Today's prompt is everything that I love about this time of year: SPICES!
I love warm spices. They always seem to find their way into my recipes in some form or another. I use cinnamon in almost everything. As I developed a taste for other spices, I discovered that I loved curries and stews with warm spices as well. I think savory applications of spices are my favorite simply because they offer unique depths of flavor. I love how the addition of spices to a simple chili or stew can create so much aromatic flavor.
One of my favorite foods in the fall and winter is sweet potato. Sweet potato is always known for its ability to carry sweet spices in desserts. I wanted to add spices to sweet potatoes this time in a more savory way. The blend that I created is nothing extraordinary, but it creates a wonderful combination of smoke, earthiness, and sweetness. The flavors are wonderful when mixed with the mellow sweetness of the potatoes. I added some bitter beet greens and sweet onions into the mixture as well. The simple blend of veggies is a wonderful meal on its own or can be served with a bread or grain of your choice.
I didn't create my own garam masala, but definitely do so if you're feeling up to the challenge. One of these days, I'd like to create my own spice blends. I've heard that fresh whole spices ground at home are the best. In addition to these spices tasting great, they also offer some wonderful medicinal properties (especially that turmeric). This mixture would also be a great breakfast to avoid any sugar crash during your day. Also, it would make a fabulous side dish for Thanksgiving. Just throwing that out there (it is next month, after all). Enjoy and feel good about it!
Spiced Sweet Potato and Greens
Yield: About 4 Servings
Free from: Gluten*, Soy, Nuts, Grains
Serve with bread or grain of choice, optional
Today's color scheme is "goth" inspired...I went with purple, since I happened to find a bag of organic purple sweet potatoes one day. It was a very exciting find. I've never tried these little guys before...I'm sure I'll love them just as much as their orange and white cousins! Sweet potatoes are a food that I began to love as a vegan moving in a more health conscious direction.
To go with my potatoes, I've added other wonderful purple produce: onion (or red, I guess), cabbage and eggplant. My favorite way to eat eggplant is in curry, so I spiced them with garam masala, chili pepper, and black salt. This soup doesn't take very long. You can have it finished in about an hour if you use pre-made stock or bullion cubes. All you need to do is wait for the potatoes to soften and you're good to go!
For even more gothic charm, use the optional red wine while you saute the onion and cabbage.
Gothic Purple Soup with Eggplant Chips
I'm. Finally. Back!
I apologize for my absence these past few months, but I've been very preoccupied with moving! The process was not as extensive as I expected, although it still took me over a month to finally get everything from point A to point B. Luckily, I'm just about settled.
Not being able to cook in my own kitchen has been tough, but I am slowly adapting to my new one. I definitely like the layout (plus it has an island!). I do miss having a gas range, but I actually don't mind my new stove. The change in temp is pretty immediate, which is all I ever need!
Since tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo, I'm going to make my come back with a fusion taco recipe. I was going to feature another dessert, but I'm not really sure I can top last year's Tres Leches Cake! No, I wanted to go savory and simple this year. Tacos are indeed a Cinco de Mayo staple, but they rarely ever look like these.
I filled organic taco shells (which you can always use soft, if you prefer) with a curried tempeh filling. The tempeh is crumbled into a stew of veggies and spices and resembles "beef" when it is fully cooked. The vegetables are those that you may find in a basic curry, such as potatoes, carrots, peas...I added some corn in for sweetness as well.
Japanese curry, in my experience, has always been slightly sweeter and more earthy than Indian or Thai curry. I gave the filling this flavor by adding in a bit of cinnamon and mirin to offset the savory garlic and cumin-based curry spice. The resulting flavor is rich, but not hot. Feel free to add chilies or red pepper flakes to increase the hotness. I left this batch mild to accompany the slightly sweet and acidic cabbage slaw I made as a topping!
Enjoy these with any and all taco fixings, a festive drink, and maybe some guac and chips if you're extra hungry. ;)
It's good to be back! <3
Japanese Curry Tempeh Tacos
Free of: Gluten, Oil (dressing only)
Yield: about 6 servings
Curried Tempeh Filling
Apple Slaw Ingredients
I'm fortunate enough to live in the Garden State.
Many think of New Jersey as a bunch of factories and a boardwalk here and there. Throughout the state, however, there are so many amazing farms, vineyards and farmers markets. There are so many farms right near my house and they have all been operating for generations. It's an amazing thing to see.
I was excited to go out looking for late summer/early fall veggies today. I had some idea in mind of what I wanted to cook, but I wasn't sure how to tie all my ingredients together. I knew that root vegetables would be available as well as the late harvest of nightshades like tomatoes and peppers. I found some delights that I just had to grab. I also got to pet a cute dog. So, I win.
So, my haul today: a huge red pepper, cute little grape heirloom tomatoes and a beautiful acorn squash. I absolutely love their colors. It says everything about September that I love: light yet filling stews with sweet, vibrant flavor. I had to make a stew. No, I had to make curry!
I have made Indian style curry before, but never Thai. I have eaten some Thai coconut curry at restaurants and absolutely loved them, but I never ventured to make them at home. Today had to be the day. The resulting dish had to be different, though. Something with a local flare and a seasonal spin.
So, I took delicious and hearty root veggies and roasted them (including the acorn squash) to bring out their sweetness. Then, I made a sautee of the tomatoes, peppers, onion, garlic and spices. Then, I drenched all the veggies with coconut milk (I'm drooling). The result was a velvety, sweet, earthy, slightly spicy stew that was filling without being overly heavy. I also garnished with some freshly made basil oil. Why not?! The flavors were so bright and balanced. What a treat!
Thanks, VeganMoFo for the inspiration. I was just gonna have leftovers for dinner. ;)
Seasonal Coconut Curry with Acorn Squash
This is my very first food blog! I post revised conventional recipes of foods that I hold near and dear to my heart. My cooking here is all gluten-free and cruelty-free, but full of flavor and comfort.