Mum and I went for a walk in the woods last week in the fresh snow. A friend had cleared a new path this past summer that borders the unfriendly edges of our property and we wanted to explore the old ruins found there. When I say unfriendly, I’m alluding to the gun toting, 4 wheeling neighbors who once threatened my mum when she approached their home to get directions. How charming.
I can see that my New Year’s resolution of being less sarcastic will be a challenge. (Happy 2013, by the way!)
Some expert of some relevant subject came to see these ruins and speculated that they might have been built and used by the Mohicans as a trading post long ago. The ruins consisted of a large stone marker and 3-walled structure of some sort, where people would meet and/or leave goods for each other. It’s pretty cool to find this sort of thing in ones own (extended) backyard. It can be easy to forget the possibilities of the past in just about any place (except for maybe Surtsey Island), and especially in an area as quiet (quiet for me, anyway) as the Berkshires. It is unknown whether or not these are actually Mohican ruins, but it is nice to think of that possibility. I like feeling the rich history of a place, whether it’s geological or human. Time has spread its wings over everything.
One of the most satisfying winter comfort foods are sweet potatoes. Warm, earthy, orange and versatile. They add flavour and heart to any meal.
Though many cooks like to take the natural sweetness found in sweet potatoes to an even sweeter level (sweet potato pie, candied yams, sweet potato pancakes, etc) I prefer to balance the sweetness by adding salty and savory ingredients. A quick look at my brand new Flavor Bible by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg lists a few great ideas, like: garlic, duck, dill, cilantro, cumin, prosciutto, sage, Dijon, chives and more. Mmm.
If you’re not that comfortable working and experimenting with new sweet potato recipes, try these fries as a way to practice. You are guaranteed delicious results.
Cumin Rosemary and Garlic Sweet Potato Fries
- 3 medium-large sweet potatoes
- 3 crushed and minced cloves of garlic
- 1 ½-2 tbsp of cumin powder
- 2 tsp of fresh or dried rosemary leaves
- 1 tsp salt and pepper
- 1 tsp sesame oil (optional)
- Cooking oil
Preheat oven to 400ºF/200ºC/Gas mark 6.
Peel your sweet potatoes (or leave the skin on and just cut off the ugly bits like I do- when they are roasted the skin becomes soft and yummy. It is matter of taste. Just make sure you wash them well). Using a large knife, cut the sweet spuds into ½ inch slices. Then cut them into long fries.
Place them into a large bowl with all the other ingredients and mix until the oil and spices are evenly coating the fries.
Place the fries onto (a) baking sheet(s). Be sure to give them plenty of space. If they are too crowded, they won’t roast as well and will take much longer. Also, be sure to add any oil and spices at the bottom of the mixing bowl for extra flavour.
Place in oven and roast for about 45 minutes. Check them every 10-15 minutes to stir and turn them. This will prevent burning on one side and ensure even cooking.
Remove from heat when nicely browned and your kitchen is filled a warm, hearty smell.
Eat when hot.