If you’re here just to hear about Tess Master’s delectable sustenance stew from the Perfect Blend, feel free to skip the next paragraph.
Happy 4 year WordPress-versary to me! I’m utterly shocked by the news (which WordPress communicated via a cute little pop-up window today). It doesn’t feel like I’ve been blogging for that long, and I suppose that’s because I haven’t been exactly…. I started the Tastiest Book on a free wordpress.com hosted page, but I hated how ugly my blog looked compared to the gorgeous professional blogs and I gave up after just a few posts. Eventually I warmed back up to the idea (I scored a grown-up job and moved into an apartment of my own), bought my own domain and a nicer looking template, and have been muddling my way through this food blogging thing ever since.
I feel like for a 4-year anniversary (or any anniversary), there ought to be cake. However, I’m a day behind on my Wednesday recipe and I’ve got a yoga date plus S cookies to make for tomorrow, so I’ll have to save the cake for another day.
Although it’s not a delicious cake, I quite liked Tess Master’s alliterated sustenance stew. It was not as earth-shatteringly delicious as the recipe header and blogosphere made it out to be, nor was it as fast, but it was very good. Sustenance stew is exactly that – a rich, warming, filling stew packed full of vegetables and a little almond butter for some additional creaminess. It doesn’t take a huge amount of prep work (especially if you skip forming chard ribbons) and if you like chunky stews you could make this without a blender.I’m not a big fan of chunky stews, as I think I may have mentioned once or twice. If the soup ingredients are something I can puree, if there’s a logical place to puree in the recipe and it wouldn’t be weird (I’m not going to puree chicken or fish), then I’m all about blending my soup until it’s smooth. In this case, I blended the onion, garlic, sweet potato, and tomatoes together. I opted to leave the broccoli and greens intact.
One thing that I’ve noticed in a number of the clean-eating, enjoy-life, you-can-cook-yourself-healthy cookbooks is a lack of clear guidance in the recipes. It’s a flaw that I found insurmountable in the Deliciously Ella cookbooks, no matter how hard I tried to give those recipes a chance. It’s not an insurmountable flaw in the recipes in the Perfect Blend, but it is a noticeable issue with several of the recipes I’ve tried. The Tom Kha soup was nigh inedible (I forced myself to eat it, but I didn’t enjoy it) due to a lack of clarity in the instructions (I mostly blame the lemongrass). With the sustenance soup, the recipe is easy enough that it’s not a major problem, but there are places where I felt a little more definition would be useful. For example, there is no guidance on size when chopping the head of broccoli into florets, but that size makes a big difference in how long it will take for the broccoli to become tender. My florets were clearly larger than Tess’, because mine needed longer than the stated 12-15 minutes to reach al dente.
Although it takes a little longer in terms of cooking time and it requires two pans instead of one, I recommend roasting the onion, sweet potatoes, and garlic together rather than sautéing them all in a pot until tender. Roasting them imparts a deeper flavor, I think, and while it takes more time, it’s actually less prep and less hassle. No need to peel the sweet potatoes or the garlic before roasting, no need to thinly slice onion, just peel and quarter the onion, halve a head of garlic, and prick the sweet potatoes all over so they don’t burst. Toss in olive oil a little salt and pepper, then roast for about 1 hour. If that’s not your style, feel free to stick with the original recipe. Also, I thought the final stew lacked heat and salt, so I’ve added a pinch or two of both to the recipe – feel free to experiment as you desire.
Tess recommends serving this over cauliflower rice, but this stew is equally delicious on it’s own, topped with an egg, and/or served with brown rice, quinoa, couscous, or any other grain. I’m a fan of the egg and chia seed variation myself.