Friday, December 27, 2013

Smashed Potatoes

Last Year's Post:  Shrimp, Grapefruit and Avocado Salad
Two Years Ago:   Tiny Pizzas (Finger Food)

Looking for a new and different appetizer for your next party?  Or maybe you're tired of the same old baked potatoes, mashed potatoes and french fries as a side dish.  The recipe will fit the bill either way.  Tiny potatoes are cooked twice - first boiled to make them tender, then smashed and roasted with olive oil.  The result is an irresistible treat that's crispy on the outside and moist and tender on the inside.  Serve it with your favorite dip and watch people dive in.

The technique is really easy and fun.  First you boil the potatoes, then take them out and put them on some towels.  You use another towel as cover to gently flatten them.  The first time I made this recipe I was pretty doubtful about the "gently flatten" part - I figured they'd turn into mush.  But they don't - they just kind of split and flatten.  The lawyer was so interested after watching me do a few, that he had to try it himself.

At this point you let the potatoes cool completely - you can even cover and refrigerate them so all you have to do later is roast them with olive oil until they're brown and crispy.  You could easily add some garlic or herbs while they roast to vary the taste.

They're excellent served up with flavored sour cream, cheese sauce,  chipotle sauce, chile sauce - whatever you like.  If you're having a party, I'd make a big batch and serve them with several sauces so people can try them all.

printable recipe
Smashed Potatoes
Serves 4-6 as a side dish or appetizer

12 to 15 baby red or yellow potatoes (1 ½ - 2 “ in diameter)
2 ¾ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
½ cup olive oil

Put the potatoes in a large saucepan (preferably in one layer) and cover with at least an inch of water.  Add 2 teaspoons of kosher salt to the water.  Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer, and cook until the potatoes are completely tender and can easily be pierced with a skewer, 30-35 minutes.

While the potatoes are cooking, set up a double layer of clean dishtowels on the countertop.  When the potatoes are done, remove them individually from the water (don’t dump) and let them sit on the towels for a minute or two.

Fold another dishtowel into quarters, and using it as a cover, gently press down on one potato to flatten it to about ½” thick.  Repeat with the remaining potatoes.  Don’t worry some break apart a little; you can still use them.

Cover a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil; put a sheet of parchment on top of the foil.  Transfer the flattened potatoes carefully to the baking sheet and let them cool completely at room temperature.

Note:  the potatoes may be covered loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerated at this point to be roasted later.

Heat the oven to 450d.  Sprinkle the potatoes with the remaining ¾ teaspoon salt and pour the olive oil over them.  Lift the potatoes gently with a spatula to make sure some of the oil goes underneath and that they’re well coated.  Roast until crisp and deep browned on the edges, turning once halfway through, about 30-40 minutes. 

Serve hot.

Friday, December 20, 2013


Last Year's Post: Chorizo and Mushroom Fideua
Two Years Ago:   Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

I think most cooks have a specific dish they've tried to make several times with limited success.  Spanakopita fits in that category for me.  A famous Greek dish including spinach, feta, onions and phyllo dough, I've often had it in Greek restaurants but was disappointed in the first few recipes I tried at home - too much spinach, not enough phyllo, too bland.  I was recently inspired to try again but this time I did some research and found two promising recipes.

I've seen spanakopita prepared in big pans and cut into squares, and I've seen it prepared as smaller appetizers wrapped individually like little flags, but the first recipe I found had a larger individual version that is suited for an entree.  I liked the idea of fully wrapping the filling - even though it's more work - because I like the ratio of phyllo to spinach.

The second recipe was just a basic appetizer spanakopita, but one of the reviewers left some great comments.  She's Greek and has made and eaten a lot of spanakopita.  Her tips were:
1.  Use frozen spinach and make sure you wring out all the moisture you possibly can (described below)
2.  Use the best-quality feta you can find (not the little pre-crumbled tubs)
3.  Use freshly grated nutmeg
4.  Add lemon juice to the filling to brighten it
5.  Don't fear the phyllo - with a little melted butter, all is forgiven

Armed with her suggestions, I made a few adaptations to the first recipe and went to work. I'm happy to report that this is the best spanakopita I've ever had, hands down.  The tips made all the difference.

First the spinach - I've found the best way to squeeze moisture out of spinach is to place it in a clean kitchen towel (don't worry, it'll wash clean later) and squeeze it over the sink.  Soggy spanakopita is not good.

Next the feta - this suggestion was a revelation to me, since I've been buying the little pre-crumbled tubs of feta found in every grocery store.  I bought a very nice French feta I found instead.

I think using a great feta was one of keys to success for this recipe - compared to what I had been buying, it had a delicate flavor and less salt.  Look for a firm block of feta because you'll be cutting it into little cubes for distinct little pops of flavor as opposed to having it crumble down to nothing in the finished dish.

About nutmeg - fresh nutmeg truly is much better than store-bought ground nutmeg.  You can either buy a cool little nutmeg grater like this one which stores the whole nutmeg right inside when not in use, or you can use any fine-hole microplane grater you have.

The other tip I would add is that it's important to serve the spanakopita fairly soon after you bake it so the phyllo is nice and crisp.  You could refrigerate baked leftovers for lunch the next day but they won't be the same.  Instead, I freeze the unbaked spanakopitas, then thaw them for 6-8 hours or overnight, and bake as usual.  I've seen recipes that say you can bake the frozen spanakopitas straight from the freezer, and yes you can, but the issue then becomes uneven browning of the phyllo.  The edges become very brown before the center is browned because it's sitting over frozen filling for half of the baking time.  I've tried it both ways and am much happier with the results if the filling is at least partially thawed.

Finally, the folding technique, which is part of the fun.  Basically you're going to layer phyllo sheets with melted  butter and a little sprinkle of dried bread crumbs, then cut the stacks into two long strips.  The filling goes on the lower left corner.  You start by folding the phyllo up and over the filling diagonally, then keep folding it like a flag until it's fully enclosed.  Don't worry if some of your phyllo sheets rip, there are millions in the package and as the lady said, a little butter fixes things.

You could easily double this recipe and freeze the remainder for future meals, as mentioned.  We served the spanakopita with tabbouleh, which I previously posted here, and it was a heavenly match.

printable recipe
Makes 6 entrée-sized strudels

2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup chopped yellow onion
2 green onions, white and green parts chopped
1 (10 oz) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
Juice of ½ lemon
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 ½ tablespoons freshly grated parmesan
Plain dry bread crumbs
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup small-diced firm feta cheese (6 ounces)
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
12 sheets of phyllo dough, thawed
½ stick of unsalted butter, melted
Coarse sea salt and coarse pepper for garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375d.

Place the thawed spinach in a clean kitchen towel and wring out as much liquid as possible over the sink.  If the spinach seems somewhat stringy, chop more finely on a cutting board.  Place in a medium bowl.

Heat the olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium-low heat.  Add the yellow onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the green onions and cook for an additional minute, then add the contents of the pan to the bowl with the spinach.  Mix in the lemon juice, eggs, parmesan, 1 tablespoon of dry bread crumbs, the nutmeg, and pepper.  Gently fold in the feta and pine nuts.

To assemble, begin by gently unrolling the phyllo and placing a clean damp kitchen towel on the top to prevent drying out.  Prepare the melted butter and have a brush at hand.  Lift the towel and gently remove one sheet of phyllo, then replace the towel on the stack.  Place the phyllo on the work surface and lightly brush with melted butter, then sprinkle very lightly with bread crumbs so the layers don’t stick together.  Repeat the process with three more sheets of phyllo dough, melted butter and bread crumbs, leaving the bread crumbs off the top layer, for a total of four layers.  Cut the sheets of phyllo in half the long way and make sure the short sides are facing you (the stacks are side by side).

Place 1/3 cup of filling on the lower left corner of one stack.  Fold the left corner of the phyllo up and diagonally to the right, meeting the edge of the stack.  Continue folding the package up and diagonally over as if folding a flag until you reach the end of the sheet and the filling is completely enclosed.  Place on a baking sheet and brush with melted butter.  Repeat the process for 5 additional strudels – you’ll need to make and cut two more phyllo stacks – until all the filling is used.  Lightly sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper, if desired. 

(At this point the spanakopitas may be frozen in a zip-top bag.  Thaw before baking.)

Bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes, until brown and crisp.  Serve hot.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Brie & Pomegranate Toasts

Last Year's Post: Cheese Fondue
Two Years Ago:  Cuban Paella

As you know if you follow this blog, I recently discovered an easy way to remove pomegranate seeds (also called arils) from the fruit by cutting the pomegranate open and whacking it (cut side down) with a wooden spoon while holding it over a bowl.  I was so happy about it that I immediately wanted to use pomegranate seeds in everything.  I decided to create an appetizer that's a little special and festive enough for the holiday season but also very simple - just baguette, brie cheese, pomegranate seeds, and a balsamic vinegar reduction.

It's so easy I can't really even call it a recipe - you just simmer down a good quality balsamic vinegar, toast some baguette slices, and melt some Brie on top of the toasts.  Drizzle with a little balsamic reduction and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and you're done!  It would make a beautiful appetizer for a holiday get-together or cocktail party.  Add a little green color to your serving platter by using parsley or even a few tiny spruce tips to make it look really special.

As you can see. my small baguette made 12 toasts.  It's easy to make more but I would suggest using two small baguettes rather than one large one for ease of holding and eating the toasts.  If you can only find a large baguette, you might want to cut each toast in half.

If you missed the link to a YouTube video showing how to remove the pomegranate seeds the first time I posted it, you can find it here.  The guy does like to hear himself talk, but it's worth it to watch the technique.

If you have leftover balsamic reduction, don't throw it away, it's like liquid gold - use it drizzled over tomatoes, roast chicken, shards of parmesan cheese, or salads.  Just keep it covered in the refrigerator - if it thickens too much, gently re-warm on the stove or in the microwave.  It's delicious!

printable recipe
Brie & Pomegranate Toasts
Makes 12 toasts

Note:  the amount of Brie needed will vary with the size of your baguette.

1 cup good-quality balsamic vinegar
1 small baguette
¾ lb Brie cheese
Seeds of ½ pomegranate
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
Additional parsley for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400d.

Bring the balsamic vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for approximately 10 minutes until reduced by one third, watching closely and stirring frequently so the vinegar doesn't burn.  Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, place the Brie cheese in the freezer for 10 minutes to make slicing easier.  Slice the baguette into thin slices on the diagonal and place on a baking sheet.  Bake for 3-4 minutes until lightly toasted, remove from the oven.

Remove the Brie from the freezer; remove the rind and cut cheese into thin slices.  Place the cheese slices on the toasts and put back in the oven for a minute or two until the Brie starts to melt.  Remove the toasts from the oven, drizzle with balsamic reduction, sprinkle with chopped parsley and pomegranate seeds, and place on a platter with additional parsley for garnish.

Serve warm.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Sausage and Cheddar Breakfast Strata

Last Year's Post: Greek Phyllo Wraps with Tzatziki
Two Years Ago:  Roasted Tomato Tart with Goat Cheese and Black Olives

Will you have a group of people at your house for breakfast or brunch over the holidays?  Or maybe you're planning to host a New Year's Day brunch.  Either way, a strata is the perfect answer.  A strata consists of milk and eggs beaten together and poured over bread cubes, meat, vegetables and cheese, then baked into a savory casserole.  It's perfect for company because it makes a lot of servings and you can assemble it the night before so all you have to do the next morning is pop it in the oven while you set the table and assemble some fruit, coffee and juices.

This recipe as written will serve 6-8 people depending on how many other foods are on the table, and it can be easily doubled if you're having a big crowd.  It's equally good for a light dinner with a green salad, and leftovers reheat beautifully.

I found this recipe ages ago and make it regularly, varying the ingredients according to what's on hand or in season.  You can make it very healthy by using low-fat milk, wheat bread, and turkey sausage.  The spicy sausage is particularly good because everything else in the recipe is mild, but if you're serving a large group and some people really don't like spicy food, use mild sausage in the strata (or 50/50 spicy and mild) and then serve hot sauce on the side so people can spice it up to their taste.  Of course, you could always use pork sausage, you could vary the type of cheese and veggies to suit your taste, and you could use sourdough or Italian bread in place of wheat.  

If you can't find bulk sausage, buy Italian sausage in links (not breakfast sausages in those tiny links) and take the sausage out of the casings.  The sausage, onions and peppers are cooked and then layered over bread cubes.  The milk/egg custard is poured on top and the cheese goes on last.  Put the dish in the refrigerator overnight and then simply bake it the next morning.

What could be easier?  Serve the strata with with a pretty basket of scones or croissants, a big bowl of mixed fruit, a selection of juices and good coffee and you're set.

printable recipe
Sausage and Cheddar Breakfast Strata
Serves 6-8

1 package (1 lb) bulk spicy turkey breakfast or Italian sausage
1 cup chopped onion
½ green bell pepper, chopped
½ red bell pepper, chopped
6 slices wheat bread (4 cups cubed)
6 eggs
1 1/4 cups milk
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper

Crumble the sausage into a non-stick 12” skillet and begin to cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently.  Add the onion and red and green peppers and continue to cook, stirring, until the sausage is fully cooked.  If the pan contains grease, pour the mixture into a colander and drain well.  Set aside.

Slice the bread into 1” cubes.  Coat a 2-inch deep 8” by 11” (or 9" by 9") casserole dish with non-stick spray on the bottom and sides.  Put the bread cubes in the dish.  Sprinkle the reserved sausage mixture evenly over the bread.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper until well combined. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the sausage and use a fork to press the sausage and bread into the milk mixture until all the bread is moist.  Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top.  Cover with plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375d.  Bake, uncovered, for 55 to 60 minutes until light brown and puffy and the eggs have cooked through.  If the top begins to brown too quickly, cover with foil for the remainder of cooking time.  Let the dish stand for 10 minutes prior to cutting and serving.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Last Year's Post: Famous Rum Cake
Two Years Ago:  Wild Rice Salad

Those of you who follow this blog will know that this post is a rather dramatic departure from my normal posts of whole grains, fruit and veggies.  I can probably count on the fingers of one hand how many desserts I've ever posted, much less candy and cookies.  So what gives?   Well, the holidays are coming, and for some inexplicable reason that I've never been able to figure out that means you have to make lots of cookies.  I saw this idea (it's too simple to call it an actual recipe) the other day and was intrigued.  We've all seen cookies with a Hershey's kiss pressed into the top.  What makes this slightly different is that you bake the cookies in mini-muffin tins and press the candy into the top when they're still soft, so the cookie ends up wrapped around the candy.  Sort of a little mini candy tart.  Anyway, I thought it was a cute idea that was worth passing along.

The very simplest approach is to use refrigerated cookie dough, although you could also make your own.  Besides the cookie dough all you need are miniature peanut butter cups and a mini-muffin pan.

You can use any flavor of cookie dough that you want.  I found refrigerated chocolate chip, sugar, and peanut butter cookie dough in my local store.  The chocolate chip and sugar came in long tubes (also called chubs) and the peanut butter came in a flat package with pre-cut dough pieces.  I chose peanut butter because The Lawyer loves both peanut butter cookies and Reese's peanut butter cups.  All you do is cut each dough piece in half, stick them in the muffin tins, and bake until puffed (only about half the time stated on the original cookie package).

My only trauma came when I realized I had 5 minutes left before the cookies came out, which were supposed to be immediately topped with the candies.  Do you know that miniature peanut butter cups have not one, but two wrappings?  How fast can you unwrap 24 of them?  I can tell you from experience that it takes longer than you would think.  If you've ever seen the classic "I Love Lucy" episode where she's trying to wrap candies coming down an ever-faster conveyor belt you'll have a rough idea of what was going on, except I was unwrapping instead.  Those wrappers were flying everywhere.

The cookies are puffed but still quite soft.  Pushing a candy into the center of each one sort of de-puffs it.

The candies melt a little and adhere to the cookies.  At this point, the cookies were still very soft so I decided to put the whole pan in the refrigerator to let them set before trying to take them out of the pan.  I'm not sure that was the greatest idea, because the cookies sort of glued themselves into the cups - I think my non-stick spray probably lost something when refrigerated.  I resorted to using a small sharp knife that I ran carefully around the edge of each cookie to pop them out.  It worked quite well but next time I'll probably just let them cool on the counter rather than refrigerating them.

They're cute little tarts of chocolatey-peanut butter deliciousness.  And of course, you could use a different flavor of cookie dough and a different miniature candy - have fun and make your own signature combination.  This would be a great activity to do with children also.

printable recipe
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
Makes 24 cookies
Note:  the cookies can be made with any refrigerated cookie dough or homemade cookie dough.  Also, other types of miniature candy may be used.
1 (14 oz) package Pillsbury Simply Peanut Butter cookie dough
1 bag Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Miniatures

Special equipment:  mini-muffin tin pan
 Preheat the oven to 350d.

If using the Pillsbury dough, cut each dough round in half.  If using a tube of refrigerated dough, cut into 1-1.5” slices and cut each slice into quarters.  If using homemade dough, cut into pieces that are approximately ½ ounce of dough for each cookie.

Grease the mini-muffin tin pan and place a piece of dough in each.  Bake in the oven for about 8 minutes, until the cookies are puffed to the rim of the pan.  (Note that this is much less time than listed on the cookie package.) While the cookies bake, unwrap as many candies as you need to fit your muffin pan, one per cookie.

After the cookies are removed from the oven, immediately place one candy on top of each and gently press into the cookie with your finger until the top of the candy is level with the top of the cookie.  The candies will melt slightly.

Let cool in the pan, then carefully remove with a small spoon or by running a small sharp knife around the edges to pop the cookies out.


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Turkey & Pomegranate Salad

Last Year's Post: Brandied Cranberries
Two Years Ago:  Essential Foodie Gifts Under $20

You'll probably have some leftover turkey in the very near future, so I wanted to publish a recipe for a healthy, beautiful and delicious salad to help you get back on track after the Thanksgiving Day.  This recipe is a variation on the wild rice salad I published a few years ago, with less wild rice and more greens plus the addition of pomegranate seeds.

In the pantheon of beautiful fruits, pomegranates are arguably the rock star.  Their beautiful color on the outside is exceeded only by the beautiful little jewel-like seeds, which have incredible health benefits and a great tangy-sweet flavor.

So why don't we eat them more often?  Speaking at least for myself, I've always been intimidated by how to get the seeds out.  Since pomegranates are in season and they feel very festive at the holidays I decided to man up and figure it out.  There are a bunch of videos online (just Google "how to seed a pomegranate") such as an underwater seeding technique or the far more interesting and dramatic whack the heck out of it technique.  For the second video you have to be patient because the guy likes to hear himself talk, but it's worth it.  He's so enthusiastic about whacking the pomegranate with a wooden spoon that I was laughing by the end.  I had to try it even though the underwater technique certainly seemed safer and less likely to result in an injury to one or more fingers.  What's life without a little excitement?  (OK, true confession, I actually recruited The Lawyer for this little experiment.)

You score the pomegranate with a knife, pry it apart, stretch each half a little, then turn it over on your hand and whack it with a wooden spoon all over until all the seeds fall out.  And you know what?  It actually worked!  You've gotta try it out for yourself.  We'll definitely be eating more pomegranates now that we've found this tip.

What I like about this salad is the balance of flavors and textures - slightly bitter greens, creamy feta, chewy wild rice, crunchy nuts, sweet-tart pomegranate seeds, and delicious roast turkey.  You could substitute kale for the spinach or arugula, and could substitute a different type of nut or meat to suit your preference - I think chicken, duck, pork and even leftover roast beef would work just as well.  You could also use goat cheese or blue cheese in place of the feta if you like.  The salad dressing also adds a bright note with fresh orange juice and rind that pair perfectly with the pomegranate seeds.

If you cook the wild rice in advance, the salad comes together in about 20 minutes including the pomegranate whacking.  And how entertaining will it be to recruit your holiday house guests to do the whacking?!  Think of it as having your very own little reality food TV show.  Starring your relatives.  That alone should be worth it.

printable recipe
Turkey & Pomegranate Salad
Serves 4

For the salad:
¾ cup uncooked wild rice
2 cups water or low-sodium chicken broth
4 cups loosely packed spinach, arugula or kale, chopped
The seeds of one pomegranate
1 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
1 cup good-quality feta, coarsely crumbled
2 cup shredded cooked turkey

For the vinaigrette:
¼ cup white wine vinegar
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons fresh grated orange rind
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
¼ teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Rinse and drain the wild rice.  Bring water or chicken broth to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Add the wild rice; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 45 minutes.  Check to determine if grains are swollen and most are split.  If not, check again every 10 minutes until done (typically 55-60 minutes).  Remove from heat, drain, and set aside to cool.  (May be made a day or two in advance.  Keep covered and refrigerated.)

To prepare the vinaigrette, combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine, or shake in a jar.  Set aside.

To prepare the salad, decoratively arrange the wild rice, spinach, pomegranate seeds, walnuts, feta and turkey on plates and drizzle with vinaigrette.  Alternately, all ingredients may be tossed with the vinaigrette in a large bowl and then plated.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Grilled Sweet Potatoes

Last Year's Post:  Turkey and Gruyere French Dip
Two Years Ago:   Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

Do you ever have the feeling that the cosmos is trying to tell you something?  Last Wednesday my friend Robin sent me a recipe for Grilled Sweet Potatoes and raved about the taste.  Then on Thursday I found this little tidbit in the newspaper: 

"The National Turkey Federation estimates that 46 million turkeys will be served on Thanksgiving, but what’s surprising is that more than half — 53 percent — will be cooked outdoors on grills, barbecues or smokers, according to a survey by the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association. In addition, one in five hosts intend to cook their vegetables outdoors, and more than one in 10 will prepare their appetizers in the open air. Wishful research? Perhaps, given the association’s vested interest. But snow no longer warrants shutting down home grills." (The italics are mine.)

Finally on Friday I read another article that said people are looking for new twists on traditional side dishes for Thanksgiving.  OK, I get it!  No more hints are needed.  I therefore immediately headed into the kitchen and then to the grill, so I could pacify the cosmos by posting this recipe as a new grilled twist on Thanksgiving sweet potatoes.

I should mention that sweet potatoes, for me, are one of those foods that were ruined in childhood by their preparation method.  (Peaches and wax beans are two other foods I remember with particular horror - I can't eat either to this day.)  In the case of sweet potatoes, they were baked into mush, then mixed up with about a ton of brown sugar and topped with mini-marshmallows.  The whole thing reminded me of overly sweet baby food with gooey white lumps.  Luckily, that particular memory faded with time and distance so I was willing to try sweet potatoes (sans sugar in any form) a few years ago and to my surprise, I really like them when prepared in a savory way.  Score one for conquering our childhood phobias!

I particularly like this recipe because it's fresher and lighter than your typical Thanksgiving sweet potato concoction, and it can be served either warm or at room temperature.  My friend Jon in Phoenix just got a brand new smoker and is planning to smoke his Thanksgiving turkey - I think this would be the perfect side dish.  It would also pair beautifully with pork, duck or chicken in addition to turkey.  You could alter the dish by adding other vegetables or nuts or using different herbs - add cilantro for a southwest twist, add walnuts and tarragon for a french feel, or add a sprinkling of zatar seasoning for a middle eastern variation. During the summer, mix in a little barbecue seasoning and this would be a great side for grilled ribs.  But I tend to like simpler recipes for Thanksgiving side dishes - there are so many different competing flavors already on the plate that making complex side dishes seems like overkill.

Finally, I should also mention that sweet potatoes are a very healthy food - low in sodium, and very low in saturated fat and cholesterol. The heart-healthy olive oil in this recipe actually helps the absorption of the vitamins. Sweet potatoes a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin B6 and potassium, and a very good source of vitamin A, vitamin C and manganese.  That's more than you can say about most Thanksgiving dishes!   I hope you enjoy it - and thank you, Robin!

printable recipe
Grilled Sweet Potatoes
Serves 6

Note:  for a southwest version, add 1 teaspoon ground cumin and use cilantro as the herb.

2 ½ pounds sweet potatoes
¼ cup olive oil
1 ½ teaspoons salt
2 green onions, cut into small pieces at a diagonal
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Lime wedges
¼ cup fresh herbs of choice – cilantro or thyme are good
In a large saucepan cover potatoes with salted cold water by 1 inch and bring to a simmer.  Cover and simmer for approximately 15 minutes (depending on the size of the potatoes) or until a thin skewer may be inserted but the potatoes are not yet tender.  Drain the potatoes in a colander and rinse under cold water to cool.  When cool enough to handle, peel potatoes using a peeler or sharp knife and cut crosswise into ½” thick slices.

In a small bowl whisk together oil, salt, and cumin (if using) and brush some onto both sides of potato slices, reserving the remaining oil.

Prepare a grill for medium heat.  Grill potatoes on an oiled rack until golden and grill-marked, about 90 seconds per side.  Transfer to a bowl.  Whisk lime juice into remaining oil with salt and pepper to taste and drizzle over potatoes; toss gently.  Transfer to a platter or shallow bowl and sprinkle with green onions and fresh herbs.