I hate squirrels.

Ate my sweet potato plants to the stems, as you can see. Did a number on my bean and corn seedlings as well, last time I planted them. On those, they didn't bother with the rest of the plant, just the seed leaves. (The only words satisfyingly crusty enough to express my ire at these beady-eyed, bushy-tailed, ruinous little menaces are entirely NSFW.)

How is this rant relevant to the rest of this blog? Nyeah, any connection would be tenuous at best. Could link it to taking better care of the body, through food and activity, in order to take better care of the voice, but that's a stretch - especially when the backyard wildlife gets your heart rate up for all the wrong reasons. Also, it's been a while since I posted a recipe on here.

Sweet potatoes are related to morning glories, and around these parts, are mostly sought out for the big fleshy orange bit that grows underground. You can use the leaves as well; I don't think many people here seek them out for their greens, which are quite tasty, if nothing like the tubers in flavor or texture. They feel a bit like spinach, but the taste is somewhat milder. Following is a recipe for what I would have eaten had the squirrels not gotten to it first (&#^#&$ !$^ *$%&$*%).

Sweet potato leaves (camote [kah-moh-teh] tops), washed and cleaned, cut or ripped into bite-sized pieces - 1 lb.

Onion, julienned - 3-in. diameter, 2-3 ea.

Tomato, cut into thin wedges - 3 in. diameter, 2-3 ea.

Ginger, peeled and julienned - 4 by 1 in.

Distilled vinegar, 1/2 cup

Sugar, 1 T

Salt to taste

For the camote tops, have a pot of water at a rolling boil and a bowl of ice water handy. Dunk the greens in the boiling water for about two minutes. Remove and immediately dunk them into the ice water. (Blanchir et refraichir, if I remember the terms correctly.) This isn't a strictly necessary step, as the rest of the ingredients will wilt the leaves as well.

Mix the vinegar, salt, and sugar until everything's dissolved into the liquid.

Toss the greens, onion, tomato, ginger, and dressing together.

Makes 4-6 servings, about $1.30 each. I prefer this on its own, but it's also really good paired with nothing-but-salt grilled fish.

Mod this dish:

Other recipes use different types of vinegar, but I find the fancy stuff to be either too mild or too sweet. So long as it's a light-colored vinegar, not balsamic or red wine (and I think apple cider's a bit iffy in this as well), you should be fine.

I like ginger, so I tend to add more than others would. You may find less is enough. Try to find younger-looking ginger knobs with smoother skin. (Pff.) If you're familiar with Japanese gari, you'll understand why; the flesh is softer and less stringy, and you end up with tasty julienned pickled ginger in the dish rather than tasty seasoning that ends up being set aside before it gets stuck in your teeth again drat.

If you're looking for more heat, you can also try adding to the dressing a tablespoon of thinly sliced bird's eye chili peppers, or a couple of teaspoons of ground black pepper.

I also like adding fish sauce to the dressing, which won't work for any vegans; but it isn't a must in this dish if you use enough salt. I find that, instead of only making things more salty the way just plain salt does, the fish sauce emphasizes the overall flavor. (Has the same effect on a lot [two words] of other dishes too, not just this one.)

If the sugar in this recipe's a concern, you can reduce the amount depending on the onions you use. There are some types known for their sweetness (Vidalia comes to mind - way to go, advertising).

And as always with these recipes, nutrition information follows. Like I said earlier, camote tops aren't a common ingredient, so I substituted spinach in the analysis.

Food Groups

Amount Per Portion

Vegetables 2 cup(s)

Dark Green 1 cup(s)

Red & Orange ½ cup(s)

Other ½ cup(s)

Limits

Amount Per Portion

Total Calories 72 Calories

Added Sugars 8 Calories

Saturated Fat 1 Calories

Nutrients

Amount Per Portion

Protein 4 g

Carbohydrate 15 g

Dietary Fiber 4 g

Total Sugars 7 g

Added Sugars 2 g

Total Fat 1 g

Saturated Fat 0 g

Monounsaturated Fat 0 g

Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g

Linoleic Acid 0 g

α-Linolenic Acid 0.1 g

Omega 3 - EPA 0 mg

Omega 3 - DHA 0 mg

Cholesterol 0 mg

Minerals

Amount Per Portion

Calcium 96 mg

Potassium 737 mg

Sodium 453 mg

Copper 184 µg

Iron 2 mg

Magnesium 76 mg

Phosphorus 77 mg

Selenium 1 µg

Zinc 1 mg

Vitamins

Amount Per Portion

Vitamin A 376 µg RAE

Vitamin B6 0.3 mg

Vitamin B12 0.0 µg

Vitamin C 37 mg

Vitamin D 0 µg

Vitamin E 2 mg AT

Vitamin K 355 µg

Folate 164 µg DFE

Thiamin 0.1 mg

Riboflavin 0.2 mg

Niacin 1 mg

Choline 25 mg

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