Easy Baked Plantains

Our department has a lunch meeting every Wednesday where first year students sit and eat while a faculty member tells us about their research how they got where they are, and sometimes their life story, etc. it’s a nice time / I’m all about free food.plantain_baked_kbaked_coined_

Delivery options are limited around the Columbia University Medical Center campus. Hence why every single week lunch ends up being one of 3 options: pizza that smells like burnt Chuck E Cheese kitchen grease and is paired with a salad cloaked in sad cold deli meat (and one plain salad, but that goes fast), Dominican food, or on a good day, sandwiches on really strangely delicious fluffy crusty white hoagie bread.plantain_baked_kbaked_coins_vertical

Dominican food days are frequent, and I don’t hate it. The buffet has enough veggie options (salad with avocado, rice, beans) that I can finagle a decent meal out of it.

plantain_baked_kbaked_almondbutter

The star of every Dominican week is, of course, the fried plantains. Sticky sweet gooey goodness, the fried plantains have become a cherished and familiar treat.

It dawned upon me this week that I’ve never actually made plantains at home which considering bananas and potatoes are my favorite foods and plantains are essentially the potato of bananas (as in not sweet and rather starchy), is quite odd. So over the weekend I decided to change this. I picked up some plantains, 3/$1, at my local grocery store.

plantain_baked_kbaked_sliced

A kind woman was also picking out plantains when I was sorting through them. I asked her if she had any advice for a new plantain cook, and she told me to wait until the plantains were “soft like sponges.” Noted.

plantain_baked_kbaked

Now onto cooking. I don’t love frying things and my stomach doesn’t love eating large quantities of fried food. Hence why I after doing some googling to confirm it was possible, I opted to bake mine.

plantain_baked_kbaked_wrapped

I did mine skin-on because the method sounded intriguing to me. You can totally peel them and cube them, coat them in oil and seasonings, and bake them that way (just for a shorter duration, 20-25 minutes until tender rather than 40-45).

plantain_baked_kbaked_blackbean_salad

If you are curious about the skin-on method as I was, I am happy to report that it totally works. Just take it out of the oven when the foil-wrapped plantain gives to a squeeze.

plantain_baked_kbaked_outofoven

Next comes topping. I played around with topping these babies. One I coined and ate with melted vegan butter and brown sugar.

plantain_baked_kbaked_beans

Another I drizzled with almond butter, cinnamon, and a dash of sugar. The last I ate with leftover black bean soup and cilantro. I decided they would also taste great with guacamole. All were solid options, and it was a very plantain-filled day.

Plantains_almondbutter_cinnamon_baked_kbaked

Speaking of filled, I found plantains quite filling. I plan to keep this in mind since they are a cheap starchy piece of produce aka something I desperately need to befriend.

plantain_baked_kbaked_millie

I hope you give these a try. If you do, please let me know, and let me know how you topped or are them.

plantain_baked_kbaked_fork_sliced

Happy plantaining!

Easy Baked Plantains

Prep Time:  2 minutes
Cook Time: 35-45 minutes
Servings: 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium very spotted ripe plantains

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Using a knife, draw a slit lengthwise down each plantain.
  3. Wrap each plantain (skin on) in aluminum foil, or lay out on a baking sheet with parchment paper underneath.
  4. Bake plantains for 35-50 minutes (depending on size/oven) until soft and squeezeable to the touch.
  5. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  6. Top and eat as desired.

Topping Ideas:

  • non-dairy butter + 1 teaspoon brown sugar + dash cinnamon
  • drizzle of almond butter + cinnamon + sugar
  • black bean soup + salsa + cilantro
  • guacamole

Spicy Apple Jicama Salad

Some of the best food inventions are a results of accidents. I stand by this theory. Like this Puppy Chow Granola that came about on a long day after a cookie fluke. I swear some of the craziest food combos are created when people drop things or try to make due with what they have around.

Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 8.44.34 PM

This salad is no different. It’s a creation inspired by happenstance. Allow me to explain. My sister is obsessed with making this salad with roasted shredded Brussels sprouts, lemon juice, apples, and dried cranberries. When I was at her house last week, she was slicing some lemon for the dressing. I then used the same knife to cut the apple. Then I nibbled on some apple. And I realized how delicious citrus juice tastes on cold, crunchy apple slices. Tangy, sweet perfection.

 Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 12.03.08 AM

This lovely flavor combination inspired me to start rubbing leftover limes (I made a key lime pie for my bday on Saturday) on all my apple slices. Delicious. It’s a mash up that tastes refreshingly tropical.

While I was munchin on this for lunch a few days ago, I was also brainstorming what I should make for the January Recipe Redux challenge, which was “Start Smoking in 2015,” which is a pretty punny way to say we were encouraged to create dishes with smokey or spicy undertones. I decided to try the apple/lime combo with a variety of spices. I tried smoked paprika, spicy paprika, turmeric, curry, Sriracha and even taco sauce just to place with the whole spicy lime apple flavor palate (also, I’m weird and put hot sauce in many places it shouldn’t be). Anyways, chili powder was the standout winner. It adds an unexpected contrast to the sweet yet tangy Pink Lady apples. It’s kind of like those ladies who sell sliced mango with chili powder and hot sauce in Union Square. Except in the comfort of your own home and no hassle of carrying a zip-lock baggie of juicy drippy messy mangos down the street and/or awkwardly trying to consume them on the subway.

Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 8.39.05 PM

I reasoned that jicama would make a *~*delightful*~* crunchy companion to the apples. Next I threw in a little arugula for a pop of color, and some roasted sunflower seeds for an earthy flavor to balance the other taste elements going on, and and because in general I love nuts in salads (and everything). #nutcrazy. The salad ended up being a delicious, sweet, tangy, crunchy, spicy, and intriguing side dish that is totally addicting. It’s one of those things you want to just keep eating to try to figure it out. It’s a bit infatuating. Much like scrolling through pictures of your puppy on your cell phone.

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 12.01.16 AM

I highly encourage you to step outside of your usual side-dish / salad comfort zone and give this recipe a go. It’s the ultimate combination of flavorful fruit, vegetables, seeds, and spices, and the flavor combination will inspire you to try new things. Enjoy!

Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 8.38.25 PM

Prep Time: 12 minutes

Cook Time: 0 minutes

Level: Easy

serves 2-4 as a side dish

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup jicama, cut into matchsticks (1 small or 1/2 a large jicama)
  • 1 1/2 cup pink lady apples (about 2 apples)
  • 1 cup arugula or baby kale
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries (optional)

Directions:

1. Chop jicama and apples into match-stick pieces of roughly even size. Place in a bowl. Juice limes and add lime juice. Sprinkle with chili powder and toss until all pieces of jicama and apple are evenly coated with lime juice.

2. Add arugula and sunflower seeds. Toss again. Sprinkle with dried cranberries if desired. You can also drizzle a bit of honey, agave, or maple syrup if you want to bump up the sweetness a bit.

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 12.09.27 AM

3. EAT ! 😀

For more smoky, spicy dishes to heat up your January, click around below !

<!– start InLinkz script –>
<div class=’InLinkzContainer’ id=’480237′ >
<a rel=’nofollow’ href=”http://new.inlinkz.com/luwpview.php?id=480237″ title=”click to view in an external page.”>An InLinkz Link-up</a></div>
<script type=’text/javascript’ src=’//static.inlinkz.com/cs2.js?v=116′></script>
<!– end InLinkz script –>

Sweet Potato [Turkey Shaped] Bread

This month’s challenge for The Recipe Redux was to re-do a recipe that we remember as a traditional Thanksgiving dish, but make it a little healthier. At first, I had a hard time thinking of anything that specifically stuck out to me as “special” or specific or in need of a re-do. When I had Thanksgiving at one side of the family’s house when I was little, I couldn’t think of anything out of the ordinary that stuck out as a unique dish. Then, when we had it at the other side of the family’s, everything was Italian-ish and already super healthy (like roasted veggies and salads).

 Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 11.26.26 PM

Hmm, sigh. As I’m normally such a nostalgic human, I was a bit shocked that nothing immediately stood out to me. Then, out of no where, I remembered TURKEY BREAD and could not believe that I had forgot this beloved carby pillowy fluffy wonder of the world. This is something my mom would make with us when we were little almost every.single.year. I can recall once in high school hearing there were no plans of turkey bread on the menu and being a demanding little diva and insist it got made. It did. (insert emoji hand flip girl here).

Screen Shot 2014-11-16 at 6.25.29 PM

So what is turkey bread, exactly? Well, I feel like I should preface that there is no turkey or traces of turkey in this bread. It’s a brioche-type soft, fluffy bread that we always shaped into a turkey, you know, to be festive. [Read: my mom said we were driving her crazy and wanted to give us a hands-on project]. But now vegetarians and vegans can have a piece of turkey (bread), too ;-).

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 11.25.59 PM

This version of the bread is made healthier and even more festive via use of a sweet potato to provide softness and tenderness that was provided in the original recipe by egg yolks. So yes, I made brioche-inspired bread with no egg yolks, eggs, or butter, and yes, it turned out soft and fluffy and wonderful. In fact, I enjoyed the additional sweetness the sweet potato provided.

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 11.20.50 PM

This bread is super fun to make and serve and everyone will love it. As long as you plan ahead with ample time to let the dough rise, it’s pretty easy to make, as well. The assembly is also much easier than it looks if you glance at the directions. Honestly the easiest way to do it is to just look at the picture and try to copy the shape. It seems to work best. Or make your own shape! It’s really up to you; I just hope you do make it and enjoy it!

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 11.21.20 PM

I genuinely hope you have a terrific Thanksgiving and long weekend! It’s honestly one of my favorite times of year because matter your religion or background, everyone comes together to celebrate delicious food and family. What is better than that? Have a good one and eat all da noms ! :-).

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 11.16.26 PM

Prep Time: At least 4 hours (to allow ample time for yeast to rise)

Bake Time: 20-30 minutes

Level: Medium

Yield: 1 medium-sized turkey bread that would probably be enough to serve as a side for 4-6 people

Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet potato (about 1/2 a pound or 8 ounces)
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil (can also use other vegetable oil, or non-dairy spread or butter)
  • 1 cup almond or soy milk
  • 1 1 1/4-oz package dry active yeast (~2.5 teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry (can sub all all-purpose flour or oat flour if desired)

Directions:

1. Cut sweet potato into small cubes (about 1 inch pieces) and place in a small sauce pan. Cover potato cubes with about 1″ water above the potatoes. Bring to a boil then reduce and simmer until the potato cubes are tender, about 15-18 minutes.

2. While potato is cooking, melt coconut oil in a second small saucepan and add almond milk and stir for about one minute.

3. Remove potato from heat. Strain the potato cubes, but KEEP THE POTATO LIQUID aka the water the potato pieces cooked in. I repeat, do not throw it away. Set it aside. This water has starch in it and you will use it to make your bread extra luscious and soft. Also, it’s basically #reclycing. #ecofriendly.

4. Take potato pieces and place in a medium sized bowl. Mash it and add stir in milk mixture and 1 tablspoon sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Take 1/3 cup potato water and place in a microwave safe bowl or pyrex and heat to 105-110 degrees Fahrenheit. Actually take the time to use a food thermometer and check to make sure you’re in this range, or you can kill or under-activate the yeast and all your efforts will be lost! Once it’s in this range, add 1 tablespoon sugar and the sea salt and allow to sit until foamy, at least 10 minutes.

5. When foam is formed, transfer yeast mixture to potato mixture and stir. Add all the flours and mix with a wooden spoon until a sticky dough has formed. Knead for 5-10 minutes until dough is elastic-y and you have all your frustrations worked out. Then transfer to an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a towel and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover a rolling surface with a small amount of flour or plastic wrap and grab a rolling pin. Punch down the dough (this redistributes the yeast #foodscience) and give it a few good kneads. Then, remove about 1/5th of the dough to make the bird’s body. Set this aside. Roll the rest of the dough into a ball, and flatten with a rolling pin into a giant circle.

7. To make the feathers: cut the dough like you would a pizza into small triangles. Flatten each triangle with a rolling pin, and roll, from narrow tip to thick side (if each were a pizza crust, from the tip to the crust) to form rolled cylinders. They can and should vary in size, as they are wings, and you need a variety of sizes!

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 11.18.45 PM

8. Take the 1/5th of dough you set aside. Roll about 80% of that into a small ball for the body of the turkey. Roll out the other small piece into a cylinder, and twist and shape one end of it into a head, with a beak, and add a small bead for an eye. Place onto the body of the turkey, and wrap the neck as desired. Move body onto parchment paper on a baking sheet and begin to assemble.

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 11.19.48 PM

9. Assemble feathers onto body by gently pressing the cylinders you rolled out into the body from behind. Place shorter cylinders towards the end, and the longer ones on top. If you need to cut and shape and re-roll a few, do it. Honestly this whole thing is easier to just look at the pictures and try to recreate the shape. Just pretend the dough is delicate play-doh I guess. Okay I spend too much time working with children and playing with play-doh.

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 11.19.12 PM

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 11.17.26 PM

10. Cover turkey with a towel and allow to proof for at least an hour. Don’t skip this step. According to everything I learned in food science, the second rising is more important than the first.

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 11.20.07 PM

11. Place baking sheet into the oven and bake for 22-28 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges and puffed. When you lift the bread’s edges, the bottom should be slightly browned. And/or tap on the bread, and it should sound hollow. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 11.26.26 PM

12. Serve alongside your other favorite Thanksgiving noms and enjoy! Happy Thanksgiving :-D.

For more healthy takes on classic Thanksgivng dishes, click around below for awesome ideas from fellow members of The Recipe Redux !

Sweet Potato, Parsnip & Sweet Pea Samosas

[ Disclosure: “I received free samples of Libby’s new Vegetable Pouches mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Libby’s and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.” ]

I hope you’re sitting down, because these may actually might be one of my favorite creations ever. They are everything. EVERYTHING! Why, you may ask? Well, they combine several of my favorite things in a healthy, carb-covered, veggie-filled, spicy delightful way. Drooling yet? I am.

Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 9.23.31 PM

Allow me to explain: the utter mention of the two beautiful words, “sweet potato” make me perk up in the same way my dog Millie does when I say the word “treat.” Suddenly my posture straightens, my body is alert, awake, and ready to move to wherever the sweet potatoes may be. Must eat.

Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 9.21.41 PM

Then if you add parsnip, it’s like telling me I won the lottery. Because parsnips holds a top spot on my favorite foods list. It was love at the first bite. The nutty, woody, carroty-sweet flavor is unique and something I simply adore.

Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 9.58.45 PM

Cook both these veggies with spices and cumin and curry and ginger and you’ve got an Indian-food inspired dish, or sorts, full of delicious root vegetables whose flavors have been lovingly coated, accented, and highlighted by the spices and seasonings that hug them.  Samosas may sound a bit intimidating (like, “too much work”) but allow me to assure you that using a pre-made pizza dough was a major shortcut I took, and it truly worked well! I was delightfully surprised at how perfectly soft yet crispy these babies baked up, and made the whole cooking process fast and easy. Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 9.24.40 PM

What ties this filling all together, though, is what’s added at the end. Peas from Libby’s add a sweetness and a softness to the other spicy, earthy veggies, and the fresh cilantro and lemon juice add a sparkle and freshness that seals the deal. The folks at Libby’s sent me some samples of these tasty Sweet Peas, which came in a handy pouch that could fit into even the most cultured space-crunched pantry, were easy to open (no can-opener needed hooray!), easy to use, and tasted as fresh as canned or frozen.

Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 9.21.22 PM

This is also a major win for someone who lived in Manhattan only a mini-fridge for a year, and was unable to use frozen veggies. So I really appreciate this new pouch concept. Way to go, Libby’s! These are things that New Yorkers worry about. Amongst other things like bedbugs, lice, and broker’s fees. Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 9.22.42 PM

These samosas won’t fix bedbugs, lice or broker’s fees, but they can totally turn around hunger pangs, unhappiness, and boredom with the usual side dish or party snack. I beg you, please make these. Wrap up all these hearty and sweet, spicy vegetables, stick them in something doughy, carby, and delicious, bake them, and you have pockets of pure healthy joy, fresh from your oven. Dip in cilantro chutney if you desire, or eat plain. They make a great side dish to an Indian feast or a unique and tasty appetizer. Happy eating! 🙂

Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 9.59.25 PM

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Level: Easy

Makes 6-8 samosas, serving 4-6 as a side dish 

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole wheat pizza dough (you can use a st0re-bought one, which I did, or you can make your own!)
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 2 large parsnips
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1 cup Libby’s Green Peas
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger or 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon roasted red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond, soy or coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

Cilantro Chutney (optional):

  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger or 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup, agave, or honey (if not vegan)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

2. Peel sweet potatoes and parsnip and cube into bite-sized pieces (roughly 1/4th inch cubes) and microwave until just tenderized, about 1 minute. You just want to soften them a bit, but they should still be somewhat firm.

Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 9.19.36 PM

3. Meanwhile, heat olive oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Mince garlic into a paste and add to warm oil. Chop onion and add to oil and garlic and allow to simmer on low heat until the onions are translucent. Add ginger, curry powder, cumin, tumeric, salt and pepper and continue to simmer. Add cubed parsnip and sweet potato cubes and continue to cook over low heat. Add lemon juice and almond milk and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetable cubes are all coated in spice mixture and the liquid of the lemon juice and almond milk has reduced to a lightly coating on the vegetable. You do not want a wet mixture, just enough moisture to transfer the spices to coat the vegetables without drying.

4. Remove pan from heat and fold in Libby’s peas and chopped cilantro. This is your filling. It’s delicious, even on it’s own.

 Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 10.09.10 PM

5. On a lightly floured surface, roll out whole wheat pizza dough until very thin. Using a pizza cutter, kitchen shears, or sharp knife, cut into right triangles, roughly 4 inches x 4 inches x 5.5 inches. Place two spoonfuls of the filling on each triangle. Fold each triangle in half, covering filling, and fold over each edge gently, sealing each by pressing gently with fingers.

6. Place samosas onto baking sheet and place at the oven for 20-25 minutes, until pizza dough has browned and the samosas sound hollow if tapped lightly with finger. Enjoy with cilantro chutney, your chutney of choice, or any other delicious dips or goodies you can think of! Happy and healthy eating :).

Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 9.25.05 PM

7. To make cilantro, combine cilantro, lemon juice, ginger, syrup, salt, pepper, and hot sauce in a food processor or blender and puree until liquified. Serve in a small bowl with samosas.

Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 9.58.45 PM

 Click around below to see what other cool recipes you can make with Libby’s Table products from fellow members of the Recipe Redux ! Happy eating ! 🙂

Autumn Black Rice Salad [with Pomegranate, Coconut & Sweet Potatoes]

This morning I had this odd, sudden realization that I haven’t made or eaten black rice in a while. Actually, it wasn’t that sudden or odd. I thought about it after Beyond Sushi Instagramed this. And then I cried and sobbed because I wanted Beyond Sushi, because as we all know it’s my favorite thing on earth.

Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 8.42.41 PM

Then I thought fondly back to my beloved Rainbow Black Rice Salad. I love love love that dish. It’s flawless in my opinion. Crunchy, fresh, bright, flavorful and satisfying. Ahh, yes, I’ve eaten that black rice salad many-a-times and never been let down.

Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 8.44.14 PM

After a few minutes reminiscing over all the good times I’ve eaten said salad, I decided that lunch today was going to be a black rice salad, of sorts. Except I didn’t have those ingredients and I was feeling like something a bit more fall-ish since the Rainbow Black Rice Salad is a bit summery. I consulted my fridge. Half a pre-cut/seeded pomegranate. Awesome. I was instantly inspired by how bright the red would look against black rice. Step one towards recipe creation/greatness. I decided to work from here.

Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 8.43.50 PM

Next stop: pantry. Sweet potatoes are never NOT in my pantry, and today was no exception. Grabbed a big one, and got chopping. While I popped those in the oven, I debated what else would pop on the plate with red and orange. As I did so, I reached for more ground coffee, which happened to be next to some coconut shreds. Coconut + black rice is also a favorite combo of mine (it worked amazingly in this black rice pudding) so those went in, as well. Upon assembly, I added some cilantro. Initially I thought this flavor combo would be weird, but it somehow pulled everything together. The clean note of the cilantro worked well with the earthy black rice, the tangy crunchy pomegranate seeds, and the creamy, hearty sweet potato cubes. The dish came together so well, my mom even decided she liked it better than the Rainbow Black Rice Salad. Personally I love them both, and think both are beautiful and satisfying for any event depending on your current taste mood.

Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 8.41.52 PM

The tanginess of the pomegranate seeds removes the need for an acidic dressing as in the Rainbow Black Rice salad, and really all this salad needs is a drizzle of good olive oil, and a few dashes of salt and pepper. This is another keeper, I tell ya. Make a big batch and serve as a side dish, entree, or pack for lunch. Eat up!

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Level: Easy

Serves 2 as entree or 4 as side dish

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup black rice
  • 1 pomegranate, cut and seeded
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1/3 cup coconut shreds or chips (sweetened or unsweetened depending on preference)
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, cook black rice on the stovetop according to directions on the package.

2. While the rice is simmering, peel and cube sweet potato into bite-sized pieces and place in the oven. If you’re short on time, you can also just microwave these for 3-4 minutes until tender.

3. Cut and seed the pomegranate and set seeds aside. Dice cilantro.

Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 8.41.21 PM

4. Cool rice and sweet potato cubes. When they are cool, pour rice into a bowl, and mix 3/4ths of your sweet potato cubes, your pomegranate seeds, your coconut, and cilantro (saving the remaining 1/4th for garnish).

Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 8.43.14 PM

5. Drizzle olive oil onto salad and add salt and pepper and mix.

6. Serve rice salad in a bowl or plate, topping with remaining sweet potato cubes, pomegranate seeds, cilantro and coconut. Add more salt & pepper if desired. Enjoy~!

Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 8.41.43 PM

Curried Pumpkin Hummus

As I’m writing this post, the Packers vs. Bears game is on TV. I know this because of social media and because none of my friends want to hang out right now. Currently I’m watching an episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians [one I’ve already seen]. Everyone in Wisconsin is now officially judging me. But no matter, I love football games. I see them as the perfect time to go to the mall, Target, the gym, or Trader Joe’s (no lines!! no people!!).

 Screen Shot 2014-09-28 at 1.21.57 PM

So I’m not watching the Packer game. Football just was never a thing in my household growing up and then I went to NYU so that’s self-explanatory. I just don’t football. I DO go to football parties. For the food. And if I were watching the game right now, I would find this hummus a perfect “game snack.” Instead, it’s a good Kardashian snack. For today. But I encourage you to enjoy it however you please.

Screen Shot 2014-09-28 at 1.21.16 PM

So let’s talk about this Curried Pumpkin Hummus, shall we? This idea came about because I often combine canned pumpkin and store-bought hummus on sandwiches/wraps/etc and have grown fond of the tastes and textures together. When taking fridge inventory yesterday afternoon, I noticed about a leftover 1/2 cup canned pumpkin to use up, a can of chickpeas, and a freshly emptied container of hummus, so this was a no-brainer. I typically buy store bought hummus because honestly I think it’s one of those things that’s pretty-well done in the food world, and it’s easy and clean and tasty and cheap, so why not. Apprehension to spend a pretty penny on a large container of tahini also usually stops me from making hummus, because I just never end up using much of it. So rather than purchase tahini, I use sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, or nuts, and puree them to give the hummus that nutty flavor.

Screen Shot 2014-09-28 at 1.29.27 PM

But yesterday all stars aligned when I realized I had everything I needed, and as I’ve been itchin’ to try out a pumpkin hummus recipe for a while, I gave it a whirl with delicious success! The curry flavor was a no-brainer for me, as well, as curried-flavor anything is something I tend to dig. The slightly spicy and earthy flavors of the curry powder and cumin pair nicely with the umami flavors of the pumpkin and chickpeas. You can make it spicier if you want with more paprika or cayenne pepper, but I urge you not to skip the curry flavors. They really marry the other ingredients together.

Screen Shot 2014-09-28 at 1.20.37 PM

Now use up that leftover pumpkin and make a fresh batch of festive hummus. Eat it with veggies or on a sandwich or on a tortilla [PS currently obsessed with THESE oh my goodness!]. Also pickles. Because pickles’n’hummus are secretly a match made in heaven. #trustme

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup tahini, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, walnuts or almonds (use what you’ve got!)
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 heaping tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (more if desired)

Directions:

1. Place tahini, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, walnuts or almonds into a food processor or blender. Purée until the nuts reach a paste, the consistency of a nut butter.

2. Mince garlic, and add it to the food processor. Pour extra liquid from the chickpea can and dump the chickpeas into the food processor. Add canned pumpkin. Purée until desired consistency is achieved. Most people like it super smooth. I prefer it a wee bit chunky.

Screen Shot 2014-09-28 at 12.23.57 AM

3. Add curry powder, cumin, smoked paprika, and sea salt. Mix until spices are well incorporated.

Screen Shot 2014-09-28 at 1.38.29 PM

4. Pour into a festive bowl and enjoy the way you would other hummuses. I like it on tortillas, raw veggies, and pickles. Yes pickles. Don’t knock it til ya tried it. 😉

Screen Shot 2014-09-28 at 1.21.16 PM

Sweet Potato Latkes with Curried Ketchup

Here is yet another article I wrote for NYU Spoon that I was asked to come up with for the collision of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah or whatnot. I’m not Jewish. But people sometimes tell me I look Jewish. And hand me Jewish pastry things in the streets on Jewish holidays. I tell them I’m not Jewish and they usually just give me stuff anyways. I’ll take it. I grew up an a religious free household so I’ve always been weirdly fascinated by different traditions and holidays and what have you. In fact I took a Jewish literature class at NYU. I was the only non-lit and non-Jew in the class. So that was interesting. Anyways I learned a lot and read a lot. Also a lot of comic books. Apparently those were big in Jewish American lit at some point. All of which have nothing to do with this recipe. Minus potentially relation to Hanukkah.

ANYWAYS….re: the latkes… to be honest I wasn’t sure how’d these turn out in the oven, but I was really lazy, home for like 2 days, had a lot of other stuff going on that weekend. and didn’t want to clean up the mess of pan-frying. So I baked them…and they turned out better that way. Less messy, less greasy, and more delicious?! I’m in. I thought this might be a personal preference since I tend to not like greasy food in general, but even my mom preferred the baked over fried.

The curried ketchup is a must. Not just with these but with sweet potatoes and pan fried potatoes and basically anything and everything you’d usually put ketchup on. I like ketchup. A lot. I used to not like it when I was little. Same with cream cheese. Now I’m overly friendly with the two. #judgeme

So here it is…plugging away another spoon piece. Original link here:

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20-50 minutes
Total Time: 35-65 minutes
Servings: 2-4

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound sweet potatoes (2-3 medium sized sweet potatoes)
  • 1 shallot or 1/2 medium onion
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons canola oil (if using pan-fry method)
  • 4 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder (more if you’re like me and a freak) [side note: Archer Farms by Target makes *the best* curry powder. i’m serious check it out)

Image

Directions:
1. If using baking as your cooking method, preheat the oven to 400°F.
2. Dice the shallot or onion into small pieces and place in a medium bowl.

Image

3. Crack the egg into a separate small bowl, and whisk.
4. Peel sweet potatoes and using a cheese grater, grate the sweet potatoes into the bowl with onions. Add the flour, baking powder, and cumin and mix well. Add the egg and mix all the ingredients together until all potato shreds are coated with moisture and mix is well combined.

Image5. If using the pan-fry cooking method, heat 2 tablespoons canola oil over moderately high heat in a skillet or fry pan. Once hot, reduce heat to moderate and scoop about 2 tablespoons of the potato mixture from the bowl and form into a flat patty using hands. Lower gently into oil using a slotted spoon metal or wooden spoon or a pancake flipper. Allow to fry until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Flip the patty and allow the other side to brown for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from oil and place on a paper towel. Pat excess oil from the latke and season with salt. It is possible to cook 2 latkes at a time, but take care not to overcrowd the pan. Repeat with remaining batter.

Image

6. If using the baking method, line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop about 2 tablespoons of the potato mixture from the bowl and form into a flat patty using hands. Place patties on the baking sheet, with at least an inch between all patties. Bake for 35 minutes, then using a metal tongs, flip each patty and bake an additional 8-15 minutes or until patties are lightly browned. Remove from oven, season with salt, and allow to cool.

Image

7. To make curried ketchup, place ketchup in a small bowl, add curry powder, and stir until well combined.  Proportions of ketchup and curry powder can be adjusted to taste.

 

Image

8. Serve latkes with curried ketchup for dipping.

 

Image