Monday, 31 March 2014

Maple-Balsamic Glazed Onions

Our stash of onions has been shrinking and as the large ones have been removed, either to the basket to be planted for seed or for cooking, many of the ones that are left are starting to look small.  These may be too small to bother to cut up for regular cooking, but they make a great vegetable dish on their own.

Most of the small onions you can buy will be larger than mine, but use the smallest you can find. Three or 4 per person should be a generous serving; if that seems too much I think your onions are too large. Although these are so delicious, it may not be as much too much as you think. Obviously, the larger your onions the longer they will need to boil to become tender.

2 to 4 servings
40 minutes - 20 minutes prep time

Maple-Balsamic Glazed Onions

8 to 12 small onions

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Peel the onions, but leave them whole. Put them in a pot, where they cover the bottom in a single layer, but fit reasonably snugly. Cover them with water, add a pinch of salt, and bring them to a boil. Boil gently but steadily for 15 to 20 minutes, until they are tender enough to be easily pierced with a fork.

Drain the onions well, but leave them in their pot. Add the butter, maple syrup and vinegar, and return them to the stove. Cook them over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring very gently but frequently to constantly towards the end, until the syrup thickens and coats them. Watch them carefully; they will do nothing much for the first 5 minutes, then they will achieve sticky perfection, and 10 seconds after that they will be irremedially burnt. As soon as they are ready, turn them into their serving dish.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Kinda, Sorta, Mapo Tofu

Since I was thinking of things to do with tofu, it occurred to me that I haven't had a good Mapo Tofu in years. I have to say, I still haven't had one. This was very tasty, but extremely not authentic. It was, however, what those of us out in the sticks are reduced to. Real Mapo Tofu requires doubanjiang, a fermented paste of fava beans and chiles. We actually drove down to Barrie (with a list of other chores too!) to look for this stuff, but the store I had located on-line had inconveniently neglected to mention that it had gone out of business, so I was out of luck.

I did have miso, and since that's at least fermented, I combined it with my chile-garlic sauce and hoped for the best. Also, I used white peppercorns since I had no Szechuan peppercorns. Apparently Bulk Barn does carry Szechuan peppercorns, but whether you can find it in stores outside of the large cities I don't know. Probably not.

I used half a package of ground turkey - and all packages these days seem to be about 1 pound, take it or leave it, and it seemed to be a bit too much meat. I recommend using more like a quarter of a package.

4 servings
1 hour prep time

Mapo Tofu

Prepare the Tofu:
400 - 450 grams (13 to 16 ounces)  firm tofu
4 cups boiling water

Rinse the tofu and cut it into fairly small bite-sized dice. Put it in a bowl and cover it with the boiling water. Set it aside as you prepare the other ingredients. 

Make the Sauce:
1 to 2 tablespoons dark miso
1 tablespoon vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns (or white peppercorns)
about 1 tablespoon chile-garlic sauce
1 teaspoon Sucanat or dark brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon 5-spice powder

Thin the miso with the vinegar in a small mixing bowl, then grind the Szechuan or white peppercorns. Mix the pepper, plus all the remaining ingredients into the miso and vinegar.

Finish the Dish:
4 to 6 cloves of garlic (1 head)
a 4" piece of ginger
3 to 4 green onions
OR 2 large shallots
2 tablespoons mild vegetable oil
100 to 250 grams ground lean beef, pork or turkey
2 teaspoons arrowroot or cornstarch
2 cups water or broth

Peel and mince the garlic. Peel and mince the ginger. Trim the green onions, and finely chop the white and green parts, keeping them separate, or if they are not in season, peel and mince the shallots.

Heat the oil in a large skillet. When hot, add the ginger and white onion parts, or shallots. Cook, stirring for a couple of minutes until softened. Add the garlic, and continue cooking for another minute or so. Crumble in the ground meat, and mix it in well, cooking and stirring until it shows no signs of rawness.

Drain the tofu well, and mix it into the skillet. Add the sauce ingredients and mix in well. Dissolve the arrowroot or cornstarch in about 1/4 cup of the water, and set it aside. Add the remaining water to the skillet, and mix well, making sure nothing is sticking to the pan. Once everything is well-amalgamated and simmering along nicely, quickly mix in the starch and water, and continue cooking and stirring until the sauce has thickened and cleared, just a minute or two more. It should be fairly soupy. Garnish with the green onion tops, if you have them, and serve with steamed rice.

Last year at this time I made Turkish Lentil Soup with Mint

Thursday, 27 March 2014

First Gardening Post of the Season - What Season?

Springtime in Canada! Ain't it grand? Can't say I'm impressed so far...

That photo was taken on Tuesday, March 26th. Compare it to photos taken about the 16th of March in 2012. Just a little different!

We do have a little gardening going on outside though. It's in our old ice-cream freezer that we are using as a little greenhouse. In spite of overnight temperatures as low as -20°C since we have planted it, some seedlings are sprouting. These are bok choy, mostly. We also planted some miner's lettuce and mache, but no signs of those so far. I hope they are okay - the freezer can get up to +20°C, easily, on a nice sunny day even if it's pretty chilly out - those are some wild temperature swings.

Inside, we have been proceeding as if summer is eventually going to come, lack of evidence notwithstanding.  (And I said summer, not spring - you know how it's going to be in a year like this one: -5°C one day, 25°C within a week and never looks back. Ugh!) Anyway, we've started celery, celeriac, onions, leeks, sweet potatoes, and potatoes.

Yes, that's right! Potatoes! I've been threatening to try to grow potatoes from seed for as long as we've had potatoes that produce fruits. It will probably be next year before we know if any of them are all that interesting, assuming any of them live that long. There's many a slip, etc, and we've never grown potato seedlings before. So far they look very healthy and there's lots of them. One in particular is very large, but it looks oddly un-potato like. I don't see how anything else could have gotten into the seeds though. Nothing to do but wait and see what happens.

In the meantime, I hear it's supposed to get above freezing today. Go, spring, go! Or is that, come on, spring, come!

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Curried Split Peas with Cabbage

This was a plain and simple meal (2 of them, actually) but it really hit the spot. I used Jamaican curry to season it as the cabbage and peas have a sweetness to them that I thought Jamaican curry would really complement. I still did need to add just a little Sucanat to smooth the rough edges.

In spite of the simplicity it did take some time to make. I was feeling fairly leisurely, and didn't go at it hammer-and-tongs, but still, there's a lot of chopping here. On the other hand, it keeps well in the fridge and leftovers reheat nicely.

4 to 6 servings
1 1/2 hours - 1 hour prep time NOT including cooking the peas

Cook the Peas:
2 cups yellow split peas
4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt

Put the peas, water and salt in a rice cooker, and cook. Or, put them in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until tender. Watch the water level and add more if needed.

This can be done the day ahead.

Make the Curry:
4 to 6 cups finely chopped green cabbage
3 medium onions
6 to 8 cloves (1 head) garlic
3 tablespoons finely minced peeled fresh ginger
2 tablespoons mild vegetable oil
2 tablespoons Jamaican curry powder (or other of your choice)
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
5 to 6 cups chicken stock or vegetable broth
1-2 teaspoons Sucanat or dark brown sugar

Trim and chop the cabbage. Peel and chop the onions. Peel and mince the garlic. Peel and mince the ginger.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until softened and slightly browned. Add the garlic, ginger, curry powder and cayenne. Mix in well and cook for another minute or so, stirring constantly, until the seasonings are all moistened and well amalgamated.

Put in about a cup of the broth, then mix in the cabbage. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the broth is mostly absorbed. Mix in the cooked (and drained if necessary) peas. Add another 4 cups of broth, and mix well. Simmer the curry for 30 minutes, until the cabbage is very tender and the peas are falling apart. Add a little more water if it seems to be getting too thick, and stir it regularly to avoid scorching on the bottom.

 Serve with steamed rice or buttered toast.

Last year at this time I made Carrots with Yogurt & Garlic.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Mock "Chicken" Stock - Vegetarian, Vegan Broth

Many years ago, when soup stocks didn't come in cartons, and vegetarian soup stocks didn't come at all, I needed to create a broth to use for soups for my vegetarian friends. Cookbooks at the time advised saving all your vegetable peelings, and cooking them in water for hours, just like soup bones.

It took me several attempts to figure out why these always tasted of nothing but overcooked vegetables.


Yeah, I know. But they said you could, in actual printed cookbooks!

Anyway, I still needed a vegetarian soup stock, so I put on my thinking cap, and over the years this is where I have arrived, so far as mock chicken stock anyway. You know how I'm always going on about saving your shiitake mushroom stems? Yep, this is where they go.

I hope it's clear from my ingredient list that you need one celery type thing, one carrot type thing, and one parsnip or parsley type thing; it's just that the exact form can depend on the season and what you have on hand. Peelings and trimmings are thriftier, but sometimes you just need to make soup so whole veggies it has to be.

Even if you are not a vegetarian, this is a handy broth to be able to make because it is so much quicker than real chicken broth. Note that it should NOT be simmered for hours - 30 minute is about the maximum, and 20 minutes may be better depending on how hard it is simmering. But you don't want to take it into that overcooked vegetable territory, so taste it occasionally after the 15 minute mark.

I have not tried it but I don't see why this wouldn't freeze well.

The only drawback it has is that it does tend to separate, so you may wish to thicken it with a little starch, which should slow down the precipitation process. I tend to use it in recipes rather than straight up, which makes that less of a problem. I would have said this is not quite as good as real chicken stock, and if we are talking chicken stock you make yourself I'd still say that's the case. However, I would not hesitate to back it against some of the so-called chicken stocks that come out of cartons.

Make about 4 cups (1 quart; 1 litre)
30 to 40 minutes prep time

the ingredients in the pot

The ingredients in the pot, ready to start cooking, above; and the finished stock, below, ready to be used to make soup or whereever chicken stock is called for.

the finished broth

1 cup diced celeriac
OR 1 large stalk of celery, OR equivalent trimmings;
1 medium carrot OR the peelings from 3 carrots;
1 small parsnip OR parsley root, OR the peelings from 2 parsnips
OR a small handful of fresh parsley
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon dried chives (optional)
2 tablespoons good tasting yeast
1/2 cup dried shiitake mushroom stems
4 cups of water
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt

If using entire pieces of vegetable, wash them very well, trim them as needed, and cut them into large bite-sized chunks.

Put all the ingredients in a large pot, and  bring them to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to a simmer and simmer, covered, for 20 to 30 minutes - no longer. Strain well and add the salt while it is still warm. Start with 1/2 teaspoon and taste it. Add more if needed, but consider what else you are adding to the soup. Also, you can top it up with water to make 4 cups if some has boiled off, but it cooks quickly and covered so it shouldn't lose too much.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Parsnips with Prunes & Lemon

This was a simple but very effective way to serve parsnips!

I dried the prunes myself in the summer, which is the only way you will get local ones, I'm afraid. Consequently, they were quite firm - not to say hard - and I soaked them in boiling water before I added them to the parsnips, along with the tiny amount of liquid still on them. I also used half the amount of butter I am calling for. It was adequate, I suppose, but I had to watch the parsnips very carefully to keep them from scorching. Better to use a bit more butter if you can.

Be sure to keep the heat at medium when you cook the parsnips, both with the water and after, to make sure they are cooked through by the time they are well browned. 

4 servings
20 minutes prep time

Parsnips with Prunes & Lemon

450 grams (1 pound) parsnips
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup quartered prunes
the juice of 1/2 lemon
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Peel and trim the parsnips, and cut them into bite-sized slivers. Heat the butter in a medium-sized skillet, and when it sizzles add the parsnips and the water - pour the water in slowly and carefully so it doesn't spatter all over. Cook the parsnips over medium heat, turning occasionally, for the 5 minutes or so that it takes for the water to evaporate.

Once the water evaporates, continue cooking the parsnips for another 5 or 10 minutes, turning them occasionally so that they are evenly browned. When they are nicely browned and tender, add the prunes and the lemon juice. Sprinkle with a little salt and a grind of black pepper. Continue to cook and turn the parsnips until the lemon juice has been absorbed - just a minute or two more - then turn them into a serving dish.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Black Bean & Sweet Potato Chili

When I did a cupboard inventory and realized we still have lots of dried black beans and sweet potatoes, I recalled that they are a popular combination for vegetarian south-western/Mexican style dishes; chili seemed to be the simplest of these so off I went with it.

I quite liked it, but it turns out that Mr. Ferdzy is firmly of the opinion that sweet potatoes don't belong in chili. Oh well; you live and learn. If you are little more flexible in your views on chili and like the combination of the sweet and the spicy, I think you will find this is well worth making. I used our Cherokee Trail of Tears black beans, but your standard Turtle bean will be just fine.

6 to 8 servings
2 1/2 to 3 hours - 45 minutes prep time
NOT including cooking the beans

Black Bean & Sweet Potato Chili

Advance Cooking:
2 cups dry black beans
900 grams (2 pounds) sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon mild vegetable oil

Rinse and pick over the beans, and put them in a large pot with plenty of water to cover them. Bring them to a boil, then cover them and turn off the heat. Let them soak for several hours. Repeat this process 3 or 4 more times until the beans are tender. This can be done a day or two in advance, and should yield about 6 cups of cooked beans.

When you are ready to proceed, wash and trim the sweet potatoes, and cut them into bite-sized pieces. Put them with the oil into a large shallow baking dish, toss them to coat, and bake them at 400°F for an hour to an hour and a quarter. This should be FINISHED at least an hour and a half before you plan to serve the chili.

Mix the Spices:
2 teaspoons cumin seed
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
4 tablespoons chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon rubbed oregano

Grind the cumin seed, grate the orange (or use a slightly more generous quantity of dried zest) and mix all the seasonings together. This can be done while the sweet potatoes bake.

Finish the Chili:
2-3 medium onions (2 cups chopped)
1 head of garlic
1 green or red pepper (optional)

4 cups crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons mild vegetable oil

Peel and chop the onions. Peel and mince the garlic. Trim, de-seed, and chop the pepper, if using.

Drain the beans, saving some of the cooking water. Put them back in the very large pot with the tomatoes, and bring them to a simmer.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions (and peppers if using), and cook them for 4 or 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions  are translucent and slightly browned. Add the garlic and the spice mixture, and mix in well; continue cooking and stirring for another 2 or 3 minutes until the spices are well amalgamated. Tip this mixture into the pot of beans and tomatoes, along with the roasted sweet potatoes. Stir well but gently; try not to break up the sweet potatoes too much. Simmer for 30 to 45 minutes, adding a little of the bean cooking water if it gets too thick. Leftovers reheat well.

Last year at this time I made Carrot, Parsley & Quinoa Salad with Sunflower Seeds, and Custard Pie.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Poached Chicken with Dried Tomatoes & Shiitake Mushrooms

I was a little surprised to realise I have never posted this recipe. It was a staple for us at one point, being very quick and easy to make; a good after-work dinner. It turns out if you replace most of the butter in the mashed potatoes with buttermilk, so it works pretty well on the low-fat diet too.

Dried Ontario shiitakes are available from time to time, if you know the right spot to buy them and the moon is in the right quarter. You are far more likely to find them fresh. They seem pretty expensive, compared to regular mushrooms, but they provide a lot of bulk to the pound. I also cruise the marked-down produce table at our local grocery for them, and pounce on any I find there. They are very firm, almost dry, and meaty in texture, and hold up better than produce managers give them credit for. But, shhh! Don't tell them I said so! If there are more on sale than I can use at once, I de-stem them, and dry them myself - they dry pretty quickly, and I would think you could dry them in any warm, not too humid room just by leaving them out on a rack for a few days. The stems do have to be eventually discarded, being too tough to eat, but I dry them and save them for soup making, where they are very useful.

I'm calling for chicken stock, but I have to admit that most of the time I just use water. It's fine. Between the tomatoes and the mushrooms, the sauce ends up full of flavour anyway. You could serve this with polenta, it occurs to me, but mashed potatoes are what I always make. Prepare them and start them boiling just before you start collecting the ingredients together for the chicken, and they should reach the finish line at about the same time.

4 servings
30 minutes - 10 minutes prep time

500 grams (1 generous pound) boneless chicken thighs
OR other skinless, boneless chicken pieces
1 cup fresh shiitake mushroom caps, diced
and 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
OR 1/2 cup dry shiitake mushrooms, broken up
1/2 cup chopped sundried tomatoes
2 cups chicken stock or water
3 tablespoons tamari
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup chicken stock or water
2 tablespoons arrowroot or cornstarch

Skin the chicken thighs and remove all the fat from them, assuming they have been bought with the skin. Cut them in half. You can use instead skinless, boneless chicken breast pieces, cut into pieces of similar size, or a combination of the two.

If you are using fresh shiitakes, remove and discard* the stems. Cut them into rough dice, then heat the butter in a stove-top casserole or heavy-bottomed pot. Add the shiitakes, and cook until softened and slightly browned, stirring regularly. Otherwise, the broken-up driied shiitake (sorry, can't help meself) should just be put in the pot with everything else.

And, once the fresh shiitake are ready - or not, if you are using the dry ones - put all the remaining ingredients except the last 1/2 cup of chicken stock or water and the arrowroot or cornstarch into the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for about 15 to 20 minutes until the chicken is done and the vegetables quite tender.

Mix the cornstarch with the 1/2 cup of cold broth or water and stir it into the pot. Simmer, stirring well to blend, until the broth thickens - just a minute or two. Serve over mashed potatoes.

*And by discard, I mean put them in a single layer on a dish in the windowsill for a week or so, until thoroughly dry, then keep them closed up in a jar to use as a flavouring agent in making soup stock. 

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Beet, Bean, Apple & Belgian Endive Salad

I am sure we are all anxiously looking for every sign of spring we can find right now, and unfortunately they are not yet as thick on the ground - what ground? - as one might like. But here's one - it's my first bean salad of the season. Still pretty wintery with the beets, Belgian endive, and apples, but it still strikes the right note between hearty and refreshing.

Very easy to make, but you do need to cook the beets and beans ahead of time. If you wish to use canned beans, you should probably omit the salt, or at least taste the salad before adding any.

And hey! I am almost certain I saw a vulture yesterday morning, although I suppose it could have been a crow that was way closer than I thought. I don't think so though. It disappeared too quickly for me to get a good look, unfortunately. 

4 to 6 servings
20 minutes prep time, not including cooking the beets and beans

Beet, Bean, Apple & Endive Salad

Advance Preparation:
6 to 8 medium beets
1 cup dry white beans

Put the beets in a fairly large pot with water to cover them generously, and boil them for 45 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure the water does not drop below the tops of the beets. Let cool.

Put the beans in another pot, and cover them generously with water. Bring them to a boil, then turn off the heat and leave them covered for several hours. Repeat this 2 or 3 more times, until the beans are cooked.

The beets and beans can - and should - be cooked at least a day before you plan to make the salad. 

Make the Dressing:
1/3 cup mayonnaise (light is fine)
the juice of 1 medium lemon
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Whisk the lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper into the mayonnaise.

Finish the Salad:
2 cups peeled diced cooked beets
2 cups cooked white beans
2 cups chopped Belgian endive (2 medium)
2 medium apples, cored and diced

With a little bit of luck, your cooked beets and beans yield the above quantities; otherwise adjust the other ingredients accordingly. If you don't have quite 2 cups of endive from 2 medium heads, throw in a small stalk of celery to make it up. (You can throw one in anyway, if you like).

Mix the beets, beans, endive and apples in a bowl, and toss with the dressing.

Last year at this time I made Cabbage with Feta Cheese Rice Casserole.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Scrambled Tofu

It's interesting how being on a low-fat diet has upended my usual eating habits in unexpected ways. The biggest problem I am having is not in avoiding fat, but in avoiding eating too many carbs and then getting the jitters. I find I need to eat a lot more protein to avoid that. I can - and do - eat lots of skinless, boneless chicken breast (ho-hum) and fish, but I am also trying to work some more vegetable protein sources into the diet. Plain beans don't do it. I've been making quite a lot of turkey chili, with lots of beans, and that's okay, but beans on their own seem to be too carby. Or something; I don't know. Fortunately, tofu looks like it will work as a protein source that prevents those dreaded jitters. 

This is one of the standards of North American vegetarian cooking. I first ran across it in a little cafe in Toronto when I was a student, and I have happy memories of sitting on their back deck with a book and a plate of scrambled tofu.

A judicious application of ketchup will help to encourage the resemblance to eggs. I served some sautéed vegetables on the side, but there is no reason not to mix in whatever you like in the way of vegetables. Actually, I should give scrambled tofu a try in Eggs with Tomatoes, Chinese Style; I think that would work quite well.

4 servings
30 minutes prep time

Scrambled Tofu

1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons dried chives (or fresh, if you can get 'em!)
1/8 teaspoon celery seed, ground
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 or 2 medium shallots
1 clove of garlic
400 - 450 grams (14 - 16 ounces) silken or medium-firm tofu
1 tablespoon mild vegetable oil

Mix the nutritional yeast, turmeric, salt, chives, ground celery seed, and pepper in a small bowl and set aside until needed.

Peel and mince the shallot and garlic.

Rinse the tofu gently, then place it whole in a medium skillet with water to cover the bottom of the skillet by about 1/4". Cook over medium-high heat, with a lid on, for about 10 minutes. Turn the tofu over after 5 minutes. If it looks like the water will all evaporate before the 10 minutes are up, add a little more.

When the tofu has basically steamed for 10 minutes, drain off any remaining water - leave the stove on as you do this, since the skillet will be returned to the heat as soon as you are done.

Add the oil to the skillet, and gently turn the tofu onto it, so as to spread the oil over the bottom of the pan. Return the skillet to the stove. Use a potato masher to mash the tofu coarsely. Add the minced shallot and mix it in well.

Sprinkle about half of the seasoning mixture into the tofu. When it is well blended, sprinkle the remaining seasoning mixture into the tofu. Continue cooking and stirring, for about 6 or 7 minutes, until everything is well amalgamated. Mix in the garlic and cook for a minute or two more, continuing to turn the mixture occasionally.

Last year at this time I made Peanut Brittle Sweet Potatoes

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Apple Tapioca Pudding

A very simple little dessert or breakfast dish today; it's really just thickened applesauce.  The honey and apple cider make it fairly sweet and rich though, so apply it judiciously. I ate mine with unsweetened yogurt, which I thought balanced it out very well.

4 to 6 servings
20 minutes prep time, plus cooling time

Apple Tapioca Pudding

1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup minute tapioca
2 cups apple cider
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 large apples
the juice of 1/2 lemon (optional)

Put the honey, tapioca, apple cider, salt, and cinnamon in a large pot. Peel the apples, quarter them and core them, and slice them into the pot.

Bring the mixture to a boil, then simmer, stirring frequently, until the mixture is thickened and the tapioca is clear. Stir in the lemon juice if you would like it.

Cool and refrigerate until wanted; serve with cream, yogurt or oatmeal if desired. Or even  ice-cream, I suppose.

Last year at this time I made 5-Spice Pork Chops.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Sweet Potatoes with Oranges & Ginger

Here is a nice simple dish that combines sweet potatoes with ginger and the oranges that are in season right now. I used blood oranges, but any good eating orange will do. Yes, our sweet potatoes are very skinny - they taste just fine though. 

4 servings
1 hour 30 minutes - 20 minutes prep time

Sweet Potatoes with Oranges & Ginger

900 grams (2 pounds) sweet potatoes
mild vegetable oil
2 oranges
the finely grated zest of  1/2 orange
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Wash and trim the sweet potatoes, and cut them into large bite-sized pieces. Rub them with a little oil, and put them in a snug roasting pan but one in which they are pretty much in a single layer. Bake for 1 hour, stirring once in the middle of the cooking time.

Meanwhile, juice one of the oranges. Grate the zest from 1/3 of the other, and add it to the juice. Peel the orange, and chop and separate the segments. Peel and grate the ginger, and add it to the orange juice.

Mix the chopped orange pieces, orange juice with its additions, salt, and pepper into the sweet potatoes. Dot with the butter. Return them to the oven for another 20 minutes, stirring once in the middle of the cooking time, until the orange juice and butter are mostly absorbed.

Last year at this time I made Curried Mushroom Salad and Lemon Fluff, which combined two of my favourite things - lemons and fluff.