Monday, November 23, 2009

Oven Yam Fries

I've made these yam fries several times this fall. They are wonderful with almost everything - chicken, fish, even hot dogs! And they are very easy to make. Mix a little minced chipotle pepper with some mayonnaise and/or sour cream and you've got a dip with a bit of fire that complements the sweetness of the yams perfectly.

Oven Yam Fries

Yams - however many you think you'll eat - for the two of us I do two medium-sized yams, or one humongous one
olive oil

Peel the yams. If you rinse them after peeling, dry them off well. Cut them into sticks about 1/2 inch square. Place them on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle them liberally with olive oil. I would say I use about 2 Tablespoons for a panfull. With your hands, toss the yam sticks and the oil together until well coated. Don't be stingy with the oil. Salt them to taste.

Bake at 450 degrees for about 15 minutes, then remove from oven and turn with a metal lifter. This is when you will know if you used enough oil or not. They shouldn't stick to the pan. Return to the oven for 15 minutes more, or until tender and beginning to caramelize around the edges.

Serve hot.
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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Thyme Creamed Tomatoes

Oh, these were good. Definitely a keeper recipe. We are still using tomatoes from our summer garden. I've had a huge platter on my kitchen countertop since August. Today I put the remainders in a small bowl. Sigh. I do love homegrown tomatoes.

Back to this dish. It's creamy, sweet, savory and rich but not cloying. I served it with a roasted chicken, lemon spinach couscous and steamed broccoli. Ashley said it was like eating candy. There wasn't a scrap left at the end of the meal.

I found the recipe in French Taste, a cookbook by Laura Calder, one of Canada's Food Television stars. The book is from the library, but it might have to go onto my Christmas list because there are so many recipes I want to try.

Thyme Creamed Tomatoes

2 Tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped (optional)
4 medium tomatoes, halved horizontally (I had smaller ones and just cut up enough of them to fill my pan)
a generous handful of chopped fresh thyme
salt and pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream (I used less, probably 1/4 cup)

Melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium high heat. Saute the onion, if using. Add the tomatoes, cut side down. Poke them a few times with a knife to prevent the skins from bursting. Cook 10 minutes. Flip, scatter with the thyme and cook 5-10 minutes more on the other side, until soft. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over the cream, and reduce to a thick sauce around the tomatoes, about 5 minutes. It will brown a bit and swirl together with the tomato juice. Serve.

I cooked mine longer and at a medium to low temperature. The onions caramelized, the cream turned a lovely shade of brown, and the tomatoes slumped in the creamy bath. Definitely delicious!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Bavarian Apple Tart

This is one of my favorite desserts. It's easy to make and tastes like it came from a bake shop. I tinkered with the original recipe yesterday and here's what I came up with. It's creamy, sweet, tart, crunchy and buttery all at once. I like it plain, but some I know, prefer it with a little whipped cream or a small scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Bavarian Apple Tart

1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour

Place all ingredients into food processor and pulse until crumbs start to cling together. Press into a 9 inch tart shell with a removable bottom. (Or use a 9 inch springform pan.)

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Combine all filling ingredients in food processor and process until smooth and creamy. Pour into lined tart pan.

Apple Layer:
Apples, peeled, cored and cut into thick slices - you will need enough to lay in a single layer on the filling. I would guess 3-4 medium sized apples
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons butter

Melt the butter in a 10 inch skillet over medium heat. Add the apples and toss gently to coat with the butter. Let cook 3-4 minutes or until just beginning to soften. Add sugar and stir gently, being careful not to break the apples. Cook for another 5 minutes or so. Apples should be just starting to soften - you don't want them to break apart.
With a thin spatula or a fork, gently arrange the apples in a single layer over the cream cheese mixture around the outside of the tart. Fill in the center with another circle of apples.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes. Then add the following topping and continue baking for another 10-15 minutes or until the apples are tender and the filling set. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store leftovers (if any) in the fridge.

1/2 - 1 cup chopped almonds
2 Tablespoons melted butter
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon