Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Avocados and Sweet Potatoes

Recently I've been eating avocado almost every other day, I had it in a wrap a week ago, in soup, in a salad, in guacamole style. They're delicious and full of good fats and vitamin C. I also have a delicious recipe I've made a few times for Sweet Potato Black Bean Quesadillas. They were inspired by a variation of the grilled yuca tortillas in Vcon BUT, they have no yuca so they're actually quite different than the original recipe.

These quesadillas are really quite filling and pleased everyone who tried them the last time I made them, including the ever difficult to please mom. She has requested them multiple times since the first time I made them and this time, I surprised her by sending one down to my brother's baseball game with my dad as a sideline snack for her. She was VERY excited and brought up how delcious they were multiple times throughout the night. And, without further ado, a picture and the recipe :)

Sweet Potato Black Bean Quesadillas
serves 6 quesadillas
482 calories*

2 pounds organic sweet potatoes, peeled
2 cups black beans, cooked (or 1 15 oz can drained and rinsed)
1/4 med red bell pepper, chopped (1/2 cup)
juice of 1 lime
2 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 recipe Simple Quesadilla Guac
6 whole wheat tortillas

Cut the sweet potatoes into 1" cubes (or other chunks of roughly that size) and steam in double doiler or by hanging a colander over a pan of boiling water, however you would normally steam veggies, until the pieces are tender, about 10-15 minutes. While the potatoes are steaming combine the beans, peppers, spices and lime juice in a medium mixing bowl. Once potatoes are done, place in medium bowl and mash with strong fork or potato masher. Add mashed potatoes to bean mixture and mash a bit more, until only about 1/3 of the beans are left whole.

Spread about 1/6th of the mixture (roughly 1/2-3/4 cup) onto one half of a tortilla. Add about 2 T Simple Quesadilla Guac (optional) and fold the tortilla in half so that it looks like a half circle, you should have one closed end and one open end and the filling sandwiched between the two. Choose a non-stick skillet which will fit your half circle quesadilla and place it on a burner and heat on med-high. Once skillet is hot place quesadilla in skillet and warm on one side until brown, about 3 minutes. Flip your quesadilla over and warm 3 minutes on the other side.

Serve plain or with salsa and vegan sour cream :

Notes: This makes a LOT of filling but it freezes really well so don't worry about having extras, pop it in the freezer and pull it out for a quick and delicious meal later on in the month. Also, you could easily add other things to the filling like corn, cilantro, black olives, anything else you like your quesadillas normally.

*The calories for this were calculated using tortillas that contain 210 calories each and using 1/3 of the Simple Quesadilla Guac recipe which follows.

Simple Quesadilla Guac
makes enough for 3 quesadillas

1 avocado
1/2 t salt
1 t cumin
1/8 t cayenne pepper (optional)
juice of 1/2 lime

I know, I know, really, really simple. But it adds just the right amount of spice and creamy avocado goodness to these quesadillas. SO, cut your (RIPE) avocado in half, remove the seed in the center, score the avocado and remove the pieces from the rough outer green skin. Mash the avocado with a fork or potato masher, add the salt, cumin, cayenne (if you want it) and lime juice. Mix together. Mmmm. Find some torilla chips and dip a few, but not too many, save SOME for your quesadillas, dangit.

Note: I recognize that I gave you the recipe for filling for 6 quesadillas and only enough guac for 3, however, like I said, the filling freezes well so I generally save at least half it it for later. But, if you're going to make all 6 quesadillas, or just really like this guac, its super easy to double.

May your future be filled with sweet-potato-black-bean-avocado-goodness


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Spring Green and Gunpowder Explosions

Friends are all returning from school which is making the next few weeks very exciting for me and J. We're both equally as excited to have our friends return and it also helps me to feel as if this year is finally going to end. I walked down to the used book store today with one such returned friend. He bought something like 9 books by his favorite author to bring with him to Nantucket where he has a job for the summer and I purchased Madhur Jaffrey's World of the East Vegetarian Cooking. It was published in the early 80s and is filled with recipes from India, Japan, China etc. and I'm SO excited to get to start cooking from it! Most of the recipes which call for dairy call for products like milk and yogurt which are easy to substitute. After going to a lovely lunch last weekend at a local Indian restaurant I've been hoping to find a good Indian cook book and this one is perfect! So be ready to see lots of middle eastern foods popping up in the next few weeks.

In the name of getting back to blogging and getting back to eating healthy foods and eating real meals, I have a delicious lunch to share. I have had asparagus and zucchini on hand planning to make Spring Green Quinoa from Fatfree Vegan Kitchen and I finally had the opportunity today for lunch to whip it up.

As you can see I used red quinoa which my mom had bought from the co-op, "just for kicks". Other than that the only change I made to the original recipe was to omit a sun dried tomato because I only had ones packed in oil and I didn't feel like opening the new jar. I wouldn't say the dish lacked it however, as it packed a delicious flavor and I really enjoyed being able to taste the edamame, zucchini and asparagus in every bite. It was delectably like spring.
I really think the red quinoa gives the dish a pretty contrast of colors too which amused my dad.

The other cooking adventure I embarked on this weekend was to make Gunpowder Cookies off a recipe from VegWeb. I have a meeting tomorrow for a club to which I always bring some sort of baked good or snack. Last week it was guacamole and tomorrow it will be these delicious, sweet, spicy cookies.
I followed a suggestion from someone else on the forum and added some dried cranberries to the batter which really was an excellent addition. Each bite has new flavors, sweet, spicy, tart. It really is a nice mix. The original recipe can be found on vegweb but below is my adaptation of it, cranberries and all.

The original recipe says it serves roughly 2 dozen but I made HUGE cookies and only came out with one dozen so the calories are estimated for a batch of 12 very very large cookies, you could easily get 15 or even 18 and still serve very happy guests.

Gunpowder Cookies
makes 12
~247 calories each

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup canola oil
2/3 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
egg replacer equal to 1 egg (I used EnerG powder but didn't add the water)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder
3/4 cup vegan chocolate chips
1/4 cup dried cranberries

Mix together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Make a well and add the wet ingredients. Mix together. Fold in the chocolate chips and cranberries. Scoop tablespoons onto cookie sheets roughly 2 inches away from each other and bake for 7-12 minutes at 400 F.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

I'm working on posting again. I'm hoping summer will be full of farmer's market goodies, cooking galore and photos galore :)

today, however, I'm starting with one, lonely oregano plant I bought from the Corsettis down the road. I'm thinking a home made pasta sauce is in the near future...