations: birthdays, the last day of school, and “business lunches.”

I recall one “business lunch” quite fondly. It was the first time I had ever tasted butternut squash soup. In fact, it was the first time my sister, my mom AND I had ever tasted butternut squash soup and we nearly died and went to heaven on our ladies’ day out…Or err, business lunch.

I don’t know what it was that made it so incredible; it quite possibly could have been the sketch of a steaming bowl of soup on the sidewalk chalkboard outside, or the fact that we were eating outside on a patio in November, or that we were even ON a patio out on the “town” for a lunch that was not our birthday, or it could have been the crusty white pretzel roll that accompanied it, or even the in unison “mmmm’s and ahh’s” that accompanied each bite. But I think it was the touch of maple syrup, the cinnamon, the nutmeg, and the velvety butternut squash…On top of everything else that made it the absolute BEST roasted butternut squash soup we had ever had.

And that has remained tried and true…Until tonight. The night I created the out-of-this-world-BEST roasted butternut squash soup — With a twist. Because everything is better with a twist.

Golden Butternut Squash with Roasted Garlic and Cranberries

Makes about 8 – 10 cups

1 large butternut squash, roasted and cubed, or about 3 cups canned squash
1/2 head of garlic, roasted
2 small onions, roughly chopped
2/3 cup fresh cranberries
3 cups vegetable stock
1/2-1 cup water
3 tbsp fresh thyme, minced
2 tsp. poultry seasoning (or a blend of sage with thyme, marjoram, rosemary, or savory)
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. cayenne
Herbimare or salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp grape seed oil

Method

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut squash in half lengthwise and drizzle on a little bit of olive oil and salt (or Herbamare) and pepper. Lay cut side down on parchment paper. Wrap half a head of garlic in tinfoil and place along side squash. Roast in oven for about 45 minutes or until most of the squash can be easily scooped out and the garlic squeezes out of its clove.

2. Clean up a bit and then begin preparing the rest. You can take extra time here as it does not take 45 minutes. In a large pot, heat the grape seed oil and then add the chopped onion. Saute for about 5 minutes and then add the cranberries. Continue sautéing until you hear the cranberries begin to pop. Add in the fresh thyme and remaining seasonings.

3. Once the squash has roasted, remove from oven to let cool. Then begin scooping out the flesh to add to the onion mix. For the slightly more tender bits, peel back the skin and cube with a sharp knife. Add to the pot, and then squeeze in the roasted garlic. Stir in the vegetable stock so that all of the ingredients are submerged in the liquid. If there is not enough liquid, add in the optional 1/2 to 1 cup water. Bring to a boil for about 15 to 20 minutes so that all of the flavours unite.

4. Transfer in small batches to a blender and puree until it reaches a velvety smooth consistency. Continue doing this until the whole batch is pureed.

I served mine with a crumble of goat cheese, but a drizzle of yogurt would work too, or all on its own. It can stand on its own. I tested it. Tried and true.

With the subtle hint of cranberry and the lingering thyme and sage, this soup is definitely the perfect meal for a crisp autumn day.

You may even momentarily forget that you didn’t pick up toilet paper in town.

PS. What do you think of the new blog layout/design? Oh and check out the recipe page now. Let me know your thoughts!!

The Not-So Chili

There’s something about fall and its relationship with school that makes large batches of something hearty and comforting quite appealing.  After a long day of staring at a computer screen and text books there’s really nothing better than returning home to a “ready in minutes” bowl of _____.  I’m leaving that space open for anything as at the end of the day exhaustion paired with the lack of motivation in me to cook lessens my culinary judgement and, I really would eat ANYTHING.

Well today that’s all I needed and wanted.  The only thing that got me through my chemistry lab of mixing some clear liquid with some other clear liquid to eventually produce a green powder (I was ready to eat that powder at one point — it was highly condemned) was the thought of coming home to a big pot of warm deliciousness.

However that was only a thought, a day dream, rather.  The reality was there really was no big pot of warm deliciousness…Until I made it; so, that’s what I did.

What started as chili quickly turned into a TAKE ON chili when I discovered I didn’t actually have any chili powder.

So I bring you the perfect fall meal: Harvest Vegetable Chili with a Twist.

Harvest Vegetable Chili with a Twist

Ingredients

1 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 green pepper, chopped
1 orange pepper, chopped
1 large carrot, diced
4 sticks celery, diced
1 cup cremini mushrooms, cubed — about 4-5 mushrooms depending on size
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 can (540 mL) kidney beans
1 can (540 mL) bean medley, or make your own: garbanzo, romano, white bean etc.
1 large can (740 mL) crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp unsweetened apple butter
1/2 cup water, from rinsing out tomato can
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano (strange…I know, but trust me)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, or more, to taste 🙂
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
Salt (or herbamare) and Pepper, to taste

Method

1. In a large pot on medium heat, pour in grape seed oil. Add the onion, peppers, celery, and carrots, and sauté for 5 minutes. Add in the mushrooms and garlic and continue sautéing until onion is translucent.

2. Stir in the beans and tomatoes, and water.

3. Add in the pumpkin and coconut milk. Add in all of the spices and apple butter; let simmer on medium until bubbles form on the top.

4. Reduce the heat to low and cover for about 35-40 minutes or until the vegetables are tender yet still have a “bite” to them.

Serve over a bowl of brown rice or if you have more time on your hands throw together a batch of cornbread, because nothing goes better with chili, or not-so chili, than cornbread.  I sprinkled on some nutritional yeast and put a dollop of greek yogurt on top for extra protein and deliciousness!

This chili just takes a few minutes to throw together and then it’s all about playing the waiting game. To speed up that game I quickly cleaned and then went for a run to take full advantage of the nearly 20 degree clear blue sky weather in mid October.

And even though I had to completely adapt the spices and then add other ingredients (coconut milk and pumpkin??) to compliment them, this large batch of “chili” really was a bowl of deliciousness…And Adam will second that with a bronze medal! While he clearly lost this round of the waiting game, I did get a message of earnest approval during my run: “Mmmmmhhhmmm awesome chili love!”

Yes…Chili… 😉

Pumpkin Cookie Pie

I would be lying if I said that it still isn’t, but growing up dessert was definitely my favourite part of any meal.  It was the meal that I ate the slowest so that everyone else around me would have to watch and waaait (and wish they too had eaten it slower) while I enjoyed every last bite.  But one dessert I could always anticipate and not look forward to was the one that followed any Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner: pumpkin pie.  Unless it was drowning in whipping cream to cover the overpowering bitter pumpkin flavour and the tasteless crust I wanted nothing to do with it.

So many a Thanksgiving’s and Christmas’s I would be the one sitting and watching while everyone ate and raved about their favourite dessert…After a few times of doing this I realized that I must be missing something! There is not a lot of food that I don’t like, and the fact that every single other family member dies for the taste must give the squash SOME credit.

And so I tried it, again. And again.  Repeating “I do love pumpkin, I do love pumpkin…” at each bite. And while dessert isn’t something you should try to grow into, I felt like pumpkin pie was one I should.

Well let’s just say that I agree with those who say that palates can advance or mature, because pumpkin is now at the top of my list of favourite foods.  Give it to me for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or all three and I’ll be happy…That is the pumpkin we’re talking about, the pie part not so much.

It might be the texture, the colour, the taste, or all three, but I canNOT develop a palate for pie crust.  So rather than trying to force myself to like this blend of white flour and butter I decided to go out on a hunt for another shell to cradle my pumpkin and last year I found it. Last Christmas to be exact.  After trying out Angela’s (OhSheGlows) recipe for gluten free pie crust made with pecans, I realized that this is hand’s down the very best pumpkin pie I have ever eaten, and decided that it would be from here on out my go-to recipe.

That was until this year when I found out one of my dinner guests was allergic to nuts.

Great.

It was either I go out on a hunt for yet another incredible pumpkin dessert recipe (there is one) or I take the skills I have developed from working in a gluten free and nut free bakery and create my own version of the “pecan” pie crust.

And so I did.

And so it was delicious.

Mighty, mighty delicious.

Crunchy Pumpkin Cookie Crust
* adapted from OhSheGlows Sweet and Salty Spiced Pecan Crust

Ingredients

1 1/4  cups rolled oats (gf if necessary,) ground into a flour
1 3/4 cups raw pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
3 tbsp ground flax
2 tbsp raw cane sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor or a Vitamix, blend the rolled oats into a very fine flour and set aside in a large bowl.

2. In a food processor, grind the pumpkin seeds for about 4-5 minutes (depending on how powerful your machine is) or until the oils begin to release and the grinds can form into a ball without crumbling apart. This does take quite a bit of time so I suggest stopping and testing out balling the grinds as you don’t want it to be too dry or turn into butter!

3. Add the ground pumpkin seeds, along with the rest of the ingredients, to the oat flour and blending. I recommend using your hands to fully incorporate all of the ingredients into a “smooth, buttery” ball. If the mixture is falling apart, add just a touch more coconut oil.

4. Pour mixture into a nonstick or greased pie pan and begin pressing into the sides of the plate. This is the most time consuming part but really is easy; just press with the pads of your fingers up the sides and along the bottom to ensure equal distribution and compactness. Poke the base of the pie several times to allow thorough baking, and then put in oven for about 12 minutes.

5. Remove from oven and let cool while you prepare the filling. I used Angela’s filling almost exactly except for subbing coconut oil for Earth Balance so you can check it out there if you want a completely vegan and gluten free recipe.

6. Pour the filling into the crust and cover the surrounding crust edge with tinfoil to avoid burning. Bake for 50 minutes and then remove from oven. Let cool and then chill overnight.

I recommend taking out the pie about an hour before serving as the crust does get quite hard — This will ensure easier cutting but like Angela, I encourage the use of a very sharp pointed knife to get through. And even though Adam thoroughly enjoyed the pie, he recommends using a serrated knife (and fork, if you allow those in your home!) for eating. I served this with whipped coconut “cream,” and it was UNREAL.

Feel free to make this anytime! As I have learned from repeated exposure, take advantage of the bountiful pumpkins at this time of year…And eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner! (And no mom, I am not actually eating them three times a day….. :))

Thanks to Faux

It’s hard to believe that we are already well on our way into October.  What happened to the days of peeling back that loose spaghetti strap in hopes of airing out the line of sweat created from walking half a block down the road?  Where did the summer go this year?  In what really seems like the blink of an eye, mornings have become quiet and dark, t-shirts have turned into oversized wool sweaters and the leaves have gone from green to bright purples, oranges, reds and yellows.  Despite the nip in the air, I really do love everything that fall has to offer…Especially Thanksgiving.

Living away from home and family for the past few years, Thanksgiving has been a holiday that I have had to celebrate by myself as it plops itself into a long weekend that is much too short to fly across Canada for and; of course, it conflicts with midterms and papers that come soon after the feast is put onto the table.

That does NOT mean by any means that I go through the weekend alone or that I don’t celebrate.  In fact I have made it a bigger holiday than what it was when I lived at home.  I take on the ENTIRE to-do and to-make list of Thanksgiving and invite every other “home-less” friend or foe around so that they too can experience and be grateful for the bounty of fall.

This year was extra special and deserved extra gratitude as Adam de-stressed the whole day by cleaning up the trails of messes I left behind me in the kitchen and also put together a beautiful Autumn-inspired table layout complete with real acorns, real pumpkins and real leaves — I emphasize REAL as he was very disappointed in my recent purchase of FAUX leaves…My only justification was “I am tired of replacing all of the live foliage in our house,” but that didn’t stand a chance.  We don’t do faux. No, we don’t.

Well, let’s step back a bit.  We do do faux.  Sometimes…At Thanksgiving. Faux Turkey style.

I made my first faux turkey a few years back as the thought of yet another “lentil loaf” made me cringe and throw up a little in my mouth.  (Don’t take offence to this Mom — Your lentil loafs were lovely…Your loaves are what made me have to start wearing lentil loaf pants at Thanksgiving and Christmas.)  But let’s just say I was ready for a change! And I wanted something that could withstand cranberry sauce AND take on a smothering of gravy…and MAYBE, be stuffed. Okay, I’m pushing it…

Or, am I?

Tofurkey is something you hear about on passing by…Laugh a little, and then remenisce  about that Everybody Loves Raymond episode with the football-like “bird” with protruding “legs” that jiggle.  “Yaaa… That’s the sign of a good bean curd bird!”

But believe me, if you can master Tofurkey you can master anything! And the number one step towards mastering Tofurkey is to have it NOT jiggle.

I have made my fare share of Tofurkey’s and if I do say so myself, I am truly the Queen of Queen’s when it comes to throwing together the staple to any Vegan Thanksgiving Feast.

Faux Turkey, or Tofu Turkey, or Tofurkey

Ingredients

5 packages extra firm tofu (preferably organic and gluten free if necessary)
4 tbsp sesame oil
4 tbsp tamari sauce, or Bragg’s All Seasoning Sauce
1 tbsp apple butter
2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tsp dijon mustard
4 tsp poultry seasoning
2 tsp oregano
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper, to taste

Stuffing
1 tbsp grape seed oil
3 cups oven dried bread cubes (a medley of any day-old bread on hand — gluten free if necessary; I used some gluten free and some not just because it’s not necessary for me but the stuffing still really works with gluten free bread!)
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 apple, cubed
2 large leaves kale
6 stalks celery, diced
2 small portobella mushroom caps and stems, or 1 large portobello
1/2 cup dried apricot, quartered
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1 1/2 – 2 cups vegetable stock (read labels if gluten free is necessary — I also used the last bit of carrot juice because I don’t like to waste…Anything.)
6 sprigs fresh thyme, minced
2 tsp poultry seasoning
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste

Assembly

1. The day before feast day (this step can be done in the morning of the feast as well, just as long as it has at least four hours to sit with some weight on it — but I find day before prep really relieves the day of panic attacks!:) Line a large colander/strainer with a smoothed out cheese cloth and set aside. Drain out the liquid from the tofu blocks and then grate all of it with either a box grater or the food processor’s built in grater. Transfer the grated tofu to a large bowl and stir in 2 tsp of the poultry seasoning and 2 tsp of the oregano. Then pour into the cheese cloth lined strainer and press out any more liquid that you can at this time. Fold over the excess cheese cloth so that the top of the tofu is covered and place on any heavy objects, i.e. a tupperware filled with water, a couple cans of pumpkin etc. Store in fridge overnight in a bowl in order to further dehydrate and form the tofu into a circular (err.. turkey) shape.

2. On the day: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove tofu from fridge and set aside. While the tofu comes to room temperature, you can begin preparing the stuffing. In a large pot, sauté the onion, apple, celery, kale, mushrooms and garlic for about 5 minutes. Stir in the dry bread in order to cover it with the vegetable juices and flavours, and then slowly stir in the vegetable stock. Finally add the herbs and spices (only 1 tsp poultry seasoning here.) Leave the stuffing on low heat while you prepare the tofu for actual stuffing.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the sesame oil, tamari, apple butter, orange juice, dijon, 1 tsp poultry seasoning, salt and pepper. Set aside.

4. Remove the cheese cloth covering the top of the tofu and begin to scrape off layers until you have created a bowl-like shape in the strainer. Be sure to set all of the scraped off tofu aside as you still need this! There should be about an inch of tofu remaining lining the strainer by the end.

5. Brush on a bit of the sesame oil mix and then add the stuffing to the cavity. (There will probably be leftover stuffing but that’s okay; just wrap up in tinfoil to further bake in the oven.) Once you have stuffed the whole cavity so that it lines up to the top of the “bowl” you can begin firmly pressing on the tofu scraps in order to completely cover the stuffing and make a seal with the original tofu layer.

6. Brush on a little more sesame oil sauce and then cover the top with tinfoil. This is where it kind of gets tricky. Turn the strainer over so that the flat “top” covered in tinfoil is now the bottom and place in the roasting pan. At this point you can remove the cheese cloth so that you reveal the turkey/circular formation. Brush the top with sesame sauce and place on a few sprigs of fresh thyme. Cover with tinfoil and bake for an hour and a half. Remove from oven and brush on a little more sauce (we’re basting here folks!) Recover with tinfoil and bake for another hour. Remove and brush on more sauce. Return to the oven without the tinfoil and bake uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes more, or until the top is nicely browned.

7. If you are eating right away, remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes and then serve. If not feel free to keep in the oven on its lowest temperature setting for up to two hours; the longer it sits, the more tender and flavourful it gets. Seriously. Time is key.

Serve with all of your other wonderful vegan sides. I’ll be back soon with some other Thanksgiving/Christmas specials to guide you through a tasty and successful evening.

While this recipe is time consuming it really is easy and fool proof.  It can all be done on the same day too, I just like to split it up into two days to lessen the amount to do on the actual day.

To all you Canadians, I hope you had an incredible Thanksgiving — Maybe you can try your hand at this for Christmas or next year! But for all you Americans, there’s still time! Go buy out your local grocer’s tofu supply.

Finger Food

I am sorry about my absence from posting new recipes…I assure you that I have been cooking and baking but with a recent move to London, Ontario and a graduation on the horizon I have put a few things on the back burner.  One being bathing and the other, blogging.

I am still working on the one neglect, but I am about to bring blogging back with a bang…

After a very in depth conversation with my significant other about the dexterity of chopsticks (I mean they are just “extensions of the fingers“) we made the pledge to never eat with or have forks in our new abode.  Not only do chopsticks slow down every meal by forcing you to eat smaller bites, they make for a more gentle way of eating.  Rather than stabbing the food with three little sprigs, they just grasp onto the edges and make for a smooth and pleasant entrance into our cavities, or mouths…

Okay maybe we have gone too far…But let me tell you, we have had plenty of time to come up with reasonings for our “no fork household.”

It’s BYOF, people.  Or Bring Your Own Fork.

Meals have been very interesting as a result…But after a month of no fork action we have become quite skilled with our extended fingers.

As much as we like to put pressure on our dinner guests by serving sunny side up eggs or lasagna with a side of chopsticks, the need to make friends over enemies in this new city has become a priority and thus finger food is always a good option.

The other night we opted for a more time consuming dish but it was definitely worth every second of assembly.

We made fresh rolls. The perfect alternative to the deep fried version of spring rolls for a warm evening.

Fresh rolls are like wraps; they can be filled with anything your heart desires but before you start listening to that heart of yours you HAVE to try my combinations with raw parsnip rice as they were out of this world amazing.

Semi-Raw Summer Salad Rolls

Raw Parsnip Rice

* From Choosing Raw‘s Raw Parsnip Sushi Rice — I used tahini instead of almond butter and it was so so good. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.  The “rice” was refreshing and earthy, amazing for the first warm spring evening.

Baked Sweet Potato Straws

* Peel and julienne one large sweet potato.  Lay on a parchment lined baking sheet and drizzle a little olive oil, and sprinkle on salt and pepper.  Bake at 425 degrees for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned; turn over and continue baking until all sides have browned and the centres are soft, another 15 minutes or so.

Tofu strips

* Cut into very thin strips

Vegetarian pate (optional but a delicious addition if it is on hand)

Grated Beet

Avocado slivers

Spinach leaves

Sunflower sprouts (or any other kind of sprout)

Rice wrappers

1. Boil water and then set up your rolling station with three plates (one for soaking, one for rolling, and one for the finished product,) and your filling ingredients so that they are easily accessible.

2. Pour a little bit of hot water onto the bottom of the plate and place one rice wrapper into the water.  Press down the edges to assure that the whole bottom gets soaked (about 30 seconds) and then turn over.  Soak on the other side for another 30 seconds or until the wrapper is completely see-through and malleable.

3. Transport to the rolling plate and put a couple teaspoons of the “rice mixture” in a line in the centre of the wrapper.  Top with a little grated beet, some strips of tofu, avocado and some sprouts.  You don’t want to fill the wraps up too much or it will be nearly impossible to close.

4. Fold over the filling on each side so that the ends are covered.

5. And then cover the ingredients horizontally and roll tightly to the end.

5. Continue filling and wrapping with different combinations or until all the ingredients are used, or you feel like you have enough…Or you are quite frankly just sick and tired of wrapping.  To speed up the process I made sure I was soaking one wrapper while prepping another one so that when that one was finished I could just continue on rather than waiting to soak another.

6. Serve with almond butter dipping sauce ** or any other sauce you like.

Spicy Almond Dipping sauce

2 tbsp. almond butter

2 tsp. miso paste

1 dash fish sauce (remove for vegan version)

1 tsp. ginger powder 

1 tsp. garlic powder

chili flakes, to taste

hot water

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl except for hot water.  Slowly whisk in the hot water until desired consistency is reached.

Enjoy these as an appetizer or as a meal with a side salad.  And remember, don’t discourage your guests from using their hands. It’s allowed!

Grill Crazy

It was one of the most exciting days of my childhood… Next to getting a dog and going to Staples every September for new pencils and erasers. In fact I think it was even more exciting for my dad, the day we got a BBQ.

I don’t know what it is about “grilling” but most people tend to go a little “grill crazy.” Well my dad definitely did not fall short on that feeling…Having grilled his fare share of fish and vegetables, he was ready to get those grill marks on anything in arms’ reach. Pizza? Ohh ya! Christmas dinner with all the fixin’s? You bet! Eggs? Well ya, after learning that a pan was necessary. Our dog? Okay, no; too far.

Snow or no snow, my family, or rather my dad, grills all-year-round. I, on the other hand, don’t like scraping off the food remnants let alone snow from the grill so I wait till there are clear blue skies, sunshine, and well high temperatures…. Say 28 degrees?

This past week with the thermometer hitting nearly 28 degrees, I decided it was time to go grill crazy…With portabello mushrooms.

Stuffed Portabello Mushrooms

Ingredients

3-4 portabello mushroom caps
25 g soft ripened goat cheese
2 medium sized firm tomatoes, chopped
1/2 red onion, diced
1 bunch of basil, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. dried oregano
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Method

1. Preheat the BBQ. Meanwhile, wash and cut stems off mushrooms to make a bowl-like shape.

2. Combine chopped vegetables and garlic with basil. Add in olive oil and vinegar and stir until saturated. Add spices to taste.

3. Grill mushrooms top side down first for about 10 minutes or until juicy and darkened. Flip over to their bottoms and spread goat cheese on to the “bowl’s” insides. Scoop a hefty amount of tomato mixture on to each portabello and then crumble on a little more goat cheese. Grill uncovered for about 5 minutes, and then cover for the last 2 to allow the cheese to melt a little. They are finished when those grill marks appear on the bottom!

3. Serve with a grain, like quinoa or brown rice, and possibly a side salad.

Get your grill on and enjoy!

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It’s not cake.

That sweet potato had been staring at me for quite some time now…(Not as long as I have neglected my blog though, or it would have been a little unsightly and possibly lethal.)  And even though russet potatoes are more commonly known for having eyes, this sweet tater was competing with its starchy counterpart and growing one very cutting set of eyes.

Rather than relying on my quick 17-minute-dinner-fix of quinoa and veg, I decided to expand my dinner prep time to 25 minutes and boiled that potato until it was tender.

However, I am not one to settle for boiled potatoes for dinner, a Friday night dinner at that, so after a little brainstorming and perusing of the other dying produce in my fridge I decided on potato cakes.  I mean who can say no to cake? Especially cake for dinner…But that just brings me to one of my childhood resentments: improper wording in regards to food.

The amount of times I had to quickly dampen my excitement, or even hold back tears, is immeasureable as it happened daily, sometimes even twice. “T, do you want a fudgesicle?!” “WHAT! A FUDGESICLE?!” Throwing open the freezer door without a second between I quickly realized that no, they’re not fudgesicles; they’re never fudgesicles.  And no, I don’t want one of your all-natural frozen fruit popsicles. Or, “Hey T! We got chocolate bars!” “WHAT! Chocolate bars?!!!” Wait. No. Mom made apple sauce oat bars with carob, again.

So before we go further, and I become the biggest hypocrite on earth, next to Stalin, I’ll tell you, these “sweet potato cakes” are not actually cakes.  There’s no icing, and there aren’t  even any candles.  I guess I’ll refer to them as griddle cakes.  No, actually patties. Sweet potato patties.

Sweet Potato Pea Patties 

* Inspired by Candle 79 

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed

1/2 onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tsp. Italian seasoning

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

1. tsp cumin

Salt and pepper, to taste

olive oil, for sautéing

1/3 cup frozen peas

Method

1. With cubed taters already submerged in the water, bring to a boil and cover.  Boil for 20 – 25 minutes or until tender (or until a fork can easily be inserted.) Drain potatoes and rinse with cold water.  Set aside.

2. Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent.  Add spices to taste. Combine the potatoes and onion mixture in original boiling pot and mash.  The idea is for more of a rustic finish opposed to a typical mashed potato.  Meanwhile add the peas to the pan for a pre-cook, and then stir into potato mixture.

3. Heat up a little more olive oil in a large pan and form potato mixture into patties.  Fry until golden brown (8-10 minutes on each side depending on how hot the pan is.)

Serve alongside any main dish, or even as a side at breakfast.

I had these alongside apple Dijon baked tofu, some sautéed kale, and a white wine infused avocado puree.  It was incredible, and the avocado puree acted as a great accompaniment to the potato patties.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

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