Do you have a spring cleaning list? A set of chores you like to do around the house to get ready for this glorious season? My list has the usual tasks I do every spring: clean the windows, clear the closets, sweep the porches, rake the flower beds. This year I added something different: a spring cleanse for myself. Under the guidance of 2 dynamite women―one yoga instructor, the other a local health and nutrition counselor―I joined a group of 12 others, in a nine-day cleanse program of eating plant-based whole foods, attending yoga classes, practicing daily mindfulness rituals and sharing in mutual support of one another. My goals at the outset were simple: It was a difficult winter. With the coming of spring I wanted to feel lighter, I wanted to open myself to new possibilities. The cleanse period has just come to an end. I met my goals plus some added benefits I hadn’t expected, like a fresh palate open to new flavors. I feel great!
As taught by Susan Readeand Michele George, the cleanse was nurturing. To that end, we were encouraged to eat full meals but avoid snacking as much as possible. When hunger came up, we were asked to look at the sensation before reaching for something to eat. Initially, when I felt hunger, feelings of sadness and loss started to show themselves. I thought about loved ones who were gone; I hungered for them more than usual. As the days went on, my thoughts shifted. I started thinking about people who know real hunger every day of their lives: children in impoverished countries, the families at the local homeless shelter. My wish for a snack seemed laughable in comparison to the true starvation millions of people experience daily. I decided to do something about it.
I am going to fight hunger by contributing to Feeding America, a hunger relief charity that feeds the hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks. My goal is to give at least $25 a month.
This Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Beets and Poached Eggs represents my first effort to fight hunger. A colorful meal―filled with the sweetness of roasted yams, golden and crimson beets and a creamy poached egg―this dish is sure to satisfy your hungers. I saved money on this dish by roasting one large fresh, organic sweet potato. The cost, $2 as opposed to $4.50 for a bag of frozen organic sweet potatoes fries. $2.50 in savings to Feeding America!
Do you have ways you are helping the hungry? I would love to hear about it. Please consider commenting here for others to read as well or send me an email .
Happy Easter! Good Passover!
Enjoy this season of renewal.
I look forward to seeing you in my kitchen, gathering flavors and satisfying hungers, soon.
ROASTED SWEET POTATOES WITH BEETS & POACHED EGGS
Yield: 4 Servings
- 2 cookie sheets with raised sides, lined with parchment paper
- 1 large dinner plate, lined with clean paper towels
- A small skillet or cooking pot
- 1 large o r 2 small sweet potatoes
- 2 beets, one red one golden
- 4 large eggs
- About 4 teaspoons (20 ml.) fresh lemon juice
- About 2 teaspoons (10 ml.)olive oil
- Grated zest of one lemon
- 1 clove garlic, slivered
- 4 handfuls fresh greens, such as mesclun mix or beet greens, rinsed and chopped as needed
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Rinse the sweet potatoes and cut a few small slivers in the top of each. Place on prepared cookie sheet.
- Rinse and trim the beets as needed. Place on the other prepared cookie sheet.
- In the preheated oven, roast the sweet potatoes and the beets until they are cooked through. You will know they are done when a sharp knife can easily pierce them at their thickest point. Cooking time will vary according to the size of the vegetables and their freshness. You can begin checking them about 20 minutes after you place them in the oven. When they are tender, remove them from the oven and set aside until they are cool enough to handle.
- While the vegetables are roasting, poach the eggs. Add about 2-inches (10 centimeters) of water to a small skillet or pot large enough to hold all 4 eggs. Crack the eggs into a small bowl. Bring the water to a boil, then lower the temperature to a gentle simmer. Gently slip the eggs into the water, one at a time. Cook until the white is set, the eggs have floated to the top of the pan and the yolk is filmed over. This should take about 3 to 5 minutes. Carefully remove the eggs, one at a time, using a slotted spatula. Slip them onto the towel lined plate to allow any excess water to drain off. Set aside.
- When the sweet potatoes and beets are cool enough to handle, remove their skins, and slice them into thin rounds. Note: the beets will ooze their crimson and golden colors, so slice them each separately and rinse both the cutting board and your hands frequently to avoid stains.
- To assemble:
- Place a handful of greens or mesclun mix on 4 dinner plates. Arrange the sweet potatoes and beets decoratively on each plate. Place one poached egg on each prepared plate. Drizzle everything with lemon juice and olive oil. Sprinkle with the grated lemon zest and chopped garlic. Add sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
- Serve at room temperature.