Sweet Potato and Sage Risotto

7 03 2012

I don’t get how some food bloggers update so frequently. Really, a post every day/every other day?? Is the Internet the only occupation you have in life? And you know what also pisses me off, food bloggers who update a lot with posts about baked goods. Where are all these baked goods going, you fat pig? If I want to blog about a cake, I have friggin’ cake sitting around all week. I don’t eat cake every day, unlike these people, these unemployed, cake-faced bastards.

So to all the other workin’-class food bloggers, I salute you for updating bi-weekly at best. We work a lot, and sometimes the last thing we want to do is cook, let alone take pictures of it, savor the complex flavors, and then write about it online. Especially if you work all damn day in a restaurant, like myself.

But yesterday, I was able to summon the energy to cook after work and made this luscious little risotto. It’s earthy and creamy; the perfect side to a winter meal, or a meal in itself, paired with a salad. I recommend using fresh sage, but if you don’t have it, a teaspoon of dried works too.

Sweet Potato and Sage Risotto
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking: A Commonsense Guide

5 cups vegetable stock
1/4 cup olive oil
1 red onion, cut into thin half moons
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 2 cm. pieces
2 cups risotto rice (Arborio rice)
3/4 cups shredded Parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnishing
3 tbs. shredded sage
Salt and pepper

Pour the stock into a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover and keep at a gentle simmer.

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Sauté the onion over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the sweet potatoes and rice and stir until well-coated.

Add 1/2 cup of hot stock, stirring constantly over medium heat until the liquid is absorbed. Continue adding more stock, half cup at a time, stirring all the while for about 25 minutes, or until all the stock is absorbed, the sweet potato is cooked and the rice is tender and creamy.

Stir in the Parmesan and most of the sage. Season well with salt and pepper. Serve drizzled with some olive oil and sprinkled with the remaining sage and some shaved Parmesan.

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Vegan “Cheddar” & Sweet Potato Soup

19 12 2011

I absolutely adore cheese. But I also absolutely adore vegan cheese substitutes. It really makes no sense. I also love nutritional yeast, though it gives me really bad gas. It’s worth it for all them B vitamins though.

For cheese and yeast lovers alike, this soup will satisfy. It’s creamy, tangy and comforting. Cinnamon and brown sugar mixed with sweet potatoes… c’mmoonnn.

Try toasting up your own croutons or just have some crusty bread on hand because you’ll be wanting it to soak up every bite.

Vegan “Cheddar” & Sweet Potato Soup
Adapted from The Uncheese Cookbook

2 cups water
2 medium carrots, sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 tbs. Spice Blend (recipe below)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 cups cooked sweet potatoes, mashed
1/3 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 cups vegan milk
2 tbs. Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper, to taste

Place the first six ingredients in a large soup pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, cover and simmer until the carrots are tender, about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the mashed sweet potatoes, nutritional yeast and milk.

Puree the mixture in a blender, a portion at a time, until smooth. Return to the soup pot and stir in the brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Warm over medium heat, until heated through, stirring often.

Serve with croutons.

Spice Blend

1 1/2 cups nutritional yeast flakes
3 tbs. salt
1 tb. onion granules
1 tb. paprika
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. parsley
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/4 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp. marjoram
1/4 tsp. dill seed

Place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until finely ground. Store in an air-tight container at room temperature.





Butternut Squash & Red Lentil Soup

28 09 2011

The main reason I chose to make this soup, minus the fact that it harnesses some great autumn veggies, also minus the fact that I had some tahini kicking around in the fridge… was that in the cookbook picture, it looked so creamy, like a spiced pumpkin puree.

I had just spent the night at a friends grandparents house out in Chemsford, MA and part of dinner was a pumpkin soup that was so yummy and had the same texture that I was dying for; the kind where you can swirl imprints with your spoon that will hold just long enough. Sadly, my soup didn’t turn out that way. Maybe I didn’t use enough squash, or too much broth. Maybe I’ll just keep blaming myself. Stupid stupid stupid. Maybe I’m a victim of metric system conversions. The book was published in Australia.

Either way, it’s a thinner soup than expected, but don’t let that deter you. It has a mellow, sweet flavor with the occasional hint of hotness. If I made it again, I would add some roasted garlic and some herbs, I’m thinking sage.

Butternut Squash & Red Lentil Soup
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking: A Commonsense Guide

1 tb. olive oil
1 long red chili, seeded and chopped, plus extra to garnish
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large butternut squash, peeled and chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
5-6 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup red lentils
1 tb. tahini
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Saute the chili, onion and garlic over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, or until the onion has softened.

Reduce the heat to low, add the squash and sweet potato, cover and cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the stock and bring to the boil, simmer for 10 minutes. Add the lentils, put the lid back on and cook for an additional 10 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.

Process the soup in batches in a blender, add the tahini and blend until smooth. Return to the saucepan, and gently reheat. Season to tase. Serve garnished with chili.





Sweet Potato & Scallion Salad

25 08 2010

The name of this blog originally intended to be Liminal Plates, playing around with the idea that I am in a very liminal space right now, somewhere between college and the “real world”, not really sure where to head. Well, I am still there. There’s a lyric in a Why? song that reads, “What should these earnest hands be holding?” And I find myself asking that a lot of the time. A camera, a spatula, a guitar, a pen. My passions flood me, but ultimately divide my time, leaving me feeling like I’m clutching a buoy for support in this here real world. So who knows where I’ll go. In the meantime, I’ve made sweet potatoes. Try it out. If I made this again, I would half the amount of liquid in the dressing because the veggies are drowning in it (pardon my nautical theme-age). But it’s still delicious.

Sweet Potato & Scallion Salad
Adapted from Bobby Flay

4 large sweet potatoes, par-cooked & cut into 1/2-inch slices
8 scallions
1/2 red onion, sliced into moons
1 avocado, cut into chunks
3/4 cup olive oil, divided
2 tbs. Dijon mustard
1/2 cup cider vinegar (I’d cut this in half)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tsps. honey (I used agave nectar. Any sweetener will suffice)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup coarsley chopped flat-leaf parsley

Preheat grill to high. (Note: I used my oven’s broiler because it was pouring outside). Brush potatoes and scallions with oil and arrange on grill. Grill potatoes for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until tender. Grill scallions until softened and marked.
In a large bowl, whisk together the 1/2 cup olive oil (or less), mustard, vinegars, and honey. Season with salt and pepper. Add potatoes, scallions, red onion, avocado and parsley. Toss until everything is well coated.