Have you ever heard of a sweet potato latte? Apparently it has become popular in Japantown, San Francisco (article link here). I was intrigued because I’m always looking for new ways to incorporate more vegetables in my day. It had never occurred to me to put them in my breakfast beverage!
I set out to make my own at home, and of course my mission took a detour. I had two butternut squash waiting to be roasted so I did those at the same time I roasted the sweet potato. (I use butternut squash puree in place of canned pumpkin, and keep it stocked in my freezer.) I made pumpkin bread with the fresh puree, and then had an idea. If sweet potato works in a latte, why not pumpkin (aka butternut squash)?
It instantly became my new favorite breakfast drink, happily taking the place of my chai latte since I’m not doing caffeine right now. I measured out the puree into little ramekins and put them in my fridge so I have a quick warm drink in the making for the next few days. I’m not sure if canned would taste as good as fresh, but I think it would be worth a try.
According to the article, this drink is traditionally caffeine free, but espresso can be added for kicks.
1 cup milk
4 Tablespoons pumpkin or butternut squash puree
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons honey or sugar
a tiny pinch (less than 1/8 teaspoon) each of ground cinnamon, ginger, and either allspice, or cardomom
Mix all ingredients in a microwave safe cup. Heat till warm, 1-1 ½ minutes. Froth in a blender or with a handheld frother.
I still intend to try the sweet potato latte, once my butternut fixation eases. I’ll try to keep you posted.
I love olives, all of them. Kalamata, black, green with piminto hearts. I love pickles, pepperoncini, marinated artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, fresh pickled beets…you get the picture. Anything with a nice, vinegary tang makes me happy. My husband still tells the story, in a slightly horrified voice, of the first time he saw me eat Kalamata olives at 7 a.m. I have nothing to say for myself. This is perfectly normal behavior. Isn’t it?
My Aunt Joann used to make this wonderful thing called Cumin Carrots. It’s simply steamed-till-tender carrots marinated in a fresh, zippy vinaigrette with a healthy overdose of garlic. I often make it in the middle of winter when I’m missing summer veggies. Lemon juice and vinegar go a long way towards brightening my rainy days and my carrots.
All summer long I’ve had this rather explicable urge to pickle fresh green beans. When a lovely bag of beans arrived on my doorstep in my CSA box, I was ready to set off on my latest pickling adventure. For some reason, my Aunt Joann’s Cumin Carrots came to mind. I decided to adapt her recipe by using green beans, cilantro instead of parsley…
and some fresh jalapenos for a little kick (hi-ya!) It worked beautifully!
Now that I know green beans and carrots are interchangeable in this recipe, I’m tempted to try cauliflower. A little red bell pepper would be good too. Ooh, asparagus! The possibilities are endless!
Marinated Green Bean & Carrot Salad
1 lb fresh green beans trimmed, halved, and steamed
½ lb carrots sliced ¼” diagonally and steamed
9 small cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
¼ cup white vinegar
2 ½ teaspoons salt
2 ½ teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1-2 jalapenos, sliced (optional)
½ bunch fresh chopped cilantro or flat leaf parsley, or 1 Tablespoon dried
1) Steam trimmed green beans in the microwave. Put a little water in the bottom of a bowl and cover with a paper towel. Microwave for 2-3 minutes until tender-crisp, stirring after every minute to ensure even cooking. (Remember, they keep cooking after you take them out of the microwave. Let them sit for a few minutes and then check doneness before cooking them longer.)
2) Do the same with the sliced carrots, but cook only 1-2 minutes.
3) Whisk together dressing. Stir in cooled veggies and spoon mixture into a jar or other non-reactive lidded container (glass is best). Refrigerate 3-4 hours before serving, better overnight.
I was very fortunate to grow up on a ten-acre farm with an awesome variety of seasonal pickings. The change in seasons was marked by the surrounding trees. An almond tree bloomed outside my window as soon as the sun broke through the winter sky a few warm days in a row. The only time we saw snow in the California Central Valley was when a strong wind blew through the orchards in full bloom.
By April/May, our first summer fruit came. Cherries, glorious cherries, could be harvested for a few short weeks. In June, apricots arrived, which led to more than one apricot fight with the goopy, fallen fruit. Not a pretty picture.
In June/July we had nectarines, my all time favorite summer fruit. Until peaches arrived in August that is. It’s impossible to argue with the perfection of a sun-warmed peach picked straight from the tree, so juicy you have to eat it barefooted and dripping in the grass.
Now that I live in a metropolitan area, the closest I come to enjoying fresh summer fruit, besides my now biweekly produce box from Farm Fresh to You, is going to the farmer’s market. The good news is I work only a few blocks from a one. The bad news is it closes from October-April. But here we are again, hello May!
My loot for this first week:
Sugar snap peas – $3.00 / 1 pound (split the pound with a lovely friend)
Blood oranges (I think they should be called purple oranges. They’re too pretty to be called something so visceral)- $2.00 / pound
Pink grapefruit – $1.00 / pound
Cherries – $4.00 / pound
Native grain bread – $4.25 / loaf
Don’t tell anyone, but I’m a closet vegetarian. I don’t eat meat for the first two meals of the day. I don’t think I could ever be a full vegetarian. For one thing, I like meat. For another, I wouldn’t want to be rude in imposing my dietary wants (not needs) on anyone who was gracious enough to cook for me.
Most importantly, I could never get away with full on vegetarian meals every single day with my rather carnivorous family. Did I mention my almost three year old’s favorite food in the world is sausage? And if I won’t make special meals for my wanna-be picky kids, then why would I make a separate meal for myself? But, that doesn’t mean I can’t try to turn the focus of our meals towards vegetation.
I’m always trying to figure out new lunch combinations that I can make at work. It’s pretty challenging to eat fresh with limited equipment-microwave, toaster oven, and steak knife. (I’m seriously considered bringing in a cutting board and chef knife.)
This is my new favorite veggie lunch wrap:
1 spinach tortilla
2 thin slices of brie
1 handful sugar snap peas
1 handful grated carrot
a couple of teaspoons of Drew’s All Natural Shitake Ginger dressing
I’m a little bummed. This recipe was going to be my first submission to one of the weekly contests at Food52. Coffee recipes! I have two in my repertoire so far—this one, and a coffee cream cheese frosting recipe. I knew the contest closed tonight at midnight. Unfortunately, I didn’t consider that it would close at midnight EST, not PST. Sigh. The good news is we had a wonderful meal tonight. Even better, now you can test the strength of your spice provisions and try it out for yourself. The resulting Indian flavors work well with pork or lamb, and aren’t too spicy for the little ones.
This is actually a great weeknight meal thanks to a morning marinade, and broiling is my new favorite trick for getting dinner on the table speedy quick!
Coffee Spiced Yogurt Marinade for Kebobs
¼ cup plain yogurt
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 Tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons instant coffee
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon thyme
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon white pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne
¾ teaspoon salt
1 ½-2 pounds boneless pork country ribs (or boneless lamb)
1) Morning-Stir up dry spices and salt in a small bowl. Add yogurt, crushed garlic, and olive oil. Blend to make a thick paste.
2) Cut pork into 2-3” cubes and put into a large Ziploc with the spice paste. Seal the bag while pressing the air out. Squish the meat around to coat with spicy goodness. Tuck the bag into a bowl (to avoid leakage) and marinate for 8 hours in the fridge.
3) Evening-Preheat broiler and set oven rack two rows down from the top. Thread meat onto skewers, packed nice and tight, and place on a broiler pan or wire rack set into a rimmed baking sheet.
4) Broil for 8 minutes, turn, another 8 minutes, then check the temp. It may need another 2-3 minutes depending on the thickness to get to 145º.