Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sweet Potato and Bean Soup

I was inspired to make this particular soup after having dinner with a friend the other night. She made a black bean sweet potato chili which was quite yummy. I had made corn muffins to go with it, and when I came across this soup with similar ingredients, I knew I had to make it to go with those left over muffins. Its a chunky, hearty soup that is filling enough for a main meal. It was also great as left overs. The first day I had it served with a corn muffin. Then for left overs the next day, I had it served over a bed of basmati rice, and today I had it served over some left over mashed potatoes. They were all delicious.
The first step of this recipe is to make the beans. This gave me the chance to redeem myself after my baked beans failure  last week. I used a 15 bean mix because that's what I had at home. The one down side to this mix is that because the beans are different sizes, they cook for different amounts of time. I found some of the smaller beans to be on the mushy side while the really large beans weren't as cooked as I would have liked them. On the other hand, the nice thing about the mix is it contained a little bit of barley which was a great addition.

How to bake beans from dry:

1 Cup of 15 Bean Mix (or other dried beans of choice)
3 Cups of Water
Salt if desired

1. Put beans in a large pot and cover with lots of water and let soak over night. 
2. Drain the water and rinse the beans well. 
3. Place the beans and 3 cups of water in a large pot and add the salt if using. Bring the beans to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook the beans until tender. I cooked mine for about 45 minutes ( see notes above about the doneness of the beans). 
4. Drain the beans over a pot or bowl so that you can keep the cooking liquid for the soup broth. 

Sweet Potato and Bean Soup adapted from this recipe by Sarah Britton (My New Roots)

2 Cups cooked beans ( from 1 Cup dried) + 2 Cups cooking liquid
1 small red onion, diced
2 leeks, chopped
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium sized sweet potato, chopped in large chunks
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 Tbsp clarified butter or butter (stay tuned for a post on clarified butter)
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp crushed chilies
2 tomatoes, diced
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt to taste

1. Puree 1 cup of the cooked beans with the cooking liquid using blender or immersion blender. If you don't have a full 2 Cups of cooking liquid left, just add enough water to make up the difference. 
2. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat and add the coriander, cinnamon, and chilies. Stir just long enough to get a nice smell without the spices burning ( a couple of minutes). Add the onion, leek, and garlic and cook until the onion starts to soften. Add the other vegetables, and stir to mix. Continue cooking for about 5 minutes. 
3. Add the whole beans and bean puree and cook over medium-low heat until the vegetables are tender ( about 15 minutes). 
4. Remove from heat and stir in the maple syrup, cilantro and lemon juice. Season to taste.
5. Serve hot garnished, with a drizzle of olive oil and cilantro sprigs. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Warm Cabbage Salad with Apples and Goat Cheese

Hope you enjoy the salad!

Warm Cabbage Salad with Apples and Goat Cheese adapted from this recipe on My New Roots

1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 small Red Onion , diced
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/2 pound red cabbage, cut into thin ribbons ( try to get it smaller than I did)
1 large crisp apple, chopped into chunks ( I used Honeycrisp because they are so yummy right now)
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1 handful of raisins
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 C chopped walnuts
salt to taste
1 oz. soft goat cheese crumbled ( I used the kind coated in black pepper)


1. Saute the onion in the oil until it begins to soften. Add the garlic and cabbage and continue to saute until the cabbage softens, but still has some crunch (about 5 minutes). 
2. Stir in the rosemary, most of the raisins, the apples, half of the goat cheese, half of the walnuts, and the vinegar. Remove from heat. 
3. Taste, and add some salt if you want. 
4. Serve garnished with the remaining raisins, goat cheese, and walnuts. 

I had it over a bed of wild rice which was recommended on the website, and it was a perfect match. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Killer Banana Cake with Rich Chocolate Glaze

This is better than my stand by banana bread recipe, but so much healthier. The regular flour is swapped for whole grain spelt, there are more bananas, there is 90ml of natural syrup vs. 187.5 ml of sugar in my regular recipe, and 90 ml of fat vs. 125 ml . You've got to try it.

Killer Banana Cake with Rich Chocolate Glaze adapted from this recipe at My New Roots

1/4 C Milk ( I used flaxseed milk)
6 Tbsp butter melted
6 Tbsp maple syrup ( the real stuff!)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 C mashed bananas ( I used 5)
2 C spelt flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 C walnuts ( optional - I didn't use them)

1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. Grease and flour a 9 inch spring form cake pan
3. Mix together the milk, butter, maple syrup, vanilla, and bananas
4. Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
5. Add the banana mixture to the dry ingredients and mix by hand until it is just combined.
6. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in oven for about 60 minutes. Toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.

Rich Chocolate Glaze

1 C milk ( I used flaxseed again)
200 g of high quality dark chocolate ( I used 85%)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
pinch salt

1. Put milk and chocolate in a sauce pan and warm slowly while stirring continuously until chocolate is melted.

2. Stir in the vanilla extract and salt, and pour the glaze over the cake immediately. Let set. (As you can see from the pictures, we couldn't wait to try it and cut the cake while the chocolate was still warm and melty. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Honey Baked Chicken and Tomatoes with Romano Crusted Squash

Here are a couple of easy, fragrant dishes, perfect for this lovely fall weather.

Honey Baked Chicken and Tomatoes adapted from Seasonal Food by Susannah Blake 2007

3 Chicken breasts cut into cubes
1 clove minced garlic
Juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
1 C cherry tomatoes
1 tsp cinnamon 
1 Tbsp Honey

1. Preheat the oven to 425 F
2. Heat 1/2 of oil in a Dutch Oven. I got to use my new purple one which I bought for $20!!
3. Add chicken and cook until outside is golden. It does not need to be cooked all the way through as it will be baked in the oven.
4. While chicken is browning, whisk together lemon juice, garlic, rest of olive oil, cinnamon, and salt and pepper to taste.
5. Pour mixture over chicken and stir to mix well.
6. Tuck tomatoes around the chicken
7. Drizzle with honey
8. Bake in oven for about 30 minutes, basting the chicken with juices about half way through. I baked the squash at the same time. If you're doing both, prepare the squash first, and bake the squash on the lower rack and chicken on the upper.

Romano Crusted Acorn Squash - adapted from this recipe on the Sprouted Kitchen which was adapted from Ottelenghi's Plenty

1  1.5 to 2 lb Acorn Squash
2 tsp Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1/3 Cup Bread Crumbs
1/2 Cup Romano Cheese
1 minced garlic clove
1 tsp dried Thyme
Salt and Freshly ground pepper

1. Preheat oven to 425F
2. Slice the squash in half length wise and discard the seeds.
3. Cut squash into slices about 1-2 cm thick.
4. Mix oil and nutmeg in a bowl, then using fingers, rub mixture evenly over slices of squash.
5. Spread the pieces of squash on a parchment lined baking sheet. Do not overlap. You may need a second baking sheet.
6. Mix together the breadcrumbs, garlic, cheese, and thyme and sprinkle mixture over the squash
7. Top off the squash with a generous amount of freshly ground pepper and salt to taste.
8. Bake for about 25-30 minutes. Squash should be soft, and the crust golden and crunchy.