Yam Oven Fries

IMG_5722There are certain foods that we know are treats, and should be eaten rarely. French Fries are the ubiquitous side that comes with so many meals.  Fast food restaurants started to give us more choices, but fries still hit the plate more often than not.   Fries with gravy stepped up the not–good–for–you quotient even more!   We had a small rule in our household that the only time we could eat fries with gravy was if we were on one of BC Ferries’ main routes.  Then came yam fries.

These tender, delicious morsels were what apparently I had been waiting my whole life for.  They’re better for you just because of what they’re made from!  Now they are my food choice when on one of the “big” ferries.

At home, I rarely deep–fry foods, however these fries are excellent done in the oven.  Squeeze on a bit of limejuice, a dash of salt & pepper with a drizzle of oil, and you have an incredible, colourful side.  Oh heck, let them stand on their own.   Continue reading

Herb Crusted Pork Roast

IMG_5394When my parents would visit my younger sister and I in our apartment in the late 70’s (returning to the city from their back-to-the-land adventures on Thetis Island) I would try to make a really sumptuous feast at least once during their visit.  I can remember buying a huge pork roast (in reality it was probably no more than four pounds) to serve one night.  I carefully sliced it through almost to the bone, every couple of inches, and stuffed it with nuts, herbs, and dried fruits.  There wasn’t a recipe to follow, it was just an idea I had.  I stuck garlic slices into it, and salt & peppered the fat.  I roasted it on low until the meat could be pulled from the bone.  I still have no idea what cut of pork it was, but its flavour holds fast in my memory.

Pork does so well when treated to a good crust or stuffing, or the both.  This herb & salt mix takes the humble pork butt roast to an amazing centerpiece.  The butt is full of flavour due to the lines of fat that run through it. The fat pulls the flavours in and through it.  Let it sit at room temperature for one hour after covering it with the seasoning.  It will give the pork a chance to take advantage of all you have offered it. Continue reading

Risotto with Shrimp & Peas

IMG_2653Risotto is not a finicky dish to make.  Picture yourself in a large Italian farmhouse kitchen, with a big apron tied firmly around your middle.  Put a couple of pins in your hair to keep things neat.  The stove has been on most of the day while you’re making bread.  You have a large pot on the back burner with fresh chicken stock, never wasting anything that you’ve either grown or carefully purchased in the market.  Family members have come and gone, chatting as they go about their chores.  During this time you’ve been sautéing onions, adding rice and then slowly have added spoonfuls of the chicken stock with a few splashes of wine, while you stir and talk.  When the family gathers round, you add in some grated hard cheese, and maybe some tender vegetables with a knob of butter.  Without paying too much attention, you’ve created a beautiful glossy dish of risotto, warm and creamy, one of the best comfort foods.

This is a social dish – prepare your ingredients before hand, and enjoy a glass of wine while you cook and visit.  Don’t let it be pretentious.  When it’s ready, serve it simply.  The rest of the meal can be served after. Continue reading