It’s Been Fun!

Well, after a good month or so of posts, I’m sorry to say this has come to an end.

I’m being pulled in many directions these days, and unfortunately I need to focus my energy on a few projects.

I guess it’s part of being a grown-up.

Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed these recipes, and found a few keepers.

Love,

Over the Spoon

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Sweet Potato Quinoa Burgers

I’m a big fan of burgers– meat and vegetarian. I see the latter as a separate food entirely, and not a replacement for the former, which I think makes me love them even more. Try these simple vegetarian burgers on toasted English muffins with ketchup or any other topping you love.

Ingredients (for six burgers)

1 sweet potato

1/2 cup quinoa

1 cup water

1 egg

1/2 onion, chopped finely

1/2 cup breadcrumbs

1/2 tsp fresh ginger

pinch of salt

Make Em:

Rinse the quinoa well, or else it will be bitter. Bring the water to a boil, then add the rinsed quinoa and cook over low heat 8-10 minutes. Let cool.

Meanwhile, grate your sweet potato. You need about 1-1/2 cups of grated sweet potato for six burgers. Place the grated potato in a colander and press on it with a spatula to release as much liquid as possible– if it’s too wet, your burgers will fall apart!

Combine your shredded potato, quinoa, onions, bread crumbs, and spices in a bowl. Beat the egg separately and fold in. Using your hands, form six patties, about one inch thick and roughly uniform so they cook evenly. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat with a teaspoon or two of cooking oil with a high smoking point (I use safflower.) Cook the burgers 5-8 minutes on each side, flipping halfway in between.

These keep well in the fridge– you can microwave them to reheat without any sacrifice in flavor or texture.

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Cinnamon Raisin Bread

This is the new breakfast of champions. There’s some whole wheat flour in here, but it’s still buttery soft… it takes two rises, though, so maybe make the dough the night before you want to eat it, and let it do its first (or even second) rise overnight.

I got the original recipe here. It makes two loaves, which you can freeze for up to three months.

Ingredients

for the dough:
1 cup raisins
1 cup warm water
1 T active dry yeast
1 cup milk
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups  all-purpose flour
3 cups whole wheat flour

Filling:
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 T cinnamon
1 large egg, beaten

Make It:

Rehydrate your raisins in a dish of hot water for ten minutes, then dry them with a paper towel.

Proof the yeast in the hot water; once it blooms, add in the milk and melted butter. Combine the flours and salt in a bowl, mixing to combine, then pour in the wet ingredients and fold into a shaggy dough. Knead until you have smooth, elastic, slightly sticky dough. Fold in your raisins– don’t worry if they aren’t too evenly distributed yet, because you’re going to roll the dough out later. Break into two balls and let rise, covered, until doubled in volume (maybe an hour or so, but sitting longer doesn’t hurt it.)

Meanwhile, combine your cinnamon and sugar in a bowl. When your dough is sufficiently puffy, punch it down and roll each ball out, roughly eight inches by eighteen inches. Brush each rolled ball with egg wash, then sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar. Roll up into a log, then let rise in greased loaf pan another hour.

Brush the loaves with the remaining egg wash (for a nice, shiny crust!) Bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes. 

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Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Pancetta and Sage

When Captain Crunch offered to cook us some sweet potato gnocchi before he left town, I was skeptical. I’d only had gnocchi once, in Italy no less, and it was nasty. Chewy, sticky lumps. But I trust the guy, and he didn’t let me down.

I’ve since tweaked his recipe and made my own, with the addition of some smoky mushrooms and pancetta to complement the slight sweetness of the gnocchi. Top it all off with Parmesan cheese, and you have a winner.

Many people like to combine sweet potato with sweet spices, like nutmeg and cinnamon, or maple syrup. I prefer to keep it savory– I think it’s more interesting. Additionally, this recipe calls for dried mushrooms, which are a great thing to have in the kitchen. They’re cheap, they keep forever, and when you prepare them you also get a nice mushroom broth, which can be used in other things.

The Gnocchi

1 sweet potato, well scrubbed

1/2 cup flour, or more depending on the climate

pinch of salt

Combine flour and salt in a bowl. Pierce the sweet potato with a fork and microwave until baked, perhaps five minutes. Using a fork, add the mushed flesh of the potato to the flour, discarding the skin. Mix the dough with your hands, adding just enough flour so the dough is workable. If you want to be fancy, roll the dough into a tube and cut pieces off, flattening with a fork on one end. I was feeling rustic so I just rolled the dough into teaspoon-sized balls.

Boil water, and add the gnocchi in manageable batches, stirring occasionally. The gnocchi are done when they rise to the top of the water, but make sure they aren’t stuck to the bottom. Drain in a collander, serve promptly with The Sauce and some fresh grated Parmesan.

The Sauce

1/2 cup dried mushrooms (I used oyster)

3 strips of pancetta

1/2 stick butter

1 tsp dried sage

Pour boiling water over the dried mushrooms and let sit ten minutes while you prepare the pancetta. Place pancetta in a pan and cook over medium heat until crisp. Drain off fat and wipe pan clean with a paper towel. Melt the butter in the pan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it begins to brown. Remove from heat. Crumble the pancetta and add it to the butter with the sage. Remove the mushrooms from the liquid (which can be used as a nice broth) and pat dry with paper towels, then chop into small pieces. Add to sauce. Stir sauce and pour over gnocchi, topping with fresh Parmesan.

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Curried Chicken Salad

This is an incredibly easy and versatile recipe that yields delicious, healthy results. You can use any kind of nut you like, add in some chopped carrots or onion, or swap the parsley for cilantro or basil for a new flavor. This chicken salad is high in protein and low in fat, thanks to the use of Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise. I like to eat this on toasted English muffins… or straight from the bowl.

Ingredients

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or any leftover cooked chicken!)

3/4 cup Greek yogurt (I use Fage 0%)

1 tsp honey

2 T curry powder

1/2 cup diced celery

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup chopped nuts

1 T chopped fresh parsley

pinch of salt and pepper

Make It:

Poach the chicken breasts in boiling water, then shred with your hands or two forks. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Check back on Tuesday for: Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Pancetta and Sage

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Chicken Tagine

Oh yes, Moroccan food.  In a tagine I picked up in Marrakech for like $5, never mind how much they cost here. This is a Berber tagine, so it’s plain clay with that dip in the top. You can make this dish in a dutch oven, but if you are using a tagine, use a heat diffuser underneath and soak it (only before first use) in water overnight so it doesn’t crack.

First off, you need preserved lemons. To make these, you cut holes in lemons, stuff them with kosher salt, stick them in a jar with more kosher salt and lemon juice, and let them marinate in the fridge for a month. Worth it, I promise. Meyer lemons are even better.

Ingredients

2 chicken thighs

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp cayenne or white pepper

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 teaspoon ginger powder

4 T olive oil

1/2 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped into strips

1/2 cup green olives, pitted and chopped in halves

1 preserved lemon, flesh removed, cut into strips

1/2 cup water or chicken broth

fresh cilantro for garnish

Make It:

Combine dry spices with 2 T olive oil in a Ziploc bag, add chicken (skin removed) and let marinade overnight or for a few hours at least.

Put tagine with diffuser (or dutch oven) on stove on medium heat. Soak lemon and olives in water to cut salt content. Add remaining oil and onion to tagine. Cook until soft. Add garlic, cook until fragrant. Add chicken, browning on both sides for a few minutes.Add water or broth to chicken, along with apricots, olives, and lemon, and let cook over medium heat, lid on for 30-40 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Remove lid. Cook until sauce becomes thick, sprinkle with fresh cilantro. Serve with cous cous and/or French fries. (I’m not kidding, it’s often served with fries.)

This recipe is a little tricky at first and has some unfamiliar ingredients, but I promise it’s delicious and easy to make the next time through. And you WILL want to make it again. Enjoy!

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Healthy Banana Muffins

Well, I can’t eat bananas fast enough. I like them with some brown spots, so I wait and wait and then… BAM! Too many bananas. Luckily, I have this healthy– downright virtuous!– muffin recipe (based off this one) to convert those babies into breakfast or an afternoon snack. They’re not too sweet; I like to spread honey or peanut butter on them. And the secret ingredient? A little garam masala for complexity elevates these babies from run-of-the-mill to spectacular. Go ahead, have two. If you eat them warmed up, you can’t even tell they’re good for you.

Ingredients (12 muffins)

1.5 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats
3 tbsp brown sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp garam masala (available in the spice section)
2 eggs
1/4 cup applesauce (unsweetened)
1/4 cup skim milk
2 mashed ripe bananas
Make Em:
Preheat your oven to 375, and line a muffin tin with liners.
Combine all ingredients and stir until you have a chunky, dough-like batter. Spoon into muffin tins so they’re about 3/4 full. Put the tin in the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 325. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until the muffins “spring back” when you press lightly on the tops.  Let cool slightly before enjoying.

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