Posts tagged ‘sweet potatoes’

December 11, 2011

Massman Curry (of a sort)

Our version of Massaman Curry, served over rice in a blue handmade bowl.

Having once eaten mediocre vegetarian massaman curry in a college dining hall, I (librarian) recently felt inspired to concoct my own version of this dish.  After scouring our rural town’s minimal grocery stores for months, the recommended massaman curry paste finally appeared on the shelf of the natural food store a few weeks ago.  So I looked around the root cellar and the fridge for what vegetables we had to work with.  December isn’t the most inspiring time for vegetable eating, but I came up with sweet potatoes, Asian greens, onions, and garlic.  I swapped the usual tofu  for a can of chickpeas.  I also made the rice with my favorite new method:  crock-pot-as-rice-cooker.  Without further ado, here’s my version of vegetarian soy-free seasonal vegetable massaman curry.

4-6 servings (over rice) – Takes about 1hr20 for me to prepare, so you’ll probably be faster.


1 large sweet potato or 2 medium-sized ones
1 large onion
3-4 cloves of garlic
1/4 lb of Asian greens (Spinach or any other kind of cooking green will do – but Bok Choi, Mizuna, and the like are particularly great in this recipe; the amount of greens is completely flexible)
1 cup white rice (optional)

1 can of chickpeas
1 can of coconut milk (full fat, especially for this recipe)
1/2 can of massaman curry paste (about 2 oz. – see link above for what I used)
1 tablespoon of peanut butter (I like low-fi PB like Teddie but any kind will do)
1 teaspoon of brown sugar (omit if you’re using sweetened PB like Skippy or Jiff)
1/2 teaspoon of dried ground ginger, or chopped fresh ginger
1 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
Generous handful of roasted peanuts (some for cooking, some for topping)
A bit of olive oil (for the pan)
A bit of butter or olive oil (for the crockpot rice-making)

Array of sauces and seasonings for the curry


1. Grease the bottom and (lower) sides of your crockpot with some butter or oil.  Put in 1 cup of uncooked white rice, a pinch of salt, and 2 cups of water.  Set your crockpot to high, cover it, and get to work on the rest of the curry.  I found that this dinner was timed nearly perfectly with the rice being done.

Rice cooking in crock-pot.

2. Peel and cube the sweet potatoe(s).  Set it/them up to boil for about 15-20 minutes in a saucepan.

Sweet potatoes in boiling water

3. While the sweet potatoes are cooking, wash and chop the greens.  Dry them and set aside.

4. While the sweet potatoes are still cooking, chop the garlic and onion.

5. Once the sweet potato cubes are cooked (easily pierced with a fork, but still holding their shape), drain them and put them into a large bowl.

6. In the saucepan you just emptied, put the following:


  • The creamy part of the coconut milk (at the top of the can; just scoop it out with a spoon)
  • 1/2 can of massaman curry paste  (put the rest of the can into a freezer bag and pop in the freezer to store)
  • 1 tablespoon of peanut butter
  • Chopped onions
  • Chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of brown sugar (if you’re using unsweetened/natural PB)
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • A handful roasted peanuts
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

7. Stir it all around and cook over medium-low heat for a few minutes.

8. Once the sauce is combined, add in the rest of the coconut milk.  Cook for about 5-10 minutes until the sauce is heated through.  Be careful not to let it burn – you may have to turn the heat down and stir quite frequently.

9.  Add back the sweet potato chunks and stir until covered in sauce.  Now is a great time to test the seasoning – I added a bit more soy sauce and sesame oil.  You might want to add a bit more curry paste if you like a spicier curry.

10. Add the chickpeas.  Once those are warmed and covered in sauce, check the status of your rice.  If it’s not nearly done, I’d recommend shutting off the heat to the curry.  Leave it covered while you wait for the rice to be done.

11. Check on the rice after about 1hr – 1hr15.  You might want to fluff it up a bit just before it’s finished.

12. When the rice is done, turn the crockpot to warm.  Stir the greens into the curry and cook over low heat until the greens are wilted and incorporated with the curry.

13. Serve your delicious curry over rice!

October 2, 2011

Sweet Potato and Leek Bake

For this wonderful and satifyingly fall-like dish, you really need very little work, although lots of time.

2-4 sweet potatoes (about 1 1/2 lbs)
2 fingerling potatoes
3 leeks, white-light green parts only
1 mid-small onion
3/4 of a head of garlic
4 tablespoons butter (it’s worth it)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup milk
1/8 cup white wine
Goat cheese
Thyme, oregano, nutmeg, salt & pepper

1. Melt the butter in a dutch oven.  A dutch oven is a oven-safe covered pan.

2. Chop the potatoes and onion into 1 inch cubes, mince the garlic, and slice the leeks first in half lengthwise and then into 2 1/2 inch strips.

3. Toss all of the vegetables in with the melted butter, add olive oil, and mix to combine.

4. Season with a healthy about of dried thyme and oregano.  Add a pinch of nutmeg.

5. Again, stir to combine.

6. Pour the milk and wine over the mixture and roast, covered, at 350 for 45 – hour, or until the potatoes are soft to a fork.  Stir every 15 minutes. About 15 minutes before the potatoes are done, toss 1/4 cup of soft goat cheese over the whole mixture.

7.  Eat immediately.  Optional: top with cheddar cheese instead of goat cheese.

February 11, 2011

Friday Night Food Extravaganza

(for us, anyway)

It is seventeen degrees out, making this a more mild evening after several very cold days, and we just watched an unexpected fireworks display out our back window.   Now, to celebrate the end of the week, we’re making a long, drawn-out, slightly complex meal, beginning with dry beans to be cooked and ending three hours later with our bellies full of beer-glazed black beans and sweet potato chips.

Particularly exciting for tonight: we have garlic given to us from our friends at Free Bird Farm.  When we first came to this part of New York, it was working at Free Bird Farm for a summer.   After a garlic harvest of thirty-thousand heads in six days we dreamed about garlic.  Literally, dreamed we were harvesting.  For months it haunted me, reminding me of how, that week, the nearly two-month drought finally broke and we worked in the pouring rain, so deep in the garlic we stopped smelling it at all.  The garlic harvest at Free Bird ultimately inspired Garlic Harvest Studio.  It is a treat now to eat some of Free Bird’s garlic with our beans.

Beer-Glazed Beans

We soaked dry beans for about five hours then cooked them for an hour to begin this recipe.  We soaked two cups dry but it turned out to be slightly more than the three cups we needed once it was cooked. So, the recipe, based off the one in our favorite How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.

Olive oil

1 chopped onion

1 head garlic

1 cup beer

3 cups cooked black beans

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon honey

3 tablespoons tomato paste

salt and pepper

  1. Heat two tablespoons of olive oil and add 1 chopped onion and cook until soft.
  2. Add a small head of chopped garlic and cook for another minute.
  3. Finally all the other ingredients.
  4. Bring to bubbling and then cooked uncovered until the liquid has reduced and thickened.










Sweet Potato Chips

Neutral oil, sweet potatoes, salt and pepper

1.  Wash and peel the sweet potatoes
2.  Slice the sweet potatoes into thin even discs.









3.  Fill a deep saucepan with 3 inches of oil and heat until it begins to boil.  Don’t let it gets much hotter than that because it could combust.  Also, canola or sunflower is better than olive oil since olive oil has a lower burning temperature and will smoke at this point.

4.  To test if the oil is the right temperature, toss and small piece of bread it.  If it sinks and absorbs the oil, turn up the heat a littler and try again.  If it floats to the top right away and begins to brown on the outside, you’re ready to add the chips.
5.  Add the chips carefully and cook until lightly browned then flip with a metal spatula and repeat with the other side.  It should take about 3-5 minutes, but the longer you go the faster they will cook since the pan is likely getting hotter.










When a batch of chips is done take them out carefully with the metal spatula and lay them on rags, paper towels, or napkins to soak up the extra oil.