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
"Hmm, maybe when I was a baby?!"
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!)
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)
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