Sunday, May 3, 2009

Quick Roasted Sweet Potatoes/Yam

When I wanted to make quick roasted sweet potatoes/yams, I just went along with my inspiration and it brought rave reviews. Everyone just adores them and they disappear quickly. Simply marvelous and satisfying, they are to live for :)!

A quick note for those who might find the names confusing - sweet potatoes with moist orange flesh are marketed as yams in the U.S. to differentiate them from the drier cream colored ones and both belong to the genus Ipomoea batatas; albeit different types. They are in the same family as the morning glory (Convolvulaceae). They are not true yams at all.

Sweet potatoes/yams are a nutritious addition to any type of diet and provide an amazing 120 percent of Daily Value for Vitamin A and 30 percent of Vitamin C (based on a 2000 calorie diet). They also have a lower glycemic index than regular potatoes.

Roasted sweet potatoes are also great made with a sprinkle of red chile flakes or ground red pepper (cayenne) instead of/in addition to the black pepper and herbs such as thyme and rosemary.

7 servings
Each serving has: 134 Calories; 4 g Fat; 23 g Carbohydrates; 4 g Fiber; and 2 g Protein

Ingredients:

2 lbs Organic Sweet Potatoes/Yams
Sea Salt to taste
Freshly ground Black Pepper to taste
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Method:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Coat a large baking sheet lightly with oil or cooking spray; too much oil will cause it to burn and the smoke alarms will go off :D.

Scrub and wash the sweet potatoes/yams. It is not necessary to peel them. Slice into thick slices and place directly on the prepared baking sheet.

Spread the veggies in a single layer. Sprinkle the salt and several grinds of pepper over them. Drizzle the olive oil.

Place the pan on the lowest rack in the oven and roast for 10 minutes. Flip over the veggies and bake for an additional 5 to 7 minutes.

Ovens vary so check to make sure the veggies are done to your specification and adjust temperature and cooking time.

Serve hot immediately; they are also good warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Raisin Sauce

Use a combination of both dark and golden raisins for a gorgeous presentation. This is a lovely sauce to add a finishing touch to lots of desserts and it is easy to make - takes just 15 minutes. It is to live for!

Makes 1 cup

Ingredients:


1/2 cup Apple Juice
3/4 cup Raisins
1/3 cup sugar
1 Cinnamon Stick, about 2" long
5 or 6 whole Cloves
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
1 pinch of Sea Salt

1/4 cup apple juice
2 tsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp Pure Maple Syrup
2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter

Method:

Combine juice, raisins, sugar, spices, lemon juice and salt in a small pan and gently simmer over medium heat for about 10 minutes.

Mix the cornstarch and the 1/4 cup of apple juice and stir into the raisin mixture and cook until thickened. Stir in maple syrup and the butter and stir until butter melts and is incorporated into the sauce.

Serve warm over cakes, pies, and of course ice cream. Especially delicious along with or over Amazing Pumpkin Pie!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Fasolatha (Greek White Bean Soup)

Fasolatha, a simple, but wonderfully flavorful and satisfying soup is served all over Greece. It is amazing tasting with just a few basic ingredients. Greeks are very generous with the olive oil; I prefer a moderate amount. I have also added turmeric to make sure we get our daily dose of curcumin to keep our brains healthy - as you know "a little turmeric a day keeps lesions away"!

A variety of beans called "gigantes" are used in Greece; they look like large lima beans. I used Great Northern beans here but have also used large Lima beans with great results. A good quality tomato paste may be used if fresh tomatoes are unavailable. Use about 2 to 3 Tablespoons in the recipe.

Fasolatha
Ingredients:

1 lb Large dry Lima OR Great Northern beans
1 small sprig each fresh oregano, thyme and sage
2 to 4 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 medium brown/white/yellow Onions
2 cloves Garlic
1 stalk Celery, with leaves (1 medium bunch)
2 tsp Sea Salt or to taste
Freshly ground Black Pepper to taste
1/2 tsp ground Turmeric
1/4 to 1/2 tsp Red Pepper flakes or ground Cayenne
2 large ripe Tomatoes
4 large Carrots
1/2 cup Italian (flat leaf) Parsley

Method:

Sort, wash, and soak the beans in plenty of water overnight or several hours. Drain and rinse the beans. Cover with just enough fresh water (about an inch above the beans) and bring to a boil. Add the sprigs of oregano and sage and simmer until soft.  Check occasionally to make sure beans are not sticking to the bottom of pot or drying out; add boiling water a little at a time if needed. Set aside until needed.

Prepare the veggies: Peel the onions, wash, and chop finely. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Cut off the root ends of the celery stalk, separate the ribs and wash thoroughly; slice thinly and include the leaves. Wash and clean the carrots; chop or grate coarsely. Wash, core, and quarter the tomatoes; dice or puree. Sort the parsley, strip leaves from the stems, and wash thoroughly; chop finely.

Heat the olive oil with the red pepper flakes in a soup pot and cook the onions and garlic with a pinch of salt and the turmeric until translucent.

Add the chopped celery and cook stirring for about 5 minutes.

Add the pureed tomatoes to the pot and bring to a boil.

Stir in the cooked beans along with the liquids, carrots, salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Add additional water if needed and bring to a boil; simmer gently for about 20 minutes.

Turn off the heat and add parsley. Check and correct seasonings if needed.

Serve hot/warm with good crusty bread, fresh cornbread muffins or quesadillas and a crisp salad. Drizzle a little olive oil on top of the soup if you like.

Enjoy!!