Dinner last night was born from a mixture of hunger, nutrition, inspiration – and a need to clean out the fridge.
Let me back track just a second here. I started to prep the evening meal by hunting for a recipe that I thought was in this month’s Bon Apetit, something that looked amazing and included ‘wild mushrooms’ – which I can’t afford and therefore substituted Enoki Mushrooms from the Chinese Market (they’re the long skinny white Alice-in-Wonderland looking ones you get in Asian meals). Yes. They were on sale.
So I’m hunting through this month’s magazine, in search of the key phrase ‘wild mushrooms’ so I could make whatever the recipe was…but after some moderately frantic searching I gave up. I contemplated Googling. I contemplated ordering in. Then I sighed and checked my email. Lo and Behold – this email was in my inbox. It was for a loaded baked sweet potato topped with spiced black beans, salsa, and sour cream. The picture was beautiful, the ingredients list short and I had all the stuff. PLUS – and this is often where I get myself into trouble – PLUS, I had all these other vegetables I should use up. Now THAT is a good idea, right? Additions totally don’t count as substitutions. Nuh uh.
I feel like I opened my veggie drawer and dumped everything into the sauté pan for this meal. I used celery, carrots, zucchini, enoki mushrooms, onions, and garlic plus requisite spices and beans.
I cut up all the veg and left them to drain/dry out a bit in a colander while I chopped up a smallish onion. I sautéed the onion in some olive oil until it got all brown on the edges and started looking translucent. I really like the smell of cooked onions. Oh! That reminds me of something I once heard: An old lady was talking about how you ‘cook Jewish.’ She said, “You take a little oil, heat it in a pan and throw in some onions. All Jewish recipes start this way.”
Oil + onions = Jewish. Oil + carrots, celery & onions = French. Funny how they’re connected….
Which reminds me of another story – one time, I was at the supermarket and I picked up a cut of meat I was unfamiliar with. I asked the butcher how to cook it. He looked at me and said, “Like every other cut of meat. You put it in a pan with vegetables, add liquid, cover and put it in the oven it for a few hours.” At the time I thought he was being profoundly unhelpful – until I was grocery shopping with my mom last week. I picked up a cut of meat and asked if she knew how to prepare it. “Sure,” she replied. “You put it in a pan with vegetables, add liquid, cover and put it in the oven for a few hours.”
Question: If that’s how you cook all cuts of meat, how can you tell what’s what? Why bother buying one cut of meat over another one?
I am so sorry about my tangents. Really. *sigh* It must be one of those days….
This post is supposed to be about what we had for dinner last night. We had sautéed vegetables, mixed with cheese (and then topped with more cheese) served over baked sweet potatoes. I was feeling decadent and therefore topped mine with salsa and sour cream.
I really liked it! The balance of the sweet potato, the cheesiness, the cumin/paprika/garlicky taste of the veg – plus it was topped by the salsa-sour cream combo. Truth be told, I’m a sucker for sour cream. That stuff is **awesome**. I’m sure I’m admitting something here that’ll freak you out, but I seriously like sour cream. I could eat it with a spoon. I don’t, but I could…. *hanging head in shame*
a) C didn’t care for the flavors, eventually opting for some reheated fish instead of veggie-cheesy-sweet potato-joy.
b) Both babies loved the sweet potato and the beans (they both picked the beans out of the veg and then demanded MORE BEANS! – do you know how hard it is to pick out tiny little black beans from a mess of vegetables? I told C that it was too hard and I was gonna give up and just open another can of black beans for them to eat. C gave me a look and mumbled something about ME changing their diapers tomorrow. *sigh*
And the sour cream? The babies LOVED it. Loved it loved it. Demanded more loved it. Smeared their faces with it in an attempt to shove more of it in their mouths loved it. They are, indeed, children after my own heart.
2 or 3 Sweet Potatoes, scrubbed and pierced
3 Carrots, 4 Celery Stalks, 1 Zucchini **Basically, whatever vegetables you have on hand.
2 small packages of Enoki Mushrooms
1 Onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon Chili **Use more or less to suit your tastes. I had such a large zucchini that I needed to add more spices. I just about doubled them for this recipe.
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
1/2 teaspoon Cumin
1 can Black Beans
1 Bag of shredded cheese. Alternately, shred a block of cheddar.
Salsa & Sour Cream to serve
1- Heat an oven 350º. Place your pierced sweet potato on a lined baking sheet and whack it into the hot oven for 1-1.5 hours. Be careful, they leak as they cook. OH! My mother-in-law never bakes her sweet potatoes, opting for the microwave instead. Feel free to as well. Won’t matter to me, not one bit.
2- Wash and chop all your veg minus the onion, and then set aside in a colander to dry out for a few minutes. Now chop your onion.
3- In your biggest sauté pan heat your oil over a medium heat. Add the onion and let it cook, stirring occasionally, until it’s all browned and translucent and the smell is goooooood. I mean, if you like the smell of frying onions.
4- Add in your garlic and stir around for about 30 seconds. Now, add in your spices and let them meld a bit into your onion and garlic.
5- Dump in all your veg. Stir. Cover with a lid and let everything cook away for a few minutes. In 3-4 minutes come back, stir and taste. Feel free to add more of anything, until it tastes good to you.
6- Add in your black beans. Cover and cook a few more minutes.
7- Turn on the broiler. Uncover your veggies and stir in 1/2 the bag of cheese. When it’s well incorporated top everything with the rest of your cheese and slide that baby under the broiler for 3-5 minutes, until the cheese is golden brown and crunchy.
To serve split open the sweet potatoes, ladle the veg over the top, then scoop out half the container – er, I mean, scoop out ONE TABLESPOON of sour cream and salsa and place it atop your veggie laden sweet potato. Enjoy!
One last thing: Casey – these are GLUTEN FREE!!