SWEET POTATO “HUMMUS”

My fingers are firmly crossed that there is no such thing as the Hummus Protection Squad, or I’d be in serious trouble. You can call it a “dip” if it makes you feel better, it’s fine with me.  I adapted the recipe from several different sources, but the little detail I loved the most was using the microwave to cook the sweet potato. The flavor was still quite intense and the prep time substantially faster when compared to roasting, steaming, or boiling. Since America Test Kitchen recommended this method in several of their dips, I knew it would work. Those guys work hard to control all variables in their culinary experiments.

SWEET POTATO “HUMMUS”
(inspired by several sources)

1 pound sweet potatoes (two, medium-large)
¾ cup water
¼ cup tahini
1 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
2 tablespoons yogurt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste
toasted sesame seeds (optional)
drizzle of olive oil (optional)

Prick sweet potatoes all over with a fork.  Place them over a paper towel in the microwave and cook until very soft, 10 to 12 minutes. Allow the potatoes to cool down until you can handle them safely. Slice them in half, scoop the cooked flesh, discard the skins.

Place the cooked potato in the bowl of a food processor. Add the water, tahini, olive oil, yogurt, lemon juice, all the spices, and process until completely smooth. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper

For best flavor, allow the hummus to sit at room temperature for half an hour or several hours in the fridge, bringing to room temperature before serving.  Drizzle with olive oil and toasted sesame seeds, if desired.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here


Comments: First of all, don’t twist your nose at the microwave step. It works not only for sweet potatoes, but – ready for this? – eggplant! If you like to make baba ganush and until now have roasted the eggplant, give the microwave a chance. I intend to blog about it sometime, but it might take a while. I first saw it in an old book by Barbara Kafka, The Microwave Gourmet. Her words: the eggplant cooked in the microwave retains a beautiful green color, rather than taking on the dull brown of roasted eggplant. Mind blowing, don’t you think? Anyway, I hope I convinced you to try it.

I did not expect to like this departure on my favorite classic as much as I did. The texture won me over, big time, it is very creamy. The tahini takes it into hummus territory with the help of all the spices, but has a slightly sweeter and less sharp taste. I cannot quite comprehend that some people would not like the original version, but if you find yourself faced with entertaining these rare individuals, consider making this variation. It will be a hit.  As to what to enjoy it with, we have always been partial to Ak-Mak crackers, but the other day Phil brought home a box of Dr Kracker snackers and I have one word for you: dangerous. Actually, here is another: addictive. They are dangerously addictive. So so good! He found it at Marshalls, but here is a link to amazon, so you can see what I’m talking about. He bought two kinds, one with cheese and one with a mixture of seeds. I cannot decide which one I loved the most.  Even plain they are fantastic. You’ve been warned.

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ONE YEAR AGO: Cauliflower Crust Pizza

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SECRET RECIPE CLUB: QUINOA AND SWEET POTATO CAKES

Quinoa Sweet Potato Cakes1
The Secret Recipe Club is a monthly event that pairs food bloggers in secret so that they pick a recipe from their assigned partner, and blog about at the exact same time.  My group always posts on the last Monday of the month, but we had a vacation break in December.  Having barely survived SRC withdrawal syndrome, here I am to report on the outcome of my virtual stalking of Nicole’s site,  Hapa-tite.  I was delighted to learn the rationale behind her blog’s name: Hapa is a Hawaiian word that means “half” and is used to describe a person of mixed race with partial roots in the Asian or Pacific Islander heritage.  Hawaii is one of our favorite spots on earth for a vacation.  We love the atmosphere, the music, the pace of life, the people, and you cannot beat the weather.  Weather?  Sore subject. As I type this on a Sunday morning,  a foot of snow  is laying in our backyard. Simply put: a meteorological tragedy.  But, rather than dwell on the harsh reality of January in Kansas, I will tell you that two other recipes fought very hard to be featured in the Bewitching today: her Chicken-Lime Skewers with Apricot Glaze,  and her Pork Souvlaki.  In the end, the chance to use my black, red & white quinoa made me go for these tasty little fritters.

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QUINOA AND SWEET POTATO CAKES
(from Hapa-tite,  inspired by original recipe from Cannelle & Vanille)

makes 8 cakes

1/2 cup (90 g) quinoa, rinsed
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, diced
1 + /2 cups (about 200 g) grated sweet potato
1/4 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 eggs
1/3 cup (50 g) Panko bread crumbs
1/3 cup finely grated Parmigiano cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
grape seed oil for frying
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Bring 1 cup (250 ml) of water to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Add quinoa and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Stir, reduce heat to medium low, cover with a lid, and cook for 20 minutes until quinoa has absorbed all the water and it’s tender. Set aside to cool.
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Heat a medium saute pan over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and cook the shallot for 3 minutes. Add the grated sweet potato, 1/4 teaspoon salt, coriander, and black pepper, and cook for another 3 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
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In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley, and chives. Add the cooled quinoa and sweet potato mixture. Stir to combine.
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Heat a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add enough grape seed oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Spoon 1/4 cup of the mixture and shape it into a round cake. Add enough cakes to the pan without overcrowding it. Cook for 3 minutes on each side or until golden. Finish frying all the cakes. Drain them on paper towels before serving.
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ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Frying1

Comments: Aren’t these cakes the most colorful thing ever?  I modified the recipe a little bit, adding more sweet potato than called for, and using a mixture of different quinoa colors instead of only white.  They turned out quite festive.  Those who have gluten intolerance can use gluten-free bread crumbs, or I suppose almond flour could go well too.  You could probably get by with only 1/4 cup of almond flour as a binder.   I also think some grated ginger could be fantastic together with the coriander and the herbs.  Fun things to try.

Nicole, it was great to get to know your blog a little better this month, I see that 2014 will bring wonderful things to your life, like moving to a new home and getting married…  Good luck with all your projects, and if you succeed in de-cluttering, tell me your secret!  😉

If you want to see what my fellow Secreters were concocting in their kitchens this month, poke the blue frog at the end of the post. I think she might be Hawaiian, who knows?   She sure seems to have that aura of happiness that comes with the islands…

ONE YEAR AGO: Pumpkin Bolo de Fuba’ Cremoso

TWO YEARS AGO: Citrus-crusted Tilapia Filets

THREE YEARS AGO: Bran Muffins, not just for Hippies

FOUR YEARS AGO: Flourless Chocolate Cake

CARROT AND SWEET POTATO PUREE

Potato puree is comfort food “par excellence”. One of my favorite menus on a chilly evening is braised short ribs served over mashed potatoes (I gained about 3 pounds just by typing that sentence! 😉 ) Sometimes I crave that type of side dish, but I’d be happier with a lighter caloric load.

Giada de Laurentiis devised a perfect alternative during her “Light and Fabulous” menu, that paired broiled tilapia filets with a creamy puree of carrots and yams. You can find the recipes for that episode here. The puree has a beautiful, bright orange color, and its taste complements many main dishes.

CARROT AND SWEET POTATO PUREE
(adapted from Giada de Laurentiis)

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium shallot, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 teaspoon salt, plus extra for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
2 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth
2 cups water

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a saucepan. Add the shallot and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute until fragrant. Add the carrots, sweet potatoes, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook for 5 minutes until slightly softened. Add the stock and water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the veggies are tender, about 25 minutes. Drain the veggies, saving the cooking liquid. Transfer them to a food processor, and puree until still slightly chunky, adding some of the cooking liquid, until you reach the consistency you like. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Our grocery had sweet potatoes, but not yams, so that’s what I used. Next time I’ll add a touch of ginger to the puree, because it goes so well with sweet potatoes. Maybe a little orange zest too? But even without these additional touches, this puree was an excellent side dish for our grilled, butterflied pork tenderloin. Something about eating bright colored food instantly makes me feel healthy. This puree tastes good, it’s not too heavy, and it gives that  feeling of happy satisfaction at the end of the meal.

Want to make it even faster on a weeknight? Cut the veggies in the morning before work, and save them in the fridge. Small details make life a lot easier when you return home  feeling a little spent. 😉

ONE YEAR AGO: Impromptu Pasta Dinner

 

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