Saturday, January 22, 2011

No more "pickup"

As some may know, we used our 1996 Voyager as our pickup truck, carrying everything from cement, to trees, to Christmas trees.

Alas, no more. So, looking for a replacement, which will also eat into project funds. I hear that Foresters are popular... (no one was injured in the production of the photo)

In other news, we took advantage of the unseasonable weather, and did some yard work. Also need to apply some copper to the nectarine, although if the squirrels carry off all the fruit again, I will be pretty mad.

Monday, January 10, 2011

On a cold day in January

This time of year always makes we want to stay home under a blanket with a warm fire and a hot cup of soup. One recent favorite that we have been making is a sweet potato black bean stew. Mr. House found the recipe in my Readymade magazine and we decided to try it out. It was delicious! We've made it a couple times since then, and it is quickly becoming a staple in our kitchen. We liked it best when we used one purpley oriental yam and one regular yam in the mix. Serve with warm cornbread to mellow out the spice. Also be sure to take out the seeds from the peppers, it can be very spicy if you don't.

1 T canola oil
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1-inch cubes
1 onion, peeled and roughly diced
1 red pepper, seeds removed and chopped into ½-inch pieces
1 jalapeño, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T chili powder
1 t cumin
1 t cayenne pepper
3 c vegetable broth
14.5-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
14.5-oz can diced tomatoes with juices
1 c frozen corn
1/4 c fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 c freshly squeezed lime juice
Shredded cheddar cheese to serve


Heat canola oil in a large, heavy-bottom stock pot over medium high heat. Add sweet potatoes, onion, red pepper, jalapeño, and garlic, stirring to coat. Sauté until onion and peppers are soft, about 4 minutes.

Add chili powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper and stir well. Reduce heat to medium, cover pot, and allow sweet potatoes to soften, about 7 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

After sweet potatoes are fork tender, add vegetable broth, black beans, and tomatoes. Bring stew to a boil, stirring well and scraping the bottom of pot to incorporate all of the spices. Add frozen corn, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for an additional 15 minutes.

Before serving, stir in cilantro and lime juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve stew with cheddar cheese and additional cilantro, if desired.