When a friend with a new local business called Locavorious puts out an email saying she has extra fresh, frozen vegetables to give away if we will post recipes on our blog using her vegetables, I jump! And jump I did right down to the Farmers' Market last Saturday morning, in the freezing cold weather to get some frozen cauliflower, green beans, and edamame. I was thrilled to get some of the cauliflower because I had been salivating over the photo accompanying a recently found recipe called Cauliflower-Sweet Potato Stew. Now I would not need to purchase cauliflower that had been trucked or flown cross country. Surely some of the other ingredients in this recipe have been (I'm not a purist "locavore") but I try to maximize what I can use that comes from my home state of Michigan.
This recipe is chock-full of vegetables, herbs, and spices that are health-promoting. I served this stew with some poached black cod and my husband's whole wheat-flaxseed bread, which served the purpose of sopping up all the delicious juice. My plate was at least half filled with this stew, which was certainly 3 vegetable servings if not more.
• 1 Tbsp. olive oil
• 1/2 cup unsalted, roasted cashews (not pictured)
• 1-1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
• 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
• 1 cup chopped celery (or onions - I didn't have any on hand)
• 1 Tbsp. dehydrated onion pieces (omit if using fresh onion)
• 1/4 cup freshly grated ginger
• 1 pint canned tomatoes (can be whole or diced) with juice
• 1 teaspoon Thai chili paste (or omit and use a small green chili, seeded, and chopped small)
• 1 # frozen cauliflower florets (or use fresh florets cut from a head of cauliflower, about 1-1/2#)
• 1 large sweet potato (about 1 #) - peel and cut into small chunks about 1 inch)
• 1/4 cup water
• 1 cup frozen peas
• 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro (or parsley for color if some family members do not like the taste of fresh cilantro)
1) Add olive oil to the wok or large skillet over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add cumin and mustard seeds to the oil and fry for only 30 seconds (do not burn!).
2) Add the celery (or fresh onions) and cook until just starting to soften (don't overcook if using the celery as it is nice to have it still be a bit crunchy when done)
3) Take about 3/4 of the grated ginger in your hand and squeeze it hard in your fist over the wok to release the juice into the wok. (do not add that ginger to the pan). Add the remaining grated ginger, which should only be a couple of teaspoons, to the mixture in the pan.
4) Add the tomatoes and chili paste (or hot pepper), bring to a boil. Cook for ~5 minutes until just starting to reduce. If using whole tomatoes, use a large spoon to break them up slightly (no need to overly smash).
5) Add sweet potato pieces. Cover and cook until just soft (do not over cook or turn them to mush). Time will vary depending on the size of the chunks. Keep testing them by removing one chunk from the wok and cutting in half to check for tenderness.
6) When sweet potatoes are starting to soften, add frozen cauliflower pieces. (If using fresh cauliflower florets, add them in step 5).
7) When cauliflower is heated through, add the peas and cashews, cover and heat just until all is again heated through.
8) Sprinkle with fresh chopped cilantro or other green fresh herbs.
9) Serve and enjoy the "wake-up" tastes of this delicious and beautiful dish.
Variation: Try this recipe with added tofu or tempeh pieces and/or served over brown rice or other whole grain like quinoa for a complete meal. I'm going to do both variations the next time I make this healthy recipe.
Thanks, Locavorious, for the delicious, locally raised cauliflower, another little reminder of warmer days of last year and those to come. I'm committed to keeping the local farmers who grow food to eat farming on our state's farms while also being stewards of our state's soil, water, and overall health, which encompasses and contributes to our collective physical, mental, and spiritual health, in addition to our economic well-being.
All of our actions have consequences, ripples, that impact each of us personally and also spread like ripples from a stone thrown into the lake throughout our larger community, most often without an endpoint that we see or appreciate. I began being more intentional about only choosing to eat healthy food years ago now to help my own cancer recovery process, but I now feel the deep responsibility to look at how my actions are also helping or hurting the health of the much larger body of which I am also a part.
My choices and your choices do matter. I will close with one of my favorite quotes, that I believe with all my heart.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
US anthropologist(1901 - 1978)
Savor and enjoy good food and good health!
Diana Dyer, MS, RD