Tag Archives: sweet potatoes

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup

19 Oct

It all may end soon. This run of black and orange foods, strangely enough, does not seem to be propelling the San Francisco Giants into unstoppable greatness. It’s like 1987 all over again. In fact, the run of games so far seem to bear a striking resemblance to the St. Louis/San Francisco pennant race of that year, a development that I cannot claim to find in any way pleasing.

But, at least I got some soup out of it. This is a good thing, because, after a long and lovely bout of unseasonably warm fall weather, we have finally been plunged into the cold, rainy days of Portland autumn. Soup weather is definitely here, and I could not be happier (for the soup, that is—not so much for the rain). What is odd, however, is the fact that no one who happened upon this website would ever guess that I hold such a fondness for soup. In the 18 months or so that I have been pouring myself into this lonely little site, there have, thus far, been only two soup appearances (three, if you count a soup recipe I developed for Portland Farmers Market). Suffice it to say, this oversight is definitely not indicative of my usual tastes (the number of cake recipes featured here, however, is).

This soup, number three in this site’s current arsenal, is a great addition to anyone’s repertoire. It’s hearty, but in a meatless, high fiber sort of way, rather than in a heavy, cream-laden way. The black beans, cooked until soft and tender, are nicely paired with brightly sautéed sweet potatoes, and the small hints of spice provide a gentle background to each bite. This is the type of soup that is perfect to eat on a brisk evening, each steamy bite warming you from the inside out. It may not make your favorite baseball team score any (much, much, much needed) runs, but it will definitely make your lunch or dinner a pleasant meal to remember.

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup Recipe

10 ounces dry black beans

3 quarts of water

¼ cup chopped garlic (I got this much garlic from 8 very large cloves)

1 medium yellow onion, finely diced

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 bay leaf

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into ¼-inch chunks

optional: ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

In a large pot, cover the black beans with water and soak overnight. Alternately, you can quick-soak the beans by covering them with water, bringing them to a rapid boil, allowing the beans to boil for 2 minutes, then covering and allowing to soak for 1 hour.

Drain the beans from their soaking liquid, then place beans in a very large soup pot or Dutch oven. Add 3 quarts of water, garlic, onion, red pepper flakes, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower heat to a simmer and gently simmer the beans, uncovered, for 1½ hours.

While the beans are simmering, heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds. Allow the cumin seeds to sizzle for 15-20 seconds, stirring all the while, then add the diced sweet potatoes. Lower the heat to medium and sauté the sweet potatoes for 20 minutes, stirring frequently. When the sweet potatoes have become fork-tender, borrow about ½ a cup of the liquid from the cooking beans and pour the liquid over the sweet potatoes to deglaze their cooking pan. Stir the steaming, bubbling liquid with the sweet potatoes, scraping any brown bits up from the pan, then pour the sweet potatoes and their deglazing liquid into the simmering beans. Stir to combine every thing, then bring everything back up to a simmer and allow to gently simmer for 30 minutes. Top each serving with a sprinkling of cilantro, if using.

Serves 6-8 people, not all of whom are required to be San Francisco Giants fans.

Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Samosas in Phyllo

20 Aug

In the spirit of my propensity to toss bits and pieces of leftover vegetables into a tart or a quiche and then sit back and enjoy the fruits of my frugality, a little while ago I decided that my bits and pieces of this and that were ready to branch out a bit. I love a good tart and quiche, but I also love a good challenge. Also, I love Indian food.

I know that I went super heavy on Indian food posts a few weeks ago, but can you blame me for wanting to add on to my arsenal of Indian food recipes? And it’s not just because I am Indian. I mean, technically I am half Scottish as well as half Indian, but you won’t see me whipping up a batch of haggis any time soon. Though I have been know to make shortbread, but, you know, I put ginger and lime in it, because that’s what happens when India creeps into Scotland.

This new riff on samosas is also a new riff on the traditional Indian dish of aloo gobi, a dry sauté of spiced potatoes and cauliflower Literally, in Hindi, “aloo” means potato and “gobi” means cauliflower. Now you know roughly 50% of the Hindi that I know. (If I ever have to negotiate a taxi fare in India, I am going to be in so much trouble.) With a sad little bag of leftover sweet potatoes sitting in the pantry and a fast-wilting head of cauliflower in the refrigerator, I knew I wanted to whip up a decidedly different version of aloo gobi. Since I also had a package of phyllo dough that was quickly turning dry, it soon became clear to me that the universe wanted me to make samosas. And who am I to throw a cold shoulder to the universe?

I am a big fan of my initial recipe for samosas in phyllo, and I cart that sucker out quite a bit when tasked to bring a dish to a potluck or picnic, but these sweet potato and cauliflower samosas are fast overtaking the originals on my list of favorites. The sweet potatoes add a nice change in flavor from ordinary potatoes, and the cauliflower, once sautéed, wrapped up, and baked, practically melts into the creamy and delicious mixture. The spices in this version of samosas are different from the original, I have streamlined the filling and folding process, and, believe it or not, I just might prefer this version overall. For now, at least. Until I find a couple of sprouting potatoes and sagging chiles lying around and decide to make a batch of samosa recipe #1, and then predictably pronounce them to be my reigning favorite.

Last Year: How to Cook Pizza on the Grill

Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Samosas in Phyllo Recipe

3 tablespoons vegetable oil or ghee

1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds

1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced into very small ¼-inch cubes

½ head fresh cauliflower, cored and cut into ½-inch chunks

½ teaspoon ground coriander

¼ teaspoon ground turmeric

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1 small green chile, seeds and ribs removed, then very finely chopped

1 tablespoon lemon juice

½ teaspoon sea salt

1 package phyllo dough, about 35 to 40 sheets

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted then cooled a bit

In a large pan set over high heat, heat vegetable oil or ghee until it is very hot. Add cumin seeds, and cook them just until they begin to sizzle and pop (this will take just a few seconds). Carefully add in sweet potatoes, and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Using a slotted spoon, remove potatoes from pan and set aside. In the still-hot pan, add the cauliflower and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Add the potatoes back to the pan with the cauliflower, then add in the spices, ginger, and chopped chile. Reduce heat to low, stir to combine, cover, then let cook for 5 minutes. Remove cauliflower mixture from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.

When the mixture has cooled, preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Cover phyllo stack with a dampened kitchen towel (this will keep the phyllo from drying out as you work).  Take one phyllo sheet from stack and lay it down on your work surface with a long side nearest you (keeping remaining sheets covered as you work) and brush lightly with butter. Fold the dough towards you in three folds, like a tri fold business letter. You will now have a long, three-layer strip of phyllo dough.

Place a tablespoon of filling near one corner of a strip, then fold corner of phyllo over to enclose filling and form a triangle. Continue folding the strip (as one would fold a flag), maintaining a triangle shape. Put fully wrapped samosa triangle, seam side down, on a parchment-lined large baking sheet. Repeat process, making more triangles in the same manner, until you’ve used all the phyllo and all the filling, whichever comes first. Very, very lightly brush the tops of the formed samosas with any remaining melted butter.

The samosas can be baked in a 375 degree oven, one sheet at a time, for 20-25 minutes, or until they are golden brown.  Cool them slightly on a wire rack before serving.

If you plan to freeze the samosas instead of bake them straightaway, place the wrapped samosas in the freezer on their parchment-lined baking sheets, and freeze for one hour.  Remove the samosas from the freezer, and stack them in an airtight container, separating each stack with a layer of parchment or wax paper.  The samosas will keep in the freezer for up to 1 month.  When you are ready to bake the frozen samosas, follow the baking directions for fresh samosas.  There is no need to adjust the baking time.

Makes 35 to 40 samosas, depending on how generous your 1 tablespoon scoops are.

Roasted Fingerling Sweet Potatoes with Lemon Tarragon Aioli

12 Apr

Not too long ago, after admitting that I had a wee bit of a problem keeping up with the New Yorker, I noticed that, next to my bedside, there sat a leaning tower of old New Yorker issues just waiting to topple over in the middle of the night and trigger a bad dream about thunderstorms or exploding bombs (apparently I am very susceptible to sounds invading my dreams, because just last night I was awoken from a dream about being trapped in a horrible hurricane, only to realize that, oh, no! There really was a hurricane happening right at that moment, only to then realize that, nope, there was no hurricane, there was only my husband, wheezing/snoring in his sleep just inches from my face and giving me nightmares, but I digress).  Knowing that my dusty magazine pile was bordering on unreasonable, I began to stack the old New Yorker issues in my arms and take them to the recycling bin.

As I walked down the stairs, I noticed that several of the magazines were marked in the beginning few pages with a dogeared fold.  One issue sporting this feature would not be notable, but half a dozen?  Against my better judgment—I was, remember, supposed to be getting rid of these magazines—I fished a couple of magazines out of the pile and opened them up to their folded pages.  All of the pages, it turned out, were marked at the same place: the Tables for Two column, the short restaurant review that appears in the first few pages of the magazine, and, some of you might remember, the inspiration for this recipe.  As I soon recalled, for months I had been noting tasty-sounding dishes that were mentioned in the column, with the intention that I would someday gather together the elements in each recipe and then create them in my own way.  Hazelnut orange pesto?  That sounds delicious!  And now this, fingerling sweet potatoes with tarragon?  Sign me up.

Though I can’t remember the name of the restaurant that offered the inspiration for this dish, the thought of combining fingerling sweet potatoes with tarragon stuck in my brain and refused to budge.  Not knowing anything more about the presentation, other than the main ingredient and its accompanying herb, I thought of the way I’d like to see these two things come together.  Petite sweet potatoes roasted in olive oil until soft and crisp and paired up with a wonderfully garlicky, herby aioli sounded just right.

And it was.  The sweet, caramelized potatoes are a natural match with the creamy, forward flavor of the tarragon aioli.  If I am recalling things correctly, the restaurant was favorably reviewed in the New Yorker, and this little sample of a flavor pairing from the restaurant makes it clear why.  So, in what might turn out to be an ingenious excuse for having all those old issues of the New Yorker sitting around, I have decided to create a new category here on Savory Salty Sweet.  The category will be called, fittingly, Tables for Two, and it will feature dishes that I read about in the New Yorker column of the same name and felt inspired to make.  I don’t know how many recipes I will actually be able to create from this endeavor, but I am excited to find out.

Last year: Carrot Muffins

Roasted Fingerling Sweet Potatoes with Lemon Tarragon Aioli Recipe

If you can’t find fingerling sweet potatoes, just use the tiniest sweet potatoes you can find.  I have found that the tinier the potato, the more delicate its flesh, and that’s a real virtue in this recipe.  When you roast the potatoes, you want them to become pillowy soft and creamy with just tiny hits of crispness here and there on each slice.

2 pounds of fingerling sweet potatoes, sliced in half or in quarters in order to make all the potato slices a standard size (having them a uniform size will allow them to all roast at the same rate)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place sliced sweet potatoes on a large baking sheet, then drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Toss everything together, then arrange potatoes in a single layer.  Roast potatoes for 30 minutes, until the potatoes are soft and their edges have started to turn crisp.

Lemon Tarragon Aioli

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

3 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 large egg yolk

2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, roughly chopped

7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

To make aioli, combine lemon juice, mustard, garlic, egg yolk, and tarragon in a food processor or blender.  Process or blend until smooth, then, with the food processor still running, slowly add the olive oil until the mixture becomes smooth and thick.  Remove the lid, stir the mixture with a spatula or spoon to mix in any errant bits trapped on the sides or bottom of the bowl, then add salt and pepper to taste and process for a few more seconds to ensure that everything is smoothly combined.

Serve potatoes warm, with aioli drizzled on top, or in a small bowl on the side.

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