crispy spring garlic + yam salad

sometimes ideas of recipes come to me.  other times i need to search high and low for inspiration.  i really don’t like making something just to make it.  i prefer to be inspired by an ingredient, or an idea.  usually these ideas get stuck in my head until i figure them out. having gluten and dairy intolerances can get in the way of making an ordinary recipe, but that is part of the fun.  i love finding interesting recipes, making substitutions, and producing something that is within the confines of what my body can tolerate.  i really take joy in finding ways of making food tasty and yummy and the best i can possibly make it.   having this blog has let me be creative in so many ways that i wouldn’t have been in my non-blog life.  big thanks to supportive people out there.

i’ve been making a lot of recipes lately revolving around ingredients that i see at the farmer’s markets.  i never saw myself as someone who cooks only with what is in season.  however, i’m finding that one ingredient can inspire an entire dish if you you let it.  the ingredient of choice this time around was spring garlic.  i thought they were so beautiful, and i immediately had recipes running through my head.  the spring garlic has a similar taste and smell to garlic cloves, but the texture is more onion-like.  i’ve sautéed them, roasted them, and eaten them raw (i encourage only people who really love garlic to do this), all yielding awesome results.

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crispy spring garlic + yam salad

inspired by Adina Niemerow – Food & Wine, March 2012

serves 2

1 large white yam or sweet potato, cut into 2-by-1/3- inch sticks

1 1/2 cups miner’s lettuce (you can substitute mung sprouts, or adzuki sprouts,or any other seasonal sprout)

2 cups packed lettuce greens

1 small cucumber, cut into 1/2 inch dice

6 stalks spring garlic, bulbs finely sliced, greens discarded (scallions will work too)

1 ripe avocado, sliced

1 tablespoon sunflower seeds, toasted

1 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted

3 tablespoons olive oil

large grain sea salt

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// dressing

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons low sodium tamari

1/2 teaspoon honey

2 tablespoons olive oil

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// directions

pre heat oven to 375°

line a baking sheet with parchment paper

in a bowl, toss the potato sticks with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil (use more if needed), and a couple pinches of large grain salt.  turn out onto baking sheet and bake for 30-35 minutes, until crisp and lightly browned – flip them over every 10-15 minutes. remove and let cool

while the potatoes are baking, heat a skillet on medium.  coat pan with olive oil.  add sliced garlic, and sauté until crispy – about 8 minutes. remove from heat and drain the garlic on a paper towel to remove excess oil

in a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, balsamic, tamari, and honey with the olive oil

in a large bowl, combine the lettuces, cucumbers, crispy garlic, baked yams, and sliced avocado with the dressing.  sprinkle with seed mixture, serve and enjoy

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garlicky accordion potatoes

i’m pretty sure i’ve eaten potatoes every which way.  that is until the accordion potato, or as some people refer to it: hasselback potatoes. accordion potatoes are a swedish tradition dating back to the 18th century.  i never knew about them until i saw a picture of them on instagram.  since that day i have been obsessed with getting them perfect – tender and mushy on the inside, and crispy and crunchy on the outside.  it took many attempts and caused quite a bit of frustration…first, i tried covering them with foil for the first 40 minutes, then uncovering them and bumping up the heat for the last 20 minutes.  the second time i tried keeping them uncovered at a steady temperature for a little under an hour – this yielded dry and unevenly cooked potatoes, yuck.  the third time i kept them uncovered, at a steady temp, and i checked on them every 20 minutes to turn them and coat them with olive oil – this yielded some pretty amazing accordions!

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the thing i didn’t think about was the fact that these are essentially a baked potato, but by cutting the slits in them you’re exposing them to air (duh), and therefore they are much more prone to drying out during the baking process.  so, the trick is to coat them with a generous slather of olive oil before baking, and to continually re-coat them with olive oil while they are baking. i chose to stuff these little guys with thinly sliced garlic.  similarly, you can stuff them with shallots, onions, or herbs.  the only piece of advise i have is to slice the stuffings thin enough so that they fit in the potato slices.  in this recipe i use white yams, they tend to take longer to cook so i chose  to slice them in 1/8″ slices – if you’re using a regular potato i would probably use 1/4″ slices.

*non-vegans, you can totally use melted butter in conjunction with the olive oil.  just melt a tablespoon or 2 (depending on how many potatoes you are using) in a microwave safe bowl, and slather all over the potatoes.

thank you, frank for taking these lovely photos.  couldn’t have done it without you

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bake time: 60 minutes

pre heat oven to 400°

prepare a baking dish with a thin layer of olive oil

// ingredients

3 medium sized yams

3 large cloves of garlic

1/4 cup olive oil (decrease amount of oil if using butter as well)

sea salt

garlic

// directions

prepare a small bowl with a 1/4 cup of olive oil

scrub potatoes clean

while the potatoes are drying, thinly slice the garlic (i used 3 cloves because i love garlic, if you’re not such a lover reduce the amount)

slice the potatoes 3/4 of the way down being careful not to slice them all the way through. repeat with the other potatoes

take your garlic slices; one at a time insert them into the potato slices (like i mentioned, i love garlic so i put a slice in each potato slit. likewise, you can do every other slit or every third slit)

using a pastry brush, brush the potatoes with the olive oil making sure to get in between each potato slit – repeat with remaining potatoes. use the leftover oil and drizzle it around the bottom of the baking dish (this will be used when you re-coat the potatoes as they are baking)

season with salt place in the middle of your oven – set a timer for 20 minutes. after 20 minutes take the potatoes out. using your pastry brush re-coat the potatoes with the oil at the bottom of the baking dish, trying to get in between each slit.  place back in oven and set timer for another 20 minutes – repeat when buzzer goes off.  set for an additional 20 minutes – when the buzzer goes off your potatoes should be cooked through.  if you like a crisp skin, keep them in the oven and turn the heat up to 500° or broil, for 5 minutes to get them really crispy.  serve, and enjoy

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