janet @ the taste space

Posts Tagged ‘yam’

Green Soup with Ginger

In Appetizers, Soups on April 29, 2011 at 6:11 AM


They say to eat a rainbow, but I am trying to eat more green, as the reds and oranges come too naturally to me.  I am also trying to figure out what to plant in my garden, and Swiss chard made the potential list. Truth be told, this was my first time eating Swiss chard. This got me thinking, why the heck is that?

Because, I am a sucker for sales.

And you know what, Swiss chard never goes on sale (neither do pea shoots, and what a treat it was to discover those!). I get side-tracked when baby spinach is less than $4/lb, or wooed when red peppers are under $1/lb, and perfectly smitten when juicy navel oranges are 33 cents/lb (yes, there will be many recipes with orange to come!). But Swiss chard had never made it to my grocery list, until now.

I spotted this recipe in Love Soup (Heidi had already posted the recipe here, too), and was impressed that there was nearly a pound of leafy greens in the soup! Plus, there was a sweet potato and ginger, as well, which I knew worked well from my previous Japanese Winter Stew.

I preferred the soup prior to pureeing it, where I could taste each individual ingredient. The caramelized onions lent a delicious sweetness to the soup, the ginger a bit of  bite, the sweet potato proffered its creaminess, all the while dancing around the multitude of greens (feel free to substitute your favourites). You pile in so many vegetables but they wilt down nicely, as you can see.

Other than using baby spinach, I followed the recipe fairly closely.  This is surprisingly a quick soup to make, but I took the longer one-pot route. Anna suggests caramelizing your onions while the rest of the soup simmers, but I really wanted to deglaze the pan after caramelizing my onions, so I waited for my onions to finish and then threw the rest of the ingredients in afterwards.


Then I pureed it, and it both looked and tasted completely different. The green highlighted how much green really was in the soup!  The soup had become a chameleon, because now it tasted like a melange of flavours since it was all blended together. The same, but different. Two soups for the price of one! I preferred the former, and I think my camera did as well, but for those who get leftover fatigue by the end of the week, the option to puree it is a good one. 🙂

I am so excited about Love Soup, as all the recipes look delicious, and perfect for someone with a backyard filled with vegetables. I can’t wait to plant some Swiss chard this summer (yes, it made the cut) and explore more of Anna Thomas’ recipes.


This is my submission to this week’s Potluck Party for cold remedies and Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays.

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Japanese Winter Stew

In Mains (Vegetarian), Soups on March 29, 2011 at 7:23 AM

Japanese Winter Stew

Last week was a bit of a tease. Just two weeks earlierI was lamenting how it would be months before I could take my bike out.  I was shocked when the weather turned around completely, with a few gorgeous spring days with highs around 15C. I quickly brought my bike into the shop to get its annual tune up, and was commuting to work earlier this week. Only to have snow come again the following day. It was such a slap in the face to have spring yanked out from under my bicycle tires!

No use sulking, as there are still lots of great things winter provides, like hearty soups and stews. There are many dishes to warm up the soul when outside is so cold.

Like this Japanese Stew. While I am usually leery of making Japanese recipes from a non-Japanese cookbook, I still ventured to make a Japanese Winter Stew I found in Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health. I swapped the veggies around, though, for a more authentic feel (power to random purchases from Chinatown!), but really, you could throw in any seasonal vegetable. I kept the sweet potato and tofu, but I substituted daikon for the turnip, added in 100g of chopped enoki mushrooms and used 4 oz baby spinach instead of mustard greens. I then topped each serving with chopped green onions and drizzled with a touch of toasted sesame oil. This is a powerhouse of a winter stew, overflowing with vegetables, yet with the comforting miso taste but zippy from the chili flakes and ginger. It balances out so nicely, which is what Japanese cuisine is all about.


This is my submission to this month’s Veggie/Fruit a Month, featuring radishes (including daikon), and to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays.

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Spinach Orange Yam Soup

In Favourites, Soups on January 15, 2011 at 6:36 AM

Sometimes you are destined to make a recipe. Everything was leading me towards this soup:

1) I got a lemon squeezer for Christmas! Perfect for squeezing small oranges as well. 🙂

2) My mom gave me her second garlic press (I never thought I needed one, but it is great for salads)

3) My mom offloaded a case of oranges/clementines onto me before her vacation

4) I had 2 yams in my fridge that needed to be used PRONTO

5) Baby spinach was on sale

6) I borrowed ExtraVeganZa from the library and was reading it over the holidays

7) Have I mentioned how much I love soup? 🙂

Even though I wasn’t expecting much, I am so glad I followed all the clues.

The stars were aligned properly, though: this soup was phenomenal. I was blown away by its taste. Healthy food does not need to be bland!

This soup was both incredibly delicious, healthy and a snap to put together. I adapted the original recipe from ExtraVeganZa only slightly, with less oil and likely more yam. This soup was silky smooth from the pureed yams.  I rarely go to the trouble of squeezing my own orange juice, but with an overabundance of citrus and a new lemon squeezer, I had no excuses.  The freshly squeezed juice is paramount for this recipe. The delicate splash of citrus made this a light-tasting soup, and the extra dimension came from the dill and ginger. They really brought the soup to the next level with the curiosity it raised with each spoonful. The soup would likely be great without the spinach, but the extra bulk made this a soup with texture. A perfect play from winter’s finest characters. It brought a smile to my face with its first bite.

Here are other soups with orange that have piqued my curiosity:

Black Bean Soup with Orange Zest at Recipe Trezor
Carrot and Orange Soup with Ginger and Thyme at She’s in the Kitchen
Honeyed Carrot and Orange Soup at Tasty Kitchen
Balkh Brown Lentil Soup at Vegan Feast Kitchen
Caspian Butternut Squash Soup with Bulgur at Vegan Eats and Treats

This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, and to Torview for her green Food Palette event.

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Tamarind BBQ Tempeh and Sweet Potatoes

In Mains (Vegetarian) on January 11, 2011 at 6:17 AM


In this electronic age, word of mouth can spread fast. Online feedback is immortalized. While I like to consult reviews, too, I didn’t know authors like to gauge their own success through these reviews.  I was surprised (but I guess I shouldn’t have been) when I saw Dreena Burton, author of Eat Drink and Be Vegan, really upset by a recent review on amazon. The primary complaint was that her recipes were criticized for using too many unusual ingredients (tempeh, artichoke hearts, pine nuts,  lemongrass, agave nectar, etc).

I am so glad my blog doesn’t get judged as harshly – the blogging community is actually VERY supportive. Heck, we actively encourage our readers to try new and unusual ingredients that we have discovered ourselves. I certainly do not purport to be solely cooking from kitchen staples. When I went home over the holidays, I had to figure out what I could still cook in my parents’ kitchen without having to run to the grocery store too often. I know that my armamentarium of ingredients has ballooned since I’ve moved to Toronto and discovered ethnic grocery stores. My favourite ingredients right now include pomegranate molasses, bulgur, lentils du Puy, cardamom, tamarind, and tempeh. Personally, I love it when I find new recipes that use these unique ingredients!

I remember flipping through Veganomicon before I moved to Toronto and the recipes didn’t really appeal to me. I agree, all the new ingredients can be intimidating. However, when I returned to it recently, my curiosity was caught by many recipes. My favourites so far have been the chickpeas romesco and the tamarind lentils.

I recently bought Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, a Veganomicon co-author. When I saw a recipe for tempeh and sweet potatoes marinaded in a tamarind-based barbecue sauce, I knew I had to try it first. I also had all the ingredients. 🙂

The recipe is also posted here and I modified it by decreasing the tempeh. Who wants to use one and half packages of tempeh for a recipe? The recipe didn’t mention it, but I used Terry’s tip in Viva Vegan to steam the tempeh with half a cup of water in the microwave. Apparently it removes its bitter taste. However, whenever Rob has prepared tempeh, I have not noticed a bitter taste.

I cut the tempeh into small triangles and used around 600 g of sweet potatoes with the same amount of marinade. I started making this dish in the morning, allowing everything to marinade until I threw it into the oven for an easy, late lunch.

I was skeptical the sauce would thicken but it was perfect right out of the oven. It was a smokey barbecue sauce with a strong tangy tamarind flavour. It worked well with the meaty, chewy tempeh and the sweet potatoes. My only complaint, and we’ve had this problem before with tempeh, is that it slurps up the marinade once cooled as leftovers. It still tasted fine for leftovers, but the sauciness was lost. Therefore, it was best the day it was prepared, but still conferred reasonable leftovers. Next time, I may throw in a leafy green like kale, as Susan did here.

This is my submission to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging hosted by Cinzia from Cindystar.

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African Sweet Potato and Peanut Stew

In Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian) on December 8, 2010 at 5:52 AM


As a Canadian, I don’t like to get confused with being an American.  So, I wonder whether it is offensive to call this an African dish? I mean Africa is a big place, with a lot of variation from country to country, and here I am lumping this dish with the whole continent. 😛 I am not worried about offending anyone because this dish was so delicious that every country should be fighting to claim it as their own. 🙂

Despite recently travelling to Morocco (more about that later!), I am no expert in African cuisine. I didn’t come across any peanut stew in Morocco. A bit of research tells me peanut (or groundnut) stews are typical of sub-Saharan cuisine. I recently made an African pineapple, kale and peanut stew, and was intrigued to try peanut butter in a savoury dish again. Adapted from Vegan Planet, this is a delicious vegetable stew. Again, we have a nice mixture of sweet from the sweet potatoes and tomato, with the salty and smooth from the peanut butter, with a touch of heat from chili flakes, ginger and garlic. Cumin and cinnamon make this a savoury dish indeed. Red kidney beans add substance and I enjoyed their mouth feel (I had forgotten how much I like kidney beans – it has been too long!).


In fact, with only 2 tbsp for the entire dish, the peanut butter is not a dominant flavour. I felt like it was more to add creaminess but occasionally I would get a hit of the peanut butter. I don’t think it mixed in as well as I had thought. My advice is to add to taste, mix it well, but you don’t need much. Another nut butter could easily be substituted.


This is my submission to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging hosted by Huan from Eat.Read.Live.

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Yam, Black Bean and Amaranth Burritos

In Mains (Vegetarian) on November 16, 2010 at 6:30 AM


Toronto has a lot of burrito restaurants. I have been to a few places, but my favourite sandwich remains the yam burrito at Big Fat Burrito.  I used to gush about them at work, where our Monday lunches were burritos from Big Fat Burrito. It turned out to be a bad idea, because we started to run out of the yam burritos.

I haven’t eaten a burrito in a while, especially after I found out that the steak burrito at Burrito Boyz is over a pound of food, and over 1000 calories. Chipotle fares no better, clocking in at over 1200 calories if you include guacamole.

However, when I spotted this (since adapted) recipe in Bob’s Red Mill Cookbook for yam, black bean and amaranth burritos, I knew I had to give burritos a second chance. Making them at home meant I could make them healthier!  Including a touch of sour cream, these burritos are around 550 calories, but it all depends on the tortilla, salsa and added fixins you use. Next time I make burritos, I will try to search out freshly made tortillas from La Tortilleria. Sometimes, though, I ate this more like a stew, sans wrap.

Amaranth is an optional ingredient, but if you have it, this is a great way to incorporate it into your meal. Amaranth is one of those up-and-coming superfoods. It is an ancient South American seed loaded with protein, fiber and minerals, akin to quinoa. It has a slightly nutty taste and can be quite sticky. It works well as a binder in these burritos.

Amaranth has an interesting history, as it was believed to have superpowers and was given to the army for increased energy. Furthermore, it was used during religious ceremonies as effigies, and thus was banished when the Spaniards invaded Mexico. It has only been rejuvenated within the past few decades and still remains relegated to health food stores (I found mine in bulk at Essence of Life but have also seen it at the St Lawrence Market at Lively Life Fine Food).

Here are some other recipes with amaranth seed:

Emeril Lagasse’s Five Grain Salad on The Kitchn
Banana Apple Coconut Curry at Oh She Glows
Jewelled Amaranth at Cook (almost) Everything At Least Once
Heidi Swanson’s Savory Amaranth Soufflé at Pink Stripes
Ottolenghi’s Potato and Amaranth Cakes at The Guardian
Crunchy Stalks and Branches Snacks
at Diet, Dessert N Dogs


This is my submission to Ricki and Kim’s vegan SOS challenge featuring sweet potatoes, and to this month’s My Legume Love Affair, hosted by Lisa’s Kitchen.

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Vanilla Sweet Potato and Kale Curry

In Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian) on November 10, 2010 at 6:06 AM


I have been apprehensive of curries for a long time. I do not like curry. Rather, there is something in curry powder I do not like. A bit earthy, definitely spicy. I still haven’t figured it out. It may just be the chili pepper!

I enjoy Indian food, though, and bought 660 Curries by Raghavan Iyer to help me conquer my fear of curries without the use of curry powder. I simply omit the peppercorns and add Aleppo chili flakes to my liking. 🙂 Browsing through the cookbook, you realized this is a cookbook of authentic Indian dishes along with contemporary dishes with an Indian spin. And they are all considered curries.

The word “curry” doesn’t exist in the Indian vocabulary. Authentic Indian dishes do not call for curry powder, either! So what is a curry then? Iyer describes it as any dish which is simmered with a sauce/liquid with spices and herbs, which can be pretty much anything.

Hence why this dish is considered a curry.

And I didn’t even know it until after I sat down to eat it.

In my quest to find interesting ways to use my large bunch of kale (superfood #1), I stumbled upon a vanilla sweet potato and kale soup by KathEats. I adapted it by swapping some of the sweet potato for butternut squash. I inadvertently added more coconut milk (my can was 19 oz, but I think 14 oz is the standard size) and instead of using garam masala, I made my own spice blend, loosely based off of Lisa’s post.

Vanilla Sweet Potato and Kale Curry
This was supposed to be a soup, but it was too thick to be a soup and too saucy to be a stew (although it technically could be considered a stew since everything was stewing). In the end, we christened it as a curry due to its Indian-flavoured spices and use of coconut milk.

Regardless, this was delicious. DELICIOUS. It was sweet, savoury, spicy, and salty. It was hearty, yet creamy. It was filling. It was everything great. Just not a soup.

The sweet potatoes and butternut squash cook down to a sweet hearty broth, aided by a blender. Coconut milk permeates along with the sweet/spicy flavours of the garam masala – cumin, cardamom, cloves, coriander, cinnamon and nutmeg – with a kick from Aleppo chili flakes. I almost thought to leave this as a nice soup after blending it, as it tasted great. But I am glad I persisted, because the kale was a delight. Chewy and full of texture. The vanilla worked well and the raisins were like hidden treasures, sweet jewels popping up in every few bites or so.

I am sure this would still be nice as a thinned soup, but served with rice, the textures balanced out nicely.

This is my submission to Ricki and Kim’s vegan SOS challenge featuring sweet potatoes and to this month’s Ingredient Challenge Monday for coconut.

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Yam, Zucchini and Chickpea Salad

In Mains (Vegetarian), Salads on October 26, 2010 at 9:30 PM


I was almost worried I didn’t like tahini. I adore hummus, but usually make it without tahini. You might not believe it, but I try not to have too many wacky ingredients in my cupboard. I try (I swear!), but don’t succeed very well, hehe. I just bought nigella seeds, so shoot me. 😛

So I bought tahini to make Smitten Kitchen’s highly praised Warm Butternut and Chickpea Salad with Tahini Dressing. Warm butternut squash and chickpeas, it sounds right up my alley! But I hated it. It was way too bitter. I couldn’t even finish it. It is the first SK recipe that has disappointed me. Oh, and Deb’s shakshuka was too spicy for me to enjoy. I have to tinker with that one, too.


But I persevered. Rivka’s recipe on Food52 for yam, zucchini and chickpea salad called out to me. It had less tahini, so I was hopeful I would enjoy the salad. I also pulled out some of my other kitchen tricks to kick this salad over the top. First, I roasted the yam until soft and sweet (leftover roasted sweet potatoes and yams from thanksgiving would work great here!). Roasted zucchini was also added, which added a nice lightness to the salad.The broiler added the extra caramelization needed to bring this to the next level.

Next, I pan-roasted my chickpeas. I can not get over how wonderful pan-roasted chickpeas are, creamy, nutty and flavourful. They always add extra oomph to a salad and did not disappoint here.

Next, the simple dressing was a winner. A bit of lemon with a dash of tahini. Creamy, nutty, full-bodied flavour that worked so well with the yams, zucchini and chickpeas. A delicious, healthy, satisfying salad. Perfect.

It wasn’t until I had roasted sweet potatoes over Thanksgiving that I forgot how much I love roasted sweet potatoes and yam. I look forward to trying other recipes in the coming weeks. Here are a selection that have caught my eye:

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos in Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favourites
Addictive Sweet Potato Burritos at Allrecipes
Quinoa with Black Beans and Sweet Potatoes from Mischief
Turkish Sweet Potato & Apricot Rolls from Eating Out Loud
Sweet Potato and Red Pepper Couscous Salad from Patty’s Food
Lentils with Roasted Sweet Potatoes from Avocado & Bravado
African Sweet Potato and Peanut Soup from Food Blogga
Ottolenghi’s Chickpeas and Spinach with Honeyed Sweet Potato found at Alphabet Soup

This is my submission to Ricki and Kim’s vegan SOS challenge featuring sesame, to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, to this month’s My Legume Love Affair, hosted by Dil Se, and to Torview’s Food Palette Series featuring orange dishes.

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