Happy Meals

I have absolutely no scientific evidence to back this up, but I am convinced that eating orange food in the winter counteracts some of the effects of sun deprivation. Maybe its just the bright, cheerful color of sweet potatoes and carrots that lift my mood, or maybe beta carotene packs some kind of happy punch. All I know is, when the weather is grey I can't get enough orange. (And Germans seem to agree: almost every restaurant offers pumpkin or carrot soup this time of year.) (But my sweet potato lentil soup is better. :) )

So for the last few weeks, faced with the prospect of moving to a new country, planning two weddings, and staving off poverty until impending permanent residency (and accompanying work permit) I have been trying to lower my stress levels by loading up on delicious orangey bliss. Its been kind of working.

Above we have a simple dinner from S.- sweet potatoes mashed with a little bit of maple syrup, white miso, and cinnamon, fried tofu  that has been dredged in soy milk then coated in cornstarch, a little flour and sesame seeds, and green beans sauteed with salty soy sauce. Perfection.

And then here we have a variation on an old standby: carrot-cashew pasta. This time I aimed for more of a savory flavor profile rather than the sweet flavor my other recipe gets from ginger and agave nectar. This time I boiled sliced carrots, a handful of plain cashews, and a clove of garlic until tender, then blended them with a few tablespoons of the boiling water, plus a sprinkling of curry powder and black pepper. This was tossed with pasta and topped with sauteed brown mushrooms.

And finally you have my purest version of a happy meal:

A homemade black-bean burger on a sesame seed roll topped with onions, spinach, and sriracha-laced ketchup, served with sweet potato fries and, sure, more ketchup. Eat your heart out Micky D's.

How does one make sweet potato fries, you ask? Simply preheat your oven to 400 degrees and slice up a peeled sweet potato into thin, fry-like slices. Toss resultant slices with olive oil plus any of the following: salt and pepper; cumin, cinnamon and paprika; lemon pepper and salt; ect. Bake until crispy and  try to wait until they cool down.

So, that concludes my primer on stuffing your S.A.D. face full of orange. Here are several more dishes on the same theme:
Butternut Squash Risotto with sage
Sweet Potato Gnocchi
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

And now, friends, I'll continue my panicked Serbia preparations! Next time you hear from me, I'll be writing from Belgrade!
Следећи пут када чујете од мене, ја ћу бити у Београду!

Song of the Day: Tears for Fears- Everybody Wants to Rule the World


Bianca said...

I think you're right. Orange food makes me happier in the winter for sure! That fried tofu would make me happy too.

Megan said...

Yep, I definitely loved orange foods while I was in Germany over the winter. I think I was just going for anything brightly coloured - white and pale foods seemed too much like the weather, hahaha! So I was loving anything intense - greens and reds were also getting a workout, and whites (potatoes and pasta! beloved carbs!) got ditched entirely in favour of veg-based meals. I guess our bodies really do respond to the need for vitamins. :)

adriennefriend said...

OH, MY, GOD. I am so hungry right now... I SHOULD NOT have visited your blog. Aaaagh....

Dan Brook said...

I agree with your orange theory, though eating the rainbow is always a good idea!

Please visit my Eco-Eating at www.brook.com/veg for veg benefits.