Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sweet Potatoes and Keen-What?

My friend found a great deal on sweet potatoes and let me in on it. I have a :::few::: lying around now and wanted to do something different with them

In Cajun Country, sweet potatoes can be found one of three ways: candied, baked, or in the holiday favorite Sweet Potato Casserole, which could double as a diabetic-coma-inducing dessert. Good, yes. Healthy? Not on your life!

I wanted my sweeties to be spicy. And roasted. Nothing new and inventive here, but they were spicy and really tasty!

Spicy Roasted Sweet Potatoes

4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" chunks
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
1/4 heaping tsp cayenne pepper (or less if you aren't Cajun or don't like spicy stuff)
3 cloves of garlic
Salt to taste
1 tbsp olive oil

Combine in a heavy roaster or stoneware dish. Roast potatoes at 400° for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring every 10 minutes or so.

We are also in dire need of a major grocery shopping trip so I'm scrounging in the cupboards until I can make the time. This is shaping up to be an incredibly busy week. I love quinoa and had quite a bit on hand. So it sounded like a quinoa kind of night to me.

If you've never tried quinoa (pronounced KEEN-WAH), you definitely should. It is the only grain that is a complete protein. It is very versatile and can be used in place of rice or other grains in many dishes. My favorite way to use it is in a salad, either warm or cold. I saw a recipe with apples and Gouda cheese with quinoa in a recipe. The cheese was out and it called for other ingredients I didn't have so I simply used the recipe as a jumping off place and did my own thing. The slightly sweet, crunchy notes in this salad complemented the spicy sweet potatoes very nicely. I can't wait to have the leftovers for lunch.

Fall Quinoa Salad 

1 1/2 cups quinoa
sea salt
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 onion, cut in half and then sliced thinly
5 tbsp red wine vinegar, divided
4 oz radish greens, thinly sliced (about 3 cups) - this was what I had from my sister-in-law's garden - kale would work well, as would arugula, but you would probably want to leave that raw
3 medium celery ribs, slice thin
1 large crisp apple (I had a big Jonagold)
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped and toasted
3/4 cups dried fruit (I used blueberries and golden raisins - cherries or cranberries would work well, too)
salt and cracked black pepper, to taste

In a bowl, rinse the quinoa with water a few times.  Quinoa has a bitter alkaloid on the outside of the grain, but it is easily washed off.  Just make sure to rinse it three or four times.  Drain and transfer to a 3 quart pot.  Add 2 1/2 cups water and about a teaspoon of salt.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes.  When the quinoa is cooked, the germ will spiral off slightly.  Unlike rice, it gives you a visual clue!  Isn't that nice of it?  When the quinoa is cooked, fluff it with a fork and put it in a bowl to cool slightly.  You don't want it to be hot for this dish.  

While the quinoa is cooking, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a skillet and saute' the onion over medium heat until the onions become nicely caramelized.  Add 2 tbsp of the vinegar to the onions and stir it around while the vinegar cooks away.  Remove and cool slightly.  

In the same pan, without added oil, add the radish greens (or whatever greens you are using if you need them to be cooked) and toss them around just until wilted.  As you can see, my 3+ cups cooked down a lot.  I could have used more.  

Mix the remaining 3 tbsp olive oil with the remaining vinegar, a few grinds of pepper and a little salt.  Whisk together and toss with the quinoa and all the other ingredients.  Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.  

1 comment:

  1. I want to try both of these recipes! Love your blog! :)