smoky southwest sweet potato shepherd’s pie

smoky southwest sweet potato shepherd's pie

This shepherd’s pie has a delicious balance between salty, savory, and sweet. It really doesn’t need meat and it’s not even missed. This is the second recipe this week that uses chipotle peppers in adobo, and I am becoming a fan of this ingredient for adding a spicy pungent flavor to vegetarian dishes.

Smoky Southwest Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie (adapted from Vegan on the Cheap)

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Serves: 4

3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
2 chipotle peppers in adobo
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
3 medium carrots, chopped
2 x 15.5 oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups thawed frozen corn kernels
1 1/2 cups tomato salsa
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Lightly oil a 9 inch square baking pan and set aside.

Cook’s Note: To make this for 6, use a 9×13 inch pan.

Boil a large pot of water. Add the sweet potatoes until just tender, about 1o-12 minutes. While the potatoes are cooking, in a blender or food processor, puree the chilies with the water and set aside.

Mash the steamed potatoes with half the chipotle puree, the butter, salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and carrots, cover and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the beans, corn, salsa, cumin, and the remaining chipotle puree. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine. Transfer the onion-bean mixture to the prepared pan and spread evenly.

Drop the mashed sweet potatoes in dollops all over the top of the bean mixture. Spread evenly on top of the bean mixture. Bake until the filling is hot, about 40 minutes. Serve hot.

black and white bean chili

black and white chili with low fat scallion chili cornbread

I’m so sad. Winter is hanging on stubbornly, refusing to go. I can’t believe it’s March and I’m making chili. This recipe is surprisingly hearty and filling with just the right amount of herbs and seasonings. I did not have to add extra salt to this recipe. And I strongly recommend using fresh oregano as it made all the difference in the flavors of this chili. I chopped up two scallions and put them in the cornbread, for after all, what is a chili cornbread without a little green in it? Next time, I will chop up a couple of chilies or maybe add some corn niblets to the cornbread.

Black and White Bean Chili (adapted from Vegan on the Cheap)

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Serves: 4-6

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small bell pepper, minced fine (use green pepper for contrast)
1x28oz can diced tomatoes with liquid
2×15.5 oz cans black beans rinsed and drained
1×15.5 oz can white beans or cannellini, rinsed and drained
2 chipotle chili peppers in adobo, chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano (1/2 teaspoon dried oregano)
1 cup veggie broth or water
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon cornstarch, plus 1 tablespoon water (optional)

In a large Dutch pot, heat the oil over medium heat. When the oil shimmers add the onions and cook, covered, until softened and translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the peppers and garlic and cook for another minute.

Add the tomatoes, beans, chili peppers, chili powder, paprika, cumin, oregano, and broth or water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer 45 minutes to develop flavors. Taste and adjust seasonings. The mixture should thicken after 45 minutes. Add cornstarch mixture if a thicker chili is desired. Serve with low fat chili-scallion cornbread.

Low Fat Scallion Chili Cornbread (adapted from a recipe by Fiona Haynes)

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Makes: 16 squares

1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup clabbered nonfat milk
1/4 cup plain nonfat yogurt
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
2 scallions, chopped fine

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Generously spray an 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

To clabber milk, put 1 tablespoon white vinegar in a glass one-cup measure. Top up with non-fat milk and let rest for about 5-10 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine cornmeal, flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk egg, clabbered milk, yogurt, and oil. Add wet mixture to dry and stir with a fork until just moistened. Do not over mix.

Scrape batter into prepared pan. Tap pan lightly on the countertop to displace any air bubbles. Bake 25 minutes or until lightly golden or until the top springs back slightly when pressed. Cool 10 minutes in the pan, slice, then serve while still warm.

quinoa black bean patties with tzatziki sauce

Quinoa Black Bean Patties with Tzatziki Sauce
Our company has arrived. Hurricane Sandy is howling in the dark outside. The lashing rains I expected has not come yet. We’re not sure what will happen next; the subway system will be shut down again tomorrow. I thought about family and how scattered we are between two continents.  For a brief time this month we came together. Andy flew in from Bangkok for his birthday.  Then Taranee came to NYC for the Rock ‘n Roll New York 10k race and we made this meal together. Good times, remembered.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 55 minutes (includes quinoa cooking and resting time)
Makes 8-10 servings

2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa* (1 cup uncooked)
5 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup shredded Jarlsberg cheese (I used 3/4 cup Monterey Jack and 1/4 cup feta cheeses)
1/2 cup tomato salsa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup whole wheat panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400˚F.

To cook the quinoa, put the dried quinoa in a large pot. Rinse and drain. Add 1 1/2 cups cold water to the pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the quinoa rest, covered, for 5 minutes. Let the quinoa cool, uncovered, about 10 minutes.  You can do this step a day ahead then refrigerate the cooked quinoa until ready to use.

Line a rimmed baking tray with tin foil and spray with cooking spray. Brush with olive oil. Set aside.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Using a third-cup measure, scoop up a level cupful of the quinoa mixture, firmly packed.  Turn it out into your hand, compress and flatten, then gently place the patty on the prepared baking tray. Make another patty and place it about an inch apart from the first patty. Continue making patties.

Put the baking tray in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until browned on the bottom. Flip. Bake for an additional 5 minutes.

Serve with tzatziki sauce. And, I also recommend whole wheat pita pocket bread and a fresh salad.

Tzatziki Sauce (adapted from the South Beach Diet)

1 cup plain non-fat Greek style yogurt
2/3 cup cucumber, seeded and diced (Use long English cucumber–it’s called Japanese cucumber in Thailand)
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
2 heaping tablespoons of fresh dill or 1 teaspoon of dill seeds
2 heaping tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
2 tablespoons white vinegar, or to taste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, or to taste
salt and pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until well blended. The mixture should be slightly thick. If additional thickness is desired, increase the cucumber to 1 cup.

sriracha-cheddar biscuits with black bean veggie burgers and mango tomato salsa

Sriracha-Cheddar Biscuits (adapted from Savory Simple)
Sriracha is the name of a town in Thailand that is famous for its reddish-orange hot sauce. This recipe takes me back to the days I lived in Thailand, and the spicy flavors of the food. I served it with homemade black bean veggie burgers and a mango tomato salsa on a bed of arugula. Aroy.Delicious!

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 10 biscuits

2/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon Sriracha hot sauce
2 cups all purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup butter, cut into cubes, chill in fridge until ready to use
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (can substitute other cheeses)

for brushing the biscuits:
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon Sriracha

Preheat oven to 425˚F. Line a large baking sheet with a Silpat liner or parchment paper. Set aside.

Mix the milk and Sriracha sauce until well blended. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder. Add the cold butter and cut with a pastry blender until the butter resembles small peas. Pour in the milk-Sriracha mixture all at once and stir until the milk is absorbed. Mix in the cheese, this time using your hands and being careful not to over mix. You’ll know the dough is ready to roll out when your hands and the sides of the bowl are clean.

Turn out half the dough onto a floured surface and roll into a round about 1/2 inch thick. Cut out the biscuits using a 3 inch round biscuit cutter. Place each round on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the other half of the dough. Brush the tops of each biscuit with the reserved milk-Sriracha mixture.

Bake in the preheated oven 14-15 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.

Homemade Black Bean Veggie Burgers (adapted from
While the biscuits are in the oven, make these black bean veggie burgers. These “burgers” are quick and easy to make, and have a mild flavor despite the Sriracha sauce, chili powder, and cumin.

Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Ready In: 35 Minutes
Servings: 4

1 (16 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 green bell pepper, cut into 2 inch pieces
1/2 onion, cut into wedges
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 egg
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs

1. If grilling, preheat an outdoor grill for high heat, and lightly oil a sheet of aluminum foil. If baking, preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C), and lightly oil a baking sheet with cooking spray.
2. In a medium bowl, mash black beans with a fork until thick and pasty.
3. In a food processor, finely chop bell pepper, onion, and garlic. Then stir into mashed beans.
4. In a small bowl, stir together egg, chili powder, cumin, and chili sauce.
5. Stir the egg mixture into the mashed beans. Mix in bread crumbs until the mixture is sticky and holds together. Divide mixture into four patties. I scoop up 1/2 cupful, turn it out onto the prepared pan, and flatten and shape it with a spatula.
6. If grilling, place patties on foil, and grill about 8 minutes on each side. If baking, place patties on greased baking sheet and bake about 5 minutes on each side.

Mango-Tomato Salsa (adapted from
This is a mild salsa; to spice it up add a Thai chile pepper or tone it down with a jalapeño pepper instead!

Servings: 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: none

1 large mango diced
1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
1/2 cup sweet onion
1 chile pepper, optional
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
Juice of 1 lime

Combine chopped mangoes, tomatoes, onion, chile pepper, and cilantro in a medium bowl. Squeeze two halves of a small lime over the bowl. Toss and allow to stand until ready to serve.

black bean quesadillas

This is my first summer in New York, and it’s packed to the humid skies with locals and tourists. I miss summers in Calgary, where the sidewalks are lonely and the humidity is low. Summer is not the season for cooking in the kitchen, and I have discovered that Eating Well has a number of Quick and Easy recipes online. Black Bean Quesadillas, I love you! I adapted the recipe by increasing the cheese and the salsa. I left out the oil and just used my grill pan to toast the tortillas. It really doesn’t need oil to cook. Whole wheat tortillas have a nutty toasty flavor anyway!

Black Bean Quesadillas

Makes 4 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 12 minutes

1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed
1/2 – 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, preferably pepper Jack
1 cup prepared fresh salsa, divided (I bought mild salsa from Trader Joe’s)
4 8-inch whole-wheat tortillas (I used rectangular whole wheat roll-ups)
1 ripe avocado, diced, optional

1. Combine beans, cheese and 1/4 – 1/2 cup salsa in a medium bowl. Place tortillas on a work surface. Spread 1/2 cup filling on half of each tortilla. Fold tortillas in half, pressing gently to flatten.
2. Heat a large non stick skillet over medium heat. Add 2 quesadillas and cook, turning once, until golden on both sides, 3 to 6 minutes total. Transfer to a cutting board and tent with foil to keep warm. Repeat. Serve the quesadillas with avocado, if desired, and the remaining salsa.

pictures of pretty (delicious) things to eat

I had such a busy week wrestling with the dissertation that I didn’t have time to post something, but I did have time to cook! What can I say? It’s therapy. So I made this Smilebox collage, and I  set it to Joni Mitchell because Chelsea Morning is all about food. What we’ve got here (clockwise from the top) is: black bean veggie burger on an iceberg lettuce “bun,” roasted sweet potato wedges, and cilantro dipping sauce; zucchini pie with chopped turkey ham; brown rice sautéed in coconut oil; chicken with vegetables; and finally, a simple spinach sauté with a poached egg hat.

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