(I may have to add a new tagline to my blog – this was not the recipe I intended to make)
This week’s menu plan revolved around a couple of sweet potatoes I picked up a little while ago that I need to eat. Sadly, by Monday evening the plan was already knocked off schedule and my slow cooked sweet potato and black bean burritos did not happen. I came to Tuesday evening with a need for a quick finish sweet potato recipe. Clearly an off-plan improvisation was needed.
I remembered the scant handful of sage picked from a friend’s neighbor’s sharing garden (she plants herbs along the sidewalk and encourages those passing by to help themselves.) It’s been sitting on my counter and drying nicely and is very aromatic. And a couple of pieces of pancetta were left in my fridge. What all that added up to was a quick little sweet potato dish that cooked nicely while my chicken was grilling.
Sweet Potato with Sage and Pancetta
Though my meals are usually made for one, I rarely cook without creating intentional leftovers. This was an exception – a single serving dish. Mostly because though I think the julienne peeler is more convenient than julienne with a knife (at least at this whisper thin size) I still don’t enjoy using it. So I prepped enough sweet potato for one and no more. You can easily scale this up for a couple or family size.
1 slice pancetta, diced
A few leaves of fresh or dried sage, to taste
1 quarter small sweet potato
1 Tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Over medium heat, cook the pancetta til it begins to become translucent. Add sage and stir. Continue cooking until the sage is aromatic. Add olive oil and sweet potato. Cook until the sweet potato is tender.
Finish with salt and pepper to taste.
Vegetables and I are not exactly soulmates. When I’m hungry I don’t instinctively long for broccoli or any of its cousins. I have to plan, set goals*, and regularly remind myself of how good I feel after I eat the vegetables. Let’s not even start on how undeservedly virtuous I feel when I’ve added a healthy dose of greens to my post-workout smoothie. Oh yes, I pat myself heartily on the back when I act like an adult and actually eat my veggies.
In my world, one of the best tricks to get me to perform this grown-up responsibility (aside from adding bacon or butter) is to make it convenient. Enter the leafy green purée.
My grocery stores give the option of buying spinach or kale in clamshells or plastic bags or in super large bunches. Even if the produce in the clamshells or plastic bags didn’t smell faintly of death upon opening, all of the options are too much greenery for one person to eat before things start to wither. So I purée and freeze them in mini silicone muffin cups. They take up hardly any space in my freezer, I’m no longer feeling guilty about wasted wilted produce, and they conveniently sit right next to the frozen bananas also intended for a smoothie. A couple of mini muffin’s worth of greens is plenty to earn me a vegetable pat on the back for the day.
This doesn’t exactly rate as a recipe, but it is one of my favorite kitchen tricks. Stay tuned for a soup recipe that makes use of the frozen greens.
*Currently, my vegetable goal is at least one daily serving of leafy greens, at least one daily serving of a red or orange vegetable, and at least one daily serving of legumes. And yes, it takes painful amounts of self-control to meet this goal.
Leafy Green Purée
1 bunch Spinach or Kale
Enough water to purée
A splash of lemon or lime juice
Combine all ingredients in your food processor or blender. Process until as smooth as you like. Pour into cups. Freeze. Once frozen, I prefer to remove the purée from the cups and store them loosely in a Ziploc bag.
Alternatively, throw a can of coconut milk in with or instead of the water.