Sunday, November 20, 2011

Ho'okupu & More Roasted Vegetables - Sweet Potatoes & Beets

Mahalo, Kawaiaha'o Church School, for the lovely pu'olo, and the even lovelier ho'okupu ceremony. They were thanking us for all the times throughout the year, when the teachers bring their classes for us to read books, tell stories, do fingerplays and sing songs.

The ho'okupu consisted of chants, translation, lots of honi honi - OK, it was just hugs and not the nose pressing and inhaling. It was very touching, and I learned some things I hadn't known before. Makali'i - the Pleiades star constellation, or Seven Sisters - begins to rise in the night sky, and become visible. This also marks Ho'o-ilo, the rainy season, and the season of rest.

What does this have to do with sweet potatoes? Well, these lovely pu'olo bundles contained sweet potatoes and yams and salt. There were several varieties - Oriental Beauty, a white-fleshed Satsuma imo, Red Garnet yams (I just learned some are being grown on the island of Molokai!) and a couple of others. As I love sweet potatoes, I was thrilled to get a couple of these!

What to do with all of this bounty? Now that it's actually cool enough to turn on the oven, why not roast them?

I peeled and cubed the Beauty and the Garnet, along with 'uala I'd bought at a farmers' market. BTW, I've read that 'uala can be mashed into a version of poi, or mixed with water and left to ferment, making a beer! I love the taste of 'uala, but these were so tiny and like bumpy little sausages, they were WORK to peel. To roast them, I put heavy duty foil in a pan, tossed the tubers with olive oil, fresh cracked pepper and sea salt. At 400 degrees, they were done and caramelizing in less than 25 minutes - before I could even turn them.

At the same time, I washed beets, dried them and put them in a foil packet with a little olive oil. I put a rack on a shallow pan, put the packet on top of the rack. These took longer - after I took out the potatoes, I turned the heat down to 350 and ran the oven for another hour. When a knife still didn't slip easily into the beets, I kept them in the closed oven for another half hour more. When this cooled, I peeled several of them, sliced them and drizzled them with more olive oil, lemon, French feta cheese and slivered red onion. The DH liked this a lot better than the beet pasta I came up with next.

After the sweet potatoes cooled a bit, I used about 2 cups of them - in place of the large yam - to make this:

Groundnut Stew

  • ½ to 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced or minced
  • 1 thumb ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 large yam, peeled, ½-inch cubes and 1 medium potato, peeled, ½-inch cubes, cook in water to cover in microwave until almost tender

  • ¼ teaspoon garam masala or curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper or similar pepper spice 
  • ½ cup peanut butter
Sauté onion in olive oil until soft. Add garlic and cook until soft. Drain yams and potatoes, add to the pot with ginger, and sauté for a few minutes. Pour in juice, tomatoes, chickpeas, and spices and heat through. Add peanut butter and stir until incorporated, and salt to taste.

Optional: slice a carrot and cook with the potatoes. Add a handful of fresh green beans, okra, spinach or chopped cabbage. I did not have orange juice, so I used what I had – mango. The original recipe called for tomato juice AND tomatoes, and apple or apricot juice and NO beans. Serve with brown rice and your choice of hot sauce. Add chicken or vegetable broth and serve as a soup the second time. My husband asked if this stew is vegan. I don’t know or care. I just eat what tastes good!

In this month of gratitude, I'm thankful to Kawaiaha'o Church School for sharing. Their generosilty has filled me with satisfaction and warmth, and reminded me to be grateful.

Note: Red Garnet yams are at fantastic prices in your neighborhood markets this week - 50% to 75% off the usual per pound price. I've bought several to roast, and think I'll be roasting ears of corn and some tomatoes at the same time! Soup, here we come!

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