Roasted Sweet Potatoes And Figs

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and FigsThe number on producer of sweet potatoes in the United States alone, is the state of North Carolina, planting and harvesting more than 40% of the national supply.

3 popular sweet potato varieties sold at market

Image Credit: Saveur Magazine

The website for the sweet potato industry, North Carolina Sweet Potatoes say that the list of sweet potato varieties changes rapidly and new varieties are released almost annually.

The most popular varieties sold at your local market are, Covington Sweet Potato, O’Henry Sweet Potato, and the Japanese Sweet Potato.

The popular food magazine, also found on line, Saveur says that shopping for sweet potatoes, particularly during the Thanksgiving holiday (USA), you can came across a surprising range of varieties, 16 to be exact.

They go on to say that a consumer can find both heirlooms and new hybrids alike, all which are being grown in the United States.

Our feature recipe – Roasted Sweet Potatoes And Figs – uses three different types of sweet potatoes, which are the speckled purple sweet potato, which is named because of their flecked magenta flesh.

An heirloom variety with pale orange skin and flesh, and not to forget the Hannahs varity which has tan skin and an off-white interior. When roasted the flesh takes on a yellow cast, a lightly sweet flavor, and a dry texture.

Here is what you will need to prepare – Roasted Sweet Potatoes And Figs in your own kitchen.

2 1/4 pounds sweet potatoes, different colors

5 tablespoons olive oil

Himalayan salt and fresh black pepper to taste

6 dried figs

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

2 peeled coins fresh ginger

2 1/2 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons dark balsamic vinegar

12 scallions or green onions (white and green parts), cut into 1 1/2 inch segments

1 red chili,halved, seeded, thinly sliced

My mother had two fig trees in her garden, both a black and green variety. Fresh figs can be very fragile, and need to be eaten within a day or two of harvesting. We used dried figs in our recipe because they are just as versatile as fresh figs when re-hydrated.

Read more here about the Benefits Of Figs Help Fight Against Common Ailments.

Recipes directions:

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Scrub potatoes and slice each one into wedges.

roasted sweet potatoesToss wedges with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, s teaspoons of Himalayan salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Spread on a baking sheet. Sprinkle and roast until soft, about 25 minutes.

rehydrating fdried figs with lemon zest, juice, sugar and fresh gingerMeanwhile, place the dried figs in a medium saucepan with lemon zest, juice, ginger, and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Cover with fresh water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil and simmer until figs return to plump fig pose.

dried figs rehydratedScoop figs from saucepan with a slotted spoon and drain on some paper towels. Let dry, and quarter the figs, cutting away the stems.

In a small saucepan, stir together the balsamic vinegar, and remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 4 minutes.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Figs - close upArrange roasted sweet potatoes on a serving platter. Pour remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a sauce pan and heat. place in onions, and chili. Fry for about 4 to 5 minutes, stirring often. Spoon the oil, onions, and chili over the sweet potatoes.

Nestle the figs among the wedges and drizzle with the balsamic reduction. Suggested to serve at room temperature.

Ginger and Lemon Juice WaterMaybe you are wondering what to do with the water solution that was used to dehydrate the figs? Put it into your Nutri-Bullet or blender, and blend for about 30 to 40 seconds and drink down a nutritious anti-inflammatory drink.

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Roasted Butternut Squash with Apples Cranberries and Candied Walnuts

Roasted Butternut Squash with Apples Cranberries and Candied Walnuts in a serving bowl Here is a great dish that we believe you don’t have to wait until the Autumn months to enjoy. Cranberries are harvested September thru November, and are found fresh in the stores in the months of November and December. Cranberries are always associated with Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.

Cranberries freeze well for up to one year, so why not buy yourself a few extra bags to enjoy them other parts of the year.

Did you know that in January the packaged cranberries that have not sold are reduced in price, which has been from 98 cents to around $1.25 around the past few years. The bags that do not sell, the markets store away in their freezers until next year.

Continued Downfall of the Bee Only Intensifies MalnutritionCranberries are another food crop that depend on bees for pollination. The fruit is a berry, and it is larger than the leaves of the plant.

Once the berry starts to form, it is initially white, turning a deep red when fully ripe. The berry has an acidic taste that can overwhelm its sweetness.

—Read More About Our Declining Pollinator Population: Continued Downfall of the Bee Only Intensifies Malnutrition —

Cranberries are related to bilberries, blueberries, and huckleberries.

Cranberry Field harvestA common misconception about cranberry production is that the beds remain flooded throughout the year, but rather the beds are irrigated regularly to maintain soil moisture during the growing season.

Beds are flooded in the autumn to facilitate harvest and again during the winter to protect against low temperatures.

Our feature recipe is an example of how you can enjoy those cranberries throughout the year, and here is what you will need to enjoy the flavors of – Roasted Butternut Squash with Apples Cranberries and Candied Walnuts.

1 large butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes

2 large cooking apples, peeled, seeded and diced into 1/2-inch cubes

3/4 cup fresh or frozen cranberries

1/2 cup brown sugar, can use coconut sugar

1/4 cup butter, melted

1 tablespoon gluten-free flour

1 teaspoon Himalayan salt

1 teaspoon 5-star Chinese spice

1/2 cup candied walnut pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

three images of diced fruitsIn a large bowl mix in prepared fruits (yes butternut squash is actually a fruit). Next mix in spice mix and butter, mix in until well coated.

sweet spice mix for Roasted Butternut Squash with Apples Cranberries and Candied WalnutsIn a small bowl, mix together the flour, brown sugar, salt, and spice.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Apples Cranberries and Candied Walnuts ready to roastSpoon coated fruit mix into a 13 X 9 inch baking glass pan.

Roast 50-60 minutes for a tender dish, and for or a lighter crunchy bit, roast for 30 minutes. Test the squash to feel its crunchiness by forking the squash and eating it, and if the squash has a slight firm texture but not mushy, then it’s done roasting.candied walnutsWe found these candied walnuts in the Whole Foods Market. The are walnut halves, which we broke up into pieces.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Apples Cranberries and Candied Walnuts in a serving bowlSpoon the roasted fruit into a serving bowl and top with candied walnuts. Before serving, mix walnuts in. You also have the option to serve the side dish with the walnuts on the side, allowing your family and guests to spoon on the walnuts if they wish.

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Asparagus with Garlic and Smoked Bacon

Asparagus with Garlic and Smoked BaconAsparagus is packed with antioxidants, and ranks among the top vegetables for its ability to neutralize cell-damaging free radicals.

Vector of Nutrition facts asparagus

                                Click To Enlarge

Asparagus has between 5 and 12 percent of your daily need of vitamin-C, B-6, zinc, iron, and magnesium.

Those nutrients are a great combination, as vitamin-C needs zinc for absorption, and magnesium hitches a ride with vitamin B-6 for absorption as well.

Asparagus has been studied and noted to combat age-related ocular diseases, arthritis, asthma, and autoimmune diseases.

It is also an effective diuretic for water retention related illness, like PMS, arthritis, and rheumatism.

How To Cook Asparagus

We have noted some of the many health benefits of this spire like vegetable, so you can understand the importance of cooking it right, so as to enjoy them.

These quick-cooking, water less methods will preserve the fabulous nutritional content and antioxidant power of asparagus, either roast, grill, or stir-fry.

Our featured recipe  – Asparagus with Garlic and Smoked Bacon – is prepared as a stir-fry. We also suggest this recipe as a prepared side dish to accompany your turkey dinner left overs from last week (Thursday, November. 26, 215).

trimmed AsparagusHere is what you will need.

1 pound asparagus thin stalks, trim ends, cut 1-inch lengths

1/2 pound pasture fed bacon, flavor is your choice – we used a smoked bacon from Whole Foods Market

5 garlic gloves, chopped

cooking smoked bacon and garlicCut bacon into 1-inch slices, place into a large pan over medium heat. When bacon is 1/2 cooked add garlic and stir until you smell the garlic, about 1 minute.

Asparagus with Garlic and Smoked Bacon in a Ceramic Coated Frying PanNext add the prepared asparagus and continue to stir until bacon is cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Asparagus with Garlic and Smoked Bacon with Turkey Dinner Left OversPlate and serve with your favorite main dish.

Enjoy our other recipes here at – Splendid Recipes and More – using asparagus…

Roasted Trout with Baby Potatoes and Asparagus

Balsamic-Honey Glazed Chicken and Asparagus

Asparagus and Bacon Cream Pasta

Bacon Eggs and Asparagus Benedict

Mushroom Tortellini with Asparagus

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Roasted Yams with Cilantro and Lime Juice 

Roasted Yams with Cilantro and Lime Juice 

The softer, orange-fleshed variety of sweet po...

The softer, orange-fleshed variety of sweet potato, commonly referred to as a yam in the United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you know the difference between a yam and a sweet potato? In some parts of North America, including Canada, the yam and sweet potato are enter twinded or in other words people think they are same.

The fact is, they are not. They both are tubers, and that is as far as it goes to being similar.

The yam are monocots related to lilies and grasses. Were as sweet potatoes are related to or we should say the unrelated morning glory family (Wikipedia ).

Yam in a market

Yam in a market (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to About Foods, yams are mostly sold in chunks sealed in plastic wrap, as they can grow up to 7 feet in length and weigh up to 150 pounds. (Home Cooking – About Food).

Better Homes and Garden (BHG) suggests storing yams in a cool dry place. Much like you would do with potatos.

BHG says do not store yams in the refrigerator as they will dry out (BHG).

Before we get on with our featured recipe, here is a link to a pdf file from the University of California on yams and sweet potatoes: LINK HERE.

Our featured recipe is: Roasted Yams with Cilantro and Lime Juice, and here is what you will need.

2 medium yams, washed and diced with skin on

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 to 2 teaspoons dried cumin

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Juice of 1/2 lime

diced yams with olive oil in a large bowel Add the oil, cumin, and salt to a large mixing bowel. Mix together, then add died yams and toss to coat.

Roasted Yams with Cilantro and Lime Juice  - close upSpoon yams onto a baking sheet spread out evenly. Place baking sheet into a preheated 425 degree oven, and roast the diced yams for 30 to 40 minutes or until a fork can pierce them, turning once during the roasting process.

Remove from oven and let cool about 5 minutes. Add yams to a serving bowel along with chopped cilantro and lime juice. Mix gently to coat roasted yams.

Eat the dish as is or as a side dish with your favorite meat.

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Stuffed Sweet Potato with Chipotle Black Bean and Corn Salad

Stuffed Sweet Potato with Chipotle Black Bean and Corn Salad

Did you know a chipotle is a smoke-dried jalapeño? Yes, the word chipotle comes from the Nahuatl word chilpoctli which means smoked chili.  The people’s who lived in Mexico before the Aztec civilization are thought to have invented it.

The jalapeño chili is used in Mexican-inspired cuisines, such as Mexican-American, Tex-Mex, and southwestern dishes from New Mexico. Read our article and learn more on the differences in Mexican and Tex-Mex food: Mexican vs. Tex-Mex: What is the Difference?

Jalapeños come in different varieties, sizes and heat or spiciness. The chili loses little of its heat through the smoking process, and many enjoy both its spiciness and the natural wood smoke taste that accompanies it.

Though its used traditionally in Mexican cuisine, the chipotle now enjoys a broad range of uses throughout the USA and Canada.

Our featured recipe is a southwestern USA inspired  delight, and here is what you will need to prepare: Stuffed Sweet Potato with Chipotle Black Bean and Corn Salad.

fresh ingredients for Stuffed Sweet Potato with Chipotle Black Bean and Corn Salad

4 small sweet potatoes, baked (read here about Sweet Potatoes and Their Benefits)

1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup corn

3 green onions, thinly sliced

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

liquid ingrdients for Stuffed Sweet Potato with Chipotle Black Bean and Corn Salad

Vinaigrette:

2 limes, zested and juiced

juicing limes for Stuffed Sweet Potato with Chipotle Black Bean and Corn Salad1 tablespoon coconut oil

2 teaspoons raw honey

2 teaspoons adobo sauce (from a can of chipotles in adobo)

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh pepper, optional

vegetable mix for Stuffed Sweet Potato with Chipotle Black Bean and Corn SaladIn a large glass bowl, add the black beans, corn, onions, and cilantro. Stir to combine. In a smaller bowl, mix together the lime zest and juice, oil, honey, adobo, salt and pepper. Pour over the black bean mixture and toss to combine.

Stuffed Sweet Potato with Chipotle Black Bean and Corn Salad -close upSlice an opening down the center of  the baked sweet potatoes. Spoon vegetable mixture to stuff the potatoes, and have yourself a…Stuffed Sweet Potato with Chipotle Black Bean and Corn Salad. Plate and serve.

Can be served as a stand alone dish (as it contains protein with the black beans), or served as a side dish, and can be served as a party favorite dish. Enjoy the possibilities with this easy and simple real food recipe.

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Sugar Snap Peas with Tarragon

Sugar Snap Peas with TarragonFresh tarragon has an intense flavor over dried tarragon. When the herb is dried the oils dissipate.

You can store tarragon from 3 to 5 months in the freezer, doing so retains the most flavor of fresh tarragon during sprig of tarragonstorage. There is no need to defrost the herb before using it. Dried tarragon should be kept in a sealed container in a cool, dark place and used within 1 year.

Heat greatly intensifies the flavor of tarragon.

Though is may not look like it, tarragon is a species of perennial herb in the sunflower family.

There are variations of the herb and they include “French tarragon“, which is best used for culinary purposes, “Russian tarragon”, typically better than wild tarragon but not as good as the French tarragon, and “wild tarragon”.

Flavor

If you are wondering what the flavor of tarragon is, we would describe it as slightly peppery and it has a taste that’s somewhat similar to fennel, anise or licorice.

Health Benefits

Tarragon has great health benefits. It contains trace amounts of minerals including iron, potassium, and small amounts of calcium. It also contains vitamin-A, a nutrient essential for healthy eyes. This is herb is one of the recommendations to reduce your risk of macular degeneration.

Our featured recipe also includes:

Cilantro: contains trace minerals and vitamin-A

Shallots: Part of the allium family, which includes onions, garlic and scallions. Shallots also help to ward off cancer. They also contain 34 micrograms of folate, which is good for brain and nerve function.

Sugar Snap Peas:  They are a good source of vitamin-C, a nutrient that protects DNA structures from damage and improves the immune system. The sugar snaps also contain folate, which helps to improve heart health. Low levels of folate can raise levels of homocysteine, which increases the risk of heart disease.

Folic acid is a synthetic form of folate. If you are taking the B-vitamin as a supplement, it is recommended to take the natural form, folate. As noted folic acid is a synthetic oxidized form, and is not found in fresh natural foods as is folate. Because it is synthetic, is not bio-available to the body, as is folate.

Now for our featured recipe – Sugar Snap Peas with Tarragon – and here is what you will need.

1 pound sugar snap peas

1 shallot, diced

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 to 1 teaspoon tarragon, chopped

1/2 teaspoon cilantro, chopped

Himalayan salt and pepper to taste (optional)

cooking sugar snap peasIn a large sauce pot, bring water to a rapid boil, and add snap peas and cook until they turn bright green, about 3 minutes. Drain, and set aside.

chopped fresh herbs and shallotsMean time, prepare the tarragon, cilantro, and shallots.

In a large ceramic coated skillet over medium heat, add butter and melt. Next add shallots and cook until soft, about  3 minutes. Next whisk in a splash of fresh water, about 1 to 2 tablespoons, then add snap peas and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Next add chopped tarragon, cilantro, and mix in with snap peas and shallots.

Sugar Snap Peas with TarragonSpoon cooked sugar snap pea mixture into a serving bowl, and serve with your favorite main dish.

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Baked Garlic and Broccoli

Baked Garlic and Broccoli

Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable, capable of irradiating cells from your body that would otherwise become cancerous. It is a vegetable among others in its class that stimulates the lymphatic system to detox your body as well.

As for garlic, it’s your digestive aid, antibacterial, and anti-inflammation friend. If you don’t like garlic, maybe you should get to know it better, because it fights off cancer as well.

Let’s get started with our featured recipe: Baked Garlic and Broccoli. It’s a very simple and tasty recipe, as well as a nice way to enjoy broccoli with the pure flavor of fresh garlic.

Here are the few ingredients you will need.

Ingredients for - Baked Garlic Broccoli1 cup broccoli florets

6-8 garlic cloves

2 tbsp. olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

This recipe makes two (2) servings. Double it to serve four (4) servings or triple it to serve six (6).

Tenderizing the Broccoli Marinate the broccoli florets for 30 minutes with the olive oil and salt, so that they become tender.

Garlic and Broccoli on a baking sheetPreheat the oven to 350 F for 5 minutes. Spread out evenly the broccoli florets and garlic cloves onto a baking sheet.

Place the baking sheet in the oven, and bake for 10 minutes. Toss the broccoli and garlic, then continue to bake for for another 10-15 minutes or until broccoli browned a little but not burnt.

Baked Garlic and BroccoliRemove from oven and let cool about 3 to 5 minutes. Place into a serving bowl, and make it a side with your favorite meat dish.

If you wish you can add other vegetables to the baking sheet, like carrots or zucchini. Enjoy!

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