Vegan Pumpkin Streusel Muffins | VeganMoFo 2017 Day Ten

VeganMoFo 2017

Week Two: Behind the Scenes
 Secret ingredient: Is there an unconventional ingredient or product you use to make a certain dish that no one would suspect?

The idea of “hidden” or “secret” ingredients in my food has always weirded me out a bit, perhaps because I grew up with a younger sister who has some pretty severe nut allergies. “Hidden” nuts in food sent her to the hospital or to her emergency Benadryl/EpiPen stash more than once, so I’m all for transparency in labeling and serving.

That said, I appreciate the idea that sometimes an ingredient might put someone off a food if they knew what was in it. (Hey, kinda like those dumb-dumbs who don’t want to try vegan dishes even though they contain nothing weirder than vegetables, grains, and not-animal-based proteins!) I also appreciate the recipe developers who have found immensely creative ways to add nutrients to apparent junk food in an effort to healthify treats. (Though, to be honest, I personally want my junk food to be junk food and my treats to be treats!) Chocolate-Covered Katie in particular has a whole arsenal of ONE WEIRD TRICK-esque recipes, which rely on surprise ingredients to add moisture and flavor to (and reduce fat and sugar in) her baked goods. (See: a chocolate cake featuring cauliflower!)

So perhaps my issue is with semantics: Call it an “unexpected” ingredient and I have no quarrel with the notion. I even have a few recipes featuring unexpected ingredients of my own (black bean brownies, anyone?).

"Pumpkin" streusel muffins But one of my favorite ways to subvert expectations — while offering superior flavor — is a relatively simple one: using mashed roasted sweet potato instead of pumpkin. Much of the flavors we associate with “pumpkin” are actually the warming spices that typically accompany it, the cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and allspice that just scream “autumn!” to most Americans. In reality, pumpkin by itself is quite bland; it really needs the augmentation of said spices (and some sweetness) to shine.

I offer up in its place sweet potato, which plays just as well with those lovely spices yet has an inherent mellow sweetness of its own. Cup for cup, it also boasts more fiber, calcium, and vitamins A and C. Baked into a muffin and topped with a crumbly, oaty streusel, you get a treat that could easily pass for pumpkin. So, next time you fire up the oven to make muffins, pass over the pumpkin and pass me the sweet potato! (Just be on the watch for folks with sweet potato allergies.)

"Pumpkin" streusel muffins

“Pumpkin” Streusel Muffins

Makes 12

Muffin ingredients
  • 1.5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup roasted and mashed sweet potato
  • 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Streusel topping ingredients
  • 3 T softened butter
  • 3 T flour
  • 3 T rolled oats
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • Dash salt
Method

In a small bowl, mix together the streusel topping with a fork until crumbly and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Prepare a muffin tin by adding silicone or paper liners or spraying it lightly with oil.

In a large bowl, stir together the dry ingredients (flour through salt) and set aside. In a medium bowl, mix the wet ingredients (almond milk through vanilla extract, whisking to combine. Add the sugar and thoroughly mix.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet. Use a plastic spatula or wooden spoon to mix just until combined; do not over-mix. (If it’s too wet, add a tablespoon or two of flour. Some sweet potatoes seem dryer than others!) Scoop batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling each well about 2/3 full. Add a spoonful of streusel to the top of each muffin.

Bake for 18-20 minutes or just until a toothpick or other testing mechanism comes out clean. Enjoy! You’re not eating pumpkin!

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"Pumpkin" streusel muffins

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Oven-Baked Sweet Potato and Kale Patties

Happy 2017, pals! After the craziness of Vegan MoFo in November, I went 100% radio silent in December. What can I say? The holidays are always so busy, and since November was a mad rush of cooking, baking, recipe-writing, photographing, and blogging, I was pretty much spent when it ended. Let’s just call it a hiatus and move on!

I nearly always enter a new year with a few weeks of vegan cookie binging behind me, ready to incorporate just a little more good green food into my diet. It’s not that I don’t eat healthy foods during the holidays (I think I’ve eaten my weight in clementines in the past month!), but I tend to also eat lots of baked goods and indulgences. January seems like a natural time to re-calibrate and reset my eating patterns. Is it a resolution? Nah, just an intention to include more nourishing ingredients in my meals.

So in that spirit, today I bring you some simple oven-baked veggie patties, inspired by the sweet potato and mung bean croquettes I made a few years back. This recipe again features sweet potatoes as a base, but it also incorporates a handful of steamed kale and some crumbled tempeh for extra protein. I kept the flavors simple — fresh ginger, soy sauce, and curry powder — but you can add whatever spices appeal to you. The final step (brushing the patties with melted coconut oil and broiling for a few minutes) adds a little crunch and some extra flavor, but it’s totally optional; feel free to omit it if you’re cutting down on added fats.

Baked Sweet Potato and Kale Patties // vegan // govegga.com

Baked Sweet Potato and Kale Patties

Makes 12 patties

  • 1.5 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 block tempeh, crumbled into small pieces
  • About 2 cups kale, chopped finely (measure loosely after slicing)
  • 1/3 cup scallions, sliced thin (measure after slicing)
  • 1/4 C coconut flour (or other flour; coconut adds a little nutty flavor)
  • 1.5 T freshly grated ginger
  • 1.5 T soy sauce
  • 1/2 T curry powder
  • 1/2 T coconut oil, melted (optional)

Method

Begin by steaming the tempeh and the chopped sweet potatoes for about 15 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are fork tender. While they’re steaming, you can finely chop the kale and slice the scallions. Set both aside.

When the potatoes are done, add them and the tempeh to a large mixing bowl. Let them cool slightly while you steam the kale just until soft, about 3 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400˚F and spray a baking sheet with oil (or line with parchment paper).

Using a wooden spoon, mash the sweet potatoes and tempeh mixture. Add the scallions, ginger, coconut flour, soy sauce, curry powder, and kale, and mix thoroughly. Then use your hands to form about 1/4 cup of the mixture into patties about 2″ across and 3/4″ thick; you should have enough of the mixture to make 12 patties. Place on the prepared sheet.

Bake for 30 minutes, then brush the patties with the melted coconut oil and broil for 5 minutes, just until they start to brown. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.

~~~

These soft fork-tender patties are best eaten drizzled with your favorite sauce, alongside a big helping of veggies. You could try this peanutty coconut sauce or this similar curried version.

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Baked Sweet Potato and Kale Patties // vegan // govegga.com

Note: This post contains an affiliate link. If you purchase something through my links, it costs nothing extra for you, but I get a few pennies. I’m not looking to make a fortune, just to cover hosting costs. :)

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Sweet Potato Pie in a Pecan-Date Crust (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

VeganMoFo 2016 graphic

Week Three: Rainbow Week

A few years back, the phrase “sweet potato pie” would’ve made me pull a face and retch theatrically. I became a sweet potato fan in my mid-twenties after side-eying them dubiously for much of my life. (That ol’ sweet-when-it-should-be-savory distaste again!) But after going vegan and encouraging myself to try foods I thought I didn’t care for, I found that with the proper preparation, even previously off-limits ingredients like squash and sweet potatoes could be — shocker — quite enjoyable.

So today I’m bringing a beautiful toasty orange color into rainbow week with a creamy sweet potato pie ensconced in a nutty pecan crust. Sweetened by dates and maple syrup, this pie elevates the humble sweet potato to Thanksgiving dessert status. If time isn’t on your side or you’ve got someone with a nut allergy at the table, feel free to substitute your favorite regular ol’ pie crust. (And pardon my cake tin in the photos below — I didn’t have a “real” pie pan when I first developed this recipe!)

Gluten-Free Vegan Sweet Potato Pie with a Pecan-Date Crust // govegga.com

This pie comes together surprisingly easily after you’ve measured out the ingredients and pitted the dates. You actually won’t need any mixing bowls: the crust ingredients are whizzed up in the food processor, while the pie filling gets combined right in your blender. The hardest part is probably waiting for it to cool! But make sure you do; you want it to solidify so it cuts well and doesn’t melt onto your plate.

Bonus: Assuming your oats and cornstarch are certified gluten-free, you’re on your way towards making a beautiful vegan, gluten-free sweet potato pie sure to please everyone.

Serve with your favorite vegan whipped cream (coconut, aquafaba, Soyatoo) for a decadent treat. <3

Sweet Potato Pie in a Pecan-Date Crust

For the crust
  • 1 cup pitted medjool dates (about 16 dates)
  • 1/4 cup pecans
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 T coconut oil (solid)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
For the pie
  • 2 cups sweet potato, baked and mashed (measure after baking)
  • 1/3 cup aquafaba
  • 4 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 T coconut oil
  • 2 T cornstarch
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 – 1 tsp ginger (depending on how much of a kick you like)
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Dash cloves

Method

Preheat the oven to 350˚F.

First, make the crust. Add all ingredients to a food processor and process until crumbly. The mixture should hold together if you scoop it into a ball and press it between your hands; add a few more pecans if it’s too soft. Prepare a pie pan by spraying liberally with oil, then use your hands to press the crust into the pan, pushing it up the sides by 1/2″ to 3/4″.

Next, prepare the filling by blending all ingredients in a high-speed blender. (A regular one will likely work, but I’d recommend soaking the dates first.) Pour filling into the crust and use a spatula to spread evenly.

Bake for 45 minutes or until the top is set. Chill for at least three hours before serving.

Notes

  • If maple syrup breaks the budget, feel free to substitute agave nectar instead. Brown sugar would also likely work, though I haven’t tried it.
  • I recommend baking the potatoes a day in advance to save time. Just put them in the oven alongside anything else you’re cooking, then on the day you make the pie, they’ll be cool and easy to pop out of the skins. Baking is crucial to get a really caramelized, sweet flavor; don’t try to steam the sweet potatoes as a shortcut!
  • I got the idea to use aquafaba from another blogger who made a pumpkin pie using it, but I can’t recall who it is. Thanks for the tip!

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Gluten-Free Vegan Sweet Potato Pie with a Pecan-Date Crust // govegga.com

Note: This post contains an affiliate link. If you purchase something through my link, it costs nothing extra for you, but I get a few pennies. I’m not looking to make a fortune, just to cover hosting costs. :)

Kale, Sweet Potato, & Quinoa Bowl with Ginger-Peanut Sauce (and, I’m going to New Zealand!)

If it’s not clear yet, I’m all about bowls. Gimme a grain + a green + a delicious sauce and I’m a happy camper. One of my favorite veggie combos is kale and sweet potatoes — they make such a great pair, both flavor-wise and texture-wise. Today’s bowl gives kale + sweet potatoes the chance to team up with quinoa and a gingery peanut sauce for a nutritious, flavorful meal. A drizzle of fresh lime juice is the perfect finishing touch!

Kale, Sweet Potato, & Quinoa Bowl

Sorry for the subpar photo!

Kale, Sweet Potato, & Quinoa Bowl with Ginger-Peanut Sauce
Serves 3-4

For the Bowl

  • 3 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1.5 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 large bunch kale, roughly chopped (I used lacinato kale, but curly kale would be great too)
  • 1/2 lime for serving
  • Chopped peanuts or hemp seeds for serving (optional)

For the Sauce

  • 1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • Scant 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
  • 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon sambal oelek
  • Water to thin the sauce

Using your favorite steaming method, steam the sweet potatoes for about 10 minutes or until they’re fork-tender. While they’re steaming, you can chop the kale or prepare the sauce. To make the sauce, whisk together all the ingredients and add enough water to emulsify the mixture. You can add more or less water depending on how thin or thick you like your sauce. Set the prepared sauce aside.

When the sweet potatoes are fork-tender, remove them from the steamer and set them aside. Add the chopped kale and steam it for about 5 minutes or until it’s tender enough for your tastes. (I leave the stems on, so I like to make sure they’re tender too.)

To assemble the bowls, add the quinoa, top with kale, and then top with sweet potatoes. Add the sauce and a squeeze of fresh lime juice and toppings, if using. Enjoy!

~~~

In news that’s tangentially related to food, I’m going to New Zealand! I’m leaving this Thursday and staying with a friend who’s working there currently. She’s based in Auckland, but we have lots of adventures planned on both islands. I’ve been researching lots of tasty Auckland dining options, but let me know if you have recommendations! I’ll also be in the Bay of Islands, Rotorua, Christchurch, and somewhere else on the South Island yet to be determined (probably near Arthur’s Pass).

Finally, as promised… I shaved my head! I raised nearly $700 for childhood cancer research thanks to the generosity of my friends, family, and coworkers. And you know what? Having a shaved head is awesome. I feel so bad-ass! (Not to mention that my showers are now so, so quick!) I’m excited to explore New Zealand with my new look. :)

Kelly After

Sweet Potato and Red Lentil Soup

LVV MoFo 2014 main

11 days into Vegan MoFo and I’ve yet to feature a soup. Shocking! That oversight gets remedied today with a hearty tomato-y red lentil soup that couldn’t be easier to throw together. This ain’t your typical red lentil soup, though—the addition of quinoa not only boosts the nutritional profile, but adds a textural counterpoint to the softer lentils.

This soup is versatile, too. Yellow potatoes could easily stand in for the sweet potatoes, and diced carrots would make a fine addition. If you don’t have quinoa, I suppoooose you could leave it out. And if you prefer a creamier, richer soup, just add some full-fat coconut milk towards the end of cooking. That kiss of lemon juice added at the end is non-negotiable, though. Trust me, you’ll want to keep it.

Sweet Potato & Red Lentil Soup

Sweet Potato and Red Lentil Soup
Serves six

  • 1 T coconut oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 medium-sized yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2″ knob ginger, minced
  • 1-2 T your favorite curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 3 small sweet potatoes, chopped into small chunks
  • 3 C water
  • 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 15 oz can tomato sauce (or puree)
  • 2 C red lentils
  • 1/2 C quinoa
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Diced scallions or chopped cilantro for serving

In a large stockpot, heat the coconut oil over medium heat and sauté the garlic for 30 seconds or so. Add onion and ginger and sauté for another 5 minutes or until the onion is translucent. Add spices and sweet potatoes and stir until the sweet potatoes are well-coated. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, red lentils, quinoa, and two cups of the water and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and let simmer for 25-30 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are fully cooked and the lentils are soft. Check every 10 minutes and add extra water in half cupfuls if necessary.

When the sweet potatoes and lentils are fully cooked, turn off the heat and add salt and pepper as desired. Stir in most of the lemon juice, reserving some for serving. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with the leftover lemon juice, freshly ground pepper, and diced scallions or chopped cilantro.

Sweet Potato & Red Lentil Soup

Red lentils boast an impressive nutritional makeup, and this soup adds a few other key ingredients to nourish you. One serving offers 24% of your daily value of iron and 17 grams of protein… but you might not want to have just one serving.

What’s your go-to soup recipe?

Baked Sweet Potato & Mung Bean Croquettes with Peanutty Coconut Sauce

LVV MoFo 2014 main

As I said to S yesterday, “One of the best parts about Vegan MoFo is that we eat really well.” Spurred on by my desire to offer up high-quality recipes, I force myself to overcome my laziness and get creative. So far this week, I’ve dug deep into my pantry and fridge; I haven’t had to make any special grocery store trips (other than my weekly shopping on Sunday). Today, though, I ran to the store for a red bell pepper, because I knew this particular dish needed it.

Sweet Potato and Mung Bean Croquettes with Peanutty Coconut Sauce

These baked croquettes not only taste amazing, but they feature two nutritional superstars: sweet potatoes and mung beans. The combination offers a one-two punch of protein and iron (and don’t you worry, we’ll be talking about iron soon!). Three of these patties will load you up with 23 grams of protein, 39% of your daily recommended value of iron, 17% of your daily calcium needs, and goodly doses of fiber, potassium, and vitamin C. And that’s not even including the coconut-peanut sauce, a creamy topping that’s a breeze to prepare. And did I mention these are gluten-free if you use a GF tamari or soy sauce? Celiac friends, rejoice!

Baked Sweet Potato & Mung Bean Croquettes with Peanutty Coconut Sauce
Makes 15 croquettes and one cup of sauce

  • 2 cups whole mung beans, ideally soaked overnight
  • 1 lb. sweet potatoes (about three medium-sized potatoes), peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup scallions, chopped (measure after chopping)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced small
  • 2 T toasted black sesame seeds
  • 1 to 2 T sambal oelek (depending on your heat tolerance)
  • 1 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2-3 T coconut flour (or other gluten-free flour of choice)

For the sauce:

  • 3/4 C full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 C unsalted creamy natural peanut butter
  • 2 tsp sambal oelek
  • 1 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

Boil the sweet potatoes for about 15 minutes or until soft. At the same time, either boil or steam the mung beans. You can boil them right along with the sweet potatoes, or if you have a steamer pot set, steam them right on top of the potatoes. (I have a set like this one and that’s what I did.) When the sweet potatoes are soft, drain the pot and set them and the mung beans aside to cool.

While the mung beans and potatoes are cooking and subsequently cooling, chop the garlic, scallions, and red bell pepper and set aside. Next, make the sauce by whisking all five sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.

Preheat your oven to 375˚ and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or oil it lightly (coconut oil works great here!).

When the potatoes and mung beans have cooled a bit, add all the sweet potatoes, all the garlic, and about half the mung beans to a food processor and pulse a few times. Add half the remaining mung beans, pulse again, and then add the remaining mung beans. Process until the sweet potatoes are fully mashed and most of the mung beans are incorporated into the mixture. It’s okay if some of the beans are still whole; you want a nice variation.

Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and add the scallions, red bell pepper, sesame seeds, sambal oelek, and soy sauce. Mix until combined using a wooden spoon or plastic spatula. Add 2 tablespoons of coconut flour and mix again. Depending on how much sambal oelek you added, your mixture might need another tablespoon. The mixture should stick together easily but shouldn’t be at all dry—you want it just the tiniest bit sticky.

Using your hands, scoop about 1/4 cup of the mixture at a time and flatten it into patties about 3/4″ thick. Spread evenly on the prepared baking sheet. Place in the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the tops are beginning to brown. At that point, remove from the oven and spray or brush lightly with coconut oil, then broil for another 3-5 minutes, being sure not to burn them. Remove from oven and let sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Top with coconut sauce, a sprinkle of sesame seeds, and extra scallions if you have ’em. Enjoy!

Sweet Potato and Mung Bean Croquettes with Peanutty Coconut Sauce

What’s your favorite use for mung beans or sweet potatoes?

Lazy Sunday IV


Oh no! I just realized that something went wrong with last Sunday’s auto-publishing, and my third Lazy Sunday post never went up! Quelle horreur! I’ve posted it now, so take a gander if you feel so inclined. (There’s a photo of a cat!)

On this particular Lazy Sunday, I am sitting at our kitchen island drinking coffee mixed with that pumpkin coconut caramel sauce I blogged about last week. My breakfast was half a grapefruit and half of the pumpkin creme doughnut we picked up yesterday. I’ll probably eat the rest of the grapefruit before embarking on my plans for the day, which are as follows:

  1. Finish drafting an email of recommendations for things to do in Ireland for a friend who will be there for two weeks in October. (Lucky lady!)
  2. Check out some thrift stores because my business casual wardrobe needs some autumnal augmentation.
  3. Read! I’m behind on my Goodreads book goal for the year and need to catch up. :) (On that note, add me on Goodreads!)

Aaanyway. Time to answer some prompts for my final (!) MoFo installment of Lazy Sunday!

A food/ingredient you didn’t used to like but now you do; how did the transition happen?

I used to hate sweet potatoes. I know! It was that whole savory/sweet issue. I actually only started liking them in college—I blogged about the transition (complete with a craptastic photo taken on my dorm room bed) at my old blog. Basically, I think my tastebuds just grew up. :)

What’s your killer dish when you’re cooking for non-vegans?

Usually it’s a dessert of some kind. I’ve made (and blogged about) the raspberry chocolate chip blondie bars from VWaV a few times, and they’re always a crowd-pleaser. The stuffed mushrooms we served at our harvest party were a HUGE hit—I can’t wait to make them again.

harvest-party-eats_8105508474_o

What’s your newest foodie discovery and how did you discover it?

This is only a partially new discovery, but: Dave’s Coffee Syrup. Now, if you’re not from New England, you probably aren’t familiar with coffee syrup. It’s exactly what it sounds like, though—the coffee version of chocolate syrup. It’s a HUGE deal in Rhode Island; I grew up drinking coffee milk (milk + coffee syrup… heh), even though I was never its biggest fan (I preferred chocolate milk). The mass-produced brands (which are made in RI!) are typically heavy on the sugar and light on the caffeine.

Recently, though, a new coffee syrup started taking the coffee-milk world by storm. It’s free of corn syrup, and cold-brewed coffee is the second ingredient. My dad raved about it, so when we visited Dave’s Coffee last weekend (which I blogged about here—it’s where I had a fantastic soy latte), I picked up a jar of the mocha coffee syrup (it also comes in regular coffee, decaf, and vanilla). How could I resist when it has such killer packaging? I’m a sucker for quality design and branding.

 

daves-coffee-syrup_9999451725_o

S had never heard of coffee milk and was intrigued by my purchase. He tried it the other day, made with almond milk, and fell in love. And for good reason—this is quality syrup, much better than the sugary crap produced by the other brands. It has a price tag to match, but I think it’s worth it. I can’t wait to try it in other applications; the tag on the bottle suggests using it in a dirty espresso martini, drizzling it over ice cream, and many more mouth-watering ideas. And when I run out, I don’t have to wait till I’m back in RI to restock—you can order online. ;) (Bonus: Look at that great bottle it comes in! I can’t wait to use that for a homemade extract or liqueur.)

What are your answers to any of these questions? Have you had coffee milk? How should I use my coffee syrup? What are you doing this Sunday?

Purple + orange = green.

Remember preschool, when you learned about adding one color to another to make yet a third? It was pretty damn magical when you could mix red paint and blue paint and get a lovely shade of purple (or, um, poo-brown, if you were bad with proportions). Tonight I learned another color combination: purply blue + orange = green.

Craptastic stovetop photos ftw!

Yeah, you always thought green came from blue and yellow. WRONG, suckas! I don’t know if that picture quite conveys the vivid green that my water turned as I boiled up potatoes in preparation for dinner, but let me tell you – when I drained that pot, the water was green as the Grinch. Craziness.

Last week at the Madison farmer’s market I made some fun purchases: a crusty, satisfying loaf of spelt bread, a jar of cherry-rhubarb jam, and a kale plant for my garden plot at work (!). But I was most excited to discover organic blue potatoes (really more purple than blue), a variety of tater I’d read about but never personally eaten. I purchased three but didn’t use them ’til tonight, when I boiled up two blue potatoes and one sweet potato before sauteeing that shizz up to make a surprisingly wonderful potato hash.

I want to eat this photo.

Perhaps it’s not the most beautiful creation, but this was one of the most satisfying dishes I’ve had in a week or so, and that’s sayin’ something – I’ve had some pretty darn good food lately. It was so simple, too – I sauteed up some garlic and some onion flakes (in lieu of real onions; I inherited onion flakes from our college house’s pantry last year and always sneered at them until I had need of them tonight). With a little salt, pepper, and cayenne, this was so delicious. The blue potatoes were tastier and less starchy than your average Idaho, and the organic sweet potatoes were truly heavenly. And all those little burnt bits from the bottom of the pan? Freakin’ amazing.

Maybe I’m a cretin for covering this heavenly hash (heh heh) with ketchup, but I love Muir Glen’s organic ketchup alongside potatoes… such a fantastic flavor juxtaposition. It took a whole lotta willpower to save some of this hash, but I thought I might appreciate it for breakfast in the morn. Rest assured, I’ll devour those leftovers without hesitation tomorrow morning before a busy day of thrift-couch-shopping. Yeehaw!

So, what is your favorite naturally fun-colored food?

Sweet Potato Muffin Love

In an act of crazy VeganMoFo intertextuality, tonight I made the Maple-Kissed Sweet Potato Muffins posted on Happy Herbivore earlier today. Because this day has been quite chilly and autumnal, I figured that firing up the oven to bake a batch of hearty muffins would be the perfect way to warm up the house and fill up my tummy.

Nom.
(Sorry for the cruddy photo quality!)

I’m glad to report that my hunch was correct – these are wonderful autumn muffins. They’re sweet and slightly spicy and wonderfully rich. My only complaint was that they came out just the teensiest bit gummy; perhaps I should have baked them longer. Overall, though, they’re a fabulous stand-in for the traditional pumpkin muffin, and I enjoyed using a few more of the locally-grown sweet potatoes we picked up a week or so ago.

Now I’m off to grab another muffin and plop myself in front of the telly – it’s Office night!

Sweet Potato, Corn, & Black Bean Burritos

Apples weren’t the only produce we took home when we hit up the orchard/farm a few days ago. We also bought a couple pounds of sweet potatoes, and I’ve been itching to use them since then. To be honest, I used to dislike (read: hate) sweet taters. I know, I know. But I have issues when foods that I expect to be savory are actually sweet, and the idea of a sweet potato never really did it for me. Add in my aversion to oddly textured foods (I’m a freak, I know) and sweet potatoes were low on my list of likes.

However, in the interest of fairness, last spring I decided to give sweet potatoes another chance. I started with oven-baked sweet potato “fries” and discovered that they were actually pretty darn tasty. I cautiously raised my acceptance level from “get that crap away from me” to “I suppose I could try some.” After oh-so-bravely trying plain ol’ baked sweet potatoes (loaded with cinnamon, of course), I realized that my childhood aversion to the pretty orange tubers was just silly.

Still, though, I can’t help but harbor a secret well of distrust for using sweet potatoes in certain situations, and sweet potato burritos were definitely high on that list of dubious delicacies. But since I knew I couldn’t use those beautiful local sweet taters for anything less than an exciting, explorative dish, I knew I had to face my fears one last time. So last night I came up with a sweet potato burrito recipe that surprised and delighted me. Now my sweet potato rating has rocketed from “yeah, these are good” to “GIMME MOAR PLZ!” Take a look at these little lovelies, pre-oven.

So innocent looking...

Okay, I realize that they look like plain Jane burritos right there, but trust me – these were bursting with a delightful blend of flavors. I absolutely loved the textural contrast, too; I saw one recipe online that recommended mashing the potatoes and the beans, but that just seems silly to me. The whole beans and corn kernels work to give your mouth a little textural surprise in each bite. Not to toot my own horn, but this super-easy recipe is definitely a winner!

Dinner is served.
(Mom’s photo, again!)

Sweet Potato, Corn, & Black Bean Burritos
Ingredients
2-3 sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
1 ear corn, de-kerneled (you know what I mean!)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 yellow onion, roughly chopped
1/2 T minced garlic
Cumin
Chili powder
Cayenne pepper powder
Salsa (I used some of my dad’s homemade salsa)
4 whole wheat tortillas

Preheat oven to 350˚F.

Cook and mash your sweet potatoes using method of your choice. I nuked mine (for convenience reasons) and that worked just fine. While your potatoes are cooking, heat a bit of olive oil in a pan and add onion and garlic. When they’ve begun to brown, throw in your corn kernels and black beans. Reduce heat, add spices to taste, and let the mixture sit for a bit while you mash your potatoes.

Once your beans and corn are nice and warm, lightly heat your tortillas. Spread a couple of spoonfuls of the mashed sweet potatoes on a tortilla and cover with the bean and corn mixture. Top with salsa if desired and fold burrito-style. Be careful not to overfill! If necessary, use toothpicks to secure the burritos. Arrange them in a lightly sprayed pan – I used an 8 x 8″ pan and packed them fairly close together – and place in oven. Cook for about 12 minutes, remove from oven, and let cool for a minute or two. At this point, you can slice them diagonally down the middle and garnish as desired.