Thursday, July 9, 2009

Summer craving?

Have you ever brought produce home and had no idea why you bought it or what you were going to make with it? Usually when that happens to me, I'm at farmer's market and some seasonal fruit or vegetable looks so good that I can't pass it up. The other day, I came home from Ralph's with sweet potatoes - not in season, not particularly beautiful, and no agenda for eating them any time soon. Maybe it was those brownies in the past few weeks that made me think of sweet potatoes. Or, which seems strange, maybe I'm craving winter foods in the middle of summer.

We were going to barbecue steaks for meat that night and I couldn't stand the thought of heating my oven just to bake some sweet potatoes so I came up with an alternative - put them together with some rice. I thought the earthy nuttiness of brown rice and would go well with the sweetness of the sweet potatoes. The result was nutritious and looked pretty but more bland than earth-shattering. I think next time I'd leave out the thyme and go with a bolder spice - maybe curry powder or cumin. This would make a nice vegetarian main dish with the addition of more veggies (zucchini and fresh peas come to mind).

I have one more big, fat sweet potato left and I'm going to use it in a spinach salad that I'm making for dinner tonight. My plan is to slice it into thin wedges, toss it with a little oil, a little apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper, and roast it in the oven on a cookie sheet at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or so. I'll also put some sliced onion, hard boiled egg, some red bell pepper, and shredded carrots in the salad.

Sweet Potato Brown Rice Pilaf (4 servings)

1/2 c. onion, diced
1 1/4 c. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1/2 c. brown rice
1 1/3 c. broth or water
1 tsp. thyme
salt and pepper
olive oil

Saute onion in 1-2 tsp. olive oil for a couple of minutes. Add a little more oil and the sweet potatoes and saute for 4 minutes. Add the rice and saute 1 minute. Add broth and thyme and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook for 40-45 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed and the sweet potato is soft. Add salt and pepper to taste.


  1. That's a great title for the receipe: sweet potato brown rice pilaf!
    But, it doesn't taste as good as it sounds, huh?

    I think this is just the basic recipe. There4, it should serve only as the basis for experimentation, with potenial possibilities!

  2. Yes, you're right - it's more of a basic concept and the proportions than something that interesting :) The salad was better.

  3. I was all ready to make this until you said, uh, nah, not really. How about some scotch bonnets, or other spices inside? I've mixed my zucchini (of which I will probably be smothered sometime soon) with hot peppers, onion, garlic, and ground sirloin. (I know, the last one was wrong. But.)

  4. Yeah, I guess it wasn't a glowing endorsement but I'm going for journalistic objectivity here. I'm not saying don't try it - I think spicing it up would help. Maybe sauteing that scotch bonnet with the onion in the beginning and upping the other spices is what I'll try next time. And, a little fat (aka sirloin) goes a long way!

  5. I made this last night in my new rice cooker. . .i added cumin and it was very tasty....David thought so too. I served it with blue cheese stuffed chicken as featured in this months cooking light. Thanks Bec it was a good one!