Sweet Potato Bisque

My name is Lauren, and I have a problem. That problem is…the sweet potato.

I tell myself, “Self, it’s time to cut back on the SweePot or you’ll turn orange like Arnold on that episode of The Magic School Bus.” Never mind that it’s a cartoon or that he was actually eating some type of processed, carrot-based puff snack—regardless of the facts, Arnie was a warning to us all. But I digress…

Here’s the thing though, when you find that magic ingredient that everyone in your house loves, that is really great with a variety of different flavors, and that you understand the science of how to cook it and what its doing for you nutritionally inside and out… well its hard to make the switch.

I know I’m not alone in this. Do you go through phases with specific ingredients? What ingredient are you on a roll with right now?

Thankfully, we moved to the right state for my sweet potato obsession. North Carolina loves the sweet potato. Our first weekend here, we set out on a journey to find the Farmer’s Market to procure the necessary produce for the week. Approximately 5 minutes later we pulled up to the barn {we’re so close!} and collected our haul. Despite not being on my list, some how a few sweet potatoes ended up in my basket. I didn’t have a plan for potatoes per se, but I knew they’d get used and they were calling to me.

Sure enough, a few nights later after a crazy day of organizing and being on the phone with insurance for, I kid you not, 4 hours, I wanted something easy, something simple for dinner. Having a plan for dinner is great and usually we stick to it, but some days you just have to back up and punt. Anything that required thinking wasn’t happening that night. So with that mindset, this little soup was born. Thank God I had that sweet potato. It took less than 30 minutes, only one pot, and absolutely hit the spot.

Sweet Potato Bisque from Kiwi and Peach

Sweet Potato Bisque

{serves two}

To Boil
1 large {or two small} sweet potatoes
2 cups water

The Add-Ins
1 cup almond milk
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp honey
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/4 tsp cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
dash of ginger

Peel and dice your sweet potato into 1/2in cubes. Toss them into a pot along with your water and on medium heat and let it cook away for 20 minutes.

When the potatoes are soft, remove the pot from the heat and mash them. Add the rest of the ingredients, stir well, and return to the heat. Let it simmer for about 5 minutes just to combine those flavors and make sure everything in warm.

Last time I made this, in a fit of genius I decided to top it with goat cheese and crumbled bacon. Clearly it’s no longer vegetarian or dairy free at that point, but eh… it was freaking delicious. The earthy goat cheese and salty bacon were the perfect complements to the soup’s sweet and spicy. We’ve also been known to serve it with cornbread or a slice of toasted whole wheat sourdough.

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Quinoa Fall Skillet

I’m trying really hard to think of a way to start this post without the phrase “One of my favorite things about fall is…” I think it is a well established fact that, as a people, we tend to love fall.

So I’ll try this…

What really gets me jazzed about fall…

is all the produce that starts turning up at the market. There is suddenly an abundance of whole stalks of cute little brussels sprouts, gourds, squashes, and pumpkins. So. Many. Pumpkins. Now, I love pumpkin as much as the next girl {really, I do!}, but it isn’t the end all be all of amazing fall veg.

What about all of those other delicious, beta-carotene packed, orange veggies?

Sure there are carrots, but I don’t want to talk about that. {Unless they’re in cake, then I fully support their existence.}

I want to talk about sweet potatoes. These babies are easily my all-time favorite veggie in the history of ever. You can boil them, mash them, stick ’em in a stew. You can roast them and put them in a salad. You can cook them with with bacon and some other fall favorites like apples and brussels sprouts and get this skillet that will make you want to go jump in a pile of leaves and watch Hocus Pocus on repeat until your boyfriend demands that you turn the drivel off.

It’s fall, in your mouth, minus the pumpkin.

Quinoa Fall Skillet from Kiwi and Peach

Quinoa Fall Skillet from Kiwi and Peach

Quinoa Fall Skillet

{Serves two. Adapted, barely, from a heart healthy recipe Prevention magazine. I reduced the recipe for two, and completely eliminating the heart-healthy aspect of the recipe, I used my normal chicken stock, and subbed thick cut bacon for the low-fat and let’s face it, low-flavor, bacon. If we’re going to eat bacon, let’s eat the real stuff from a nice non-factory pig, why don’t we? My method is also a bit different too because of the quinoa.}

The Quinoa
2 cups water
1 cup quinoa
dash of salt
1 Tbsp olive oil for crisping

The Chicken
1 chicken breast, cut into cubes
salt and pepper
dash of olive oil for cooking

The Skillet
2 ounces thick cut bacon, sliced
1/2 of a medium onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small sweet potato, peeled and cubed
about 10 brussels sprouts, quartered
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and cubed
1 tsp fresh thyme
big pinch of cinnamon
little pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup chicken stock

First things first, let’s get the quinoa on. Boil your jug and start heating a medium pot and a large pan, both on medium high heat.

Once the jug has boiled, add your water to the pot and salt it. Bring it to a boil and add the quinoa. Remember to rinse your quinoa with hot water before you cook it to get rid of that bitter powder that coats it! Set your timer for 20 minutes and let it do its thing.

Cube your chicken and season it withe salt and pepper. {I usually go ahead and slice the bacon now as well since I already have the meat cutting board out. Just sit it to the side until we’re ready for it.} Once the pan is really hot, add a dash of olive oil and pop the chicken in there. I usually sear it on one side, then flip and let it cook for 4–5 minutes or so. You want to cook it until it’s a nice golden color. When the chicken is finished transfer to a bowl and set it to the side. Return the pan to the heat.

While I’m waiting for the quinoa to finish up, I go ahead and start prepping the veggies. They all go in at about the same time, so it’s good to have them ready before you start on the skillet. Dice your onion. Peel and press your garlic. Peel and cube your sweet potato and apple. {1/2 – 3/4 inch cubes should do it.} After rinsing your brussels sprouts, cut the bottom off like you would a head of cabbage and quarter them. I discard the leaves that fall off when quartering them since they can be a bit bitter anyway.

By now the quinoa should be finished. Now, this step is completely optional. I, personally, like my quinoa crispy, so it’s worth the extra step to me. It’s completely up to you. Before getting started on the skillet, I add some olive oil to the now very hot pan and transfer the quinoa from the pot to the pan. Stir a bit, let it sit, then repeat a couple times. Basically what we’re doing is getting rid of the extra water and frying it up a tad bit. The quinoa will get a little darker and some bits might blacken. That’s when you know you’re done. Transfer it back to the pot and set it off the heat.

Now. The skillet.

Add your bacon, onion, and garlic to the hot pan and let them cook for a couple of minutes. Add the brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes, cover, and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the sweet potatoes are starting to get tender go ahead and stir in the apple, thyme, cinnamon, and salt and let those flavors cook for a couple minutes. Add half of the chicken stock and let it cook until it is mostly evaporated. {This will soften up those potatoes!} Add the chicken to the skillet along with the rest of the stock and cook for a couple minutes longer until the it is all nice and hot.

Stir the quinoa in and serve it up. Enjoy!

Quinoa Fall Skillet from Kiwi and Peach

The Stinky Burger

A couple of months ago the Kiwi and I were in Zermatt. And while we were in Zermat, we were introduced to the worst smelling, most fantastic burger we had ever put in our mouths.

The, aptly named, stinky burger.

Sound appetizing?

I thought so.

But really, it combines some of the tastiest {and stinkiest} ingredients like garlic, onions, and stinky, gorgonzola cheese into one burger that will blow your mind.

Naturally, once we got home after the trip, I set out to recreate this puppy and now, it’s a staple. {It’s one of the Kiwi’s favorites!} It’s the perfect dinner after a long day of hiking around the Matterhorn or, you know, just playing in these gorgeous, crunchy fall leaves.

The Stinky Burger from Kiwi and Peach

The Stinky Burger

{serves two, inspired by a meal at Brown Cow Pub in Zermatt}

The Toppings
drop of olive oil
1/2 of a medium sized onion, sliced
1 clove of garlic, minced
about 1/2 cup of gorgonzola cheese {or whatever stinky cheese you have on hand}

The Burger
10 ounces {300 grams} grass-fed ground beef
1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 tbsp worcestshire sauce
1 tbsp whole grain mustard
1 clove of garlic, minced
salt and pepper

The Buns
2 buns {I like it best with kaiser buns with sesame seeds or with a pretzel roll fresh from the bakery.}
smidge of butter for spreading

Start heating up a pan on medium heat. Slice the onion and mince the garlic {or put it through a garlic press}. Once the pan is hot, drop a bit of olive oil in the pan and add the onions and garlic. Give it a stir then cover and let cook for about 10 minutes or until the onions are nice a soft. Once the onions are finished transfer them to a bowl and set aside. Return the pan to the stove top and turn it up to medium high heat.

While the onions are cooking, roll up your sleeves because we’re going to get a little messy. Add all of your burger ingredients to a bowl and get your hands in there. Mix all of that goodness together well making sure it’s evenly mixed. Divide the meat in half, form two patties, and drop them in the pan. Give it about 4-5 on that side and then flip.

Take about half of the onions and top the burgers with it. Cover each burger with the gorgonzola, put the lid on the pan, and let it cook away for another 4-5 minutes.

While the cheese is busy melting, slice your buns and butter each side. Turn the broiler in your oven on pop the buns in the oven on the top rack for about 3-4 minutes or until their lightly toasted. They should be done about the same time as your burger and then we can get started with the assembly.

Here’s how I layer it. Bottom bun, rest of the onions, burger, top bun. Done!

Take a big wiff and enjoy!

Oh, you might want to make sure your significant other eats it too.

What about you? Do you have any home adaptations of a favorite vacation meal? I want to hear about them!

Beer and Bacon Broccoli Cheddar Soup

I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a soup person.

Chili? Always.

Soup? Eh.

To be fair, soup in my house growing up meant Campbell’s. The tomato soup was always made with water. {Yuck.} The brothy soups were bland, not filling, and frankly the meat in them just creeped me out.

I’m not a soup person.

Except that, maybe I am.

Something seems to have changed this year.

Maybe it’s because Sheena keeps posting some of the most delicious look soup ever?

Maybe it’s because I’m incredibly stubborn and am seeing how long we can go before we have to turn the heat on, so a nice warm bowl of soup sounds like perfection?

Maybe it’s because soup made from scratch, while still ridiculously easy, is exactly one and a half million times better than soup from a can?

Either way, I’ve been making soup.

This soup is the gateway soup. Between the bacon, aged cheddar cheese, and the dark wheat beer, there really is nowhere this sucker can go but on the keepers list.

Beer + Bacon Broccoli Cheddar Soup from Kiwi and Peach

Beer and Bacon Broccoli Cheddar Soup

{I had been dreaming about a broccoli cheddar soup with bacon and a dark wheat beer. After looking at tons of recipes, I liked From Away’s method best and used it as my base and inspiration. I altered the amounts to serve two, added the broccoli, and omitted some of the other ingredients.}

4 ounces {120 grams} thick cut bacon, chopped into bits
1/2 of a medium onion
2 cloves of garlic
2 cups of broccoli {I used about 3/4 of a head and chopped it up pretty small}
1 Tbsp thyme
salt and pepper
1 cup of beer {I used a dark wheat beer. My recommendation: Schneider Weiss Aventinus or Franziskaner Royal}
1 cup of chicken stock
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp whole wheat flour
1/2 cup cream {I used soy.}
5 ounces {150 grams} of cheddar cheese

This is one of those recipes where its best to have everything prepped before you get started. So chop that bacon, onion, and broccoli. Peel the garlic and put it in the press.

Beer + Bacon Broccoli Cheddar Soup from Kiwi and Peach

Beer + Bacon Broccoli Cheddar Soup from Kiwi and Peach

Now let’s get started.

Heat a large pot in medium high heat.

Once hot, toss the bacon in there and cook it for a couple of minutes. You just want the fat to render and for it to cook up a bit. When it’s finished, transfer it to a bowl and set it to the side.

Back in the pot, throw your onion, broccoli, and minced garlic in and give it a stir. Cook for about 5 minutes or until it all starts to get tender. Stir regularly so all of that nice bacon grease on the bottom of the pan gets incorporated. Season the veggies with some thyme, salt and pepper.

Add about half of the beer {1/2 cup} to the pot and let it simmer away for 3 or 4 minutes until it has reduced by half. Then add the chicken stock.

While the beer and stock are reducing, we’ll make the roux to thicken this baby up. In a separate little pot, melt the butter and then whisk in the flour slowly to avoid lumps. Continue whisking for a couple minutes, then add it to the soup. Let this simmer for about 5 minutes while the whole thing thickens up.

Once the soup is coating your spoon, add the cream and the rest of the beer and give it a stir.

You can turn the heat off at this point, but leave the pot where it is. Add the bacon back in and start stirring in the cheese. It might take a couple minutes for the cheese to completely melt, but just keep stirring until the chunks are gone.

Serve it with bread. Serve it in a bowl. Serve it in a bread bowl. But most importantly, enjoy every bite!

Beer + Bacon Broccoli Cheddar Soup from Kiwi and Peach

Sweet Potato Quinoa Chili

My soup repertoire is pretty limited. I’m not a fan of brothy soups and a while back, I sort of threw the baby out with the bath water. I just stopped making soup. Chili? Absolutely. But soup? Hardly ever.

Last year for our transition into an soup season, starting small I thought I’d try a new chili recipe I’d had my eye on for a while. Chili is a fall staple for us and I know we aren’t the only ones. In my completely biased opinion, I always thought my Mama’s chili was the best in the world. However, it’s magic comes in the form of a packet of seasoning that, apart from things like chili powder and cumin, also contains ingredients I can’t begin to pronounce and certainly don’t have in my kitchen.

Successfully making chili from scratch has been one of my proudest moments of this journey to eliminate processed foods.

And the fact that this delicious, healthy stew takes me back to curling up under a flannel blanket and watching football with my Daddy just like my Mama’s chili does makes it a winner. It’s a keeper y’all.

What about you? Is there a food that some of your favorite fall memories center around?

Quinoa Sweet Potato Chili from Kiwi and Peach

Sweet Potato Quinoa Chili

inspired by Milk Free Mom’s Vegan Chili
{I don’t make many changes because the recipe is a great one as is. Besides reducing the recipe to serve 2, I substituted chicken broth for the veggie broth because that’s what we usually have, and I used a batch of black beans I had soaked and cooked instead of using canned beans. The Kiwi prefers it served it with a dollop of sour cream and a grilled cheese sandwich. Definitely not dairy free or vegan at that point.}

olive oil
1/2 onion
2 cloves of garlic
3 oz can of tomato paste
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
pinch of salt and pepper
2 cups of broth {veggie, chicken, whatever you have}
1 1/2 cups black beans {canned or soaked and cooked}
1/2 of a sweet potato
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed

Start heating a large pot on medium heat.

Adding your ingredients to the pot goes pretty quickly, so I find its best to have everything prepped beforehand. Dice the onions, peel the potatoes and cut them into 1 inch-ish cubes, and go ahead and rinse the quinoa.

Once the pot is hot add just enough olive oil to cook the onions and toss in the onions. Cook for about 5 minutes or until they are soft and translucent then add the garlic and cook for a couple more minutes.

Add the tomato paste, herbs, and spices and mix well. Let it cook for a couple of minutes and then add the broth. Give it all a stir and deglaze the bottom of the pan, then add the beans and sweet potatoes. Cook all of this for about 5 minutes.

Stir in the quinoa and let the whole thing stew away for 20 minutes.

We enjoy ours with a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt and maybe a grilled cheese if the Kiwi is good.

Sautéed Tomato and Garlic Fried Egg with Gorgonzola

If you’re thinking posting this week has been sporadic then you’d be right. Remember when I said that I thought we were on the mend? Well that only appears to have been half correct. I am much better. The Kiwi on the other hand got much, much worse. Between doctor’s appointments, pharmacy runs, working on the re-design that I really want to go live before Oktoberfest begins and trying to convince the Kiwi that he really must eat something, I’ve been on the struggle bus.

Something that makes all of this easier? Eggs. The Kiwi won’t eat much, but he’ll eat eggs. Needless to say, there have been a number of different egg combos whipped up in the kitchen this week, but the favorite has been this one.

Sautéed Tomato and Garlic Fried Egg with Gorgonzola | kiwi+peach

Sautéed Tomato and Garlic Fried Egg with Gorgonzola

olive oil
1 tomato, cubed
1 clove of garlic, pressed or minced
2 eggs
2 ounces gorgonzola, crumbled
2 large crackers or a piece of toast
basil optional

Start heating your pan on medium high heat. When it’s starting to get hot, add your oil and wait a quick minute for it to heat up too. Cube your tomato and prep your clove of garlic to press. When the oil is hot, add the tomatoes and press your garlic. Give it all a stir and leave it to cook for a couple minutes.

Push the tomatoes to the side and crack your eggs into the pan. Sprinkle them with a bit of salt and pepper then let them cook on one side for about 2-3 minutes or until the whites are looking pretty firm. Very carefully {you don’t want to break the yolk!} flip them. I’m a runny yolk fan, so I tend to only leave it on this side for 45 seconds to a minute, but you be the judge.

Transfer the egg to the cracker then top with the sautéed tomato and garlic, gorgonzola crumbles, and, if you’re so inclined, a bit of basil.

Sautéed Tomato and Garlic Fried Egg with Gorgonzola | kiwi+peach

Couscous with Tuna and Tomatoes

Until 2012, I think it is safe to say that I had never had couscous, which is absurd. It’s now one of our pantry staples. While it might not be a whole grain, it is the perfect vehicle for lots of tasty dishes and a staple in a number of cultural cuisines.

The first time I had couscous was on an evening when the Kiwi had volunteered to cook. At the time I had an hour and a bit commute to and from work every day, so I never hesitated to take him up on that offer. The thing is though that whenever he volunteers to cook, he refuses to tell me what he is making. {I have come to realize that this is because he has no clue what he’s making until about 6pm, but that’s beside the point.} The point is, I had no clue what I was going to be walking into.

The first thing that hits me when I walked through the door was fish. Really, he hit me with a fish.

No, that didn’t happen. I’m just kidding. The whole house did smell like fish though, and I was a bit skeptical. I had no reason to be.

The Kiwi is a great cook, and that is because he follows directions well. He likes to have a recipe and generally sticks to the recipe pretty closely {as opposed to me who views recipes as mere suggestions}. Following a recipe from the free e-cookbook by Jules Clancy called Stone Soup: Minimalist Home Cooking, he had made a warm, garlicky tuna and cherry tomato salad over couscous {pg. 59}. It was outrageously delicious, and {bonus} the fish smell didn’t even linger.

Despite my best efforts, I’ve yet to come up with anything that improves this recipe. It is pretty perfect and so is the book. The whole book is full of simple recipes that use 5 ingredients {or less} that you probably already have in your panty. There are very few processed ingredients to be found in the book which is absolutely the type of recipes we like. Oh, and have I mentioned it’s free?

Couscous with Tuna and Tomatoes from StoneSoup | kiwi+peach

{Just as a disclaimer, we aren’t being paid to promote this. We are just fans, and we thought that you, our dear reader, would benefit from the knowledge that this wonderful, free product exists. Go, download it, and see if we’re not right.}