Arsip Tag: yams

first spinach with white yams – smitten kitchen

I was really eager to get into greens because, lordy, I love (well, most) greens when they’re done right — creamed spinach, heck even creamed chard, gratins and pasta dishes. Basically, “done right” in my book equals “coated with sauce and/or cheese but probably both”, which is exactly why I was pretty stumped as to how I was going to make spinach — straight pureed spinach, I mean doesn’t that sound terrible? — appealing, and not a drab, pesto-ish mush. Wow, I’m really whipping out all of the sexy food words today, aren’t I?

cooked spinach

It didn’t help that I’d been strict about only introducing one new food at at time (so we could easily trace any food issues back to what was new) and at that point, we’d only introduced the “orange” vegetables, carrots and yams. This left little in the way of ingredients that would make straight spinach an easier sell. Fortunately, just as I was wringing my hands about this, spinach came into season in New York and I bought some from the Greenmarket.

[I’ve got no qualms about using good frozen spinach down the road, especially when we’re making real dishes with it and bigger volumes of them, but when you’re trying to sell a kid on unseasoned purees, I figured it helped to start with the most ideal specimen.]

a white yam

It was at the market that I also spied a white yam and really, there’s no reason to go out an hunt down one of these, but I grabbed it purely for aesthetics. I knew the baby already loved yams (seriously, what baby does not?) but was shuddering imagining how orange yams pureed with spinach would look. Against a white yam, however, it was actually silky and a gorgeous green, but tasted familiar and a little sweet. Most importantly, it worked. I was shocked, but there he was, slurping down mushy spinach purée like it was the best thing since frozen peaches. I know I’m horribly biased, but man, this kid is awesome.

behold the blazing green cubes

P.S. Thank you for your sweet, sweet encouragement after the last post. Unfortunately, while I’m past the doubt, time constraints are making it hard to keep this site up to date. I’ll get through the backlog though — mangoes! spices! chicken! — just one recipe at a time.

First Spinach with White Yams

1/2 pound fresh spinach, stemmed and washed but no need to dry it
A half-pound yam, white if you can find it, peeled and cut into a 1/2 to 3/4-inch dice
1 1/2 cups water or sodium-free vegetable stock

In a large pot, bring the yams to boil about 1 1/2 cups of water or stock. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the yams for about 10 minutes. Add the spinach and cook it until both the yams and spinach are very tender. Let the mixture cool and purée it in a food processor or blender.

This made about 3 to 4 cups of purée. You can read more over here about how I process and store baby food.

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moroccan-ish carrots and yams – smitten kitchen

Friends, I didn’t mean to abandon you. But since I suspect you are here because you also have a little rugrat underfoot, I probably don’t need to tell you that the only thing — seriously, only — thing I have done since we last spoke nearly two months is blink. Maybe twice. The baby, however, started crawling, then pulling himself up, then cruising, then climbing, then he started chewing on carpets and shoes and taking rooms apart and then he stopped sleeping because why would you sleep if you could be awake at 4 a.m. (for the day) and practicing your standing? And yelling? Oof. Like I said, I only just blinked.


But sure enough, the tot is 11 months old and we’ve got a lot of catching up to do. I’ve missed sharing some purees. There was a strawberry-apple-rhubarb sauce (2 apples, 1 pound strawberries and a 1/2 pound rhubarb cooked with 2/3 cup water the usual way), there was a sort of soupy blend of parsnips, leeks and carrots (a pound of each; the leeks were slowly caramelized in olive oil, then everything was simmered with 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth, then pureed) and there were these tiny carrots I found at the farmers market early this summer that seemed destined for our tiniest eater. Carrots show up so often in Moroccan cooking, a place where the spices are mellow and occasionally almost sweet, and I imagined that a baby would delight in a smidge of cumin, coriander, cinnamon and lemon in his sweet vegetables. And he did, for a bit. But then I blinked again and we’d moved onto finger foods. I’ll tell you about that next time.

sweet potato

Confession: I’m pretty sure I have a photo of the finished puree but cannot tell you which of the photos of orange mush I’ve taken for this blog it is. But you get the idea, right? Orange mush. Yum.

Moroccanish Carrots and Yams

Want to bulk this up a little? Add chickpeas. I honestly only didn’t because I’d run out.

3/4 pound yam, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch cubes
1 pound carrots, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon coriander
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Few scrapings of lemon zest
3/4 cup water or vegetable broth

Bring everything to a boil together, then reduce to a simmer and cook with a lid on for about 30 to 35 minutes, until the ingredients are easily mashed with the back of a fork. Puree to your desired texture. Adjust seasonings to taste.

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roasted yams and chickpeas with yogurt – smitten kitchen

If one was ever to question their lifetime of unwavering devotion to New York City, February would the month to do it. It’s cold and has been for some time. It’s cold and will be for some time. And somewhere out in California, a “friend” — but really, are they if they torture you so? — is welcoming their first strawberries. You get strawberries in New York, too, but for about 5 minutes every June and they cost about as much per square foot as real estate in a neighborhood with multiple pour-over coffee outlets.

what you'll need
wedges with honey and two peppers

So, yes, February is the month. But this February? I never thought it would be the one. This is, by every measurement known, the mildest winter we’ve ever had, and the shortest too. I am, by almost every measurement I can invent, the most loyal and content New Yorker you’ll meet (but not the shortest, although close). But every night for the last week, I’ve pestered my husband with talk of Los Angeles, a mythical place where it’s warm and sunny all year round, where the tacos are unparalleled, where the avocados are exceptional, where you apparently don’t need to be a millionaire to have a home with more than two bedrooms. This is probably what happens to even the most stalwart New Yorker after too long without a vacation.

seasoning the chickpeas

Fortunately, for times of great flux and inner turmoil, there are always cookbooks offering an escape. Like many a shivering East Coasters, I’ve been gazing lovingly over the Gjelina restaurant cookbook this week, an understandable side-effect of cookbooks photographed by Michael Graydon and Nikole Herriott. That cover! Maybe I don’t even want to move to LA, I want to move into that cover, a tucked-in nest of fiery squash, protecting you from the slab concrete.

roasted yam wedges

We should talk about the cooking too, and while it occasionally feels the tiniest bit formulaic, when that formula happens to be stunning gently charred vegetables, fish and meat, dabbed with something acidic (a yogurt sauce, bagna cauda, salsa verde and all of the other sauces I write across my heart), something rich (avocado, cheese, a bit of fruit), something fresh (herbs or another shaved vegetable) and something crunchy (seeds, nuts, crushed croutons, crispy onions, hiii ily), it is clearly in the service of greatness. I feel a responsibility to warn the home cook that sub-recipes abound (ocean trout rillettes has four; there are three within the rye rags with sausage, mushrooms and fennel that I’m going to make anyway because you read that title, didn’t you?) but there’s so much else in here for us — an enviable pizza section, a chickpea stew with tomato and turmeric I would swan dive into if I could — it would be a disservice to us to let this keep us away. The 30-deep vegetable section alone is worth the cover price; there isn’t a thing in there I don’t want to eat for the rest of my life.

roasted yams and chickpeas with yogurt

Because I’m back in the kind of place where I roast sweet potatoes all of the time for children tiny and mid-sized, I was drawn to the yams first. They’re roasted in long wedges with a bit of honey, olive oil and a tremendous amount of pepper flakes (adjust to taste, of course) until singed and steak-like then drizzled with a sharp lime yogurt and thinly sliced scallions. For my purposes, I felt like I needed to add one more thing to make this more of a dinner centerpiece and that thing was chickpeas, roasted until crisp with smoked paprika and salt. My husband and I will unapologetically admit that we usually only eat sweet potatoes begrudgingly; they’re fine, but we mostly keep them around for the kids. Not this time. We didn’t even offer to share, just decimated the dish after they went to bed; my sole regret is having not doubled it so I’d have more left for today’s lunch.

roasted yams and chickpeas with yogurt

One year ago: The ‘I Want Chocolate Cake’ Cake
Two years ago: Morning Bread Pudding with Salted Caramel
Three years ago: French Onion Tart
Four years ago: Fried Egg Sandwich with Bacon and Blue Cheese
Five years ago: Piña Colada Cake
Six years ago: Thick Chewy Granola Bars
Seven years ago: Hot Fudge Sauce and Red Kidney Bean Curry
Eight years ago: Escarole and Orzo Soup with Meatballs
Nine years ago: Baked Tomato Sauce

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Crispy Peach Cobbler
1.5 Years Ago: Strawberries and Cream with Graham Crumbles
2.5 Years Ago: Key Lime Pie Popsicles and Butterscotch Pudding Popsicles
3.5 Years Ago: Leek Chard and Corn Flatbread
4.5 Years Ago:  Zucchini Fritters

Roasted Yams and Chickpeas with Yogurt
Adapted from Gjelina

You’re going to end up with more yogurt and more chickpeas than you probably need — or fewer potatoes. It’s all a matter of perspective, really.

Serves 2, hungrily, 4, humbly

3 large yams or orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, cut into 4 lengthwise wedges, or 8, if your yams are very thick
1 to 2 tablespoons honey (I used 1; 2 are called for)
1 tablespoon crushed red-pepper flakes (Espelette are called for; I used mild Aleppo)
1 3/4 cups (1 15-ounce can) chickpeas, drained and patted dry on towels
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup Greek-style plain yogurt
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice, from approximately 2 limes
2 scallions, both green and white parts, trimmed and thinly sliced, for garnish

Heat oven to 425 degrees F.

Line two baking sheets with foil, for minimal mess. Coat one, the one you’ll use for the yams, with 1 tablespoon olive oil.

Toss yams with honey, 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 tablespoon of pepper flakes. Let sit in bowl for 5 to 10 minutes. Toss chickpeas with 1 tablespoon olive oil, smoked paprika and salt, to taste.

Spread yams out on olive oil-ed baking sheet in one layer. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes, until nicely toasted underneath. Flip/move wedges around and roast for 5 to 10 more minutes, until soft and singed. For extra color, run them under the broiler for a final minute.

Meanwhile, spread chickpeas on second uncoated baking sheet. Roast in oven for 20 minutes, rolling around once or twice so that they cook evenly, until lightly browned and crispy on the outside. Set aside.

Whisk yogurt, remaining tablespoon olive oil and lime juice together in a small dish, then season with salt and pepper to taste.

Arrange yams on plate or platter, drizzle some of the yogurt over, then about half the chickpeas. Garnish with scallions and remaining pepper flakes, plus flaky sea salt, if you have any. Keep extra chickpeas and yogurt on the side. Dig in.

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