sweet potato & beet hash

Sweet potatoes and beets happen to be two of my favorite foods on this planet, so incorporating them both into one meal is pretty much perfection for me. No offense to the regular potato, but my philosophy is why have a potato when you can have a sweet potato? You don’t get as much Vitamin C with a sweet potato, but you can make up for that elsewhere, and you do get about 7,000 times the Vitamin A! Yay for good eyesight.

I wanted to make a sort of hash-browns-esque side dish to go with our scrambled eggs for brunch this morning (thank you, presidents, for the day off!). There are a lot of recipes out there for sweet potato beet hash, but I went with this one since it was simple and didn’t require a whole lot of extra ingredients. I used organic turkey bacon instead of bacon, but you could go with some kind of veggie-bacon or skip the bacon entirely if you wanted to make this vegetarian. I also used two different kinds of beets. There was a stand at the farmer’s market that had huge bins of all different shaped wild beets, so I got one long skinny one that was the usual deep purple on the inside, and another that was round and had knobs and tails coming off of it, and was swirled magenta and white on the inside (looked like marbled beef when you cut it open).

The result: a little charred as a result of my non-precise timing with the oven, but tasty!

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Sweet potato beet hash

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ginger-lime kale with squash, chick peas & pomegranate

Apparently I can’t stop cooking and food blogging while on break from classes – the thrill of free time!

So I just discovered a new magazine called Clean Eating, which I might even consider subscribing to if they didn’t have a million and one recipes on their website. “Clean eating” isn’t some trendy fad or diet by the way; it just means consuming whole foods as close to their natural state as possible. I’m sure we could all use a little clean eating right now – I know I could – after a holiday full of more fatty, sugary, alcohol-y indulgences than a good nutrition student should admit to consuming.

This wintery super nutritious recipe caught my eye and it is actually eye-catching with its multitude of colors. If you’ve ever heard the advice that you should eat the colors of the rainbow every day, it’s true. Different colored foods provide a wide range of nutrients that complement each other and contribute to a balanced diet. For example in this meal you’ve got kale, loaded with Vitamin K, C, and A, butternut squash for Vitamin A and beta-carotenes, chick peas filled with protein, zinc, fiber, and folate, and pomegranate seeds, a superfood of vitamins and polyphenols. Between the pomegranate seeds and the lime and ginger, it was not only a rainbow of color but a taste and texture explosion! And without further ado, the recipe:

Ginger-lime kale

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Toss 2 cups of peeled, seeded, chopped butternut squash with 1/2 tsp of olive oil, spread on a parchment lined baking sheet, and bake for about 25 minutes until tender. (Side note: I hate peeling and chopping squash – it’s extremely hard and I almost lost a fingertip to it last fall! Luckily the store across the street from me sells pre-peeled chopped squash). While the squash is in the oven, saute a diced medium onion in 1 tbsp olive oil for about 5 minutes. Then add 2 cloves of minced garlic and 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger. After about 30 seconds add 2 bunches of washed sliced kale leaves and cook for about 10 minutes. Then add 1 1/2 cups of chick peas, cover, and cook for 5 more minutes. Add the squash, remove from the heat, stir in 1/4 tsp sea salt, 1 tbsp fresh lime juice, sprinkle with 1/2 cup of pomegranate seeds, and serve! This can be served over rice, quinoa, or your choice of grain, or on its own. And to keep it tasting fresh when I take some to work for lunch tomorrow, I’ll bring the lime and pomegranate separately and add them after reheating.


wild rice salad

I made this for a baby shower potluck lunch at work yesterday. Very simple and good for a big group – but my wild rice salad came out looking nothing like the photo in the original recipe! The kind of rice I used (Lundberg Black Japonica) turned the entire thing dark purple. If you don’t want a dark purple salad, cook your white rice and wild rice separately, or buy normal wild rice that doesn’t “leak” color into the water.

Also, I substituted vegetable broth instead of chicken broth, since there are lots of vegetarians where I work. This actually makes the whole dish vegan, and you can make it gluten free by making your own broth or buying one that is labeled gluten free.

Wild Rice Salad


summery salsa in fall

It’s a rare event these days, three quarters of the way through the semester, when I have time to cook a meal, let alone photograph it or write about it. Do I have time tonight? No. But after 5 1/2 hours of work, 2 1/2 hours of food service & management, 3 hours of biostatistics, and 3 cumulative hours of subway riding, you couldn’t pay me to do anything “productive” right now!

Habañero salsa, rough chop and blended

I’d rather think about vegetables. Recently we were lucky enough to inherit, once again, our friends’ share of CSA farm veggies for the week. A slew of beautiful root vegetables – turnips, sweet potatoes, multicolored carrots, onions and leeks, with rosemary and garlic – made of a delicious roasted/slightly charred pile of fall heartiness one night, and the habañeros and cilantro turned into salsa… two ways. I found some recipes for habañero salsa and ended up combining a few. I took five or six tomatillos, husked and chopped them, and added one habañero (they’re strong!), a bunch of cilantro, two cloves of garlic, a white onion, fresh squeezed lime and orange juice, orange zest, and salt to taste. We ate the chunky roughly chopped version on top of grilled fish with avocado, and then blended the leftover salsa to a smoother consistency which is good with blue corn chips and will probably be great with some version of huevos rancheros for brunch one day. I’ve actually been putting it on top of almost everything. Who says salsa is for summer?


beet green & goat cheese crostini

Beet greens

The last CSA farm share pick-up came with some delicious beets, which of course meant that I was left wondering what to do with the beet tops (greens) afterwards. Pretty much all of the recipes I’ve ever seen for beet greens involve sautéing them in some combination of olive oil, garlic, onion, white wine, and lemon juice. But I wanted something a little different. So luckily for me I discovered this recipe for crostini topped with beet greens and goat cheese – and I had leftover goat cheese! Not only did the recipe sound perfect and tasty, but the really awesome photography helped too.

I picked up a long crusty french baguette at the store (and felt very French biking home with it sticking out about three feet off the back of my bike) and cut it on an angle to get longer slices. I toasted the slices in a pan with a little olive oil and set them aside.  The beet greens needed a thorough washing (two actually) before I chopped the red stems into small pieces, and the leaves separately into strips. I sauteed two cloves of minced garlic (maybe a bit too much?) in extra virgin olive oil and then added the beet green stems and let them cook for about five or six minutes. Finally I added the leaves and let them cook for about two more minutes until they were nicely wilted, and tossed everything with balsamic vinegar and sea salt to taste. I mixed the herb-coated goat cheese together with fresh lemon juice and black pepper and spread it over each piece of toasted bread, topping them off with a heap of beet greens. The original recipe suggested putting a thin slice of lemon on each, which I didn’t do because I added quite a hefty squeeze of lemon to the cheese, but it would have added a nice color contrast. It was a (slightly messy but) great flavorful appetizer with grilled tilapia and heirloom tomato salad. This makes for happy taste buds – and lots of Vitamin A and K!

Beet green & goat cheese crostini