Sunday, January 23, 2022

Sweet Potatoes with Adobo Pinon Sauce

I've been loving getting Purple Carrot boxes in the mail on an irregular basis. They use spices that I don't normally stock in my kitchen. I'm still not going out to eat very often, but I do long for tastes that are a little different from what I regularly cook. As a result, I'm becoming more experimental in what I do regularly cook! To start, I spent some time in the grocery store looking at the spice racks and picking up spices and spice mixtures that I didn't have at home. Needless to say, I'm enjoying new tastes more frequently, and today's sweet potato recipe is one of the results that I'm very happy to share!

Ingredients: 

2 sweet potatoes
1 tsp olive oil

1/4 cup pine nuts
1 Tbs lemon juice
2 Tbs plain Greek yogurt (I like Kite Hill for a non-dairy version)
1 clove garlic, sliced
1/2 to 1 tsp Adobo seasoning, depending on taste


Directions: 

Preheat oven to 375. Cut the sweet potatoes in half, lengthwise. Add a little olive oil to the cut side of the potatoes, and place cut side down on a baking sheet. Roast for 25-35 minutes. When they're done, the potatoes will either pierce easily with a fork or give nicely with a slight push of your finger. Make the adobo pinon sauce while the potatoes roast. Place the pine nuts, lemon juice, yogurt, garlic, and just 1/2 tsp Adobo seasoning into a food processor. Taste, then add more Adobo seasoning to taste. Process for about 1 minute, until the pine nuts are ground finely, and the mixture has a saucy consistency. To serve, allow one half sweet potato per person. Drizzle some of the Adobo pinon sauce on top of the potato, then spoon some of the salsa on top. Enjoy!

Stealthy Cooking Tip: I found Adobo seasoning at the regular grocery store. It's a delightful combination of spices! It also includes salt as the number one ingredient - hence, no added salt to the potatoes or sauce. If you find you want more salt, use a salt grinder set on the largest grind, then use just one grind. The larger crystals will make your palate think you're getting all the salt you need, yet you'll use less in the long run. 

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Shrimp Pho

Pho is a Vietnamese soup that warms the soul while it nourishes the body. Traditionally, it is made in large quantities and eaten with family and friends, completing the experience by healing our spirit with love and friendship. Typically, pho is made with beef broth, but since I love chicken soup as well as shrimp, this one is made with chicken stock and shrimp. Enjoy!

Ingredients: 

For the soup:
3-4 cups low sodium chicken stock
one 1 inch piece of ginger, sliced
1 star anise
8 whole cloves
1-2 tsp fish sauce
1 Tbs sugar
1 tsp olive oil
12 or more shrimp
1/4 cup water
1 carrot, peeled and cut into 2 inch matchstick
1 baby bok choy, thinly sliced
1/2 cup green beans, sliced into 1-1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup broccoli crowns, separated into small pieces

2 oz rice noodles

For toppings: 
2 Tbs whole mint leaves
2 Tbs whole Thai basil leaves
2 Tbs sliced cilantro
1 Tbs jalapeno, thinly sliced
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup mung bean sprouts

Directions: 

Pour the chicken stock into a large soup pot. Add the ginger through the sugar to the chicken stock and heat until steaming, but not boiling, over medium low heat. Prepare the vegetables while the stock warms. Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook the shrimp until opaque, about 3 minutes on each side. Remove the shrimp to a plate. Add the carrot, bok choy, green beans, and broccoli to the skillet along with the water and cook for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are still bright in  color, and are crisp tender. Heat a second pot of water to boiling, then add the rice noodles and cook until tender, usually between 5 and 15 minutes, depending on brand. Drain the noodles. Prepare the toppings while the noodles cook. Pour the stock through a strainer, so that the ginger, anise, and cloves are removed, and return to the soup pot. Add the shrimp and vegetables to the pot. 

To serve, place some of the rice noodles in the bottom of a bowl. Ladle a healthy portion of the soup over the noodles. Let each person add their toppings of choice. 

Serves 2 generously, easily doubled or tripled

Stealthy Cooking Tip: You'll notice that there's no added salt in this recipe. Fish sauce and chicken stock, even the low sodium kind, have plenty of sodium. While I love, love, love take out pho, making it at home is one of the ways that I (and you) can control sodium, because take out is always saltier than my home made! It's also one of the ways that I can increase my vegetable intake. This recipe probably has more vegetables than most take out pho you'll find.