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Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos | Relishing It

If you live in the Twin Cities and you frequent Farmers Markets during the summer months, chances are you’ve seen the food truck for ‘Chef Shack‘.  I stop by whenever I see it, because their food is interesting and fantastic.  So, when my good friend, Stephanie Meyer, from Fresh Tart asked me to test a recipe from the Chef Shack for her new book, Twin Cities Chef’s Table— I jumped at the opportunity.  And as it turned out, it was one of my favorite dishes from the truck.  I love these tacos and I was thrilled that I would have early access to this incredible recipe.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos | Relishing It

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos | Relishing It

These tacos are a perfect alternative when you want to skip meat for a meal (or always).  The sweet potatoes are creamy and have a subtle cumin flavor, while the black beans are studded with white onion, jalapeños, lime, and a bit more cumin.  But, I think the absolute star of the dish is the quick pickled cabbage slaw.  It adds the necessary crunch and the flavors of the apple cider brine (with red onion, ginger, garlic, peppercorns, star anise, coriander, mustard, and fennel seeds) marry beautifully with the sweet potato and black beans.  The sour cream sauce is also brilliant.  It’s simple.  And I was honestly a bit surprised to find out that there was ketchup in it!  It works fabulously, trust me.  This is a perfect dish to serve to guests for a fun taco night.  It’s completely affordable and is a great vegetarian option.  It works well to make ahead and reheat.  But, most of all– the flavors will please you so much.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos | Relishing It

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos | Relishing It

Not surprisingly these amazing tacos are just one of so many delicious recipes in Steph’s book.  It features some of the best eateries, food trucks, local farms, breweries, and co-ops from Minneapolis /St. Paul and a recipe from each of them.  I personally know many of these chefs– they are friends, they are neighbors.  These are extremely talented men and woman who can do phenomenal things with locally-sourced, high-quality ingredients.  This book is inspirational and will make you want to eat better. Not to mention it is brilliantly written.  Steph has poured her heart into this project and her dedication and care really show.  I am so proud of the current Twin Cities food scene and I am so proud of her for capturing it beautifully.  We have so much to offer here in Minnesota, and it’s nice to be able to point to a cookbook that proves this.  So, whether you are from here and would like to be able to make some of your favorite foods from your favorite places at home, or if you just want to have a little taste of our Minnesotan life– this book is one you must have.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos | Relishing It

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos | Relishing It

The Recipe: Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos

(serves 6-8)

1/2 medium head red cabbage, cored and shredded

3 cups organic apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3 cups cold water

1 tablespoon each black peppercorns, mustard seeds,, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, and star anise

2 cloves garlic, smashed

1/4 cup peeled and grated fresh ginger

1/4 cup diced red onion

2 large sweet potatoes

olive oil

salt and freshly grated black pepper

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 teaspoon ground cumin, divided

4 cups canned organic black beans and their juices

1 cup small-diced white onion

1 tablespoon diced jalapeno

1 tablespoon hot sauce (such as Cholula, Tapatillo, or locally made Lucky’s), plus another dash for sauce

2 cups sour cream

2 tablespoons prepared organic mayonnaise

2 tablespoons organic ketchup

juice of one lime

fresh corn or homemade flour tortillas

Put cabbage in a colander and rinse with cold water.  Set aside to drain. In a large saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar, water, spices, garlic, ginger, and red onion to make the pickle brine.  Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.  Transfer cabbage to a large bowl and pour hot pickle brine over the cabbage.  Cover and set in refrigerator to chill.

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Place sweet potatoes in oven (I generally don’t wrap mine in foil) and bake for about 45 minutes, or until fork tender. Let cool a bit, the slice down the middle and scoop the flesh into a bowl and mash the butter, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, salt and pepper into it. Keep warm. (If in a rush, microwaving them is an option, too.)

While the potatoes roast, place beans and their liquid in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan.  Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer beans, uncovered until very tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes.  Add onion, jalapeño, hot sauce, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon cumin and mash together with a fork.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Keep warm.

In a medium bowl, stir together sour cream, mayonnaise, ketchup, lime juice, and salt, pepper, and a dash of hot sauce to taste.

To assemble and serve the tacos: warm tortillas and top with a spoonful of black beans, a spoonful of sweet potatoes, a bit of cabbage and a drizzle of the sour cream sauce.  Enjoy!

Source: Recipe adapted from Chef Shack (Lisa Carlson & Carrie Summers, Chefs/Owners) via Twin Cities Chef’s Table by Stephanie A. Meyer

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Laurie

 

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Ah, the evening chill of Fall.  It turns the switch in my brain from wanting the cool, crisp vegetables that I’ve been eating all summer to warm, comforting dishes.  Yes, it’s hard to say goodbye to those fabulous cucumbers for the next several months, but I’m ready to slowly warm my house and enjoy the lingering smell of roasted vegetables.  I’m ready to have Radd come home from work, open the front door, and see him smile when he notices those beautiful aromas.  There is something therapeutic about it.  I get so excited to share this style of warm, homecooked meal with my family.

You already know that (aside from sweets) vegetables are really all I need.  While I love those raw fresh and crisp summer specimens, roasting imparts– or perhaps emphasizes– other flavors entirely.  They develop a bit of a personality and a little more character.  They are both sweeter and more complex.  This recipe really showcases what I’m talking about.

The vegetables are prepared in a large baking dish where they slowly caramelize in the oven.  They take on those fantastic roasted notes, and become oh-so tender.  But there’s more.  This meal has another layer of flavor due to a superb caper vinaigrette.  To be honest, I was a little hesitant to add the dressing at first.  Capers– though I love them– can really overpower a dish.  Adding their salty, briny character struck me a bit odd.  Much to my surprise, the result was brilliant.  The maple syrup accentuates the sweetness of the vegetables.  The Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and olive oil meld to create a beautiful canvas for the punch of those potent little capers.  Rather than compete to overpower your taste buds, the flavors end up nicely balanced, each taking its turn.  They complement each other perfectly, and once you taste these vegetables, you won’t roast them any other way.

For the vegetables, most any combination of your favorite root variety will work here.  Some will need longer roasting times, so adjust accordingly.  When choosing parsnips, try to choose medium sized ones.  If you can only find large ones, just make sure to quarter them and cut away the woody center.  This dish would be wonderful paired with a roasted chicken or a braised pork shoulder.  Or make them on their own.  Just be sure to share.  Enjoy!

The Recipe:  Roasted Vegetables with Caper Vinaigrette

(Serves 4)

4 medium parsnips

4 medium red onions

2 medium sweet potatoes, unpeeled

2 -3 medium purple carrots (regular can be substituted)

2/3 cup olive oil, divided

4 thyme sprigs (about 1 teaspoon dried can be substituted)

2 rosemary sprigs (about 1 teaspoon dried can be substituted)

1 head garlic, halved horizontally

handful of cherry tomatoes, halved

salt and pepper

2 tablespoons lemon juice

3 tablespoons small capers

1/2 tablespoon maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Peel the parsnips.  Cut the carrots and parsnips into halves and then into 2-3-inch segments.  Peels the onions and cut each into 6 wedges.

Place the parsnips, carrots, and onions on a roasting pan and toss with 1/2 cup of the olive oil, the rosemary, thyme, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and some pepper.  Spread out evenly and roast for 20 minutes.

Prepare the sweet potatoes by cutting their ends off.  Then cut them into halves. Then each half into six wedges.  Add the potatoes to the dish of vegetables, toss, and return to the oven for a further 40 minutes, or so.

When the vegetables are cooked through and have taken on a golden color, toss in the tomatoes and roast for another 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, whisk together the lemon juice, maple syrup, mustard, capers,  1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Pour the dressing over the roasted vegetables as soon as they are removed from the oven.  Adjust seasonings, if necessary.  Enjoy!

Source:  Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty Cookbook

For more healthy fare inspiration, take a look at these other ideas via womenshealthmag.com   —  Thanks for stopping by!

Laurie

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