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Tiny Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Pine nut Spinach Saute

05/24/2011

I’m back!

I know. I went on a ridiculously long hiatus. But it was for a good reason (sort of). I went to culinary school at the Natural Gourmet Institute and I was cooking so much during the day that I ran out of energy to make fun things at home. Plus my most recent kitchen(s) had terrible lighting and then my camera got stolen so the lighting didn’t even matter. Great excuses, right? Anyway the important thing is that I am now back in a kitchen with excellent lighting, I have a great new camera (thanks, grandma!), and I’m loaded with health factoids, clever cooking tips, and better knife skills!

So to start us off on the right foot, I’m posting two vegetable side dishes. Beyond the delicious flavors, these are nice compliments to each other because they really brighten up your plate and help you fill out the color spectrum in your meal. As my teacher and Natural Gourmet Institute president Jenny Matthau taught us, eating the rainbow isn’t just about making your plate look beautiful (although that is important, too), but eating foods that naturally span the color spectrum helps you ensure that your body is getting all of the vital nutrients it needs, like beta-carotene, lycopene, and lutein which are cancer-fighting and immune-boosting nutrients found in carrots, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes.

The key to this sweet potato recipe, which could easily be made with other types of potatoes or winter squashes, is cutting the potatoes into small or medium dice, no bigger than 1/2″ on each side. I have to admit that when I made these for dinner this week only half of them made it to the table since I snacked on them while I cooked–they’re so easy to pick at and so addicting!

The spinach recipe is just a basic quick saute, but instead of mincing the garlic, I cut it into slivers to bring out a different side of the garlic. Did you know that when you cut garlic differently it brings out different flavors from the garlic? Try slicing, mincing, or making a paste from fresh garlic and taste the difference.

Oh, and the best part? These recipes are easy to make and don’t leave too much of a mess behind.

Tiny Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Serves 4

3 large sweet potatoes
1 sprig rosemary
2 sprigs thyme
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
2.Cut sweet potatoes into small to medium size dice, no larger than 1/2″ on each side.
3. Roughly chop rosemary and pick the thyme leaves from its stem.
4. Toss potatoes, rosemary,  thyme, and olive oil in a bowl.
5. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
6. Bake 15 minutes and stir. Bake 10 more minutes or until some of the edges are golden brown and the potato pieces are soft.

Pine nut Spinach Saute
Serves 4

1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 bunch fresh spinach
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat a saute pan on medium heat. Toast pine nuts until the aroma is noticeable–be careful not to burn.
2. Remove pine nuts from pan. Add olive oil to pan and allow it to heat.
3. Add sliced garlic and allow them to simmer, but not brown, in the oil, about 1-2 minutes.
4. Add spinach, in batches if necessary. Cook until tender and wilted.
5. Mix in the pine nuts and toss with salt and pepper and serve.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. 05/24/2011 11:24 PM

    KOL HAKAVOD! I’m so happy you’re back!

  2. Jacob T permalink
    05/25/2011 3:35 PM

    What kind of camera did you get? Do you like it? We’re in the market for a DSLR…

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