Monday, June 9, 2008

The Carnivore's Gone Veg!

sweet potato streusel bread

That's right, folks. The Carnivore and his wife have decided to go vegetarian! Well, for a little bit at least. Before the Poultry farmers of America & the Cattleman's Beef Board begin fretting for their livelihood, this meat-free household is a temporary experiment. One night after much thought & prodding, Hubby couldn't remember the last time he went a day without eating meat:

"Hmm, maybe when I was a baby?!"
Wrong Answer.

As valiant as my meat eating efforts have been, we figured it was prime time to incorporate some more vegetables in our diet and an excellent opportunity for me to experiment with vegetarian cooking. So far, this challenge hasn't been too difficult. I've enjoyed exploring all the great vegetarian blogs (here or here, for example) & cookbooks. I haven't been tempted until I went out with a friend for a bite to eat at Girard Gourmet. Out came our food: a fragrant, hearty lamb stew that smelled like heaven (for her), a Greek salad with limp lettuce and oily cucumbers (for me). I've never lusted for meat quite like that! mmm...well, that sounds wrong, huh?

I'm happy to report back that my first vegetarian dinner was a great success. So much so that I didn't have time to take a photo as we quickly devoured our meal. After being overwhelmed by all the veggie options I had bookmarked, I decided to make the Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas from Karina's Kitchen.

While I wasn't initially sure about the flavor combination, its hard for me to describe how delicious the recipe turned out. The enchiladas were light and summery & I think they'd be great in the future with a little bit of fruit - maybe pineapple or mango. I gratuitously complimented my vegetarian culinary skills during the entire meal; Hubby enjoyed them, but he also seemed a little bit in shock at what I had somehow committed him to.

Since I had some leftover sweet potato (...or yam, whatever. Don't get me started!), I decided to make a Sweet Potato Streuseled Bread. Ginger, cinnamon, and orange zest add a nice spice, while the walnut brown sugar streusel lends the right amount of sweetness and crunch to this hearty bread. The streusel definitely makes the bread, so don't skip it as I usually do with quick breads! A good quality orange juice as also a must as the orange flavor definitely stands out in the bread.

While I don't think I'll be replacing my favorite banana bread quite yet, the bread was a great way to use up leftover sweet potatoes and sneak in some Vitamin A into our diets (think of it as a multivitamin in dessert bread form, it'll make you feel better!)

Sweet Potato Walnut Streusel Bread
adapted from Southern Living

1 large sweet potato (about 12 ounces)
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2/3 cup fresh orange juice (you may need a few extra tablespoons to moisten the dough sufficiently)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon fresh orange zest (approximate, about 3-4 swipes of the grater)

Cooking spray
cinnamon finishing sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°.
Cook potato in either microwave or by boiling. Once softened, mash the potato to measure about 1 cup.

Place butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 20 seconds or until soft. Stir in walnuts and 2 tablespoons brown sugar.

Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine all-purpose flour and next 6 ingredients (all-purpose flour through ginger) in a large bowl. Add mashed sweet potato, juice, oil, egg, and orange zest. Stir with a spatula until well blended. Add more orange juice by the tablespoon, if dough seems to dry.

Spoon batter into an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Drop walnut mixture by spoonfuls over top of loaf; gently press into batter. Sprinkle with cinnamon finishing sugar, if using.

Bake at 350° for about 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan 5 minutes on a wire rack. Remove from pan; cool completely on wire rack


Julia said...

OMG I am so excited for this new adventure! We are also seriously considering going Veg -even possibly vegan, but we'll see--and I am dying to get some great recipes. I know there are a ton of blogs out there but I'm lazy. I like to read yours and now I'm set. Congrats on the big change!

VeggieGirl said...

HOORAY!!!! You KNOW that I'm happy to read about your choice to become an herbivore :0)

Mmm, that Sweet Potato Walnut Streusel Bread sounds incredibly scrumptious - yum!

noble pig said...

Wow, that's a switch, I don't think I could ever do it.

Bridgett said...

While I have been contemplating eating less meats, I do not think I could just give it up cold turkey. You are brave! I admire how you just jumped right in and I look forward to reading more about your new cooking adventure! Go Sharon!

Sharon said...

Hello everyone! Before anyone thinks we've gone and done something drastic, I'll have to say this is just a temporary experiment. A good one, but not quite permanent yet!

julia - Yes, there's an amazing amount of great resources out there. I've always wondered what vegans I know that they're definitely not missing out on as much as I had ever thought.

veggiegirl - your blog is a great inspiration! That's why you get your own special shout out on the post :)

noble pig - I'm not sure how much longer hubby will last. He may never eat anything with beans again.

bridgett - thanks! I dont know if I could've gone cold turkey if I didn't know it had an end. I miss sushi!

MrOrph said...

Yeaaaah, me not so much. I mean we too sometimes go without meat, but we have shrimp, chicken, fish, and bacon.

Do'h! Is bacon meat? :-)

Good luck with your experiment. Keep us informend. I don't think I could do it.

Grace said...

fantastic endeavor! i think i'm subconciously doing the same thing--it seems like i eat less and less meat each week. good luck!

sweet potatoes are so versatile--your bread is a terrific use for them. heck, anytime a streusel is involved, i'll be happy! :)

Garrett said...

It can get surprisingly easy to go vegetarian for a while without even noticing it. I've gone up to a week without eating meat, and not realized it until someone asks if I'm vegetarian (then I promptly eat a big steak). Thanks for finding my blog through Elle's fellow SD-er :-)

Kevin said...

The sweet potato and black bean enchiladas sound really tasty and the bread looks great!

Kristen said...

Impressive experiment. My husband would never be on board, but I'd like to incorporate more vegetarian meals into our diet!

Marc @ NoRecipes said...

Good luck with your experiment! I went veg for 7 months once (which happend to coincide with me dating a vegetarian), but it just wasn't meant to be.

Elle said...

Good for you! And this bread looks so good--I love the orange in it.

Laura said...

Everything in this entry looks awesome--it is all going into my to try file.

White On Rice Couple said...

Wow, going veg sounds fun and adventurous! So glad that you're making the switch, especially in Summer , when the vegetables are at their best!

Deborah said...

I'm a sucker for anything with streusel, and this sounds like a real winner!

foodhoe said...

this streusel caught my eye on foodgawker, it really sounds delicious! good luck with your decision to go veg. My husband wants to, but I know I'm not there...