Alison's Lunch

Meredith’s orange lunch

soy-glazed yams or sweet potatoes

This recipe is another winner based on one from Deborah Madison’s Local Flavors, but I’m using the cold-oven-start method from the Cooks Illustrated recipe for roasted yams or sweet potatoes.

3 large yams or sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon roasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons mirin (Japanese rice wine)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons soy sauce
¼ cup water
for garnish: 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted in a skillet until golden brown (optional, but nice)

1. Scrub the yams/sweet potatoes and cut them lengthwise into quarters. Place them in a greased baking sheet or baking dish large enough to hold them in a single layer.
2. Combine the rest of the ingredients except the sesame seeds. Brush all of the resulting sauce over the yams/sweet potatoes, then cover the dish tightly with foil. Place in a COLD oven, and turn the oven to 400 degrees.
3. Bake until nearly tender; this will probably take at least an hour. Remove the foil, baste the yams/sweet potatoes with their juices, and return to the oven until the liquid has reduced to a glaze and the potatoes are fully tender, 15 to 2o minutes longer. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.

carrot & mint salad with currants

This recipe looks so pretty, and tastes AMAZING, even though it’s very simple. Just go ahead and make a double batch—it keeps fine in the fridge for a couple of days. You might be making this every week, just wait and see. This isn’t one of those recipes that you can skip the mint, though. It’s definitely mandatory. The recipe is based on one from Peter Berley’s Fresh Food Fast.

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1-2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives (or scallion greens)
coarse sea salt or kosher salt
1 pound carrots, peeled (if the peels are tough) and grated
¼ cup dried currants

1. Steam the currants over boiling water for 5 minutes.
2. In a salad bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, oil, mint, chives, and ½ teaspoon of salt. Add the carrots and currants and toss well.
3. Add more salt to taste. If the carrots weren’t very sweet to begin with, feel free to add a drizzle of maple syrup, honey, or sugar to bring the carrot flavors up and make the mint sparkle.