Herby White Sweet Potato Foccacia

Last week, the NY Times published an article “Your Contribution to the California Drought” which displays the water footprint of various foods. Since California exports 50% of its produce nationwide, Super Sous and I have been developing Drought Friendly Recipes as a way for all of us to conserve California water. We are using the same sources as this NY Times article references, the Water Footprint Organization and studies from UC Davis. We are aiming to create recipes that have a lower water footprint relative to others. So, for example, fruit and vegetable centric recipes which stay clear of animal protein (except wild fish) and nuts.

Today’s recipe is an Herby White Sweet Potato Foccacia. It’s definitely a weekend project recipe. It’s not a 15 minute meal, but I can guarantee that it is fluffy, light, sweet, and everything you would ever want in a piece of focaccia, especially since it’s slathered with caramelized onions, garlic and fresh herbs.

Enjoy and save a piece (or two) for us!

 

Herby White Sweet Potato Foccacia

Yields: 1 18×13-inch sheet pan of foccacia

 

1½ pounds white sweet potato

5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

2 cups warm water (115 degrees Fahrenheit)

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1 tablespoon dry active yeast

6 cups bread flour, plus more as needed

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided

nonstick spray

¼ cup grapeseed oil, divided

2 medium yellow onions, peeled and diced small (4 cups)

20 large cloves garlic, peeled and rough chopped (½ cup)

¼ cup fresh rosemary leaves, rough chopped

¼ cup fresh thyme leaves, rough chopped

¼ cup fresh oregano leaves, rough chopped

 

Adjust an oven rack to the upper middle position and preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place ¼ cup of kosher salt in a pile in the center of a sheet tray and rest the sweet potato on top of the salt mound.

Place sheet tray in the oven and roast sweet potato for 2 hours.

Remove sheet tray from the oven. When the sweet potato is cool enough to handle, slice the sweet potato in half and scoop out flesh to fill 1½ packed cups roasted sweet potato. (Enjoy any leftover sweet potato as a delicious snack!)

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add warm water and sugar. Stir until sugar has dissolved. Add yeast and stir to combine. Let rest for 15 minutes, until mixture gets very foamy.

Add 1½ cups packed (warm, but not hot!) sweet potato, flour, 2 teaspoons of kosher salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper to the bowl.

Spray the hook attachment with nonstick spray to coat and attach to mixer.

Mix on low for 5 minutes. Check on dough at this point. Scrape down sides of bowl if necessary. If dough is wet, add additional flour, 2 tablespoons at a time, until the flour absorbs the excess moisture. Mix for an additional 5 minutes until a smooth ball is formed. (Photo below)

In a large bowl, add 1 tablespoon of oil to coat the inside of the bowl. Transfer dough ball from stand mixer to the large oiled bowl and roll the doll around to coat the dough evenly with oil.

Cover the large bowl with plastic wrap and put the bowl in a warm place in your house. Let rest until the dough ball doubles in size, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

While bread is rising, make the onion garlic topping mixture.

Place a medium (3½ quart) sauce pan over medium-low heat and add 2 tablespoons oil, onion and 1½ teaspoons salt. Stir to combine and cover with a lid. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, until the onions are soft.

Remove lid and add garlic, chopped herbs and remaining ¼ teaspoon pepper. Stir and cook for an additional 5 to 8 minutes, until all the water evaporates and the onions start to caramelize. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

Evenly coat the bottom and sides of an 18×13-inch sheet tray with remaining 1 tablespoon of oil.

Lightly dust a work space with some flour. Turn dough out onto workspace. Gently stretch the dough into a rectangular shape. (Photo below)

Transfer the rectangular dough into the oiled sheet tray. Using your fingertips, gently spread dough evenly to fill the sheet tray. Let rest, uncovered, for 20 minutes. (Photo below)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Evenly sprinkle remaining ½ teaspoon salt over the dough.

Spread the onion / garlic / herb mixture evenly over the dough. Dot/ firmly press your fingertips into the entire surface of the dough to create small “potholes” in the dough. (Evenly space the “potholes” throughout the dough, about 1-inch apart from each other.)

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the edges of the bread are golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes before serving.

foccacia dough ball

Dough ball ready to be oiled and rise 

Foccacia on table

Spreading the dough into a rectangle

Foccacia in sheet tray

Pressing the dough evenly in the sheet tray

cooked foccacia2

Finished foccacia

cooked foccacia

Delicious!

Food and the California Drought #chefpowerhour

Want to learn more about the California Drought and how it affects our food? Join me, Super Sous and other food professionals in this call this THURSDAY at 10am PST sponsored/hosted by Chefs Collaborative. We’ll be discussing water scarcity, the current situation and what we can all do no matter where we live! Anyone can join. Get your questions ready!

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 10.38.59 AM

 

Drought Friendly Vegan Migas

A longer story covering our (Super Sous and my) Drought Friendly Recipes has been posted on the Central Valley NPR site and is  running on KVPR!

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 9.47.32 AMPLUS~here’s a NEW Drought Friendly Recipe that Super Sous has created. Being from Texas, Super Sous gets a hankering for Tex Mex now and again. The other day, she was craving migas, which in Tex Mex language is a scrambled eggs dish made with tortilla chips. To make it drought friendly, Super Sous subbed crumbled organic tofu for the eggs. The rest is all veggie and spice goodness. Enjoy!

Migas1

Sauteing the onions, bell pepper, potatoes and poblano.

Migas2

Tofu Potato Migas

 

Drought Friendly Tofu Potato Migas

Yield: 4 servings

 

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced small (2 cups)

1 large red bell pepper, diced small (1 cup)

½ pound potatoes, scrubbed and diced small

1 small poblano pepper, seeded, deveined and diced small

4 2-inch sprigs fresh thyme

1½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

5 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced (1½ tablespoons)

1½ teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon ground coriander

¼ teaspoon ground chipotle powder

1 (14.5-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained

14-ounces organic extra firm tofu, patted dry and crumbled

1¼ cup broken organic corn tortilla chips

1 lime, halved

2 haas avocados, pitted and thinly sliced

½ cup picked fresh cilantro leaves

1 bottle of your favorite hot sauce

1 jar or batch of your favorite salsa, optional (try my tomatillo tomato salsa)

 

Place a large nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat and add oil. Let heat for 1 minute until hot. Add onion, red bell pepper, potato, poblano, thyme sprigs, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are cooked through, approximately 15 minutes.

Add garlic, cumin, paprika, turmeric, coriander and chipotle powder. Stir and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.

Add tomatoes. Stir and cook for 1 minute, until liquid has mostly evaporated. Add tofu, stir and cook for 5 additional minutes.

Turn off heat. Add in tortilla chips, squeeze over half a lime, stir to combine and season to taste with salt, pepper and additional lime as needed. Remove thyme sprigs.

Serve on plates with slices of avocado, cilantro, a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce and some salsa.

Food Fame of Thrones – Game of Thrones and Food World Mash Up

Our latest Pass the Salt Podcast is up and running and if you nerd out like we do on Game of Thrones and the food world, this one is made for you. “Food Fame of Thrones” (Episode 11) is a mash up like no other where we cast chefs and personalities from the food world into the Game of Thrones. Listen, laugh, wonder and please help us cast the entire family tree!

game-of-thrones-family-tree

(Special thanks to Michael JD @mykojd for creating the Web of Thrones map.)

Spicy Mango Ginger Popsicle

As I write this blog post (another in the series of “Drought Friendly Recipes“), a light rain is falling in Los Angeles – music to everyone’s ears.

Some good news on the drought front – Starbucks has said that it is phasing out its use of California water for its Ethos brand bottled water. Ethos brand water gives a percentage of it’s sales to ” help support water, sanitation and hygiene education programs in water-stressed countries” so it makes sense that pulling water from drought stricken California makes no sense at all.

Meanwhile, Nestle is still sucking up California water at the rate of some 240 million gallons a year. Aquafina and Dasani are also using California water for their bottled water, among others.

In an effort to conserve California water, let’s fill our own water bottles before we head out of the house and avoid buying bottled water as much as we can since it’s most likely coming from California.

And now for something sweet, refreshing and delicious – perfect for your upcoming summer potluck and barbecue parties.

spicy mango popsicle

Spicy Mango Ginger Popsicle

Yields: 6 popsicles

 

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon fresh ginger juice

1/16 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

1½ cups sweetened mango puree or pulp

 

Combine lime juice, sugar, ginger juice and cayenne pepper in a medium bowl. Stir until sugar dissolves. Add mango puree and stir to combine. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze.

Not Too Spicy Green Papaya Salad

California drought friendly and delicious, this papaya salad is a refreshing, bright, crunchy, herbaceous and spicy (not too spicy!) dish, perfect for warm weather months.

Super Sous and I traveled to Vietnam in February, our first stop being Hanoi, the capital city in the North. Upon arrival, we immediately arranged a street food tour of the Old Quarter of Hanoi (where we were staying). Our wonderful guide, Tam, took us on a whirlwind food extravaganza through the streets, alleys and hidden corridors to eat some of the best food Hanoi has to offer. From classics like Bun Cha to Egg Coffee to Beef Pho we ate A LOT, probably hitting up 7 different street food vendors/restaurants within the 3 hours of wandering.

Our third stop for the night was at a spot that served the best Papaya Salad we have ever had. At first, Super Sous and I were a little nervous about this dish as papaya salads we have eaten in Thai restaurants have been extremely spicy, but this salad was the perfect blend and balance of sweet, sour and spice. It was then that Super Sous and I fell in love with the Vietnamese papaya salad and despite our best efforts to not overeat and pace ourselves that evening, we couldn’t resist finishing off the whole salad.

Tam NL SS

Me, Tam – our street food tour guide – and Super Sous

Upon returning to California, we created our own version which comes pretty close to our experience. A note about the green papaya – you can find these in an Asian grocery store. (Sometimes they even have it pre-shredded in bags – score!) To shred yourself, cut in half, peel the section you want to use and shred using a citrus zester (photo below), a “noodler” (the instrument that makes zucchini noodles) a food processor (with the shredding attachment) or a box grater.

Citrus Zester

Citrus Zester

Now, a note about drought friendly recipes: Super Sous and I started the project of creating drought friendly recipes as a way for all of us around the country to help conserve California’s water. What I love about this recipe is the use of Virginia peanuts. They are so good! (It wouldn’t at all have anything to do with me being a Native Virginian…) Peanuts are a groundnut and therefore do not grow like almonds or walnuts in large orchards that require a lot of watering. Peanuts are a good source of protein and with their low water footprint, are a great alternative to almonds. According to the Water Footprint Organization, it takes 381 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of peanuts, whereas almonds require 6 times that amount. So, yay for peanuts!

green papaya salad

Green Papaya Salad

Yields: 2 servings

 

Dressing:

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

2 teaspoons fish sauce

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

¾ teaspoon freshly grated ginger, grated on a microplane

½ teaspoon freshly grated garlic, grated on a microplane

2 teaspoons minced lemongrass

¼ Bird’s eye aka Thai chili, finely chopped

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

 

Salad:

2 cups packed shredded green papaya

¼ cup grated carrot (1 medium carrot)

½ cup finely sliced green beans, sliced on a bias (8 beans)

3 tablespoons whole toasted peanuts

½ cup quartered grape tomatoes (7 tomatoes)

¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves

¼ cup fresh Thai basil leaves

¼ cup fresh mint leaves

 

Combine dressing ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and let sit for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally so the sugar dissolves.

Add papaya, carrot and green beans to dressing and massage ingredients together with your hands for approximately 30 seconds, to meld all flavors and allow dressing to permeate papaya.

Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine.

Divide onto plates and serve.