Tag Archives: jicama

Mission Accomplished: the “Gala”-ctic Apple Frittata

1 Oct

It’s been a very exciting couple of weeks for me with adventures that have all shockingly(!) revolved around food.

The first exciting outing was a trip to the Ontario Food Terminal.  Last Saturday, for the first time in history, the terminal opened its doors to the public.  I’ve always dreamed of setting foot inside the terminal, curious to see the inner workings of the place that houses all of the produce that eventually makes its way onto our grocery store shelves.  The day did not disappoint: there were tours, cooking demonstrations, ample opportunities to chat with vendors, and free food.  I was on cloud nine!

My second thrill was being served dinner by Lynn Crawford (of Food Network fame).  When I booked E’s birthday dinner at her restaurant, I secretly hoped we would catch a glimpse of her but never expected that she would be waiting on us: filling our glasses with water and delivering our main course and dessert.  She described the food with the same enthusiasm that she does on TV.  It was totally surreal.

Finally, for the past two weeks I’ve been partaking in weekly ‘Food Missions for Food Lovers’ organized by the National Post newspaper.  I’ve been published in the paper both weeks, and I even got my own ‘Gastrosketch’ last week (sadly, cartoon Lisa appears to have a mustache).

Mission #17: Your Favourite Food

Mission #18: Taste Something New

This week’s challenge is to eat something with apples.  Challenge?!  Ha.  Apples just happen to be one of my favourite foods and they’ve made it into several recipes that I’ve posted on my blog since its inception.  Wanting to do something a little bit different, I decided on a frittata recipe that combines vegetables (potatoes, carrots, celery, and jicama… again!) and fruit (apples).  The result is a very hearty, satisfying dish with a delicate balance of savory and sweet.  It was a bit of a pain to prepare so I’ve included some tips that may (or may not) make the process less aggravating.

Don’t be alarmed, the purple flecks are from an heirloom carrot

 

Stovetop Potato & Apple Frittata
(from Clean Eating magazine, January 2011)

3/4 lb Idaho or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
3 tsp olive oil, divided
4 eggs
4 egg whites
2 medium carrots, peeled and grated
2 stalks celery, minced, leaves reserved and minced
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 c peeled and grated jicama, placed into a bowl of cold water to prevent it from browning
1 large firm Gala or Fuji apple, unpeeled
1/2 Spanish onion, sliced into thin rounds

 

  1. Thinly slice potatoes by cutting them in half, placing them flat side down on a cutting board, and then using a very sharp knife to make thin, even slices. As you finish cutting the potato halves, push the slices back together to prevent them from browning.
  2. Heat 1 tsp oil in a 10 or 12 inch thick bottomed nonstick pan over medium high heat for 1 minute. Add potatoes in a thin layer, so each slice is touching pan’s surface. Cook potatoes undisturbed for 5 minutes, then flip each slice over and cook for another 4 minutes. (The edges will brown and the centers will be nearly translucent when done). Work in batches, if necessary, placing each round of cooked potatoes on a cool plate and setting them aside. [Lisa’s aside: it would have taken me 5+ batches to get all of the potatoes cooked using this method.  I ended up microwaving the sliced potatoes in a dish with a bit of water (in 2 batches), then I quickly browned the potatoes in the pan to remove some of the moisture]
  3. Meanwhile, crack eggs and egg whites into a large bowl and break up yolks with a fork. Stir in carrots, celery stalk, and salt. Squeeze water out of jicama and stir jicama into egg mixture.
  4. While last batch of potatoes is cooking, thinly slice apple. Transfer final batch of potatoes onto a cool plate and set aside. Then add 1 tsp oil, apple, and onion to same pan used to cook potatoes. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until apple and onion slices are nearly translucent.
  5. Add potatoes to egg mixture then stir in apple and onion. Add remaining 1 tsp oil to same pan, pour in egg mixture and cover. Cook over medium heat for 15 minutes or until edges brown and begin to pull away from pan. As you’re cooking frittata, slip a heat proof spatula around its sides once or twice and jiggle pan to make sure frittata isn’t sticking. Invert frittata by removing the pan from the heat, placing a large plate over the pan, and flipping frittata onto the plate. Slide frittata back into pan, uncooked side down, and cook, uncovered, for 5 more minutes. Slide frittata back into pan and onto serving plate. Garnish with reserved celery leaves.  [The frittata was way too massive and heavy to flip… plus, I’m not that skilled!  Instead, I cooked the frittata with a lid to help steam the top]
Makes 4 servings.  Per serving: 246 kcal, 8 g fat (2 g saturated), 30 g CHO, 5 g fibre, 13 g protein, 422 mg sodium.
Advertisements

Jicama: Fresh, Flavourful, and Full of Fibre!

21 Sep

Today I bring you another installment of my adventures with jicama. Did you know that the slightly sweet taste of jicama is due to its high inulin content? Neither did I. Inulin is a dietary fibre with several documented health benefits. Studies have shown that inulin can reduce blood triglycerides. It also acts as a prebiotic— food for the healthy ‘probiotic’ bacteria in your gut.

With its high fibre content, jicama may increase satiety and assist with weight control. One cup of sliced jicama contains a whopping 6 grams of fibre and only 48 calories. A healthy diet should contain 25 to 38 grams of fibre daily; unfortunately, the average Canadian only consumes 14 grams of fibre each day. If you consider yourself to be an average Canadian, add two cups of jicama to your day and ta-da! You’ve met your fibre requirements.

Enough about my nutrition ramblings… onto the food! I stumbled across this recipe for Jicama with Peanut Sriracha Dip while browsing at Indigo one evening. It comes from the cookbook ‘Ripe: A Fresh, Colorful Approach to Fruits and Vegetables.’ Ripe is the type of cookbook that you could proudly display on your coffee table yet it could just as easily live on your kitchen counter, full of stains and dog ears. The photos are works of art and the recipes look delectable. Of all its reviews, this one from the Portland Press Herald is my favourite…

“Open the cover and let the fruits and vegetables seduce you. From beets with bedroom eyes to come-hither coconuts, the new cookbook “Ripe: A Fresh, Colorful Approach to Fruits and Vegetables” reads like a love letter to produce…”

The dip combines two of my favourite flavours: coconut and peanut. It was pretty good as a dip but could have used more acidity to cut the creaminess of the coconut milk and peanut butter. We had lots of extra dip so E and I used the leftovers as a sauce for a shrimp and tofu stir-fry. It was heavenly!

Jicama Spears with Sriracha Peanut Dip

 

Jicama with Peanut Sriracha Dip
(from Ripe: A Fresh, Colorful Approach to Fruits and Vegetables)

Sriracha, affectionately known as “Rooster sauce” is a Thai hot sauce made from chili peppers, distilled vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt.  It can be found in the Asian food section of most major grocery stores.  Add as much Sriracha as you can handle.  The heat intensifies as the dip chills.

2/3 cup light coconut milk
1/3 cup natural peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)
1 tbsp light brown sugar
1-1/2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp seasoned rice vinegar
3/4 tsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
1 tsp Sriracha sauce, or more, to taste
2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
1/4 cup finely chopped, unsalted, roasted peanuts (optional)
2 medium jicama

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients except the cilantro, chopped peanuts, and jicama.  Whisk gently over low heat until smooth and warm, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the cilantro.  Cool to room temperature.  Transfer to a small bowl and refrigerate, covered, for several hours or overnight to allow the flavours to blend.
  2. Meanwhile, peel the jicama with a sharp paring knife.  Cut into sticks roughly 1/2 inch wide.  Cover and refrigerate the sticks so that they’re nice and cold.
  3. When ready to serve, taste the dip with a jicama spear to check for heat and balance.  Because the jicama is sweet, tasting them together is important.  Add additional Sriracha, one squeeze at a time, to achieve your desired heat level.  Top with chopped peanuts before serving.

Makes 1 cup dip and 30-40 jicama spears.  Per 2 tbsp dip (without chopped peanuts): 80 kcal, 4 g CHO, 0.8 g fibre, 6.3 g fat (1.7 g saturated), 2.5 g protein, 54 mg sodium.

 

Jicama and Orange Spinach Salad with Ginger Dressing

17 Sep

Contain your excitement, please.  This week I bring you not one but TWO recipes that use a relatively uncommon vegetable.  Jicama, pronounced ‘heek-ah-mah’ (also known as yam bean), is a starchy sweet root vegetable native to Mexico.  With a crispy texture resembling a cross between a potato and a pear, jicama is commonly eaten raw in salads and slaws or dipped into salsas.

Jicama keeps a low profile. An addictively crunchy texture is revealed once its unassuming fibrous exterior is peeled away.

 

While living in London, I tried to get my hands on jicama for what felt like forever.  Coincidentally, every time it was on my grocery list jicama was nowhere to be found.  I did spot it the odd time (London is not that small) but never had the confidence to pick it up without a recipe in mind.

Now that I’m in Toronto, jicama is readily available at some of the larger grocery stores.  I’ve fallen in love with its crispiness and subtle sweet taste.  It’s the perfect snack straight up: no dips or dressing necessary.  For my first jicama attempt, I followed a recipe for an orange, jicama, and red pepper spinach salad with a soy-based vinaigrette.  The salad wasn’t particularly fancy but the flavours worked really well together.

My next jicama attempt?  Stay tuned…

Spinach salad with Jicama, Orange, Red Pepper, and Red Onion.

 

Jicama and Orange Salad with Ginger Dressing
(from Rose Reisman)

2 cups peeled jicama, sliced into strips 1/2 inch wide by 3 inches long
6 cups baby spinach
1 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 large orange, peeled, membranes removed and cut into thin strips

Dressing:
4 tsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp brown sugar
2-1/2 tsp sesame oil
2-1/2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
1-1/2 tsp olive oil
1-1/2 tsp water
1 tsp minced fresh garlic
1 tsp minced fresh ginger

Garnish (Optional):
1-1/2 tsp sesame seeds, toasted
1/4 cup chopped cilantro or parsley

  1. Place the jicama, spinach, red pepper, onion, and orange in a large serving bowl
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, soy sauce, olive oil, water, garlic, and ginger.
  3. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.  Garnish with sesame seeds and cilantro, if using.

Makes 6 servings.  Per serving: 137 kcal, 3.9 g fat (0.5 g saturated), 24 g CHO, 5.3 g fibre, 2.9 g protein, ~100 mg sodium.