African potato stew – Serves 4

7 12 2005

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped onions
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 tablespoon ground coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cauliflower head, cut into bite-size florets
1 sweet potato, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
4 cups thinly-sliced collard greens
1/4 cup raisins
1 tablespoon apple cider
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat and add the onions and garlic, cooking them for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until softened.
2. Add ginger, poppy seeds, mustard seeds, coriander, and cloves and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes.
3. Add potatoes to the mixture an stir to combine. Stir in 4 cups of water and turn heat up to high. Once mixture comes to a boil, add the teaspoon of salt and stir well. Turn heat to low and simmer stew, uncovered, for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Add cauliflower, sweet potato, collard greens, and raisins, stirring to combine. Continue cooking for 10 minutes until potatoes are tender.
5. Season stew with vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. If the stew is too dry, add a little water. Serve hot.

Simple Solutions: You can serve this comforting one-pot meal by itself or on top of rice, couscous, or quinoa.

Recipe inspired by Vegetarian Planet, by Didi Emmons (Harvard Common Press, 1997).


Sweet potato Latkes – serves 4

7 12 2005

4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and grated
1 cup minced onion
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup or less matzo meal or unbleached white flour
4 tablespoons olive oil or butter
Chopped green onion, optional
garnish: Sour cream, optional
garnish: Applesauce, optional garnish

1. In a large bowl, combine grated sweet potatoes, onion, salt, pepper, and eggs and stir well to combine. Add matzo meal or flour and mix again. (Only add enough to make a batter; mixture should not be too dry or stiff.)
2. Heat half the oil or butter over medium-high heat in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet. Drop large spoonfuls of the batter into the skillet, pressing gently with a spatula to flatten each latke. Do not crowd them. Fry for 4 to 5 minutes, until underside is brown, then flip and cook another 3 or 4 minutes more. Remove latkes to a warm plate, then repeat process with remaining oil and batter.
3. Serve immediately, with any of the optional garnishes.

Simple Solutions: Sweet potato latkes make a quick-and-easy supper (always a help during this busy season): all you have to do is add a salad and you’re set. You can top them with chopped green onion and sour cream, or with applesauce, or leave them plain.

Recipe courtesy of Cait Johnson, author of Witch in the Kitchen (Inner Traditions, 2001).