Saturday, April 11, 2015

African Inspired Sweet Potato Mushroom Stew

This dish is actually inspired by a date I had with a man from Senegal.  He said he wanted to cook for me.  I wasn't going to turn that opportunity down so I went to his house and he prepared a traditional African dish of sweet potatoes and lamb in a spicy peanut sauce served on a bed of rice.  It was really good so I  have tried to create a vegetarian version of the meal because I have never cooked lamb in my life!

And, in case you're wondering, there was no second date but I sincerely appreciated the meal.

Sweet Potato Mushroom Stew

1 onion chopped
4 tbsp. olive oil
2 garlic cloves chopped
2 tsp grated root ginger
2 medium sized sweet potatoes cut into bite sized cubes
1.5 tbsp. curry paste (I use Thai Kitchen brand)
3 tbsp. tomato paste
1 1/2 - 2 cups vegetable broth
8 oz. button mushrooms, quartered
2 large handfuls spinach
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
2 tbsp. coconut milk (optional)
1/4 cup fresh coriander, chopped
salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a large pot, add the onion, garlic, ginger and fry for 5 minutes.
Add the curry paste to the onion mixture and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add the sweet potatoes, stir to coat with the onion mixture.
Mix the tomato paste and vegetable broth in the saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the sweet potatoes are almost tender.
Add the mushrooms and spinach to the stew and cook for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked through.
Add peanut butter. To take the edge off the curry you can add the coconut milk if desired.
Add coriander, season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve garnished with coriander sprigs.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Veggies & Dip, Dip, Dip

Raw veggies and dip are a healthy, quick and easy snack.  Veggies alone can get boring and are not a significant source of protein or good fats but add any of these nutrient packed dips to them and you have a powerhouse snack or lunch on the run.

Classic Basil Pesto

2 cups raw walnuts
1/2 cup of olive oil
2 cups fresh basil
2 garlic cloves
Dash of salt

In food processor, process nuts until fine. Add remaining ingredients and process until very smooth. Refrigerate.

Classic Humus

2 cans chickpeas (15 oz. each), drained and rinsed
1/3 cup tahini
3 garlic cloves
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin
Pinch of salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 cup filtered water (only necessary if blend is too thick)

Process all ingredients in food processor until smooth.  Refrigerate.


Avocado Cilantro Dip

2 ripe avocados
1 cup fresh cilantro
Pinch of salt
1 tsp of garlic powder
3-4 tbsp. fresh lime juice

Scoop avocado out of it's shell and remove the pit.  Place in food processor with all other ingredients and blend until smooth.  Refrigerate.