Oven Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Onions is truthfully only my second-favorite way to eat sweet potatoes. My very favorite way is a whole sweet potato, rubbed in olive oil, kosher salt and black pepper and then roasted whole. The skin is so thin that you don’t even have to poke holes in it so steam can escape — eventually the skin will start breaking on its own, but it retains more of its steam this way and results in an unctuous dish that I then slather in butter and more salt and pepper. That’s dinner! The caveat to my favorite way is that it takes 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the potato. I don’t always have a full hour to wait for dinner. This recipe is much faster, especially if you cut the sweet potato smaller than the 2-inch pieces that the recipe calls for.
In addition, we have a small oven, and can’t easily fit multiple dishes in the oven at once. Cut smaller than the 2-inch pieces, this recipe will cook up in the amount of time that you are waiting for a roasted chicken or some other large long-roasting item to rest and be ready for slicing.
I adore sweet potatoes, both the lighter-colored ones and the darker red ones that, here anyway, are often labeled as “red garnett yams.” I never had real sweet potatoes growing up; you see, my mother doesn’t like sweet potatoes at all. As a result, the only sweet potato I had ever met was the sweet potato casserole my grandmother made at Thanksgiving — yes, that one: whole marshmallows, corn flakes and canned sweet potato. I even liked that. Nothing, however, can hold a candle to a real sweet potato.
I enjoy this dish leftover for lunch the next day, with a bag of corn chips to provide some texture. Yum!
Garlic Roasted Broccoli is proof positive of what I have come to believe about vegetables: roasted is always the best way to go. We’ve never done the lemon wedges nor the parmesan cheese that it calls for and frankly, it doesn’t need it. The broccoli turns out sort of crisp-tender, and the roasting process intensifies its flavor, rather than watering it down like some cooking methods. It makes a tasty, healthy side dish to go with a wide variety of proteins. Even better, it’s simple to prepare and a quick fix from start to finish. Often, we stage the broccoli while our protein is cooking, and then the broccoli roasts in the oven while the protein rests on the counter, nestled under a sheet of aluminum foil.
Massaged Kale Salad works best, in our opinion, with a lighter, less hearty variety of kale. We grow our own in our garden. Our favorite variety for salads is called Red Winter. If you are buying your kale in a grocery store or farmer’s market, look for delicate, tender leaves. The salad has mango in it, which gives it a sweet note. As a result, it pairs especially well with something a bit spicy, such as Seared Chipotle Shrimp.
Steamed Edamame isn’t something we have used a recipe for in several years, but I can see how if it isn’t already part of your repertoire, starting with some specific directions, with pictures, could be helpful. Not everyone knows what it is, what it looks like, or what to do with it. If you are one of those people, I definitely recommend that you give it a try. Edamame is one of few vegetables that isn’t mushy out of the freezer, and served with a nice flaked sea salt, it’s downright addictive. We always have some on hand for quick sides for grilled meats, such as Seoul-ful Chicken.
Vegetable Korma is a surprising dish. The photo in the magazine didn’t look like much, but we decided to try it anyway. That was a long time ago. We made it again just recently and apparently had forgotten how good it was. Wow! Even though it is supposedly an Indian dish, it has the gentle flavor of a mild Thai curry. This is because of the coconut milk, but it lacks the heaviness fatty proteins like pork and chicken can give a meal. It really is just vegetables and, dare I say it? You really don’t miss the meat. If I had to go vegetarian, which thankfully I don’t, but if I did, this is the kind of food I would base my diet around, instead of living on processed meat substitutes.
Mashed Potato Pancakes is a smart recipe to have on hand because it uses leftover prepared mashed potatoes as its base. It makes for a nice, warm breakfast on a cold fall day. For both reasons, it is the perfect day-after-Thanksgiving breakfast. We serve the pancakes with little cups of applesauce or a slightly tart jelly.
The linked recipe has changed from the original. What follows is the recipe as I originally printed it.
Mashed Potato Pancakes
from Gourmet Magazine
2 C mashed potatoes
1 large egg, beaten lightly
6 Tbs all-purpose flour
2 Tbs grated onion
2 Tbs chives
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
In a bowl, combine the potatoes and the egg, stir in the flour thoroughly, and stir in the onion, chives, and salt and pepper, to taste. In a large heavy skillet, heat 1/8 inch of vegetable oil over moderately high heat until it is hot but not smoking. Fry heaping tablespoons of the potato mixture, flattening them slightly with the back of the spoon, for 1 minute on each side, or until they are golden brown. Serve with applesauce.
Kale and Chickpea Soup is a warm, comforting dish perfect for chilly weather. Kale is a cool-weather veggie that is easy to grow and is at its prime in the fall and in early spring. We actually make this recipe as written. The only change we ever make is to vary the kind of sausage we use. It calls for pork chorizo, but you can use any kind of sausage you like. We have learned that you want something with a bit of spice in it. Much of the flavor of the soup seems to come from the sausage. In this way, you can also mitigate how spicy the resulting soup is. The spicier the sausage, the spicier the soup. Use a sausage you enjoy eating on its own. You wouldn’t need to serve this with anything as it’s pretty much a one pot meal, but as we like our bread, we usually do serve it with a loaf of Easy Homemade Ciabatta.