Still Sweet—And Savory—After All These Months

If T. S. Eliot had been a farm-to-table cook, March might have been the cruelest month, not April. It's still a long way to fresh lettuce and spring green garlic, and by now we have seen a lot of kale and winter root vegetables. The sweet potatoes in our Elmwood Stock Farm CSA box look just as perky as their cousins did in October, but in spite of soups, oven fries, fried sweet potato chips, and five solid pages of glorious sweet potato recipes at Food52, March makes me wonder, "What have you sweet things done for me lately?"

Two fine answers, neither of which requires peeling (but do scrub the daylights off those tubers):

Oooh. . . hot honey. I admit I want to write paragraphs about that phrase, but I'll refrain. Instead, I will profess that I use hot Country Rock sorghum instead of honey. And I can offer that many different spices work well with either of these recipes. I have used crushed red pepper, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cumin, Bourbon Barrel Foods bourbon smoked paprika, Tajin and berbere (a recent fixation, as noted here) in various combinations, all with delicious results. The fact is that sweet potatoes are fabulous and taste good in thousands of different preparations.

The simple lime-yogurt-olive oil sauce in the Gjelina recipe introduced citrusy fresh deliciousness just when I needed it. I added the grated zest of one lime to the sauce, and, in addition to its goodness on the darkly roasted sweet potatoes, I found a new favorite way to eat yogurt.

Last bit: Gjelina, the restaurant, got a rumply, semi-positive, semi-passive/aggressive review in 2010 in HuffPost LA. While the review is undoubtedly outdated, what helps us there is a pronunciation guide: "ja-lee-na," says reviewer Jay Weston. He gives no hint about which syllable, if any, gets emphasized. You could take your choice, if you prefer, of three quite different "Gjelina" pronunciations at How to Pronounce. Or you could just say "Roast Sweet Potatoes."


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Rona RobertsComment