Sweet Potato and Spinach Curry by Chelsea Zwieg

Well, well, well, I think I'm out of my cooking rut. Maybe it's because that whole spring weather in the middle of February thing is over so I'm no longer confused if I should be making my standard February comfort food or something that matches the 70 degree weather. Or maybe it's because I've finally snapped out of vacation mode and back into actual life mode where I have to cook things if I want to eat them. Or maybe it's all because I made curry for the first time ever and have been weeping happy tears of joy about how much I love it ever since. I think it's that one. 

I really can't believe I have never made anything like this before. I went through a major curry chicken/naan phase in college but (please don't take away my food blogging license) I always got it out of the frozen food section. But thanks to a genius suggestion (hi, Julia!), I got to thinking about how easy it is to make at home. Which led me down a serious internet rabbit hole of curry recipes and straight into this sweet potato and spinach bowl of happiness. It's everything that I love. Lots of spice, tons of veggies and a bunch of rice/quinoa/bread/whatever to soak up any sauce. UGH, yes. Get at me. 

If vegetarian curry isn't your thing, this would be so great with chicken added to it as well. I also really wanted to add mushrooms but wasn't so sure if that would fly by the curry rules. But really, forget the rules. Mushrooms are perfect in everything, it's just a fact. Since this is much more stew than soup I like to have rice to catch any leftover sauce. Rice normally bores me to death, but I have found that stirring lime juice and cilantro into rice makes it 100x better, way less dry and the perfect companion to all your future spicy, sweet potato filled curries (currys? google won't give me a straight answer. help.) I also didn't have time to make naan and have been regretting it ever since. So learn from my mistakes, make some naan and make this curry. Again. and again. and again. 

Have a great weekend! 

Sweet Potato and Spinach Curry 

Serves 4

| Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp. red curry paste
  • 1-2 tbsp. curry powder
  • 2 tsp. turmeric 
  • 2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 (14oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (14oz.) can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 (14oz.) can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, diced (2 1/2 cups total)
  • 5 oz. spinach
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • cashews, rice, lime wedges, for serving

| Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the curry paste, curry powder, turmeric and red pepper flakes. I only used 1 tbsp. curry powder but depending on your curry powder/how much curry flavor you like you might want to add 2. Give everything a good stir to coat the vegetables and continue to cook for about a minute. 
  • Add the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes and coconut milk and stir well, scraping the bottom to get any bits of spice that may have stuck. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to boil. 
  • Add the carrots and sweet potato and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, 20-25 minutes. 
  • Add the spinach and lime juice and stir until the spinach is wilted and combined. 
  • Serve with rice and top with cashews, lime wedges and anything else you like. I like to stir lime juice and cilantro into my rice since I think white rice is a little blah on its own. 





Lemon Poppy Seed Sugar Cookies by Chelsea Zwieg

I'm keeping it super short and sweet today. Partly because how much convincing do you really need to make super soft, buttery lemon sugar cookies? Not much I hope. And also because it's 5:56 pm and my eyes keep closing while I'm trying to read my email. Grandmas gotta get to bed. WHY AM I SO ELDERLY? 

But these cookies though. I made these over the weekend, which was just a doozy in more ways than one. As an example, I have a gross scar on my arm from a bakery-related burn about a month ago. This weekend I got a new burn on top of my old burn. And a bruise right above it. (which puts a real damper on my dream of being a forearm model) And that arm perfectly sums up my weekend in all sorts of ways. Do you guys have anything you just have to do when you're super stressed out? For me it's baking, always has been. That and running. But since I'm living that stress fracture life I dragged my sad, sore shin into the kitchen on Sunday and baked the day away. And what do you know, I felt so much better. Partly because I was baking and mostly because I was eating cookies. Also it was 65 degrees this weekend in Milwaukee. what. So the moral of the story: thank God there are things like cookies and weird heat waves to save even the dumbest of days. 

These are a super soft-cakey sugar cookie, perfect for coating in a giant fluffy cloud of frosting. The cookies have lemon juice and lemon zest, for a little double citrus action. You could also use lemon extract in place of the lemon juice for a more powerful flavor, but I like the juice. The frosting is a basic buttercream with just a little bit of lemon juice for tartness. You can definitely play around with the amount of juice/zest in the cookies and frosting (whether you want it more tart or subtle) without it affecting the consistency of the dough too much. Just taste the dough as you go and add more if you like. Just remember that the flavor will be more subtle after they bake, so don't hesitate while squeezing those lemons! 

If you're having a dumb day, I hope these cookies bring you a little bit of sunshine as well. And maybe you're having a great day and you just need a cookie to celebrate it. I'm all about that. 

Lemon Poppy Seed Sugar Cookies

Makes 2 dozen cookies

| Ingredients

For the cookies: 

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. poppy seeds

For the frosting: 

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. cream

| Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or baking mats. 
  • In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well and scraping the bowl after each addition. Whisk the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add half of the dry ingredients to the mixer and mix until just partially incorporated. Add the sour cream, lemon juice and zest and beat on low to combine. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Mix in the poppyseeds.
  • Scoop the cookies onto the prepared baking sheets. This is a sticky dough it's best to use a cookie scoop rather than trying to shape them with your hands. Bake 15 minutes, until just starting to brown around the bottom.
  • For the frosting, beat the butter and powdered sugar until smooth. Add the lemon juice and continue mixing. Add the cream and beat to combine. If you want the frosting a little thinner, add another splash of cream. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat the frosting until it is light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes.
  • Frost the cookies and sprinkle with extra poppy seeds, if desired.