Until yesterday, any time a recipe called for a bay leaf, I’d ignore it. “Who cares?” I’d think to myself. I definitely didn’t! At the local herb/spice store I mentioned previously, I asked if they had any bay leaves and … Continue reading
So, the other day I had a minor fail. It was an edible creation, but that baby food consistency of what I hoped would be soup made it a little unappealing.
Time for a renaissance.
The reason why I love cooking more than baking is that when you cook, even if you mess up you can fix it (most of the time). A baking disaster is almost impossible to fix, but as you will see below, with a little bit of creativity, you can turn a minor cooking faux pas into a delicious creation (or two)!
Curried Sweet Potato & Zucchini Stew
Makes approximately 4 servings.
- 3 cups of leftover curried sweet potato stew *
- 2 cups of vegetable broth or stock
- 1 zucchini, cut into cubes
- 2 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tsp dried cilantro
In a large saucepan, brown the garlic in sesame oil on medium-high heat until fragrant and barely golden brown. Add cubed zucchini and cook until zucchini begins to soften and get browned on some sides.
Add sweet potato, vegetable broth, and cilantro stirring until completely combined. Continue to stir until soup begins to boil, then lower heat to medium-low, cover, and let simmer for 5 minutes.
* NOTE: You can use store-bought pureed sweet potatoes or plain sweet potatoes that you’ve processed yourself. If so, add 1.5 tbsp of yellow curry powder, 2 tsp of smoked paprika, a good tablespoon of garlic powder, and a tablespoon of cumin. Follow the rest of the directions as written.
I had the brilliant idea over the weekend to purchase some sweet potatoes. I didn’t always like sweet potatoes but once I developed
a liking an adoration for them, the desire to create new recipes with sweet potatoes as the highlight definitely increased.
Well, on Friday I purchased four sweet potatoes with the initial desire to make basic sweet potato fries. As the weekend waned, I tried to think of what else I could possibly do that could be fun and tasty. With the temperatures decreasing as the autumn days go on, the answer is clear: soup!
I’d never made a blended soup before, always using the fact I don’t have a fancy-schmancy high-power restaurant-grade blender as an excuse never to try. I have a pretty decent food processor with which I’ve made nut butters and other blending-intensive foods… could it handle making soup?
There’s only one way to find out!
Thick & Creamy Curried Sweet Potato Stew
Makes at least 6 cups of stew.
- 4 medium sweet potatoes (peeled, cut, and baked for 40 minutes or until done)
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp yellow curry powder
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1/2 cup unsweetened plain soymilk, or other non-dairy milk of choice
Put all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Blend until completely creamy. You may need to scrape down sides as you go along. Serve hot.
Easy? Check. Great flavor? Yes, sir. Hearty yet healthy? Yes and yes.
But a success it was not!
I noticed almost immediately that its consistency was similar to that of baby food; but, I still brought a serving with me for lunch the next day. I hoped that nobody would see or comment on what I was eating at my desk, but of course the FIRST coworker to pass by my desk asked, “…baby food?”
And that’s why this is “Part I” in a three-part series. The next two posts will be about how I turned this semi-failure into two successes! Just remember: If at first you don’t succeed……!
I think the best way to showcase my trial-and-error experiences with food is to write about my history, my attempt, and my success or failure upon trying it. First up: sweet potatoes.
My first memory of sweet potatoes is probably that of many Americans.
Sweet potato casserole: sweet potatoes usually cubed or mashed, mixed with syrup or sweetener of some kind, topped with marshmallows. Broiled to a golden brown, most children go ga-ga over this stuff every Thanksgiving.
In that respect, I was a weird child: I absolutely hated it. I would eat the marshmallows off of the top of my mom’s serving, but if even a speck of orange was on my marshmallows… so help me!!! it would ruin my meal. Yuck!
Fast forward a couple of decades: I was 23 and living in gorgeous California.
The town in which I lived was Fremont, and it was the home to the Bay Area’s largest farmer’s market. I had just started what would become an epic 35-pound weight-loss journey so during this time I would visit the farmer’s market every Saturday morning to get some fresh produce (and the occasional hand-formed loaf of sourdough or wedge of local cheese). Every time I’d visit, I’d go as far as to pick up and investigate things I’d never tried before: asparagus, pluots, and… sweet potatoes.
My arch nemesis for so long… it would taunt me from afar every Saturday as I made my rounds. One day I caved and purchased one.
I recall exactly what I did with it: I made sweet potato fries.
GO-TO SWEET POTATO FRIES
Makes roughly two large servings of fries.
- Two sweet potatoes, cleaned thoroughly, peeled, and cut into strips roughly 1cm thick.
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 tablespoons of minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon of crushed red pepper flakes (more or less, depending on the level of spice you want)
- 2 teaspoons of paprika
- 2 teaspoons of onion powder
- Dash of sea salt
- A few dashes of garlic powder
Combine everything in a zip-loc bag or in a bowl with a lid. Shake and toss around until all of the wedges are evenly coated in toppings. Spread on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, making sure they are in just one layer. Sprinkle garlic powder on top and bake at 375 degrees F for 30-35 minutes, flipping fries after 20 minutes. You will know they are ready when the thinner ones are getting dark and the edges of the larger ones are mostly golden. Let cool for 5 minutes unless you want to burn your mouth!
Lo and behold, I loved them!!! After such a raging success, I now continue to love sweet potatoes as long as they are savory – not sweetened. I continue to dislike sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows, but give me a cubed sweet potato topped with spinach, black beans, salsa, and vegan “cheez” sauce and you have a happy, happy girl.