After I wrote about one of my mom’s creative dinner feats, many of you wanted to know about my dad. Did he do unexpected stunts while raising my three brothers and me?
I don’t have one specific story, but there are many things he did that kept his sanity and made us who we are: Every 2 weeks we went to the library, and there was no such thing as an overdue book. On a quiet back road near the 5 freeway, he’d do “crazy driver,” abruptly swerving the car back and forth to make us giggle with delight. He took us screenings of movies he loved, usually starring the Marx brothers, Charlie Chaplin, or Harold Lloyd. He and my mom were committed to exposing us to culture and dragged us to concerts, museums, plays, and ethnic restaurants. And, to this day, he has always encouraged us to pursue our dreams and passions, even if it meant we would move thousands of miles away.
Even more so now, I look to my dad as a good example of how to live well. After he retired from his job as a high school librarian over a decade ago, we wondered what he would do. None of the standard retirement activities seemed like his bag. He learned some basic HTML and put together a site with vegetarian resources, which became Vegetarians in Paradise, a wildly successful Web site that gets more than 100,000 visitors monthly. To keep the site vibrant, he and my mom are busy reviewing restaurants and farmer’s markets, interviewing people they admire, and going to vegetarian and foodie events.
But that’s not all. On occasion, he will don red pants and a hat with a feather, and as “The Great One,” he teaches calligraphy to children. And as an active member of SAGE, he organizes field trips to museums, shows, and other Los Angeles cultural attractions.So now that I’ve told you why I love and admire my dad, let’s get onto lunch.
My dad likes sweet potatoes and sandwiches, so I created this sweet potato and edamame salad filling for a pita or wrap. You can also serve it as a salad over lettuce or on rice or another grain.
Note that this recipe does not require precision with the ingredient quantities, as long as you don’t go overboard with the dressing. And any type of bean will work. I chose black lentils for color contrast. Other beans that would be nice are green or brown lentils, black beans, chickpeas, cannellini, or kidney beans.
Sweet potato and edamame sandwiches
3 medium sweet potatoes, about 1 1/2 pounds
1 tsp olive oil
1 package of frozen edamame (ranging from 11 to 16 ounces), with recipe using 1 1/2 cups cooked edamame
1 1/2 cups beans, cooked and rinsed, or canned beans drained and rinsed
2 TBS minced red onion
1 TBS toasted slivered almonds
4 pita breads or tortillas or other wraps
2 TBS fresh lemon juice
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp white miso
¼ cup olive oil
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut then into 1/2-inch cubes. Put them on a rimmed baking sheet, toss with the olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes, toss the cubes with a spatula, and roast for another 8 minutes and check them, putting them back in the oven if they need more time. They are done when you can pierce them easily with a fork.
2. As the sweet potatoes are roasting, cook the edamame according to the package instructions.
3. Mix together all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
4. Put a spoonful of dressing in a large bowl and add the sweet potatoes, edamame, beans, onions, and almonds. Toss and add more dressing to taste. Spoon the salad into pita halves or wraps along with lettuce leaves.