The Book Cook Green Eggs and Yam? Seuss-ian Eats for the Modern Vegetarian Ellen Clifford

Green Eggs and (Purple) Yams

Ah, Green Eggs and Ham. One of the best-known books in the Dr. Seuss oeuvre is all about the ouef. I contemplated just dyeing some eggs and ham for this, but I wanted to make a treat that was naturally technicolor and a bit more sophisticated because I assume adults – at least young adults and up – are the ones reading this. If you are the appropriate age to be reading Dr. Suess and you are reading this, then:

a) Where are your parents/babysitters and why are they not monitoring your Internet usage?

and

b) Dang, you are way ahead of the curve. Kudos.

Green Eggs and Ham is an epic battle between the negative and positive. Our little pal Sam confidently rides his dog-esque creature onto page one. “I am Sam”. I am. There is power in those words. So says Dr. Seuss, The Secret and probably Oprah. I am. And he is. Sam. He is Sam. Proud of his name, he is. We could all use a bit of his confidence.

Sam rides by a persnickety old top-hatted dude. He doesn’t get called by name, so I think I will just refer to this character as Mr. Top Hat. Mr. Top Hat is not fond of Sam, nor is he fond of Sam’s offering of green eggs and ham. Frankly, I don’t blame Mr. Top Hat for getting grumpy. Sam-I-Am is dang annoying, and he does not know when to quit.

Sam-I-Am is persistent and creative. He attempts to lure Mr. Top Hat into eating green eggs and ham by offering the food in a variety of eating circumstances. He suggests different dining locations (a box? a train?), different dining companions (a mouse? a fox?) and even different dining atmospheres (in the dark? in the rain?).

For a guy with so many ideas, it is odd that he does not think to offer green eggs and ham with, say, a nice sauce. Tabasco can cure a great many ills. Or would Mr. Top Hat have been more likely to consume green eggs and ham worked into a quiche? Perhaps all Mr. Top Hat would need to be enticed would be a little chutney. I dunno. I bet if Sam-I-Am offered green eggs and ham with sriracha, Mr. Top Hat would have been all over that hipster-ketchup. He does, after all, wear a hat.

The thing is, Sam-I-Am makes all his offers under the impression that Mr. Top Hat has actually tried green eggs and ham.

AHA! There is the rub. You have to actually try things in life to decide if you like them or not.

I like eggs in pretty much any shape or form. As for making them green, I do have a thing for spinach and eggs, and I love quiche. Clearly this was the way to go. I don’t eat meat, however, and I am not a big fan of the fake meats out there even, if they do taste like real meat… which I don’t even remember the taste of. I think Seuss would approve of a substitute that rhymed with ham, so I thought “Greens eggs and yam”. Problem there is that I’ve never cared for what people in the US call yams: sweet potatoes. And unlike Mr. Top Hat, I’ve tried them enough times to be pretty darned sure about my feelings.

I may not like the typical orange yams, but I am a fan of the Japanese Okinawa purple sweet potatoes. Japanese yams are a completely different thing in terms of taste, and to boot their purple color naturally looks Seuss-ian. That is the fascinating tale of my Okinawa Purple Sweet Potato Crusted Spinach Quiche. It’s quite a mouthful.

This is a small-batch recipe – it makes just two tarts., perfect for Thing One and Thing Two. Oh, wait that’s another Seuss book. Maybe another week I’ll make a homemade cat treat for The Cat in The Hat

Green Egg and Purple Yam Quiche adapted from The Pie and Pastry Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum

  • 9 oz. purple Okinawa sweet potato, baked
  • 2 tsp butter, divided
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 of a 10 oz. package of frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 2 Tbsp chopped onion
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp half-and-half
  • 1/4 tsp. celery salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 oz. grated cheddar cheese

Line with foil and lightly butter two 4-5 inch tart pans. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Mash potato with 1 teaspoon butter and salt and pepper to taste. Press into tart pans and bake about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt 1 teaspoon butter over medium heat and sauté the onion until clear, then add garlic and sauté a minute more. Take off heat. Whisk egg, half and half, celery salt and ground black pepper (as much as you like) together. Stir in spinach and cheese. Pour into crusts. Reduce heat to 350. Bake about 20-30 minutes, until puffed and set.

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