Saturday, July 22, 2017

Can I Eat the Leaves of a Sweet Potato?

Yes!

Most of us are familiar with lost veggies in the crisper that have either rotted or started growing.  If you discover the latter, you're in luck!  Past its prime, a potato with "eyes" begins to lose flavor and texture, and the nutritional profile changes as the tuber's sugars are directed to the growth of the new plant that's sprouting.

A new potato plant will happily grow on your counter for quite some time, but popped in a pot with water and sunshine, the growth becomes exponential.  The little aging potato suddenly begins to produce so much more food than it would have if consumed pre-sprout.  Sweet potato vines are prolific and thrive on my kind of neglect.  Every day this potato yields a lush harvest of fresh heart-shaped greenery that is wonderful sauteed with onions and garlic.  It's best to start with organic potatoes, free of pesticides and genetic modifications.  Ornamental sweet potato plants can't boast that pedigree, so stick with potato plants rooted from the produce aisle.

After the potato leaf harvest, at the end of the growing season, don't forget to check the roots to see if bonus potatoes have formed.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

A Lovely Curry

Dad brought this gorgeous pan for me when he last visited.  He said it was just too big for him to use for only himself since Mom died.  He's a wonderful chef and he would tend to get carried away, filling it to the brim as I've done here.  It saddens me to see his joy of cooking dim a bit, but I see his point.

I'm grateful for the gift and am honoring it by creating piles of gorgeous, healthy food like this vegetable curry.

My daughter and I have had a fantastic long weekend here at home with our dog while the other family members were away.  It's been spent mostly in pajamas!  My daughter, who is vegetarian, really likes a little curry restaurant around the corner where she goes with her friends, and wanted me to go with her at one point, but I was loathe to change out of my pj's so, from my full larder, I created this panful.  It was a big hit!  I'm sorry I didn't write down the recipe but it was that kind of weekend.  From memory, here's what I used, and you'll want to tweak the amounts and ingredients to your liking anyway.  I hope it serves as inspiration.

a large yellow onion and several cloves of garlic, caramelized slowly over low heat in coconut oil
a head of cauliflower, trimmed, but including leaves and clean stems
a bunch of broccoli, including trimmed and peeled stems, which are SOOOO delicious
a zucchini
a can of chickpeas
a can of coconut milk
vegetable broth
2 star anise
cumin
turmeric
dry ginger
garam masala
sea salt
nutritional yeast

From trial and error, I've learned to use the spices sparingly in curry.  You can always add more, but you can't take away.  When tasting, if it first seems bland, I try adding a little more sea salt first, which usually wakes the deeper flavors so I don't need so much of them.  I love a fresh curry, kissed with spicy warmth, but allowing the veggie flavors to star. After the flavors had melded, I threw some fresh raw spinach in there too, which wilted a little in the warm pan.