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Archive for the ‘Vegetables’ Category

>Every now and then you’re lucky enough to stumble across a recipe that hits you like a bullet in the taste buds. On Monday, I did a quick Google for sweet potato recipes and found this little gem by Lillian Chou, on the Gourmet website:

Roasted Japanese Sweet Potatoes with Scallion Butter
Ingredients
8 small slender Japanese or Garnet sweet potatoes (4 to 5 pounds total)
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, well softened
1 1/2 tablespoons miso paste (preferably white)
3 tablespoons finely chopped scallion

Preparation

Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in upper third.
Prick potatoes all over with a fork and put on a foil-lined large baking sheet.
Bake until very soft when squeezed, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
While potatoes bake, stir together butter, miso, and scallion until combined.
Slit hot potatoes lengthwise and, using oven mitts, push in sides to puff up potato. Serve with some scallion butter in center of each and with additional scallion butter on the side.

    Cooks’ notes:

    • Scallion butter can be made 4 days ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to warm room temperature and stir before using.
    • Sweet potatoes can be roasted (but not cut) 4 hours ahead and kept at room temperature, covered with foil. Reheat potatoes on a baking sheet on middle rack of a 350°F oven until heated through, about 20 minutes.

    It tastes fantastic. The combination of the sweetness of the potato, the saltiness and umami of the white miso, the creaminess of the butter and the bite of the spring onions is a balancing act of genius.

    I’m not sure if this is a traditional Japanese recipe or not (the inclusion of butter would rule against that, it seems to me), but wherever it comes from, it gets two thumbs up from me – and a permanent place in my recipe repertoire.

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    When I was about 10 or 11 my uncle Rocky, a chef at the time, told me that mixing coleslaw together with their hands was how chefs cleaned their fingernails. After that, I refused to eat coleslaw for years.

    I no longer suffer from ‘coleslaw reluctance’ (although I still don’t know – and have little desire to be illuminated either – as to whether Uncle Rocky was lying or not), and with the discovery of the delicious Savoy Cabbage in latter years, have even jumped on the I Love Cabbage bandwagon. Admittedly White Cabbage still raises childhood memories of over-boiled & tasteless limp leaves and I never buy it, but as an adult I can avoid particular vegetables without censure. Yah for being an adult!

    Coleslaw has a lot going for it however. Firstly – look at those colours! Aren’t they gorgeous? You want to eat that dish. Secondly; taste. Scrumptious fresh vegetables, a touch of sweet, a tang of sour and delicious cream. Mmm. Thirdly; texture. Slightly crunchy vegetation in a creamy sauce. Perfect match. Fourthly; much easier to digest than raw vegetables. Personally I have trouble digesting fruit and vege au natural, so coleslaw is easier on my tum than a normal salad. The dressing and blanching breaks down the vegetables enough that digestion isn’t so much of a Big Thing. Fifthly, it keeps well. Always a bonus for those of us who make our own lunches and/or work late. There’s probably a dozen other reasons why coleslaw is a big ‘YES’, but really, who needs more than that?

    The coleslaw recipe I use is an amalgamation of various recipes, and can of course be played around with depending on what you have in your chiller at the time. I’m fond of avocado coleslaw however, as it adds just an extra little fillip of flavour. You can of course use a cream dressing, but I like the simple tastes of this version:

    Coleslaw with Avocado Cream
    1 head Savoy Cabbage
    1 red onion, sliced finely
    1 red capsicum (pepper), sliced finely
    1 carrot, rough grated
    1-2 Tb flavoured vinegar
    1-2 Tb walnut or other salad oil
    1 tsp sugar
    pepper & salt to taste (about 1/4 – 1/2 tsp each usually)
    1 cup creme fraiche, sour cream or cream
    1 avocado

    1. Wash and shred the cabbage.
    2. Blanch the Savoy Cabbage in boiling hot water for a couple of minutes, until it is a bright bright ‘just call me Green Lantern’ green.
    3. Drain the cabbage and press out all excess water. I squeeze it together in my hands in a locking grip, and it’s amazing how much extra liquid you express like that. Doing it manually rather than with a tool means the leaves tend to spring back into shape better.
    4. Mix the shredded cabbage with the onion, capsicum and carrot.
    5. Beat together the vinegar (I used a mix of Forum red wine vinegar & white balsamic vinegar, which results in a slightly sharp & fiery but sweet flavour), oil, sugar, salt and pepper.
    6. Pour dressing over cabbage and stir in.
    7. Chop up the avocado and beat together with the cream/creme fraiche until smooth and lumpless. Alternately use a kitchen whizz – I use my Bamix processor for this.
    8. Add avocado cream to cabbage.
    9. Voila! Coleslaw with Avocado Cream. Eat and enjoy.

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