Category Archives: fruits and vegetables

Sweet Potato, Corn and Quinoa Salad

sweet-potato-quinoa

Sweet Potato, Corn and Quinoa Salad

Native to the Andes, the Incas considered quinoa sacred and referred to it as the “mother of all grains.” The Spanish colonists suppressed its cultivation due to its status within indigenous religious ceremonies and forced them to grow wheat instead. Sweet potatoes have consumed in Peru since the 9th century BC.

The life force of the Americas, there is evidence that maize (corn) has been domesticated in Mexico for over 10,000 years. Green beans are also native to Mexico.

2 ½ cups cooked quinoa
2 sweet potatoes, about 1 pound
2 ears corn, husked
½ pound green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
salt and pepper
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
5 scallions, minced
¼ cup minced parsley and cilantro

Cook 1 cup dry quinoa according to package directions. Set aside.

Peel the sweet potato and dice it into ½-inch pieces. Cook it in boiling salted water to cover until tender, about 15 minutes. (Make sure you salt the water generously!) Drain and set aside.

While the potatoes are cooking, bring a separate pan of salted water to a boil and blanche the corn and green beans for about 3 minutes. Drain and add to the potatoes. Mix in the quinoa.

Whisk the oil, vinegar and herbs together in a small bowl. Add to the potato mixture and toss. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and serve

Serves 4 to 6

Green Olive Tapenade

green-olive-tapenade

Green Olive Tapenade

A table laden with appetizers is typical of Provence, and olive tapenade was a favorite of Paul Cezanne’s.

2 cups green olives, pitted
1 1/3 cup almonds
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
½ cup olive oil
salt

Put the pitted olives, almonds, garlic, and lemon juice, in the bowl of a food processor.

Coarsely chop the basil leaves, add them to the processor, and pulse the machine a few times to start breaking them down.

Add the olive oil and a pinch of salt. Pulse until the mixture forms a coarse paste. Serve with sliced, toasted baguette. (The tapenade will keep for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.)

Serves 6 to 8

photo by Carin Krasner

Potatoes Braised in Butter

parisian-potatoes

Potatoes Braised in Butter

Native to Peru, potatoes were an important part of the French diet during the 19th century and are still widely eaten today. Urbain Dubois features 44 potato recipes in his La cuisine classique. In his dictionary of food, Alexander Dumas writes of the potato, “This excellent vegetable was brought fro Virginia by the English admiral Walter Raleigh in 1585, and has since then preserved people from famine.” He goes on to say that the potato is not only healthy, but also inexpensive.

3 pounds baby Yukon gold potatoes
salt and pepper
3 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons butter
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped parsley

Place the potatoes in a deep skillet and season generously with salt and pepper.

Cover potatoes halfway with chicken stock, about 3 cups, add the butter and cover skillet with a lid. Cook the potatoes in the stock until almost tender, about 5 to 8 minutes, depending upon the size of the potatoes.

Remove the lid and allow the stock to evaporate, about another 5 minutes.

Once the stock has evaporated pop each potato using a ladle or large spoon, creating a small crack in each, but do not smash. Allow the potatoes to brown on each side, another 5 minutes, taste and adjust seasoning.

Remove the browned potatoes from the skillet and place onto a serving platter, garnished with the parsley.

Serves 6

Adapted from Jacques Pepin
photo credit: Carin Krasner

Paletas de Sandia con Mango (Watermelon Mango Popsicles)

paleta sandia

Paletas de Sandia con Mango (Watermelon Mango Popsicles)

Watermelons and mangos, two of the most delicious fruits in the world, are used staples in Mexico. You can find them sliced with chile and lime, in aguas frescas, and in popsicles. Surprising, neither fruit is native to Latin American. Watermelons were brought to Mexico on African slave ships and mangos are native to India.

8 cups cubed watermelon, seeds removed (about 3 pounds of watermelon)
3 mangoes, peeled and cubes
½ cup coconut water

Place the watermelon, mango cubes and coconut water in a blender and process until smooth. (You may have to work in batches.) Put in the popsicle molds and freeze.

Makes 2 dozen