Aloha, Friends! I just wanted to share a quick and healthy way to celebrate your holiday tomorrow. My inspiration for this one came from one of my favorite places to look for ideas, Pinterest! This adorable idea from ‘This Healthy Table’ is a real crowd […]
Yesterday was my husband’s birthday, and because summertime is in full-swing, I wanted to do something decadent with berries. Our family doesn’t care much for the store-bought bakery cakes that are thick with waxy frosting or a dull tasting fondant. Eww. No, we like things […]
My exposure to any type of potato growing up was very limited to the basic Russet variety, or sweet potatoes covered with some kind of sickening-sweet marshmallow goop. I was so traumatized by the marshmallow potato nightmare of my childhood holidays, that at one time, I swore off sweet potatoes entirely. I actually believed that they were only served that way, and thank goodness I was wrong about that!
After leaving my home town, I ventured outside of my narrow culinary view of the world and began to enjoy many new food experiences during my travels. The first time I began to explore the world of tubers was during a trip to Nepal. I realized that there were endless possibilities, both sweet and savory, and there were vastly different flavors among the different varieties. A small potato referred to as a ‘mountain potato’, was often on the menu at many guesthouses during my time trekking in the mountains, and I usually ate them fried up for breakfast. They needed no additional seasoning and I quickly forgot about wanting to smother them with ketchup. I guess you could say that my potato third “eye” had been opened.
The culinary appreciation I have from my travels has extended itself to my love of the Okinawan sweet potato. My garden is literally over flowing with Okinawan sweet potatoes. They are planted in three different garden beds in my yard, as well as in four giant potato growing bags. They are extremely popular in Hawaii, and they are often wrapped in a kalo (taro) leaf with a piece of pork and/or fish to make laulau. The one thing to know about these purple potatoes is that they are very dense. Wayyy more dense than a Russet. This is perfect for being wrapped inside of laulaus because they can be cooked for a very long time and still hold their texture. They are also nutritional powerhouses that are said to have more antioxidants than blueberries, which is just one reason why I like to put them into veggie dishes whenever I can.
One of those dishes is a simple potato duo that uses purple and white potatoes, fresh garden herbs and coconut oil. The presentation is impressive because of the way the colorful slices are fanned out in the baking dish. (It would probably look more fancy to alternate between white and purple slices if you want to give it a try.) This coming Mostly Vegan Monday, I am making it to go with a lentil “meat” loaf and arugula salad. This recipe is made using both Russet and Okinawan potatoes. I would select potatoes of similar size and length, and I tend to slice the purple ones just a little bit thinner.
Roasted 'Hapa' Potatoes
A tasty blend of mild Russet potatoes and rich Okinawan sweet potatoes.
- 3 Okinawan sweet potatoes
- 3 Russet potatoes (or other baking potato)
- 3 T. coconut oil, softened
- 2 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
- 2 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
- 2 tsp. fresh sage, chopped
- generous amounts of sea salt and fresh ground pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Peel and slice potatoes into 1/8 inch slices, either by hand, or using a mandoline slicer.
- Generously grease sides and bottom of casserole dish with softened coconut oil. Lay potatoes evenly in the bottom of casserole dish and slightly fan out the slices to cover the whole thing.
- Chop herbs and sprinkle over sliced potatoes. Add salt and black pepper.
- Cover and cook for 30 minutes. Then turn oven up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, uncover, and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until edges are crispy and inside is soft.
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This is the perfect recipe to kick-off my Mostly Vegan Mondays campaign. These colorful beauties are called “Golden Veggie Burgers” because they’re made with golden beets and turmeric. They not only look vibrant, they also taste fabulous and really pack a nutritious punch. My inspiration started with […]
The smallest implication of a zero waste lifestyle is a wonderful thing in itself. It does not have to be an all-or-nothing experience, and any waste reduction, small or great, will encourage a cleaner, sustainable future for all of us. The simple act of trying to reduce what you throw away is a real eye-opening experience as most people have no idea how much they truly consume and throw away until they’re forced to find ways to reuse it. The mantra for this movement is to minimalize, reuse, buy less, eat clean, and avoid generating trash.
I’ve always been a huge fan of ‘upcycling’ and find it enjoyable to come up with creative uses for what some people might throw in the trash. For example, in a previous post for Earth Day, I wrote about how I upcycled animal feed bags and turned them into reusable shopping bags and beach bags. There is something so fun and satisfying about using creativity for the greater good, and the bags turned out to be super durable too.
The topic of zero waste is a vast one, and can include everything from zero waste cooking and minimalist living, to actual waste management. For a great beginner’s look at the topic and lifestyle, Treehugger has an article which compiles a great list of ten different zero waste bloggers to check out. For those who want to dive into the zero waste lifestyle, One Green Planet has an article with some easy ways to get started, like composting and buying second-hand, at 10 Ways to Adopt a Zero Waste Lifestyle. It is easier than you think, and you may already be practicing some of these things already, such as composting or bringing your own jars to buy bulk food items.
A simple way to cut down on plastic waste is to eliminate the use of plastic bags and plastic wrap to cover and store food. I like to use my bee’s wax wraps to cover bowls and veggies frequently, but was looking for alternatives so that I could switch things up as the wraps are not always practical. Since I love searching through the scrap basket for cute patterns (fat-quarters) at the local fabric store, and often have a pile of my own fabric scraps at home, I thought I’d give these fabric bowl covers a try. I’m so glad that I did, because I’ve been making a ton of them, and I’m absolutely adoring them. My inspiration for making these came from a great site called, Hearth & Vine, and it has a nice tutorial that is easy for beginners to follow.
Some of these bowl covers I had made as gifts and they’re so darn perfect for the eco-friendly people in your life. They are easy to take outdoors for picnics, and I use them to cover bowls of snacks or fruit to keep out flies and gnats. You can toss them in the washer when they get too dirty or you can hand wash them in the sink and hang to dry. They look nice as a set, and so I like to make three different size bowl covers with similar themed colors and patterns to give away for a gift. The possibilities for sizes and colors are endless. It was an easy project to get the hang-of after making a few, and next time, I want to experiment with other shapes and sizes, like a cover for a stand mixer, or blender. The quest will always continue for ways to reduce, reuse and recycle what I have around me and to avoid consuming more than I need.
This Aloha Friday I wanted to feature my newly harvested wasabi plant. It grows exceptionally well in Volcano, and once it starts sprouting keikis (offspring), it is easy to separate into smaller pots and start growing even more. Rumor has it that wasabi is hard to grow, and in very high demand in Japan, so I’m fortunate that my plants are doing fairly well. They require loose, moist soil, and cool weather, and can be a little bit on the temperamental side. They have enjoyed all of this rainy weather we’ve been having and they do not like direct sunlight for too long. I also have the best success in pots as I’m able to move them around when necessary. If you can get your hands on some seeds or rhizomes, I recommend try growing your wasabi in pots first, so that you can control the environment better. For additional information about growing wasabi in the ground, Wikihow has a great tutorial at: https://www.wikihow.com/Grow-Wasabi.
The wasabi plant is in a family of plants that include cabbage, Brussel sprouts and mustard. Wasabi is actually quite nutritious and contains healthy amounts of Potassium, Vitamin B-6, Vitamin C, Magnesium and Calcium. There is a very interesting article from the BBC regarding the health benefits of real wasabi and one of the “benefits” mentioned included the ability to reduce wrinkles.
If you’ve eaten wasabi before, you’re not likely to forget the burning sensation in your nose and the instant, watery eyes. Perhaps the best part about eating wasabi is the signature burn. Sadly, fresh wasabi can be very difficult to find, and most ‘wasabi’ sold in supermarkets is really horseradish with green food coloring added. If you can get your hands on some fresh stuff, the best way to prepare it, is to take the stem and use a cheese grater with fine holes to grate the stem into a paste. Additionally, if you didn’t already know, fresh wasabi quickly loses it’s flavor and should be eaten within 15 minutes of grating. The wasabi plant leaves can also be consumed and are just as pungent and spicy as the stem.
If you can’t eat your fresh wasabi stem right away, you can store it in the refrigerator, wrapped in a damp paper towel until use. If you cannot consume the refrigerated wasabi stem within a few weeks, dry the stem out completely, and then grind into a powder. The freshly picked stems don’t usually last long around my house and we eat them up before they can dry out, so I probably won’t get around to grinding it down to a powder. If there is a surplus of stems in the future, I may have to try drying some out to grind for my spice collection.