Potatoes

Ole! Chipotle Sweet Potatoes & Taco Kale

Chipotle Sweet Potatoes

I like to get the most out of my food, so I try to come up with recipes that can be used in a variety of ways. I’ve been thinking about some type of empanada to make for Cinco de Mayo. I wanted it to be easy and definitely not fried. The “easy” parts were baking sweet potatoes, sauteeing kale and defrosting black beans. What’s nice about these recipes is that they can be enjoyed in so many ways. We had the sweet potatoes, kale and black beans plated for dinner one night and I used the left overs to make the empanadas a few days later. The empanadas can be filled a day before you plan to bake them, so this makes them perfect when planning a party. You could also use them to fill burritos or enchiladas. I’m hungry, how about you? Let’s enjoy our dinner tonight and come back for some empanadas later in the week. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Chipotle Sweet Potatoes

Note: As long as I’m putting on the oven, I usually make a large quantity of sweet potatoes to have for other meals during the week.

About four large sweet potatoes
1 chipotle in adobo sauce (from a can)

Preheat oven to 350F. Place a few potatoes on a baking sheet and bake until very soft and the juices start to ooze out of the potatoes. Remove from oven and cool enough to handle. Remove the skins, measure out two cups and place in a small bowl. Add one canned chipotle pepper and mash to combine.

Serve as a side dish or as a component in burritos or empanadas.

Kale with Taco Seasoning

1 lb. kale, de-ribbed and chopped
6 large garlic cloves, minced
4 teaspoons taco seasoning

Set an instant pot to saute setting. Add garlic and cook until lightly browned. Add ¼ cup of water and taco seasoning, then place kale on top. Set instant pot to cook on high pressure for 3 minutes. Quick release and remove cover when safe. To cook on stove top, saute garlic in a large non-stick skillet, add water and kale. Cover and cook until wilted, then remove cover to allow liquid to evaporate.

30 Apr 2017

Irish & Italians: Corned Beets & Cabbage Dinner

Corned Beets & Cabbage with Chive Potatoes

St. Patrick’s Day was never one of my favorite holidays, but I did enjoy the corned beef and cabbage dinner my parents would make for the occasion. (Actually, I’d take a St. Joseph’s zeppole over corned beef and cabbage any day, but that’s another story.) I don’t remember them having it any other time of the year, so it was a really special treat for us. I remember one St. Patrick’s Day when Dad had a seizure and spent the day in the emergency room and Mom had to leave the dinner partially cooked on the stove. I think Dad, the trooper that he was, was more upset about the ruined dinner than about being in the hospital. Or the time, shortly after she moved in with us, when Mom passed out and hit her head on the kitchen floor for yet another St. Patrick’s Day emergency room visit. I guess the luck of the Irish doesn’t cover the Italians. So I wanted to pay homage to St. Patrick Day (and my parents), and came up with this Corned Beets & Cabbage Dinner. The cabbage, beets, carrots, onions and garlic are braised with vegetable stock, vinegar and pickling spices. I used red cabbage since I new everything would turn purple from the beets. Even the carrots take on a different color. The potatoes are made in an instant pot, but you can use baked potatoes or your favorite steamed or roasted potato recipe. I struggle to find cabbage recipes that we both really enjoy, but I have to say that this recipe came out very tasty. The aroma of the corning spices bring back memories of the corned beef and cabbage simmering for hours in my parents’ kitchen. Remembering all of the happy St. Patrick’s Days spent with my parents, here’s an Irish toast from an Italian girl:

“To all the days here and after
May they be filled with fond memories, happiness, and laughter.”

Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Corned Beets and Cabbage

Braising Ingredients:

3 Tbsp. brown sugar
½ tsp. mustard seeds
8 whole allspice berries
4 whole cloves
2 small bay leaves
½ tsp. black peppercorns
12 whole juniper berries
½ tsp. onion powder
½ tsp. ground celery seeds
2 whole garlic cloves
¼ cup vinegar
2 cups hearty vegetable broth

1 lb. beets, sliced into ¼” thick x ½” wide strips
8 oz. carrots, sliced into strips ¼” thick x ½” wide strips
1 small head of red cabbage

Place all braising ingredients in a deep saute pan. Bring to a boil. Add beets to liquid and place remaining vegetables on top. Lower heat to a simmer, cover and and cook until vegetables are soft and liquid has evaporated. This could take 30 minutes or longer depending on how soft you like your vegetables.

Herbed Potatoes in an Instant Pot

2 lbs. “creamer” potatoes, cut in half (about 1-1/2” chunks)
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon dry mustard
Salt to taste (optional)

Place all ingredients in Instant Pot insert. Add ½ cup water. Pressure cook on high for 6 minutes, then quick release pressure.

Variation: omit rosemary and thyme and add 1 tablespoon dried chives

14 Mar 2017

One Potato, Two Potato . . . Creamy Potato Salad

Creamy Potato Salad

Creamy Potato Salad

Sometimes life can be like a Mother Goose hand-clapping game.

One potato: We got a few red bliss potatoes in last week’s CSA share.

Two potato: eastern potatoes were on sale, so I bought a five pound bag.

Three potato: This week’s CSA box had a bunch of Yukon Gold’s in it.

Four: Better do something with all those potatoes.

With so many varieties of potatoes available these days, it’s hard to keep them straight. Some are good for baking, others make fluffy mashed potatoes and others are better suited for salads. Starchy Idaho and Russet potatoes make fluffy mashed potatoes and waxy potatoes like Red Bliss and Yukon Gold are good for salads. I decided to throw caution to the wind and combined starchy and waxy varieties to make this Creamy Potato Salad. Instead of boiling the potatoes I opted for steaming them with skins intact. (I think this is why the Russets didn’t fall apart.) My Aunt Gracie used to make a scrumptious potato salad with mayonnaise and sour cream and I wanted to capture that flavor in this recipe. I’ve been making a Ranch Dressing with cashew cream and almond milk yogurt as the base, so I went with this combination to dress the potatoes.  The dressing is seasoned with chives, parsley and scallions, but you can switch it up with any type of onion and a different herb like dill weed. Any leftover dressing can be used for green salads or as a dip for crudite. If you like the taste of hard-cooked egg you can sprinkle some black salt onto the salad. Be creative and toss in chopped bell peppers, celery or grated carrots. Served the potato salad alongside corn on the cob and marinated grilled vegetables and you have a summer supper worth clapping about. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Creamy Potato Salad

2 pounds of potatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
Ranch dressing

Place whole, unskinned potatoes in steamer and cook until potatoes are fork tender. Remove from steamer, let cool and cut into 2” pieces. Add onions and enough ranch dressing to coat potatoes. Refrigerate.

Ranch Dressing

½ cup thick cashew cream
½ cup plain almond milk (or other non-dairy) yogurt
2 tablespoons minced chives
2 tablespoons minced parsley
2 tablespoons minced scallions or yellow onions
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon mustard powder
salt and black pepper to taste

Stir all ingredients well. Chill and use within a week.

19 Jul 2016

In Season: Red Potatoes, Asparagus & Mushroom Melange

Red Potatoes, Mushrooms & Asparagus

Red Potatoes, Mushrooms & Asparagus

One of the things I like about belonging to a CSA is that the produce is fresh and in season. This is how we ate long before refrigeration or the food transportation system existed and our species was able to evolve and thrive. Imagine a reality show about a community that ate only food that was in season or preserved after the harvest. For many, including me, that would seem like a harsh reality. The least we can do is buy as much local produce as possible when it’s in season. It’s good for you, good for the local economy and good for the environment.

Here’s a recipe I put together with some of the produce that was in this week’s CSA box. Among other things, we had shallots, red potatoes, asparagus, button mushrooms and rosemary. I steamed the potatoes until they were almost cooked, then browned everything in a non-stick skillet. I topped it off with a creamy cashew cheese sauce, but I bet it would be just as nice served warm with some type of vinaigrette. I can’t wait to see what goodies will be in next week’s box. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Red Potatoes, Asparagus & Mushroom Melange

1-1/4 lbs. small red potatoes
1 large shallot, thinly sliced (about ¾ cup)
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1-1/2 lbs. asparagus, tough ends removed and stalks cut into 2” pieces
6 oz. button mushrooms
Herb of choice (rosemary, tarragon, etc.)

Place potatoes in double boiler and steam until almost tender, about 12 minutes. Rinse under cold water and cut into quarters. Set aside

In large non-stick skillet, saute shallots in olive oil or water. Remove to separate bowl. Add garlic and more oil or water and lightly brown. Remove to same bowl. Add mushrooms and saute until softened and browned, about 5 minutes. Remove to same bowl. Add asparagus and saute until browned. Remove to bowl. Add a small amount of oil to skillet, add potatoes and cook over high heat until browned. Add ingredients from bowl to skillet and cook until vegetables soften, about 3 minutes. Add herbs, salt and pepper to taste. Serve with cheesy cashew cream.

Cheesy Cashew Cream

½ cup cashews, soaked
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. tahini
1 large garlic clove (raw or roasted)
¼ tsp fine grain sea salt (truffle salt)
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
¼ cup nutritional yeast
6 Tbsp. water, or as needed to thin out

Place all ingredients in high powered blender and process until smooth. Pour into a squeeze bottle for serving.

09 Jun 2016

Odd Couple: Gigante Beans & Potatoes with Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette

Gigante Beans & Potatoes

Gigante Beans & Potatoes

Prior to adopting a plant-based diet, there were some foods I would NEVER combine in one meal let alone in the same recipe. For instance, I would never have rice and potatoes my plate at the same time. Maybe at a barbeque or buffet I’d have potato salad and macaroni salad together, but that was more an exception than a rule. I would make beans with pasta or rice, but I never thought to pair beans with potatoes. Hmmmm . . . beans and potatoes . . .  they seem like an odd couple. But sometimes necessity is the mother of invention, and I needed to use up some Yukon potatoes and dried lima beans that have been lurking in the pantry. I remembered the Gigante Bean Salad from last year and figured that since I like bean salads and potato salads, this combination might actually work. So I soaked and cooked up large lima beans, steamed the potatoes and roasted cherry tomatoes and garlic for the vinaigarette. I seasoned it with the “tre fratelli” — oregano, marjoram and thyme — but you can use any herbs that tickle your fancy. I bet it would be nice with fava beans or whatever potatoes you have on hand.This dish came out surprisingly tasty and the layer of fresh arugula underneath added a nice contrast to the delicate texture and sweet-tangy flavors of the salad. Since you can serve the salad at room temperature it’s a nice dish to bring to a summer barbeque or for lunch the next day. Just another example of how opposites attract. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Gigante Bean & Potato Salad with Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette
½ pound dried Gigante beans (large lima beans)
2 cloves of garlic, left whole
1 bay leaf

1 pound Yukon potatoes, peeled and cut into 1” chunks

2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes
Fresh thyme sprigs
4 cloves of garlic, sliced
Salt (optional) and pepper

2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons sherry wine vinegar
Oregano, marjoram, black pepper and salt (optional) to taste

Soak beans overnight by placing beans in a large pot and cover with plenty of cold water. Drain and rinse beans, then cover with more water. Add whole garlic cloves and bay leaf to pot. Bring to boil then simmer for about 30 minutes until beans are soft, but not mushy. (Depending on the beans and how long you soak them, this could take longer. You could also make them in a pressure cooker.) When done, drain well and set aside.

While beans are cooking, steam potatoes in a double boiler or steamer basket set in a large pot until tender enough to pierce with a fork yet firm enough not to break apart. Rinse with cold water to stop cooking.

In a large, shallow serving bowl, add balsamic and sherry vinegars, oregano and marjoram. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350F. Coat a glass baking dish very lightly with olive oil (you can opt to omit the oil). Place the tomatoes, garlic, thyme and season, salt and pepper in a small baking pan and cover with foil. Bake for about 20 minutes, until tomatoes soften up. Remove foil and smash tomatoes so juice comes out. Return to oven and cook, uncovered, until tomatoes and garlic start to caramelize. Remove tomatoes from oven and add to bowl with vinegar. Add beans and potatoes and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.

23 May 2016

Rebuilding: Creamy Mushrooms & Leeks for Mashed Potatoes

Creamy Mushroom-Leek Saute

Creamy Mushroom-Leek Saute

A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a recipe for mushroom, leek and potato soup that looked very tasty. There were two problems, though. First, I really don’t care for soup all that much. Soup always leaves me wanting more  — and that something more is usually bread or dessert. When I do make soup, it’s more like stew — loaded with vegetables and grains and not much broth. Second, this recipe called for two cups of heavy cream. (Wow! I shutter to think that I probably would have made this in my previous life.) If I substituted cashew cream for the dairy cream, it would be rich-tasting, but it would also be too rich in fat and calories. Life can be full of compromises, but I don’t like to settle when it comes to food. So this recipe was on the back burner until I could come up with one that would satisfy my craving for creamy mushrooms and potatoes that’s rich in flavor, not in calories. What I cooked up was a “deconstructed” version of that soup. I rebuilt the recipe by sauteing leeks, garlic and mushrooms, added a splash of red wine and a healthy dollop of cashew cream, then spooned it over mashed potatoes. This dish is uncompromisingly creamy, savory and hearty and you won’t feel like you’re missing out on anything. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Creamy Mushroom & Leeks for Mashed Potatoes

  • 2 large leeks, rinsed and sliced thinly
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb. mushrooms, chopped (cremini, white button, shitakes, etc.)
  • ¼ cup red wine (optional)
  • ¾ cup vegetable broth (or 1 cup if not using wine)
  • ½ cup cashew cream

Mashed potatoes

Coat a non-stick skillet with olive oil (or heat up 2 tablespoons of water) over medium-high heat. Saute leeks until lightly browned. Add garlic and cook another minute. Add mushrooms and saute until brown and most of liquid has cooked out. De-glaze pan with wine or ¼ cup of the broth. Add remaining broth and cashew cream and heat thoroughly. Remove from heat. Serve over mashed potatoes.

 

 

14 Apr 2016

Breakfast Treat: Praline Sweet Potato

Praline Sweet Potato

Praline Sweet Potato

I baked up some sweet potatoes the other night that were so huge we couldn’t finish all of them. I never throw out sweet potatoes because I like to eat them right out of the fridge. But this one had that nice syrup that leaks through the skin. Sort of reminds me of sweet potato pie. Hmmmm. Pie. For breakfast. Simple. I had some cinnamon Puffins cereal and candied pecans in the pantry. I broke up the cereal in a plastic bag and roughly chopped the pecans, then sprinkled both on the warm potato. Breakfast is served. Breakfast is fun! You can use any cereal you have on hand, but my preference would be for one flavored with cinnamon. I suggest making the Candied Pecans (recipe below) the night before so you can easily treat yourself to breakfast in the morning. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Candied Pecans

  • 1/2 cup pecans (or other nuts)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • optional: spices such as cinnamon, cloves, Chinese 5 spice, nutmeg, ginger

Place pecans, syrup and spices in a non-stick skillet and heat over medium heat. Cook until all of the syrup has coated the pecans and there is none left in the skillet. Remove to parchment paper to cool. Leave pecans whole to use as salad garnish or chop up to sprinkle on sweet potatoes or in baked goods.

05 Apr 2016

Reawakened: Home Fries

Home Fries

Home Fries

I’ve been looking for something other than my regimen of oatmeal or the occasional bagel that I usually have for breakfast and decided to revive my method of making home fries. My long-time approach went something like this: microwave the potatoes until they were partially cooked, then brown them along with onions in olive oil or . . . gasp . . . keep spraying the potatoes with non-stick spray. My attempts at reducing the fat content left me with what I call “home-dried potatoes” because they were, well, dry. I tried par-boiling them in the past which resulted in mushy potatoes. My last hope was to try steaming the potatoes. I peeled and cubed the potatoes into 3/4″ chunks and pre-cooked them on top of the stove in a vegetable steamer. The surface of the potatoes had a glossy-sticky appearance, but I went ahead with them anyway. I put a light coating of olive oil in a non-stick skillet, lightly browned the onions then added the steamed potato cubes. When the potatoes were browned, I seasoned them with pepper, onion and garlic powders, thyme and smoked paprika. I was pleased with the outcome. The home fries were able to brown on the outside (was it the sticky stuff?) while retaining some moisture on the inside. I served them with a few dashes of hot sauce then moved on to barbeque sauce and ketchup. You can enjoy these home fries on their own for breakfast or alongside a tofu scramble. They can also round out lunch or dinner when paired with lentil loaf, bean burgers, sauteed greens or steamed vegetables. One might wonder why I go to such lengths for something like home fries. It’s been my experience that a small change can breathe new life into a weary recipe. It’s less about the home fries (or any other dish for that matter) and more about the learning process.  So, start your day off in a healthy way with a plate of Reawakened Home Fries. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Reawakened Home Fries

  • olive oil (optional)
  • 2 large russet potatoes, but into 1” cubes
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • Salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika and thyme to taste

Place potato cubes into a steamer basket over boiling water. Cover pot and steam until almost cooked through, about 7 minutes.

Lightly coat a large non-stick skillet with olive oil and heat on medium-high heat. Saute onions until they begin to soften and turn light brown. (To omit oil, heat two tablespoons of water in skillet and add more as needed to prevent sticking.) Add potatoes and continue to cook, turning occasionally to prevent burning. When potatoes are cooked through, add salt, pepper, garlic powder and thyme and cook for one more minute. Serve with hot sauce, barbeque sauce or ketchup.

 

 

04 Apr 2016

Peace & Harmony: Mashed Potatoes 4 Ways in an Instant

Mashed PotatoesI’m living in a blended family, but not blended as our society has come to know it. First we have Mom who is an omnivore. As much as I would like her to, she is not going to change her way of eating. Then there’s Bruce who’s on a mission to reduce his sodium intake and eat less refined foods. And then there’s me, the plant-based girl who just wants to have fun. Without any health issues to contend with I still like to salt my food and have some sugar in my baked goods. At times it’s a challenge to get everyone to agree, especially about food.  Last night I made mashed potatoes in my instant pot. In the four minutes that they were under pressure, I came up with a plan to appeal to everyone’s palate. After the potatoes and onions were mashed with some almond milk, I placed a portion in a separate bowl for Mom and, with a grimace, added some butter. The remaining potatoes were mixed with black pepper and brought to the table. Bruce had his potatoes straight up with a side of steamed vegetables. I divided my share in two and judiciously sprinkled black truffle salt on one half and a generous dusting of The Gentle Chef’s sour cream and cheddar seasoning on the other half. This dinner dilemma was solved with an ounce of ingenuity, a spoonful of diplomacy and a few pounds of potatoes.  Mashed potatoes can stand in as a side to a lentil loaf or bean dish or be the focal point surrounded by a side of steamed vegetables or sauteed greens. You could replace the onion with four large cloves of roasted garlic or add some herbs like rosemary or thyme. (If you don’t have a pressure cooker simply place the potatoes in cold water, bring to a boil, simmer until soft and drain.) However you serve them up, these mashed potatoes are sure to bring some peace and harmony to your table. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Mashed Potatoes 4 Ways in an Instant

Way 1:

  • 2 lbs. white potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • ¾ cup water
  • ½ cup hot non-dairy milk (or more if desired)
  • salt & pepper to taste

Way 2: add Sour Cream & Cheddar Seasoning from The Gentle Chef

Way 3: add truffle salt to taste

Way 4: substitute 4 large gloves of roasted garlic for onion

Place potatoes, onions and water in pressure cooker or instant pot. Set pressure to high, then cook for four minutes. Use quick release to open pressure cooker. Add hot milk, salt & pepper and mash to desired consistency.

25 Feb 2016

The Promise of a New Year. . . VFF Home Fries

Colorful Home Fries

For me, making a New Year’s resolution is like sticking to a diet. In the long run, it just doesn’t stick. I saw an article in a local newspaper’s first edition of the year suggesting that instead of making a resolution to get in shape you make a commitment. Commitment sounds too impersonal and business-like. After all, getting in shape is a very personal undertaking. I think the word “promise” is more personal and much kinder. Last year was a challenging year for me and  I strayed quite a bit from keeping myself in shape. So I’m making a promise to myself and my family to do things that will keep me healthy . . . eat less fat and sugar, drink more water, eat more fruit, walk more. I started out my new year (actually on January 2nd) by making VFF Home Fries (the VFF stands for” virtually fat-free”) with onions, sweet potatoes and white potatoes. My technique for virtually fat-free cooking is to pour a small amount of oil in the skillet, then wipe it until almost dry with a paper towel. Of course, you can eliminate the oil completely by constantly turning the potatoes to prevent sticking. As an afterthought, I heated up a tablespoon of maple syrup laced with a few drops of hot sauce and drizzled it over some leftovers the next morning; but you can spice it up with just ketchup, hot sauce or barbeque sauce. Enjoy the home fries by themselves or as a side for a tofu breakfast scramble. You can also serve them alongside a lentil loaf, bean burgers or baked winter squash for lunch or dinner. Make a promise to be good to yourself and have a Vegi-curious day.

VFF Home Fries

  • 1 large sweet potato, cut into 1” cubes
  • 1 large russet potato, but into 1” cubes
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • Olive oil or vegan butter (optional)
  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder and thyme to taste

Bring a pot of water to boil and partially cook the sweet and russet potatoes, about four minutes, then drain in colander. You can do this the night before and refrigerate until ready to use.

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil or vegan butter if using and wipe out excess with paper towel. Saute onions until they begin to soften and turn light brown. Add potatoes and continue to cook, turning occasionally to prevent burning. When potatoes are cooked through, add salt, pepper, garlic powder and thyme and cook for one more minute.

04 Jan 2016

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