Friday, January 29, 2016

Vegetarian Sweet Potato Chili with Poached Eggs

As I mentioned a few weeks ago when I shared this recipe, I've been on a bit of a poached egg kick lately. In the next few months, I'm going to be working on a series of recipes that I'm calling "Poach Bowls," in which I'll be exploring all kinds of new ways to consume poached eggs. It will include recipes of the breakfast, lunch, and dinner variety, so if you're into eggs, you will want to stay tuned!

As the first official recipe of the series, I offer you this slightly sweet, slightly spicy, and totally satisfying vegetarian sweet potato chili poach bowl. 

    • Ingredients:
    • For Chili

    • 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
    • 1 chipotle pepper, finely chopped (I buy canned La Costena chipotle peppers at Walmart or Giant)
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 2 T olive oil, divided
    • 1 onion, diced
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 jalapeno pepper, sliced
    • 1 T ground cumin
    • 1 tsp dried oregano
    • 1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
    • 1 C water
    • 1 additional tsp salt, or to taste
    • 2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 2 (15 oz.) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1/2 tsp red chili powder (I used an Indian chili powder from the local Indian food market, which is slightly spicier than what you'll find in the grocery store)
    • 1/4 C chopped fresh cilantro
    • ground black pepper

For Poached Egg

    • 4 eggs (1 per serving)
    • 1 to 2 T distilled white vinegar

For Chili

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place cubed sweet potatoes in a large bowl and toss with chopped chipotle pepper, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1 T. olive oil. Once sweet potatoes are coated, spread onto the lined baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for 20-25 minutes. The potatoes should be slightly crunchy on the outside but tender on the inside. Set aside to cool.

Heat remaining olive oil in a dutch oven or large pot over medium heat, and add onion, garlic, jalapeno, cumin, chili powder, and oregano. Cook for about 5 minutes or until onion is soft, stirring occasionally.

Add tomatoes and water to the pot and let the mixture come to a simmer. Add 1 tsp. salt and cocoa powder, and allow to simmer for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for at least 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, add beans and sweet potatoes. Add a little more water if the consistency is too thick for your liking. Simmer another 15 minutes until beans and potatoes are heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with cilantro.

For Poached Eggs

Fill a saucepan with 3-4 inches of water, add vinegar, and bring to a very low simmer. If the water is barely simmering, there are fewer bubbles that will agitate the eggs. While the water is simmering, crack your eggs into small ramekins. When the water is ready, place eggs, one at a time in a fine mesh sieve, allowing any excess white to separate into another bowl. Then slowly lower the egg into the water and let it slide out of the sieve slowly (I've found that the trick is to let it sit for a second in the sieve under the water before sliding it out. This allows it to solidify a bit). After all the eggs are in the water, set a timer for 3 minutes. Watch the water carefully to make sure it doesn't begin to simmer too much. When the 3 minutes is up, use a slotted wooden spoon to gently scoop the eggs out of the water. Place on a paper towel and pat off excess water. Then transfer one egg to each bowl of chili. 

(Disclaimer- If you already have a working method of making these, stick with that. If you've never made poached eggs, or you've had trouble in the past, I've found that the following approach works well. However, I am by no means an expert at cooking poached eggs. You can also use poach pods, which work great).

P.S. This could be a fantastic replacement dish for regular chili for that party on Super Bowl Sunday! Just add classic guacamole and you can't go wrong. 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Cashew Butter Cups

Lately I've been cutting back on eating peanut butter. It's one of those foods that I could literally eat an entire jar of in less than a week (I know I'm not the only one!). The other day I went to an event that required everyone to bring snacks, and all I could think of (read: all I was in the mood for) was peanut butter cups.

Cue cashew butter.

This stuff may just be more addicting than peanut butter. The creaminess is unreal, and I realized it would be delicious if consumed in cup form. And that's the story of how these little treats were born.

(Makes about 25 cups)

2 cups whole dates, pitted
1/2 cup raw almonds
3/4 cup desiccated coconut flakes, plus extra for coating the cupcake tins
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 Tablespoons coconut milk (or any non-dairy milk)
1 Jar of cashew butter (you won't use the whole jar, the amount all depends on how full you want your cups to be)
coconut oil


Grease 2 small cupcake pans with coconut oil. Then coat the insides of the molds with desiccated coconut flakes. Make sure that the molds are well coated with coconut flakes -- this helps the cups slide out of the tin easily.

Add almonds to a food processor and pulse until chopped fairly well (not quite fine). Add dates and coconut and pulse until combined. Test the mixture with your finger to see if it holds together well. Add salt, vanilla, and coconut milk. The texture should be a bit chunky and will be quite sticky. Roll the mixture into balls (about 1-1.5 inches wide) and press into greased (coconut oil) and coated (coconut flakes) cupcake molds and form into cups. Take the cups out and place on a tray or plate. You may need to use a small butter knife to help lift them out. Then spoon the cashew butter into the cups, and keep in a cookie tin or sealed container.