Sweet Potato Rice Bowl with Watercress

  We’ve been enjoying Thanksgiving leftovers morning, noon, and night in our house and I’m ready to start thinking about tempering that with some lighter meals. This rice bowl fits the bill: it’s healthy and flavorful, but still comfort food. Perfect for a chilly evening in. The watercress adds a nice sharp bite to the dish with its peppery finish, so be sure to include plenty in your topping.

A side note in case you find yourself in a round of food trivia: did you know that what we often refer to as yams in the United States are actually sweet potatoes? Yams and sweet potatoes aren’t even related! The beautiful sweet potatoes included in this week’s CSA box are members of the morning glory family, while yams (native to Africa and Asia) are in the lily family and can only be found in specialty Caribbean and west African markets. Hope that little tidbit gives you enough points to win a round of Trivial Pursuit!

Sweet Potato Rice Bowl with Watercress

1 large sweet potato, cut into bite sized pieces 
1 small shallot, sliced
1 clove of garlic, chopped 
1 inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon white miso
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon mirin
1 tablespoon sake (optional)
2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
2 soft boiled eggs
Handful of watercress
2 cups cooked rice

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Toss sweet potato pieces and shallot with 1 tablespoon sesame oil. Place on baking sheet and roast until the sweet potato is fork tender, 12-20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile in a blender or mortar and pestle, combine garlic, ginger, miso, rice vinegar, mirin, sake, and remaining sesame oil. Blend until smooth and set aside.
3. Place rice in the bottom of two bowls, top with sweet potatoes, soft boiled egg, and watercress. Drizzle sauce over everything and sprinkle with sesame seeds. 

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Delicata Squash Stuffing with Celery and Apples

 

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This stuffing recipe was a hit in our house this Thanksgiving and is sure to make an appearance on the holiday table again this year and for years to come. I hope you are having a lovely holiday weekend. Our home has been filled with friends and family- a welcome reminder of the bounty we are surrounded by. I am so grateful for Jubilee Farm and the amazing produce that graces our table every week. It’s truly an honor to write recipes that feature their harvests. The holidays are officially upon us. Feast and enjoy!

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Delicata Squash Stuffing with Celery and Apples

1 delicata squash, washed, seeded, and cut into large dice
1/2 pound crimini mushrooms, sliced or quartered
1 large apple, cored and cut into large dice
2 shallots, sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups celery, large dice
1 medium onion, large dice
Half loaf of sourdough cut into cubes (day old is great for this)
1 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
Leaves from 1 branch rosemary, stripped and chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme (1 teaspoon dried)
1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped (1 teaspoon dried)
1/4 cup chopped parsley

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Combine squash, mushrooms, apples, and shallots in a large mixing bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil and salt. Roast until squash is easily pierced with a fork, about 20-30 minutes. When finished cooking, remove veggies and turn oven down to 350°.
2. In a large Dutch oven, heat oil then sauté onions and celery over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Add bread and continue cooking, stirring often for another 5-8 minutes.
3. Add roasted vegetables, stock, and herbs to the pot. Stir mixture over medium heat until the bread has absorbed most of the stock.
4. Transfer to oven with lid and bake 20 minutes, remove lid and cook for another 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving dish or place it right on the table!

Mushroom Hot Pot

Mushrooms

Clockwise from top left corner: shimeji, shiitake, enoki, green garlic, and maitake mushrooms.

Spring in Seattle is such a fickle season- one second it invites you to fire up the barbecue, the next you’re ready to snuggle up in your favorite sweater. Here’s a recipe for the rainy days. Hot pot or nabe is a Japanese style soup that is shared by many people. A large simmering pot is usually put in the center of the table and family and friends are invited to dish up from it into their own bowls as they enjoy its nourishment together. This version celebrates the mushrooms of the northwest and is a wonderful way to enjoy the emerging bounty. When we make this at home, we place an electric hot plate on the table and use it to keep the contents warm in a Le Creuset. If this isn’t an option for you, cook on your stove top and dish up into bowls when ready. This recipe serves 4 people. Note: all these ingredients are available at your local Asian market. In Seattle, I always shop at Uwajimaya in the International District.

Mushroom nabe

Ingredients:

1/2 cup mirin (Japanese cooking wine)
1/2 cup sake
1/3 cup Organic soy sauce
1/4 cup sugar
4 cups dashi or vegetable stock
1 small head Napa cabbage, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 pound organic firm tofu, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms
4 ounces/1 package oyster or maitake mushrooms, trimmed and pulled apart
3.5 ounces/1 package shimeji mushrooms, trimmed and pulled apart
7 ounces/1 package enoki mushrooms, trimmed and pulled apart
3 stalks green garlic or green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 pound broccoli raab, spinach, or watercress
Optional: udon noodles or white rice, cooked and available to put into individual bowls.

Method:

  1. In a large measuring cup or bowl, combine mirin, sake, soy sauce, sugar, and dashi.
  2. In a large Le Creuset or soup pot arrange all mushrooms and vegetables, making it easy for diners to choose what they would like to dish into their individual bowls.
  3. Pour liquid ingredients into pot, cover, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Transfer pot to the hot plate (set to low heat) or dining table, uncover, and enjoy with family and friends. Serve with white rice or udon noodles.

Shrub

Shrubs are a beverage that go back to colonial times as a way of saving the season to enjoy throughout the year. Shrub refers to a sweet and sour syrup that can be enjoyed as a sipping vinegar or diluted with club soda. Historically, these beverages were related to the medicinal cordials of medieval England. Today, they are used as aperitifs or ingredients in cocktails. They involve fruit and herbs or spices that steep in vinegar and are later sweetened with honey or sugar. Throughout the year, I make several batches to enjoy diluted as a carbonated treat. Here are a couple of recipes to try out. Feel free to play with the amount of sugar you add or the type of fruit. In summer I make batches with different types of berries, but fall and winter are great with apples, pears, quince, or persimmons. I recommend using Bragg’s apple cider vinegar as it is unfiltered and not too acidic to be enjoyable. There are also some sources that claim apple cider vinegar may aid digestion, adding to its allure as an aperitif.

Apple-Cinnamon Shrub

Ingredients:
2 apples, cored and cut into small pieces
2 cinnamon sticks
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup or 2/3 sugar

Method:
Combine all ingredients in a quart sized mason jar or other comparable container. Give it a good shake and stick it in the fridge. After a week or two, strain the mixture, pressing on the apples to extract as much juice as possible. Give it a taste and add sugar if you’d like. Keep in mind it should be pretty tangy. Enjoy about 2 oz of shrub diluted with 6-8 oz of club soda according to your own tastes.

 

Pear-Allspice Shrub

Ingredients:
3 pears, cored and cut into small pieces
6-8 allspice berries, whole
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup or 2/3 cup sugar

Method:
Same as above.

Black Eyed Pea Soup with Winter Vegetables

Black Bean SoupWhen the weather turns consistently cold, I want nothing more than soup. Every day. Maybe even for multiple meals. And this is a recipe to help satiate that desire.

Every year, my family celebrates New Year’s Day with black eyed pea soup. According to folklore, the expansion of these legumes portends an increase in wealth over the next year. Unsurprisingly, feasting on beans has become a part of the New Year ritual, ensuring good luck for those who partake in it. Now, culinary divination is all well and good, but I’m into feeling nourished and lucky all year round. So let’s embrace black eyed peas more often!

Black eyed peas benefit from soaking before being cooked, but it’s not essential. If you don’t soak them, just be aware that they will take longer to cook. Soaking beans, however, makes them easier to digest and helps to eradicate their uncomfortable side effect. When I soak my beans, I like to add an ounce or so of whey (leftover from cheese making or just poured off the top of a container of yogurt), which is also supposed to minimize leguminous flatulence. If you really don’t want to bother with dried beans, feel free to substitute two cans of black eyed peas that have been drained and rinsed.

Collards are a great addition to this soup. If added with the beans and broth, they will cook down to be quite tender. These greens are not only full of vitamins C and K, but studies at UC Berkeley have shown that they have strong antiviral and antibacterial properties. Perfect for cold and flu season!

A few final notes: don’t salt your beans until they have finished cooking. Prematurely salting legumes causes them to remain tough and begin to crumble rather than achieve tenderness. Finally, a fun veggie fact for your next game of trivia: in Scotland, rutabagas are called “neeps”!

Enjoy the soup and stay warm everybody!

Ingredients:
2 cups dried black-eyed peas
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups chicken broth or vegetable stock
1 bunch collard greens or kale, stems removed, leaves cut into ribbons
4 carrots, cut into rounds
1 rutabaga or 1/2 squash, cut into medium cubes
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon fennel
1 pinch chili flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
optional: 1/2 pound cooked ham, cut into small pieces

Method:

  1. Soak black eyed peas in enough water to cover with 3 inches or so to spare. I recommend soaking them in the morning so they’ll be ready at dinner time.
  2. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until it begins to turn translucent. Add the garlic, carrots, and rutabaga or squash (and ham if using) and cook until the onions begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add in the spices and stir. Cook another 2-3 minutes.
  3. Strain peas from the water and add to the pot along with the broth. Bring everything to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer.
  4. If you’re using collards, go ahead and add them to the pot now. If you’re using kale, don’t add it until the last minute before serving. Cook the soup for 45 minutes or until the peas are tender.
  5. Taste the soup and add salt and pepper to your tastes.