s w e e t . p o t a t o . m a s h + f a r m . f r e s h . v e g g i e s

being a ‘locavore’ has it’s perks. we get 90% of our vegetables from the farmers’ market down the street and more from our monthly CSA box – it’s not only better for the environment (no need to fly my produce in from mexico or chile) but also supports local farmers and tastes better (have you tried peaches in february in california? they’re not good!). the sweet potatoes in this recipe came from trader joe’s; everything else came from the market and our CSA.

 

// I N G R E D I E N T S // s e r v e s 2 //

2 large or 4 small sweet potatoes
1-2 tbs olive oil
handful of button mushrooms, brown or white
handful of broccoli
2 carrots, slivered
3 leaves of chard, torn into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup cooked black beans
salt, to taste

// P R O C E S S //

preheat oven to 400 farenheit. scrub sweet potatoes, dry, and poke holes in the skins with a fork. wrap individually in aluminum foil.
bake sweet potatoes until very soft, about 45 minutes.
heat oil in a cast iron skillet or other stovetop pan. sautee vegetables until vibrant and desired softness is desired.
add beans to the pan briefly, until warm.
when sweet potatoes have finished baking, remove from oven and unwrap. split potatoes down the middle with a fork, and scrape out the flesh onto a plate. top with sauteed vegetables and salt, to taste.

e n c h i l a d a s

when i was a kid, thanksgiving leftovers meant one thing: turkey sandwiches. we’d pluck thick slices of cold turkey from the fridge, lay them on bread that had been slathered with mayonnaise, and stack lettuce, avocado, and tomatoes until the top layer of bread practically toppled over. i’d take my tall sandwiches to school where they’d overshadow the pb&js of my peers, who would swoon over the gourmet lunches my mom packed each day.

then one year, when i was twelve, my mom strayed from our post-thanksgiving tradition. she spent another day in the kitchen, carefully tucking small pieces of turkey into sweet tortillas and blanketing them in a spicy sauce. they’d tease our noses from the oven, making the time go by slowly: is it dinner yet?

when the timer would finally go off, she’d stand over the steaming pan with her silver spatula, gently tickling the enchiladas, coaxing them out of their slumber and onto our plates. i’d slather them with sour cream and pile a mountain of grated cheese on top and eat until my belly exploded.

around the time i stopped eating meat, my mom came up with a vegetarian-friendly alternative to my (recent) favorite post-thanksgiving tradition. her enchiladas were the inspiration behind this vegan recipe.

/ B L A C K / B E A N / & / B U T T E R N U T / S Q U A S H / E N C H I L A D A S /
/ v e g a n / g l u t e n . f r e e / m a k e s . 1 2 – 1 5 . e n c h i l a d a s /

// i n g r e d i e n t s //
1 medium butternut squash, cooked, seeds removed
2 cups cooked black beans
1 cup fire roasted corn
12-15 small corn tortillas
the fitnessista’s enchilada sauce
oh she glows’ cashew sour cream

// p r o c e s s //
preheat oven to 375.
in a large bowl, mix together the butternut squash, black beans, and roasted corn until evenly distributed.cover the bottom of a 9×13 glass baking dish with a thin layer of enchilada sauce.
one by one, spoon the squash mixture down the diameter of a corn tortilla. roll up and place seam-side down in the pan. continue until the pan is full; enchiladas should be snug together.
cover enchiladas with a layer of enchilada sauce.
cover baking dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. remove foil and bake 15 more minutes.
serve with a dollop of sour cream.

r o a s t e d . b u t t e r n u t . s q u a s h . s o u p

every four weeks, on thursday mornings, i walk out my front door on my way to work and find a box of fresh fruits and vegetables sitting quietly on the deck. i’m always simultaneously excited, surprised, and bummed that i forgot it was coming and can’t sort through it before i leave.

one of our recent boxes came with a plump butternut squash, a gourd i’m never quite sure what to do with. it sat on the kitchen counter for a while, watching the more desirable produce come and go, until finally california got some rain. cold, wet weather always makes me want soup, and so the butternut squash married some onions, ginger, and coconut milk and joined me on the couch one cold dreary night (and came to work with me at least twice).

like the split pea soup, this soup reminds me of dinners at home, made by mom.

// i n g r e d i e n t s // s e r v e s 4 //

1 medium butternut squash, cut in half
1 purple pearl onion, diced
1-inch piece of ginger, peeled & minced
3 tbs olive oil
2 cups vegetable broth
2 tsp coriander
1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
salt & pepper, to taste

// p r o c e s s //

preheat oven to 425. spray a cookie sheet with olive oil and place squash face down. bake for 50-60 minutes, until soft.
remove the squash from the oven and let cool until easy to handle. remove the skin and seeds, and chop squash into large chunks.
in a large pot, sautee the onion and ginger in olive oil until soft. add the squash, vegetable broth, and coriander and simmer for 10 minutes.
using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. add water to thin, if necessary.
stir in coconut milk and season with salt and pepper. serve with homemade thyme croutons*, if desired.

*to make croutons, chop a loaf of bread – i used a freshly baked trader joe’s pugilese – into crouton-sized pieces. toss to coat lightly with olive oil and fresh thyme (i crushed my thyme with a mortar and pestle prior to tossing). bake on a cookie sheet for 10-15 minutes, until crispy and golden. the amount of bread you choose to chop depends on how many croutons you’d like to make.

WHY IT’S GOOD FOR YOU
butternut squash is high in fiber, potassium, and vitamin b6. it’s also chock-full of beta-carotene and vitamin c!

d a l . m a k h n i {and the trip that changed my life}

four days after i declared myself vegetarian over three years ago, i boarded a plane to India with 21 people i hardly knew. i was scared, shy, and had no idea what to expect. i worried i’d be the only vegetarian on the trip, so new to this lifestyle that i’d either crack or be a nuisance.

i had no idea that meatless dishes wouldn’t just be easy to find in this country, but that they’d take up half of every menu. i had no idea that i’d create lasting, incredible friendships on that trip (friendships that led to a love of vegetarianism, health science, and running). i had no idea how much my mind would expand, how curious i would forever be of other cultures. i had no idea how much i’d change or how much i’d think about that trip after returning home. but days, weeks, months, and years later, i’m still dreaming about the intricately decorated temples, reminiscing about meditation with buddhist monks, drooling over the distant memory of fresh dal and real chai tea.

a year after my trip to india, i took a food journalism class where we kept a blog. one of my favorite pieces was about india; i hope you enjoy it (and that you’ll give yourself a taste of india with the dal makhni recipe at the end!).

“We had spent the last 18 days traveling through India, learning about the country’s rich religious and cultural customs. We had eaten at restaurants and slept in hotels, visited temples, mosques, palaces and museums, and traveled by bus, train, and plane. We read books about what life is like in India, but had yet to visit an actual Indian home.

Our tour guide had sung his city’s praises daily. “Jaipur is a great city,” he’d tell us, urging us to hold off on textile purchases until we got there, because Jaipur has some of the best. What I was looking forward to the most, though, was dinner.

That evening, all 22 of us dressed in whatever clean clothes we had left and stumbled onto the bus. It was dark outside, and the bus rumbled along and bounced over the unpaved roads. It crept in to our guide’s neighborhood, pulling up in front of a tall, slim house.

It didn’t look big enough to accommodate us all, I thought to myself. I imagined us trying to cram ourselves in around one small table.

We walked into the house, quietly gazing around, taking in the marble floors and marble staircase. It was simple but elegant. Climbing the stairs, we stepped outside onto a small patio, and then one by one climbed up a small ladder to a larger rooftop terrace.

I paused at the top, taking in the scene. Underneath a starlit sky were several small, round tables, each covered in a white patterned tablecloth. The place settings were adorned with plates and silverware, and gold cloth napkins folded into  bishop’s hats.

As our guide invited us to sit down, he floated over toward me and said softly, “There are samosas; you like them.”

That was true. I had been searching for samosas every day since we arrived on the Indian subcontinent. They hadn’t been listed on the menus of any restaurants we ate at, and when they were served on the train, I had been sleeping, missing the treat.

Waiters glided around, gently placing these perfect morsels on our plates. My heart fluttered with excitement, finally finding this treasure I’d been searching for; my mouth watered.

Cracking through the fried outer shell, the samosa’s insides crept out onto my plate while steam and the scent of spices exploded into the cool night air. The smell of garam masala, turmeric, and coriander wafted through the air, the spiciness of it all warming my body from the inside out. The sweetness of the chutney both complemented and competed with the heat of the samosa.

As we ate our meal, we listened to the sounds of drummers and watched beautiful women in brightly-colored, sequined skirts twirl around, stacking bowl after bowl on their heads, never letting them come tumbling to the ground.

By the time we returned to our hotel, we’d eaten to our hearts’ content and danced into the latest hours of the night. We’d finally experienced a true Indian home in the most sensational way possible: with friends, great food, upbeat entertainment, and hours upon hours of bliss.”

 

D A L . M A K H N I
slightly adapted from Oh She Glows

/ i n g r e d i e n t s /
1 package steamed lentils (~2 cups)
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp mild yellow curry powder
1 bay leaf
2 tbs minced fresh ginger (peeled)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup water
2/3 cup cashews
2/3 cup water

/ p r o c e s s /
you can find the process here.
serve over basmati rice. makes 4 servings.