Monday, September 8, 2008

Sweet Potato Sauce + Pasta

The other night when we were planning dinner, I intended to make some type of fresh vegetable and oil dressing for the remnants of a box of bowtie pasta. There was some veg in the garden that we wanted to use (eggplant, cherry tomatoes, various peppers) and some onion and a sweet potato in the kitchen. Instead of the veg and oil sauce, I came up with something quite different (and better, I think):

Sautee ¼ white or red onion, add 1 habanero pepper, finely chopped in butter or olive oil (I enjoyed the butter). Toss in a bit of salt and pepper.

Separately, boil one large sweet potato* (sliced into chunks to cook faster) and let cool slightly. You can peel the potato before or after, some people believe peeling before allows nutrients to escape, but the amount that may be leaking to the water is not going to have any lasting affect. Boil until fork tender. Blend or puree the potato, adding the sauteed onion and habanero, ½ cup cream, milk or soymilk, ¼ cup oil (give or take), and a few dashes of balsamic vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste, continue blending until creamy and just pourable.

Return to your pan and add another ¼ onion to some butter or oil. While that’s getting golden, dice up 1 medium fresh eggplant into 1 or ½ inch chunks. Add salt, pepper, garlic, cumin and sweet yellow curry. The habanero makes everything pretty spicy, but if you like extra heat you could add chili powder or smoked canned chipotles (chopped).

Depending on the type of pasta you have on hand, this is the ideal time to set that on the stove. Then it’ll be ready to drain about when your veggies are done.

Once the eggplant is tender and browned, add fresh orange or yellow cherry tomatoes, sliced in half, to the sautéed vegetable mixture. This way their flavor and texture won’t get lost in the rest of the sauce.

Drain pasta, and you’re ready to plate. You can toss the eggplant and onion with the sweet potato sauce, or you can sauce up the pasta and arrange the eggplant on top, whichever pleases your eye more. We ate this out of doors, with a nice Malbec alongside.

Today, around lunchtime, I heated up the leftover potato/veg mixture in a pan, added ¾ cup water, and ate it as a soup. Delicious!

* lots of substitutes could work in this recipe. You could use carrots instead of a sweet potato, mushrooms instead of eggplant, zucchini instead of tomatoes...and if you had some squash blossoms, those would be incredible sauteed lightly (separately) and served on top of everything else.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Cheap and Delicious in South Bristol, ME

For a delicious and ridiculously reasonably priced meal, please head over to Harborside Grocery and Grill. This place is the real deal. All the necessities for South Bristol natives, truckers passing through, summer dwellers and the like. Everyone is friendly, (especially if they know your family or who you're staying with), the prices are beyond reasonable, and the photos on the walls give good distraction if you're eating alone.

I enjoyed the Egg Salad Sandwich, with a side of chips and a Root Beer, for something like $3. From what I've gathered, all the food is prepared when ordered and tastes like your mom or dad made it when you got home from school after a day of tiring playground fun. And when you've finished eating, the staff will try to talk you into whatever homey dessert they've made that morning. I don't particularly like bananas, so I didn't try the banana cream pie, but I hope to be back there soon to sample what's next.