Winter Wild Rice with Cranberries, Pecans, and Sweet Potatoes

Sometimes the weekends are crazy.

They can be crazy fun with your friends, nuts because of the holidays, or intense because it’s New York and I think this city is a madhouse.  My weekend was crazy for all of the above reasons, but also because of how much meat I ended up eating.  I don’t know if you ever feel that way, but  sometimes weekends become unavoidably protein-packed.

Don’t get me wrong, I had an awesome Sunday: 1pm dim sum feast with my friend Joanna at Jing Fong (if you live in New York, please try this amazing, inexpensive restaurant – the food is unreal and the decor will undoubtedly entertain you), followed by a nice little Sunday chicken roast while watching Anne Hathaway’s One Day (so girly, I know, but so necessary).  Add to that mix a great steak from Saturday night, and I’m officially meated out.  So now it’s Monday, and I want healthy, and I want vegetarian.

I love this rice dish because it’s the perfect type of meal to make in 2 or more portions.  Make it for dinner one night, and save the rest for lunch the next day, or for dinner another night later in the week.  My favorite wild rice brand is Lundberg, which costs about $2.99 for a 1-pound bag.

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Breaded Sage Chicken with Easy Roast Vegetables

I got the idea to make this recipe from my sister Yasmin who isn’t a big fan of using breadcrumbs.  Fortunately for me, she bought a great quality bag from Eataly to use for her chicken parmigiana recipe, and she happily gave me what was leftover (which was most of the bag).  I think breadcrumbs are a fantastic thing to have on hand for anyone looking to pull a quick and easy meal together.

Breadcrumbs add loads of flavor to anything they coat, and they are delightfully simple to work with.  Just toss whatever you’re eating – porckhops, chicken thighs, fish fillets – with a little bit of egg or oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, coat with breadcrumbs and cook in an oiled skillet until done.  Breadcrumbs go particularly well with lemon juice.  For another suggestion on how to use them check out my recipe for breaded hake with peppery lemons.

This recipe was an automatic winner for me also because it includes one of my favorite foods to cook in the winter,  the sweet potato.  Can I just say, my sweet potato only cost .69 cents from the expensive “gourmet” grocery store down the street, which kind of makes me feel like I’m cheating someone when I eat it.  Inexpensive, packed with flavor, AND really good for you?  Impossible!

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Sweet Potato and Feta Pancakes

I really wanted to call these pancakes, but they don’t really look like what I’m used to.  I guess we can still call them sweet potato pancakes, but they did turn out to be, well, chubbier than I had expected.

I think you will like these pancakes/fritters/chubby bunnies/balls of fun.  I’m getting more and more of a sense of what readers and subscribers look for in recipes (need I remind you?  This whole blog is about YOU!), and I am getting the most positive feedback from seasonal, healthy, and quick recipes.  Price also seems to be important for you, but as far as I can tell most recipes are within your budget (because they need to be in my tiny budget too).

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>Soupe de Carottes, Patate Douce, et Haricots Blancs (Carrot, Sweet Potato, and White Bean Soup)


(french version first, english version directly below)
Cela fait la première fois que j’écris en français sur mon site, donc excusez-moi s’il y a beaucoup de fautes! Il faut dire que je suis un peu fanatique au sujet de soupe, particulièrement en hiver quand j’ai toujours froid et je n’ai jamais envie d’aller au dehors; a mon avis rien n’est mieux que de me plonger sur mon fauteuil avec un bon bol de soupe. J’adore les soupes de patate douce, ou bien tous les repas de patate douces, parce que cette légume qui se ressemble aux pommes de terres mais qui est plus sucrée et plus crémeuse est bien pour la santé comme pour le palais. Mélangée avec des carottes, des haricots blancs, et plusieurs épices aromatisées comme la cardamome, le cumin, et le coriandre moulu, et on a pour résultat final une soupe légère, complexe, et délicieuse.

Comme je le dis toujours, je préfère préparer assez de soupe pour plus qu’un repas, d’abord parce que la soupe tient bien dans le frigidaire pour une semaine, et aussi parce que quand je rentre chez moi épuisée et sans le désir de cuisinier, ça me va très bien d’avoir une soupe maison que je peux facilement réchauffer sur le poêle.

A manger avec du pain, un peu de crème fraîche, des pignons de pin, ou des fines herbes comme la menthe ou le basilic. Bonne dégustation!

Soupe de Carottes, Patate Douce, et Haricots Blancs – pour 4 bols à soupe
5 carottes, taille moyenne
1 patate douce
1 oignon
1 c.s. d’huile d’olive
1 pincée de cumin, de coriandre moulu, de cardamome moulue, et de paprika moulu doux
400g de conserves d’haricots blancs
de l’eau
1. Éplucher les légumes et l’oignon; couper les légumes en petits morceaux, et émincer l’oignon.
2. Faites chauffer un peu d’huile dans une cocotte à feu moyen. Ajouter l’oignon et faites revenir quelques minutes en remuant régulièrement, jusqu’à ce que l’oignon soit tendre.
3. Ajoutez les épices avec une pincée de sel et de poivre, et remuer 30 secondes.
4. Ajoutez les les carottes et la patate douce, salez, et laissez cuire quelques minutes, jusqu’à ce que les légumes soient tendres, environ 5 minutes.
5.  Verser les haricots et couvrir de l’eau, amenez à frémissement, couvrez, et laissez frémir 25-30 minutes, jusqu’à ce que les légumes soient bien tendres.
6.  A l’aide d’un mixeur plongeant, mixez finement toute la soupe.
7.  Remettez la cocotte sur le feu et laissez frémir pendant quelques minutes.  Servir nature ou avec un peu crème fraîche.
Now in English!
I am particularly fanatic about soup, especially during the winter when it’s cold out and I don’t feel like going outside; in fact, my favorite thing to do is curl up with a bowl of soup, some nice crusty bread, and savor the warmth and comfort coming from the dish in my hands.  I also love sweet potato soup, or anything sweet potato for that matter, because this vegetable strongly resembles the lovely potato, but is slightly sweet and creamier.  Combined with carrots, white beans, and aromatic spices such as cardamom, cumin, and coriander, and the final product is a satisfying soup that is at once light, creamy, and wonderful for your health.
Especially when it comes to dairy-free soups, I am a firm believer of making a big batch, mainly because it holds well in the fridge for up to one week, and can remain in the freezer for even longer, about a month.  It’s also fantastic for those days when I am exhausted and don’t feel like cooking anything; it’s great to be able to quickly heat up some soup and enjoy a warm, home-made meal.
To be eaten with bread, pine nuts, fresh herbs such as mint or basil, or fresh cream or yogurt.  This thick soup would probably also taste great as a pasta sauce, just something to think about.
Happy eating every body!
Carrot, Sweet Potato, and White Bean Soup – makes about 4 servings
5 medium carrots
1 sweet potato
1 onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pinch each of ground coriander, ground cardamom, sweet paprika, and cumin
1 14-oz can white beans, such as cannellini
1.  Peel the carrots, sweet potato, and onion.  Dice the carrots and sweet potato into smaller pieces, and chop the onion.
2.  Heat the olive oil in a stock or soup pot over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes.
3.  Add the spices along with a pinch of salt and pepper and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds
4.  Add the carrots and sweet potato, and cooking, stirring, until slightly softened, 5 minutes.
5.  Add the beans and enough water to cover everything.  Bring to a boil, and simmer until vegetables are very soft, 25-30 minutes.
6.  Using a blender or food processor, blend soup in batches.  Return to stove over low heat, and gently reheat until warm.  Serve plain or with cream, yogurt, nuts, or herbs.