Monday, November 29, 2010

We Bought 10 Pounds of Sweet Potatoes

Well, that would be the joy of the farmer's market! We bought a basket full of sweet potatoes, about 10 pounds worth for $4. I mean, how could you not? Even though it means being extra-inventive with sweet potatoe dishes because how many times can a person really eat sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top?! Lucky for me, there are actually a lot of other ways to prepare sweet potatoes, and I have my sister to point me in the right direction!

These sweet potatoes were a perfect side dish. The flavor combination was phenomal - but then haven't we all determined that the sweet and salty combo is number one? The added rosemary and maple syrup also created a delicious pairing that has been seen before in our favorite marinade. Basically, I suggest that you make this. It will go well with anything. Or nothing, if you prefer to just eat a bunch of potatoes for dinner, which I highly enjoy. Trust me, you won't regret it!

By the by, does anyone know what the difference between yams and sweet potatoes really is?

Maple and Rosemary Sweet Potatoes
inspired by my rockin' sister

3 - 4 sweet potatoes, cut into bite-size pieces
1/4 c. olive oil
3 tbsp. maple syrup
1 - 2 tbsp. rosemary, chopped
salt & pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Peel and chop the sweet potatoes. Place them in a bowl with the olive oil and maple syrup, making sure you have enough liquid to coat the potatoes well. Toss them with your hands (slimy, yes, but fun!). Add in the rosemary, salt, and pepper and continue to toss until well-coated. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 - 40 minutes, until the potatoes are slightly browned and soft when poked with a fork.

Eat every last one. Seriously. Do it.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

It finally feels like November

I may have already said this, but I love soup in the winter. I love the way that the ingredients meld together and particularly how it seems to get better after a day in the refrigerator. The best thing about this soup is how smooth and creamy it is without actually using any cream! It is delicious and has already been made multiple times in this household.

I was a little concerned about the pancetta at first. It just sounds weird to know that you're basically going to blend meat. It really adds a great flavor to the soup though, and wasn't weird at all. I think this soup would be great as a vegetarian version, but you might want to up the salt content to make up for the lack of pancetta.

The only other change I would suggest considering is to leave some of the beans whole. Last time hubs made this request and it turned out great. We left one of the three cans of beans out until after the soup was blended and then added those beans and heated them up. It added just a little more texture to the soup if that's your sorta thing.

White Bean Soup
adapted from Williams-Sonoma by way of The Lushers

1/4 lb. of pancetta (calls for 1/2 c. but I order 1/4 lb. from the deli and use it all)
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3 15-oz. cans cannellini beans
5 c. chicken or vegetable broth
3/4 tsp. fresh thyme
1/2 c. parmesan cheese
salt & pepper

In a large, heavy-bottomed pan, fry the pancetta, with a little olive oil if necessary. Cook for about five minutes and then add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Next, add the beans*, broth and thyme. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Simmer for approximately 15 minutes.
(and I just realized we used red onion... eh... whatever!)

Remove from the heat and puree with an immerion blender until smooth. You can also use a regular blender or food processor, but the immersion blender basically rocks. Stir in the cheese and season with salt and pepper. You can also reserve the cheese and sprinkle it on the soup at the table. I actually prefer this method because I think it reheats a little better.

Slurp and enjoy! And don't forget that it will likely be even better tomorrow!

*Don't forget you can also reserve one can of beans until after you puree the soup.