Lots of Good for You

I bookmarked this recipe ages ago, but just got around to making it this week. I’m not sure what made it float to the surface this week – or why in the world I waited so long. Because seriously? These were amazing.

The Veggie table: slow food London Halloween market 2009
Photo by mermaid99

They’re totally vegan – unless you do as we did, and add thinly sliced Swiss and cheddar cheese with 5 minutes left in the bake time. We DEVOURED two patties each after a hard workout, and then ate the rest for breakfast and lunch the next day. They were THAT good – nutty, savory, and robust without feeling heavy or too too virtuous.

patty cake
Photo by thepinkpeppercorn

You could conceivably make these from start to finish in the same night, but I’d highly recommend prepping the patties the morning or night before you want to actually make them – the prep takes half an hour or more, and then you have to wait for the mixture to cool, and THEN you have to bake them, by which time you’ll be starving. I did all the prep work while making Smitten Kitchen‘s amazing French onion soup, and so could just pop these in the oven while making a green salad and steaming some edamame after our workout.

Tempeh Quinoa Sweet Potato Patties
from dang argyle by way of The Golden Yolk, who adapted it from The Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health

1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup water
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 medium yellow, orange, or red pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, finely diced
8 oz tempeh, diced
4 tsp tamari
2 tbsp tomato paste or ketchup – I used cocktail sauce for a bit of spice
1 tbsp dijon mustard
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan, combine the quinoa, sweet potatoes, and water. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the quinoa and sweet potatoes are soft. Transfer to a bowl.

While the quinoa and sweet potatoes cook, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, generously season with salt and pepper, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the peppers, garlic, tempeh, and tamari and cook for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add to the sweet potato mixture and mash together with the tomato paste (or substitute) and mustard. Refrigerate until cool enough to handle, then form into patties.

Preheat your oven to 375. Bake on a lightly-oiled or lined sheet until firm and golden, about 35 minutes.

Makes 8 half-cup patties.


1120 “Thanksgiving”

I love Thanksgiving, and I love that nearly every Thanksgiving since 1999 has included at least one bonus Thanksgiving dinner – not the comprised of leftovers type, but the type where you’re surrounded by friends and loved ones who are not bound to you by genetics or tradition. I wrote about this in my zine last year – I love the way that we’ve invented and reinvented traditions while playing with the idea of family. I love that some years there are just a few of us far from home – and some years our house is bursting at the seams with good food and good friends.

Last year we were new in town, so we broke with tradition and instead had a Bosnian feast with friends in Chicago for Kim’s birthday. This year we both wanted to resuscitate the tradition, so in October, I sent out an email inviting friends to a potluck Thanksgiving dinner. When we didn’t hear back from many people, we decided to just have an open house – come when you can, bring something tasty, and everyone will go home full and happy. Little did we realize that all but two of the people we invited could make it, meaning that at 8pm we had run out of both plates and seating. By oh my goodness, was it wonderful.

There were so many good things that I can’t begin to recount them, but I do want to tell you about the two dishes we made. First, a pumpkin risotto which used up the last of the weekend’s pumpkin. I misplaced one of the onions – I think it must’ve just gone in early – and I would omit the white pepper next time, but otherwise the dish was a total success. The recipe claimed that it served 6, but at least 15 small portions were spooned out, leaving at least 2 for leftovers, so I would guess you could happily feed 8 hungry people if you want to give it a try.

And second, oh my word, the stand-out recipe of the evening and possibly the fall: Smitten Kitchen‘s sweet potatoes with pecans and goat cheese. Candied coins of sweet potato topped with a sort of Waldorf salad, except sub a sweet red wine vinegar for the mayonnaise, and sub dried cranberries for the apples. It was exquisite. I’m so glad we made a double batch, and I can’t wait to make more for my family’s Thanksgiving next week.

Sweet Potatoes with Pecans and Goat Cheese from Smitten Kitchen
Pumpkin Risotto from Food and Wine

1103 Baked Sweet Potatoes

Let’s all hope that Shane’s frequent travels end soon, as I’m about THIS CLOSE to eating spaghetti-os from a can over the kitchen sink.

Tonight I had a sweet potato for dinner.  “Dinner”.  Also a small bowl of cottage cheese while waiting for the sweet potato to bake – and a bowl of ice cream after.  And I sat on the couch and knit and watched MI-5 for the rest of the evening, dreaming of the sweet potato biscuits with chorizo cream gravy recipe for which I reserved one half cup of bright orange goodness. Maybe tomorrow night I’ll pull it together and make a real meal – that is, if I finish this knitting.

1020 Two Attempts at Fries

I promised to bring bread and salad to dinner tonight – but when I went to the store for bread, I neglected to pick up the salad, and so made sweet potato fries instead.

Sweet Potato Fries

That’s a logical progression, right?  It’s obviously easier to peel, slice, season, bake, flip, and salt a giant sweet potato than it is to swing by Plum on the way to dinner, right?  Riiiiight.

I started from this recipe for the sweet potato fries, but in reviewing the steps, I realize I did something completely different, which must mean that I combined 2-3 other recipes into mine, which I have to say is probably the best:

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

1-2 pounds sweet potatoes (I used one GIANT one)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
a generous pinch of kosher salt
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400, and line a baking sheet or two with tinfoil.  Peel, wash, and dry your sweet potatoes. Slice the sweet potatoes into roughly even pieces. In a bowl – or, better, a big ziploc bag, combine your spices. Working in batches, toss your fry slices in the spice mix, then line up on a cooling rack placed over a baking sheet. I can’t remember why this is exactly important, but I’m guessing it has something to do with the fries not soaking in oil and/or encouraging air circulation.  Drizzle a generous amount of olive oil over the top, then bake for 30 minutes. Flip the fries, drizzle with a bit more oil, then bake for another 20 minutes or until browned and crispy on the edges. Good stuff.

I should note that I’ve tacked on the tinfoil recommendation because my baking sheet is now a sticky mess of burned-on olive oil, and no one wants to deal with that when there are delicious fries to be devoured straight from the oven.

Oh yeah, and the other fries?  Kinda weird.

Celeriac Fries

I was inspired to make fries with the impulse celeriac I bought at the market the other weekend.  They were definitely fries – good texture and all of that – but they were pretty weird otherwise.  The seasoning wasn’t quite what I was going for, and none of us really knew what to expect from the celeriac itself anyway.  Everyone tried one or two, and then I tossed the rest with no regrets.  50% ain’t bad!

1001 Sweet. Potato. Biscuits.

If there’s one thing the South does well, it’s biscuits. There are many other things they do well as well – fried chicken, grits, greens, naming things Peachtree – but I’d like to talk about biscuits for a moment. Sweet potato biscuits to be precise.

Sweet. Potato. Biscuit.

Now if you’re like me and have spent most of your years above the Mason/Dixon line, you may be unaware of the fact that biscuits go with anything. You may also be unaware of the fact that you can make anything with sweet potatoes. And you would certainly be surprised to learn that putting sweet potatoes IN biscuits produces something so sweetly harmonious that you just might fall off your breakfast chair out of joy.

Well, that’s what happened to me this morning at Highland Bakery. OK, I might be exaggerating about the falling off the chair bit, but I certainly am not exaggerating when I say that once I bit into this crumbly biscuit, I very nearly lost all interest in the rest of my breakfast, including both bacon AND coffee.

I’d tell you about the rest of my meals from my first full day in Atlanta, but to be honest, nothing quite measured up.  The opening keynote of the conference was interesting, and I liked walking through the Sweet Auburn District.  It was fun to have dinner with Suz and Ken, though our actual dinner was a bit underwhelming.  We parted ways late in the evening, and I wandered back to Dawn’s with visions of sweet potato biscuits dancing in my head.

Miles walked: 6.25

If you go:

Highland Bakery
655 Highland Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30312
(404) 586-0772

0730 Hustin’ to the Roadhouse

I was at happy hour at Dominick’s when I got the message from Jenny – she and Richard were thinking about stopping at  Zingerman’s Roadhouse also en route to Detroit for the Maker Faire.  Was I interested in joining them?  Answer:  Yes please!  The only hitch? I was on campus – nearly 3 miles away – with no vehicle.  Fortunately the 30-45 minute wait gave me just enough time to hustle across town.

While I know I should’ve tried one of the many amazing meat offerings on my first trip to the Roadhouse, I regrettably wasn’t that hungry.  The three of us split a basket of sweet potato fries with a delicious spicy mayo, and I enjoyed a bowl of mussels steamed with white wine and shallots.  I envied Richard’s fried chicken and Jenny’s fancied up mac & cheese, and was thankful that we live just down the street and so can try these and other Roadhouse options at our leisure.  I also look forward to trying more of their cocktails, as my Corpse Reviver No. 2 combined several of my favorite drinkity things: gin, Lillet Blanc, and Absente.  What any of those things have to do with corpses, I’m not sure, but I certainly enjoyed it.

In addition to a great meal, it was fun to catch up with friends that I see quite rarely – and to learn about Henry Ford’s hatred of cows.  I had no idea!  A casual Google search turned up this book, which includes the tantalizing quote:

“In 1919 [Ford] advocated the elimination of horses, cows, and pigs.  ‘The world would be better off without meat,’ he said. ‘It’s 75 percent ashes anyway.  Milk can be manufactured chemically.  Every animal used on the farm these days is a waste of time.'”

He goes on to refer to cows as “the crudest machine on the world” and horses as a “twelve hundred-pound ‘hay motor'”. Thank you, Henry Ford, for the car and for allowing your ridiculous statements to be captured by the press so that they could amuse me 90 years later.  And thank you, Jenny and Richard, for inviting me to dinner!

Eating and growing locally: week 10

I kind of can’t believe it’s been 10 weeks since I got really pissed off at the state of our food industry and told SB that I wanted to make an effort to eat more locally.  I feel like I talk about this stuff all the time, and I apologize if you’re sick of hearing about it, but the last 10 weeks have really changed the way that we think about food and the way that we eat.  It’s kind of fantastic.

Local meal #6

Tiny pork burgers with ground pork from Cibola Farms, herbs and greens from our garden, slices of onion, tomato, and aged cheddar from the market, and rosemary Italian rolls from Atwater’s.  Please ignore the ketchup and the totally unnecessary mayo.  These were sooooo flavorful that we didn’t need other condiments at all.  Maybe some homemade pickles that, as of yet, exist only in my head.

Sweet potato fries

Along with the burgers, we had sweet potato fries, using up the last of the sweet potatoes that had started to sprout while we were at Bonnaroo.  I tossed the potatoes with kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, cinnamon, and cumin, then baked them long enough that they were soft, but not long enough to get crispy.  Better luck next time.

All local breakfast!

Shane made a really fantastic all-local breakfast – farmers market eggs scrambled with zucchini, onion, and garlic (also from the market), a fruit salad of peaches and the last of the strawberries, and toasted rosemary Italian rolls from Atwater’s.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

Did I say we ate the last of the strawberries for breakfast?  I lied.  The last of the strawberries actually went into a strawberry rhubarb crumble (recipe from Smitten Kitchen), which we ate with ice cream throughout the week.

On Friday, we ate the last of our store-bought chicken, so this week we’ll be making our first foray into entirely local meat.  We also bought (omg) crabs (!!!!) at the market this morning.  Stay tuned for much excitement and exclamation points about that.  It’s also worth noting that I made an incredible cole slaw that we’re hoping to repeat this week.


  • The chilis still are not red.  C’mon, chilis!  You can do it!
  • Everything else continues at the previously documented rates of growth.  I’m not sure if the worm poop is helping or not – or if we’ve just hit that hot part of the summer where some things are going to grow, and others are going to die.