Eggplant + Sweet Potato Curry with Coconut Milk

IMG_6871

It rained last night & all day today
so the lake I can’t quite see
over the tree line is pure frothy white.

There is mist everywhere
& I am alone in it.

The white light
burns my eyes, sears a holy purpose
in my human frame.

I’m setting out
on a new journey, ever faithful.
Early on, I walked away
from everything, from things I loved.

But now, when I come to the ocean,
as I know I will, foaming
like some impossible hell,
I won’t despair or surrender.

I’ll find a tree, growing from a crag
on the shore & I’ll cut it down
with the force of my loneliness.

There is the shape of a boat
hidden beneath the bark,
I know it.

So I’ll release it,
using my most tender memories
as tools. I’ll continue.

Nothing
will block my way.

– Nate Pritts, from “Mist Everywhere”

IMG_6891

We tend to eat curry fairly frequently, and it lends itself to being highly adaptable. I have a recipe that I’ve used in the past, but often choose a random one that looks good from the internet. Recently, I’ve been asked by a few friends if I can share a version that Will and I like, and in the interest of The Recipe Redux challenge of experimenting with spices this month, I decided the time has come to lay down a good base. By that, I mean the vegetables and protein can be changed up depending on the season, but this combination of coconut milk, spices, and sweet raisins will work for all sorts of variations. I’ve had a turmeric root hanging out in the freezer for a few months and finally decided to branch out and actually use it. I frequently use dried turmeric, but just like fresh ginger, fresh turmeric is easy to incorporate into recipes. I like to store both in the freezer as they can be used whenever necessary, and then use a micro-grater on them while still frozen. Fresh turmeric is not always available, so if not, the dried kind can be substituted instead.

IMG_6883

 Eggplant + Sweet Potato Curry with Coconut Milk, serves 4-6
1 1/2 Tbs. coconut or olive oil
3 leeks, cleaned and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalepeño pepper, diced
2 medium sweet potatoes, chopped
1 large eggplant, chopped
1/8-1/4 tsp. cayenne powder (adjust according to taste)
3/4 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp.chili powder
3/4 tsp. coriander powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 Tbs. fresh turmeric, grated (or 1/2 tsp. dried)
1 Tbs. fresh ginger, grated
11 oz. light coconut milk
2 Tbs. lemon juice
2 cups cooked garbanzo beans
2 cups kale, chopped
1/4 cup raisins
fresh cilantro, to serve
cooked long grain brown rice, to serve

Directions:

In a large skillet over medium heat, warm oil, moving around the pan to coat the bottom evenly. Toss in leeks, garlic, sweet potato and jalepeño; stir; let cook for about 10-15 minutes, until sweet potato has become slightly soft. Stir in the eggplant and cook for 10 minutes longer, or until both eggplant and sweet potato are cooked through.

Once the veggies are tender, add the spices. Give them a minute or so to toast and then pour in the coconut milk, lemon juice, beans, kale, and raisins. Stir everything together and let the flavors meld for 5-10 minutes more. Adjust seasonings to taste, and enjoy with rice and cilantro.

Sweet Potato Spread meets Date Bread

Sweet Potato Spread is a favorite fall treat.  It’s nothing like you’re thinking, I’m sure.  It reminds me of sweetly spiced pumpkin butter—gone rebel.  With its peanutty tang, nutty sweet brown rice syrup, and rebellious little chunks of sweet potato deliberately left unsmoothed.  Oh and that dash of salt.  It just likes to place mischief.  Try it spread on a hefty slab of moist date bread like I did here, or some simple morning toast.  Or if you’re feeling really rebellious slather it thick on nice slices of homemade bread, layered with thin apple pieces, a bit of sharp cheese, and some greens.  Now that’s a rebellious sweet potato butter sandwich.

As for that Date Bread, it’s a bit of a sweet delicious treat.  Moist and comforting, homey and looking like fall should–this is one date bread that’s even a bit good for you!  It is certainly a match for that delightfully rebellious little sweet potato spread.

Sweet Potato Spread
1 large orange sweet potato, peeled and chopped
2 Tbs. peanut butter
1-2 Tbs. brown rice syrup
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
pinch sea salt
 
Boil or roast sweet potato until it’s soft and mashable.  Mash it a bit until it’s slightly smooth but still chunky.
Stir in peanut butter, syrup, spices, and salt. Add more to taste.  If you’d like it a bit more smooth, pour into a food processor and puree a bit until it reaches the desired consistency.
 
Date Bread, adapted from Whole Living
1 1/2 cups hot water
1 cup pitted dates, chopped
1 large egg
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
 
Preheat oven to 35o degrees F.  Coat a 9-by-5 inch loaf pan with oil.  In a medium bowl, pour hot water over dates and let stand about 5 minutes, or until slightly softened.  Whisk in egg, oil, and vanilla.  In another bowl, stir together flours, baking soda, salt, and brown sugar.  Fold wet mixture into dry until just combined.  Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula.  
Bake about 65 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.  Let rest for 10 minutes, then turn out from pan onto cooling rack. 
 
 

As you may have noticed, the blog is in a bit of a transition right now.  Changing names, titles, addresses, etc.  Stay tuned for more to come on finer details of changes being made!