Roasted Sweet Potatoes And Figs

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and FigsThe number on producer of sweet potatoes in the United States alone, is the state of North Carolina, planting and harvesting more than 40% of the national supply.

3 popular sweet potato varieties sold at market

Image Credit: Saveur Magazine

The website for the sweet potato industry, North Carolina Sweet Potatoes say that the list of sweet potato varieties changes rapidly and new varieties are released almost annually.

The most popular varieties sold at your local market are, Covington Sweet Potato, O’Henry Sweet Potato, and the Japanese Sweet Potato.

The popular food magazine, also found on line, Saveur says that shopping for sweet potatoes, particularly during the Thanksgiving holiday (USA), you can came across a surprising range of varieties, 16 to be exact.

They go on to say that a consumer can find both heirlooms and new hybrids alike, all which are being grown in the United States.

Our feature recipe – Roasted Sweet Potatoes And Figs – uses three different types of sweet potatoes, which are the speckled purple sweet potato, which is named because of their flecked magenta flesh.

An heirloom variety with pale orange skin and flesh, and not to forget the Hannahs varity which has tan skin and an off-white interior. When roasted the flesh takes on a yellow cast, a lightly sweet flavor, and a dry texture.

Here is what you will need to prepare – Roasted Sweet Potatoes And Figs in your own kitchen.

2 1/4 pounds sweet potatoes, different colors

5 tablespoons olive oil

Himalayan salt and fresh black pepper to taste

6 dried figs

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

2 peeled coins fresh ginger

2 1/2 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons dark balsamic vinegar

12 scallions or green onions (white and green parts), cut into 1 1/2 inch segments

1 red chili,halved, seeded, thinly sliced

My mother had two fig trees in her garden, both a black and green variety. Fresh figs can be very fragile, and need to be eaten within a day or two of harvesting. We used dried figs in our recipe because they are just as versatile as fresh figs when re-hydrated.

Read more here about the Benefits Of Figs Help Fight Against Common Ailments.

Recipes directions:

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Scrub potatoes and slice each one into wedges.

roasted sweet potatoesToss wedges with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, s teaspoons of Himalayan salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Spread on a baking sheet. Sprinkle and roast until soft, about 25 minutes.

rehydrating fdried figs with lemon zest, juice, sugar and fresh gingerMeanwhile, place the dried figs in a medium saucepan with lemon zest, juice, ginger, and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Cover with fresh water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil and simmer until figs return to plump fig pose.

dried figs rehydratedScoop figs from saucepan with a slotted spoon and drain on some paper towels. Let dry, and quarter the figs, cutting away the stems.

In a small saucepan, stir together the balsamic vinegar, and remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 4 minutes.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Figs - close upArrange roasted sweet potatoes on a serving platter. Pour remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a sauce pan and heat. place in onions, and chili. Fry for about 4 to 5 minutes, stirring often. Spoon the oil, onions, and chili over the sweet potatoes.

Nestle the figs among the wedges and drizzle with the balsamic reduction. Suggested to serve at room temperature.

Ginger and Lemon Juice WaterMaybe you are wondering what to do with the water solution that was used to dehydrate the figs? Put it into your Nutri-Bullet or blender, and blend for about 30 to 40 seconds and drink down a nutritious anti-inflammatory drink.

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Red Kale Cannellini Beans and Chorizo Soup

Red Kale Cannellini Beans and Chorizo

When the suns behind the winter clouds and not able to warm your skin, the next best thing is Red Kale Cannellini Beans and Chorizo Soup.

The cannellini beans or white beans are also known as white Italian kidney beans. The skin of the white kidney beans are much thinner and more delicate than their red cousins. White beans also have a smooth, but slightly nutty tasting interior.

Concerned about your daily fiber in take? A half cup serving of cooked cannellini beans are a excellent source of dietary fiber, providing you with 7 grams of your 30 grams of fiber needed daily for good health.

Here is what you will need for this simple and nutritious Red Kale Cannellini Beans and Chorizo Soup.

Our ingredients are all organic grown and harvested and pasture fed meat.

red kale2 tablespoons avocado oil

12 ounces pork chorizo sausage, 1-inch slices

1 medium red onion, diced

3 gloves garlic, minced

1 medium purple carrot, diced

1 rib celery, diced

4 cups chicken stock

2 15 ounce cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 teaspoon Himalayan salt optional

4 cups red kale, stemmed and leaves torn

spooning from the sauce pot - Red Kale Cannellini Beans and ChorizoOver medium heat, add oil to a large sauce pot. Once heated add meat and brown. Next add onions, and garlic. Stir until garlic and onion is just browned about 1 minute.

Next add diced carrots and celery, and stir until you see the vegetables brighten in color, about 2 minutes. Next add chicken broth, beans and salt.

a large sauce pot of Red Kale Cannellini Beans and ChorizoBring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer, and add kale, then stir in. Place lid on pot, and on simmer let soup cook another 5 minutes.

Red Kale Cannellini Beans and Chorizo - close upTo thicken the soup a little, as we did not use potatoes (their starch content will thicken soups), you can add some arrowroot starch. In a small glass add 1 tablespoon of starch and stir in a teaspoon of fresh water, and add when soup is boiling. When soup has thickened some, lower heat to a simmer. Add kale and stir in, then place lid on soup pot and let cook another 5 minutes.

Red Kale Cannellini Beans and Chorizo

According to Mangia Bene Pasta, the Cannellini beans are difficult to harvest when ripe and therefore are harvested in the fall when the pod is completely dry.  As a result, the beans are rarely eaten fresh.

In some parts of Italy, the beans are a popular accompaniment to tuna and pasta dishes containing poultry. In the United States, vegetarians often utilize the hearty beans as a fish or chicken substitute, due to its protein source (WiseGeek).

The dried beans double in size when soaked, so a few beans go a long way in a dish.  Cannellini beans are available in supermarkets in both dried and canned form. If cannellini beans are unavailable, great northern beans or navy beans can be used, though they are a much smaller bean.

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Citrus Fennel and Avocado Salad

Citrus Fennel and Avocado SaladAccording to Vegetarian Times,  avocado and grapefruit are a common salad combination in Spain and France. Citrus Fennel and Avocado Salad is like capturing sunshine in a dish!

Our featured recipe couples the citrus fruits of navel oranges, and ruby-red grapefruit with zesty arugula, the unique flavor of fennel, and creamy avocado. It also has a homemade vinaigrette that includes extra-virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, Italian parsley, and the unique flavor of fresh thyme leaves.

dill and fennel flowersAre you wondering about fennel? Well, fennel is a bulb shaped vegetable with tall, thin, wispy, fronds that have the appearance of dill.

Though the two are from different plant spices. Dill is from the celery family, and fennel is from the carrot family.

Apart from the crunchy rather spicy vegetable, the fronds can be used in salads as well.

Fennel is a firm and crunchy vegetable, and has a flavor much like licorice and anise. Sometimes in the market, the produce worker will refer to fennel as anise, though it is not. Just like comparing yams and sweet potatoes, also very different from one another.

Now for our featured recipe: – Citrus Fennel and Avocado Salad – and here is what you will need.

1 teaspoon Himalayan salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, remove leaves from stems

2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley chopped

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

1 large pink grapefruit, peeled and pith removed, cut segments into 3’s

1 large navel orange, peeled and pith removed, cut segments into 3’s

1 fennel bulb, quartered and thinly sliced, reserve fronds (optional)

4 cups arugula

1 ripe avocado peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks

lemon and olive oil dressingMix first six ingredients in a large bowl, and set aside.

grape fruit with peel removed grapefruit segmentsPrepare fruit, fennel, leaving avocado last so flesh doesn’t brown.

Using a knife remove peel from both the orange and grape fruit. Be careful while cutting away at the peel, so as to remove as little of the fruit as be possible.

Next slice away any white pith, again removing as little fruit as possible.

Arugala and Fennel in a salad bowl with dressingAdd the arugula and fennel to the vinaigrette and mix until well coated.

Citrus Fennel and Avocado Salad - image2On individual plate’s spoon salad mix and top with 1/3 cup grapefruit segments and 1/3 cup orange segments. Next add 4 to 6 chunks of avocado. Before serving add a few cut fronds to the plated salad. Prepares about 4 salad plates.

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8 More Uses For Your Lemon

 There are many uses for a lemon, with the most common being used in culinary cooking and baking desserts. Oh and not to forget drinking lemon juice with warm water in the morning to get the digestion moving.

There are in fact 8 more uses for that lemon you have in your kitchen. Let’s see what they are.

Your Cutting Board

A combination of Himalayan salt and lemon juice is said to be the top cleaner for your cutting board.

lemon slice on a cutting board After using the board rinse it under running water. Next sprinkle the board with salt, and rub 1/2 a lemon (cut side down) over the surface of the cutting board .

After dubbing the intire surface, let the board sit for about 10-15 minutes, and rinse again with water. The two food items together remove orders, germs, and help prevent stains.

Harden Brown Sugar

What a drag when you go to reach for the brown sugar, and it has harden.

To soften it up, just add the peel of half a lemon to the packaged brown sugar, and allow to sit overnight. The sugar will absorb the moisture of the lemon peel, tuning that harden brown sugar soft and manageable once more.

Wilted Leafy Greens

leafy green lettuceDon’t you just hate it when you want to make a salad, and you find your leafy greens have wilted in you. No worries though.

Just add cold water to a large bowl. Next add the greens and juice from 1/2 a lemon, and place in your refrigerator for about an hour, then dry the greens thoroughly.

Smell Fresh Refrigerator

Who knew a cottonball with a few drops of lemon juice could remove food orders from your refrigerator.

Faucets That Sparkle

Hard water stains on faucets can be removed with a cloth that has been dampened with lemon juice. Just rub the hard water spots until they disappear.

There are still more uses for that lemon, such as for a sore throat. Just add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice to 8 ounces of warm water, then gargle and swallow. Lemon juice is so strong that it kills germs and bacteria.

You can even soak your finger nails in lemon juice and warm water for 5 minutes, once a week to remove any stains from your nails.

Lastly, after you have juiced your lemon for the above uses or any way you use your lemon, do not through away the peel. Freeze it.

 Place the peel in a zip-lock baggy and place in the freezer. When making a dish or dessert that calls for lemon zest, and you rich for the lemon, but so sad it’s not there. Don’t fret, the frozen lemon peels to the rescue.

Just grate the frozen peel, and you have fresh lemony zest. You can also do this with lime and orange peels.

What other uses do you have for your lemon, besides cooking and baking?

The Usefulness of Salt Around The House

The Usefulness of Salt Around The House

Varying colors of natural salt grains

Varying Colors of Natural Salt Rocks

Salt without a doubt makes food more delicious, and savory, but it also has other unexpected advantages at fixing up other things around the house. 

Table salt can be used for the following applications, but why not make the choice to use Sea salt, or Himalayan salt.

Both salts are in their original form, or in other words, contain all the trace minerals found in a rock of salt.

Here are a few suggestions out of 100’s of  household uses for salt.

Sparkling Flower Vase

flowers in glass vases

 

You just bought yourself or received a bouquet of flowers, but the glass vase is marred with cloudy streaks on the inside due to hard water stains.

Here’s the salt fix: Scrub the streaks with a paste of 1 teaspoon of of salt and 2 tablespoons of white vinegar.

How it works: The abrasiveness of the salt grains and the acidity of the vinegar cuts through the mineral deposits that are causing the streaks.

Cleaning A Shower Curtain

plastic shower curtain Keeping a shower curtain clean a mildew free can be a job. But here is the trick to keeping free of mildew with the use of salt.

Here’s the salt fix: Fill the bath tub with 5 to 6 inches of water, and add 2 cups of salt. Remove the curtain from the rod, and immerse it into the salt water for about an hour.

How it works: Soaking the curtain in salt water will leave an unseen coating of sodium crystals that helps to prevent mold and mildew from latching on to the plastic shower curtain.

Boosting the Life of a Broom

Don’t those brooms wear out faster than expected. If you want to extend or boost the useful life of that household broom do the following.

extending life of broom

 

Here’s the salt fix: Before the new brooms first use, soak the bristles in a 50/50 solution of hot water and alt for about 25 to 30 minutes.

How it works: Salt hardens the brooms bristles to prevent them from fraying.

After removing the broom from the salt-water, just store it leaning against a wall upside down so the bristles are off the floor when not in use.

Eliminate a Carpet Full of Fleas

You love your dog, but you hate the fleas that can hop from your pet to the carpet. Is there a solution to getting rid of the fleas and not the pooch?

Here’s the salt fix: Vacuum the carpet and furniture thoroughly. Next, literally sprinkle the salt crystals over the surface of the carpet and upholstery. Let the salt sit overnight, then vacuum again the next day, and empty the canister right away.

How it works: The salt will dehydrate those little fleas that hatch from eggs deep in the carpet and fabric fibers of the upholstery.

Stop Mold From Growing On Your Cheese

We all hate the mold growth on cheese. Is there a way to slow or stop mold from naturally growing on it?

moldy cheeseHere’s the salt fix: Soak a paper towel in in a mixture of 2 tablespoons of salt and 3 cups of water.

Wrap the wet paper towel loosely around the cheese before placing it in the refrigerator.

How it works: The salt inhibits mold growth by dehydrating it.

Brighten Those Faded Cloths

washing clothes Detergent can be harsh on clothing after awhile. Naturally brighten those colors with salt.

Here’s the salt fix: Use this solution even before your colored cloths start to fad, and even if they have faded, this fix will work to brighten their color. Toss 1/2 cup of salt into the wash cycle.

How it works: The chloride in the salt will help to dissolve hard water deposits, in turn helping the colored clothes look like new. This solution will seal in colors on new clothing with their first washing.

Cool Down Canned or Bottled drinks In A Flash

Your guests have arrived, but you forgot to put the drinks in the refrigerator. Not to worry. You can cool those canned or bottled drinks in about 5 minutes. How? With salt.

Here’s the salt fix: To chilled those canned or bottled drinks, just toss them in a large tub of cold water and 2 handfuls of salt, and as much ice as you can fit. Add the beverages, and in about 5 minutes you have cold drinks.

How it works: The salt reduces the freezing point of water, so the caned or bottled beverages will cool in only 5 minutes. Rinse the cans or bottles before serving them to family or guests.

Save That Bitter Cup Of Coffee

bitter tasting coffee Most people who love their coffee, also hate it bitter. The next time it happens to you, don’t toss the coffee, save it with salt.

Here’s the salt fix: Just add a pinch of salt to your cup of bitter coffee.

How it works: The ions in the salt helps to neutralize the bitterness of the coffee, without adding a salty taste, as long as it is only a pinch.

 

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Roasted Yams with Cilantro and Lime Juice 

Roasted Yams with Cilantro and Lime Juice 

The softer, orange-fleshed variety of sweet po...

The softer, orange-fleshed variety of sweet potato, commonly referred to as a yam in the United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you know the difference between a yam and a sweet potato? In some parts of North America, including Canada, the yam and sweet potato are enter twinded or in other words people think they are same.

The fact is, they are not. They both are tubers, and that is as far as it goes to being similar.

The yam are monocots related to lilies and grasses. Were as sweet potatoes are related to or we should say the unrelated morning glory family (Wikipedia ).

Yam in a market

Yam in a market (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to About Foods, yams are mostly sold in chunks sealed in plastic wrap, as they can grow up to 7 feet in length and weigh up to 150 pounds. (Home Cooking – About Food).

Better Homes and Garden (BHG) suggests storing yams in a cool dry place. Much like you would do with potatos.

BHG says do not store yams in the refrigerator as they will dry out (BHG).

Before we get on with our featured recipe, here is a link to a pdf file from the University of California on yams and sweet potatoes: LINK HERE.

Our featured recipe is: Roasted Yams with Cilantro and Lime Juice, and here is what you will need.

2 medium yams, washed and diced with skin on

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 to 2 teaspoons dried cumin

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Juice of 1/2 lime

diced yams with olive oil in a large bowel Add the oil, cumin, and salt to a large mixing bowel. Mix together, then add died yams and toss to coat.

Roasted Yams with Cilantro and Lime Juice  - close upSpoon yams onto a baking sheet spread out evenly. Place baking sheet into a preheated 425 degree oven, and roast the diced yams for 30 to 40 minutes or until a fork can pierce them, turning once during the roasting process.

Remove from oven and let cool about 5 minutes. Add yams to a serving bowel along with chopped cilantro and lime juice. Mix gently to coat roasted yams.

Eat the dish as is or as a side dish with your favorite meat.

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Roasted Chicken With Chipotle Cinnamon Orange Glaze 

Roasted Chicken With Chipotle Cinnamon Orange Glaze The Scovilla scale is the measurement of how hot or spicy a chilli pepper is. The scale was first used in 1912 and named after its inventor Wilbur Scovilla.

According to the scale chipotles are between 3,000 to 10,000 SHU (Scovilla heat units), and that means a hot chili.

The word chipotle is derived from chilpoctli an Aztec word, and is a smoked red dried jalapeño chili from Mexico.

The chili is used in Mexican prepared foods as well as Mexican-American, Tex-Mex, and prepared dishes of the southwestern parts of the US, like New Mexico (Link Here for more information about Mexican vs. Tex-Mex: What Is The Difference?).

Chipotle Cinnamon Orange Glaze Our featured recipe is an inspiration as it uses the chili to glaze the chicken. We found the recipe in Novembers issue (2014) of “Good Housekeeping.” The glaze is prepared to use while roasting a turkey.

We thought why not test it on some chicken breasts and see if our palate could endure the spice while eating the roasted poultry, and if so, it would be used to roast a turkey.

Our featured recipe is Baked Chicken With Chipotle Cinnamon Orange Glaze, and here is what you will need.

Chipotle Cinnamon Orange Glaze

1 teaspoon chipotle in adobe
Juice from 1/2 an orange
1 1/2 teaspoon raw honey
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 to 2 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons orange zest
1/2 teaspoon powdered cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt

Blend together in a blender until smooth.

This recipe was reduced down to accommodate four (4) chicken breasts. For the full recipe to roast a turkey link here: Good Housekeeping.

Now let’s glaze some chicken with that Chipotle Cinnamon Orange Glaze.

preparing chicken breastsUsing a fork or knife, poke holes all over each chicken breast. You can use breast’s with the skin on, but as you can see we have some with the skin removed.

raw chicken breast wih Chipotle Cinnamon Orange Glaze Next, spoon on some sauce or glaze and spread out over the meat. Set aside for about 30 to 40 minutes and allow the flavor of the spices to absorb in.

putting chicken breasts with Chipotle Cinnamon Orange Glaze in oven to roastPlace chicken into a 350 degree preheated oven for for 40 minutes or until internal chicken temperature is 165 degrees.

Roasted Chicken With Chipotle Cinnamon Orange Glaze on a platterPlace the roasted chicken breasts on a platter and serve with an appropriate side dish. Link Here for some suggestions.

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