Monthly Archives: October 2011

meatless monday: sweet potato black bean enchiladas

Made these bad boys last Tuesday for a delicious supper. Recipe via the lovely Jenn Morrissey via Gluten Free Goddess. Thanks Jenn & GFG! The sweet potato is THE nutritional powerveg for the meatless. Don’t ignore them, people. Enjoy these with a dollop of sour cream, a simple salad, and a margarita.

Karina’s Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas

For your Quickie Green Chile Sauce:
1 c. light vegetable broth
1 tbsp. arrowroot starch dissolved in a little cold water
1 c. (heaping) chopped roasted green chiles (hot or mild)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. cumin or chili powder, hot or mild, to taste

For the filling:
1 15-oz. can organic black beans, rinsed, drained
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
Fresh lime juice from 1 big juicy lime
2 c. (heaping) cooked sweet potatoes, smashed but chunky
1/2 c. chopped roasted green chiles
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder, or curry, mild or spicy, as you prefer
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

To Assemble:
2-4 tbsp. olive oil
8 white corn tortillas
Shredded Monterey Jack cheese, or vegan cheese, if desired

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Choose a baking dish to hold 8 enchiladas.

Make your Quickie Green Chile Sauce by combining the broth, dissolved arrowroot, green chiles, garlic and spices in a sauce pan and heating over medium-high heat. Bring to a high simmer. Simmer until thickened. Set aside.

In the meantime, using a mixing bowl, combine drained black beans with minced garlic and lime juice. Toss to coat the beans; set aside.

In a separate bowl combine the lightly smashed sweet potatoes with the chopped green chiles; add the spices. Season with sea salt and pepper.

Pour about 1/4 c. of the Quickie Green Chile Sauce into the bottom of the baking dish.

Grab a skillet and heat a dash of oil. Lightly cook the corn tortillas to soften them, one at a time. Lay the first hot tortilla in the sauced baking dish. Spoon 1/8 of the sweet potato mixture down the center. Top with 1/8 of the black beans. Wrap and roll the tortilla to the end of the baking dish.

Repeat for the remaining tortillas. Top with the rest of the green chile sauce.

Top dish with shredded cheese. Bake for 20 – 25 min., until the enchiladas are piping hot and the sauce is bubbling around the edges.


wednesday wisdom: in the age of distraction

meatless monday: butternut squash, chard & sage pizza

I know many people, some close friends and family included, who are not big fans of New York City, in particular, Manhattan. We may lack forests, and amber waves of grain, and nature in general. But man, we sure know how to eat, and we eat well and often.

Yesterday we moseyed on down to the Grub Street Food Festival, in which several dozen food booths take over the Hester Street Fair. And although this fair was (not surprisingly) pork-heavy (c’mon, bacon cookies? Srsly people.), there were some meatless standouts:

A wheat bao dumpling stuffed with edamame by Bruce Cost.
Roasted plum paletas by La Newyorkina.
Zucchini and broccoli stuffed empanadas by La Sonrisa.
PB & J blondies by Peels.
The flippin’ outstanding “Mermaid” (vanilla soft-serve, key lime curd, crushed grahams and whipped cream) by Big Gay Ice Cream.

But the most inspiring/delicious? From White Belly Pizza: butternut squash, sage, creamy mozzarella on a puffy, crispy, chewy, salty crust (how was the crust all those things? I’m not sure. Fabulous though.). I found a similar recipe on this blog, which adds a little Swiss chard and balsamic vinegar. A perfect fall pizza!

Butternut Squash, Chard & Sage Pizza
adapted from Homemaker’s Habitat

Dough or prepared crust for one pizza (whole grain works amazingly with the squash)
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced into half-inch cubes
1 small sweet yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
salt & pepper to taste
3 leaves of swiss chard, center ribs removed
2 tbsp. cup crumbled goat cheese
2 tbsp. parmesan cheese, shredded
1/2 c. mozzarella cheese, shredded
pinch of ground nutmeg
1 tbsp. fresh sage leaves
1 tsp. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. aged balsamic vinegar (optional)

Preheat oven to 450 F. Combine butternut squash, onion, 1 tbsp. olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl; toss until the oil is evenly distributed. Spread squash and onions on a rimmed baking sheet and roast in the oven for 20- 25 min., until the squash is tender and golden and onions are soft (stir occasionally for even browning). Remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly.

Raise oven temperature to 500 F and insert pizza stone into the oven if using one.

Roll pizza dough to a 1/4-inch thick on parchment paper. Brush dough with remaining olive oil to evenly coat crust. Sprinkle squash and onions, chard, cheeses and nutmeg evenly over crust. Transfer to the oven and bake for 8-10 min. until crust is crisp and the cheeses are golden and bubbly.

While pizza cooks, heat 1 tsp. of vegetable oil in a small pan over medium heat until very hot. Add sage leaves and fry for about 30 seconds, until leaves begin to crisp. (Be careful not to burn them.) Remove leaves from oil and drain on paper towels until pizza is ready to serve.

Sprinkle sage leaves over cooked pizza and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

wednesday wisdom: from a zen poet

A person who is a master in the art of living makes little distinction between their work and their play, their labor and their leisure, their mind and their body, their education and their recreation, their love and their religion. They hardly know which is which and simply pursue their vision of excellence and grace, whatever they do, leaving others to decide whether they are working or playing. To them they are always doing both.
Zen poet

getting back to the root of it

urdhva dhanurasana (wheel pose). ashtanga on location in brooklyn bridge park.

Sometimes the Universe calls you back to your roots so loudly, with so much obviousness and conviction, that ignoring it would be like denying your own thirst. This past summer my yoga practice wavered, thanks in part to an erratic teaching schedule and a life-changing new venture. I often felt depleted and low in energy. Like a sleepy teenager ignoring her mother’s calls to “Get dressed! You’ll be late for school!,” I ignored my once disciplined routine of waking early and trekking to the Broome Street Temple to do my daily Ashtanga practice. Instead, I hit the snooze on my iPhone, over and over and over.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not feeling guilty about it, and I don’t think I’m supposed to feel guilty about my absence. A lifelong practice of Ashtanga, like any lifelong commitment — playing piano, painting, running — changes and evolves and deepens with other life experiences. Sometimes we’re strong and consistent and disciplined. Other times we’re weak or wandering or distracted. And sometimes (as in my case), we’re just plain tired.

But the amazing thing about this practice of yoga? When you show up (which, I’m starting to believe, just showing up is about 85% of the effort in any situation), it’s right there, and you can slip right back into it, at any point. My hamstrings might be tighter and my jump-throughs clumsier, but coming back to my practice after a season of non-practice? It’s like fitness, stress-relief, a therapy session, and a prayer group all meet up with me for two hours every morning in downtown Manhattan. I believe in it.

While I’m waxing poetic the joy of Ashtanga yoga, three things happened, as a result, I believe, of re-committing to the practice. First, my teacher gave me a new pose in the Intermediate Series to work on, which is a little bit like getting a surprise gift on a random Tuesday (in the Mysore Ashtanga tradition, you don’t “progress” through the series of poses until your teacher is ready for you to receive a new pose). I’m not gloating (that would be so un-yogic!), nor am I attached to advancing, since the practice is plenty hard without new poses. It’s simply that the new pose was unexpected and awesome, and reinvigorated my enthusiasm for Ashtanga.

Secondly, a private client I’ve worked with for years suddenly (coincidentally?) expressed her interest in the Ashtanga lineage and asked me to teach her the Primary Series. I realized that I love the Primary Series and am excited to share it with her.

Finally, Yoga High, a studio where I teach, asked me to begin teaching a Led Ashtanga class on Friday afternoons, beginning with an introductory workshop on October 30. Teaching the Primary Series to a group of people every week? Neat.

It appears that teaching Ashtanga is a natural evolution, bound to arise out of my own practice. This thought has drifted in and out of my consciousness more than once over the past few years that I’ve been teaching. But what happens when you commit to teaching Ashtanga? You commit to practicing Ashtanga. Consistently. And that’s what intimidates me. Does that then make me…an Ashtangi? Now do I have to uphold the practice and own it and represent it out in the world?

I’ve heard “practice” defined as seeking perfection through repetition. Perfection is a scary word, sure, but repetition? Repetition sounds hard and daunting. Especially for someone who dabbles. Throughout my life, I’ve dabbled in ballet, gymnastics, basketball, volleyball, rollerblading, watercolor, paleontology (seriously), Traditional Chinese Medicine (seriously), baking, cross-stitching, and amateur tight-rope walking (seriously).

I’m just a dabbler. And the practice that’s calling me demands so much more than dabbling. It demands that I be present, full, committed. So now, I commit to being committed. Pray for me.

meatless monday: creamy avocado potato salad

This recipe, via The Post Punk Kitchen, swaps out traditional mayo for delicious and nutritious avocado for that creaminess we love in potato salads. Genius! I’m using my leftover roasted potatoes from last week instead of boiling new ones. Just a little taste of a summertime BBQ in mid-October! Why not?!

Creamy Avocado Potato Salad
2 lb. potatoes, cut into 3/4 in. chunks
2 avocados
2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper (optional)
1 plum tomato, chopped
1 small red onion, diced small
1 smallish cucumber, diced very small
Green onions for garnish (optional)

Put potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Cover pot, bring water to a boil. Lower the heat to a rolling boil and cook for 15 – 20 min, until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. Drain and set aside to cool.

Once potatoes have cooled, prepare the dressing. Split avocados in half, remove pits and scoop the yumminess into the food processor. Add lime juice and salt and puree until smooth, scraping down the sides with a spatula as needed. Once smooth and creamy, add tomato and onion. Pulse until they are incorporated but not completely blended. You should still be able to see the tomato and onion.

Mix potatoes and cucumbers in a large bowl. Add the dressing and mix well. Taste for salt and spice. Wrap tightly and chill until ready to use. Top with sliced green onions.

wednesday wisdom: camus