Sweet Potato Curry – A Recipe

My last post proclaimed my love for tacos. This post is going to demonstrate my love for curry. Admittedly, I have no idea how to create an authentic curry. I always stray from recipes and go by instinct instead. It would be fun to take a class from a curry making professional, but until then, I shall settle with what Tim and I consider curry. It makes our tummies happy and that’s really what matters most, right?

Sunday night was cool and rainy – a perfect night for curry! We whipped up a sweet potato curry and served it with brown rice. I did my best to write down the recipe so I could share it with you!

Sweet Potato Curry
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 small shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small stalk lemongrass, minced
1″ knob of ginger, finely chopped
2  large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced small
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3 tablespoons good quality yellow curry paste (or red)
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 can full fat coconut milk
1/4 cup brown sugar (organic if you have it)
Splash of tamari sauce
1 large avocado, diced
1/3 cup roasted cashews
Water as needed

Directions:

1. Melt the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallot, garlic, lemongrass, and ginger. Saute for 2 minutes, or until aromatic.
2. Add the sweet potatoes and stir well. Now add the chickpeas and stir again. If the mixture starts sticking to the bottom of your pan, stir in 1-2 tablespoons of water.
3. Scoot the potatoes and chickpeas to one side of the skillet and stir in the curry paste and curry powder. Move the paste and spice around for a few seconds to toast. Stir the potatoes and chickpeas into the mixture and saute for a few minutes.
4. Pour in the coconut milk, splash of tamari, and brown sugar. Stir well to incorporate. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer the curry for 25-30 minutes. The mixture will thicken as it cooks.
5. Check to make sure the potatoes are tender and then add the avocado and cashews to the skillet. Stir everything together and let the curry simmer for a few more minutes. Season to taste.
6. Remove from heat and serve with brown rice or the grain of your choice.

Enjoy!!

Backpacking Wacky

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This past weekend Tim and I headed down to the southern Oregon coast to go backpacking. Despite crazy heat and mosquito posses, it was an absolutely gorgeous area. We saw tiny frogs, snails, birds, lizards, snakes, leopard slugs and so many (think dozens of varieties) colorful wildflowers blooming on hillsides. We even got to jump and swim around in two cold rivers as a reward for enduring the toasty sunshine each day. And, we had complete solitude the entire time – we didn’t see any other people until we were about a mile from the end of the trail. A perfect escape from the city.

Oftentimes, people think of dehydrated packaged meals as the staples for backpacking fare. Tim and I discovered years ago that a little creativity and fresh veggies and ingredients make for much more exciting meals on the trail. While this option might make our packs a bit heavier, we eat tastier, healthier meals! I was too lazy to photograph our lunches but we snacked on homemade bagels (recipe from the kickin’ sweet Vegan Brunch) smeared with peanut butter and bananas we dehydrated a few days earlier. We also had homemade cajun tofu jerky, carrot sticks, pumpkin seeds, and a medley of other dried fruits we made. Here are some photos from our trip, starting with meals.

Soba Noodle Curry

A simple soba noodle curry – We brought along small plastic bottles of coconut milk and a spicy peanut curry sauce to pour over soba noodles (broken in half) and sauteed mushrooms, red bell pepper and broccoli. The meal was then topped with sesame seeds and some toasted coconut. It was delicious.

Of course you can’t have dinner without dessert, right? Right. When Tim and I backpacked around New Zealand in 2000, we brought along an Outback Oven. It’s basically a convection-style oven that you can use with a backpacking stove. It is small, fairly lightweight, and portable. We don’t always use the outback oven, but some of our favorite foods have been enjoyed on the trail when we do bring it along (think cinnamon rolls, pizza, scones…). For this trip, we made a chocolate wacky cake. My favorite recipe is from a Mollie Katzen children’s cookbook. We simply quartered the recipe, packed the dry ingredients in a ziplock, and the wet ingredients in a small bottle. Everything mixed up nicely in the pan and baked in about 15 minutes. We used some addictively yummy chocolate agave packets as a frosting (see photo of packets below).

Wacky Cake!

Wacky cake with about 5 minutes of baking time left.

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This stuff is so incredibly yummy. I admit to eating a packet straight up by itself. That’s right, you would too.

Next up:

Brekkie Couscous

Breakfast Couscous – Whole wheat couscous, powdered soy milk mixed with water, our own dried strawberries, pecans, agave, and cinnamon. Super quick and simple!

And now some photos from our mini vacation:

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Cape Blanco 1.3

I am pretty sure I could do this every weekend…

Stuff on My Plate

It’s been awhile, huh? I have no excuses… Here are some photos of tasty foods to make up for the absense:

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Homemade Avocado Spring Rolls, a test recipe for the 500 Vegan Recipes Cookbook. These rolls were incredibly delicious and simple to prepare. They are full of veggies too! I had never worked with rice paper before and now I am addicted. Tim and I enjoyed these (way, way too many) with the Peanut Passion Sauce from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan. It was a perfect combination.

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Close up – take a nice long peek!

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Black Bean Grillers, another test recipe. These burgers mix up quickly and keep their shape when grilling and eating. They are loaded with protein so you may need to hide in a corner as digestion comes to a close… The recipe makes six hearty burgers and they freeze well. They are supposed to be topped with BBQ sauce, but I was out of that beloved condiment. What?! 

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Off the test recipes and onto crafty creations with the food dehydrator: homemade pear roll-ups!!! These are simply a mixture of chopped pears (peeled), agave nectar, cinnamon, and a squeeze of lime juice pureed in the food processor. The puree is then spread on a special sheet and placed in a food dehydrator. In about six hours, you have pear roll-ups!! We made some with kiwis too, but they were a bit tart. I am tip-toe excited for fruit picking season in Oregon because I am going to be making loads and loads of dried fruits, roll-ups and snacks. I imagine dropping hand-picked dried strawberries into granola…

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Cauliflower-based alfredo sauce over whole wheat spaghetti with broccoli and spinach. The sauce recipe is here. I have made this many times and I love the versatility. You can add whatever veggies you want, use whatever pasta you want, and it still tastes yummy. I think it would be nice drizzled over baked potatoes. Next time perhaps!

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Walnut and Currant Veganzola Balls - one more test recipe! The combination of ingredients in this recipe provides lovely textures, sweetness, smokiness, and savoryness (it’s not a word, but it ought to be). I have eaten bits of these balls spread on crackers, crumbled over salad, and in sammies. They are huge (think baseball size) and fun to shape. I think these would be great for a potluck or fancy gathering.

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Here is Tim making curry on a recent snowshoeing trip! Well actually, it’s leftover curry being reheated, but it doesn’t matter! This was such a warming lunch, especially when it started snowing as soon as we sat down.

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Close-up.

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And lastly, a beautiful Amaryllis bloom! My sister gave Tim and I an Amaryllis bulb for Christmas and we nurtured it with lots of love. The blooms have since withered. Do you see all that pretty yellow pollen settled on the petals? It gave me allergies! I have never had allergies before. In fact, I used to tease Tim during his worst allergy episodes. Now, I have them too, since February! It was always my understanding that you were born with allergies, but that is not the case I guess. My sneezes are so frightening they literally lift my feet off the ground. Sigh… I acquired these allergies right after my 32nd birthday – just goes to show old age and Amy don’t mix so nicely…