Sweet Potatoes with Tahini Butter

What is so special and delicious about last night’s dinner (pictured here) is not the baked beans, nor the grilled bison burger on a roll slathered with Tahini Butter, nor the freshly made dill pickles from yours truly, but it is the Steamed Sweet Potato with Tahini Butter and Toasted Sesame Seeds—a recipe from the NYTimes magazine. YUM!

A few weeks ago, Susan handed me the magazine section and said “This sweet potato recipe looks delicious. Would you make it for me? For us?”

And I did and I can’t wait to make it again.

Quoting Samin Nosrat (writing in The New York Times Magazine):

Carla Lalli Music, a food writer and editor, is vehemently opposed to roasting sweet potatoes. “I don’t understand why people are constantly roasting them,” she says. “Roasting just makes them more fibrous and leathery, and they never, ever really get crispy.” Instead, she posits that steaming performs a kind of alchemy on sweet potatoes that roasting never does — the moist heat fluffs them into absorbent clouds. And to make up for the inherent blandness of the cooking method, she slathers them with a rich tahini butter spiked with soy sauce, which immediately melts into a mouth-smacking sauce. Her simple recipe ends with a shower of golden sesame seeds and a torrent of lime juice. Try it — every bite will surprise you with crunch, salt, umami and acidity to counterbalance the sweetness of the pillowy potatoes.”

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ pounds sweet potatoes of any color (about 4 medium), washed
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick), at room temperature
  • ¼ cup well-stirred tahini
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, plus lime wedges, for serving
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely grated or pounded smooth with a pinch of salt
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
  • Flaky sea salt, for serving

Preparation

  1. Bring a few inches of water to a boil in a medium pot fitted with a steamer basket or footed colander. Place sweet potatoes in the steamer. Cover, reduce heat to medium and steam until potatoes are completely tender, 35 to 40 minutes. (Use a skewer or paring knife to check for doneness; the potatoes should be soft all the way through.)
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk butter, tahini, lime juice, soy sauce, sesame oil and garlic until smooth. It might seem as if the butter and liquids will never fully combine, but they will — just keep stirring! Taste, and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and more lime juice as needed.
  3. Set a small pan over medium heat. Toast the sesame seeds, swirling the pan continuously, until seeds are golden. They’ll give off some oil and start to clump together, so if needed, stir with a wooden spoon to keep them moving so that they toast evenly. They’ll turn a nice deep-golden shade just as they dry off a bit, about 4 minutes. Transfer seeds to a small bowl to prevent them from overcooking.
  4. When the sweet potatoes are tender, use tongs to transfer them to a large plate or platter. When they are just cool enough to handle, split potatoes in half lengthwise, and season with flaky salt. Spread tahini butter generously onto the flesh, and top with sesame seeds. Serve immediately with lime wedges.

 

If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.

 

Sunday Sunrise

“You have to want to see joy, God in the moment.”
~Ann Voskamp, “1000 Gifts

 

If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.

One Step At A Time

Susan sent me this Mary Oliver poem yesterday. I thought I had read every poem by her. I was wrong. And this one really spoke to me.

“Praying”

It doesn’t have to be the blue iris, 

it could be weeds in a vacant lot,

or a few small stones;

just pay attention, then patch a few words together

and don’t try to make them elaborate,

this isn’t a contest

but a doorway into thanks,

and a silence in which another voice may speak.

I had my website redesigned well over one year ago by Diane Ensey with the thought I wanted to encourage my self to write more often and to find artful ways to combine words and photography. Oh, the photos keep coming. The words have not.

But this poem speaks volumes to me about just do it. Just get started. A beginning begins somewhere. So I have made a commitment to “patch a few words together.”

And somehow, for me, this relates to something else: walking.

I went for a walk yesterday. A long walk. A one hour walk. Oh, I have been walking every day but that’s short walks with Freddy, our dog. And that’s not so much walking as walk, stop, sniff, walk, stop, sniff, pee (Freddy, of course), walk, stop, pee again, walk, stop, poop.

Last summer I walked 4-5 miles everyday. Wait. Was that last summer? Or the summer before? Not sure. And who cares. The important fact is that I am back to walking. But I do need new walking sneakers; I came home yesterday with a big blister on the left heel. Ouch!

And this photo above? That’s what I saw on my walk. Thank you. One step at a time.

 

If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.

 

Today and Tranquility

A new Instagram friend wrote to me yesterday:

“There’s a certain tranquility in your photography. Art at its best.”

Often, it is the smallest things for which I am most grateful.

If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.

 

Greek-Style Watermelon Salad

A new favorite! Perfect for summer picnics!

Quoting Mark Bittman, The New York Times/Cooking:

It’s not an immediately obvious combination – watermelon, cucumber, olives and feta – but one bite will leave you convinced that this savory-sweet summer salad is something truly special. The astringent punch of the olives and feta provides a sophisticated counterpoint to the watery mellowness of the melon and cucumber. With a hunk of bread, it’s a lovely light lunch; with practically any grilled meat or fish, it’s an ideal summer supper.

I served it with grilled wild salmon and grilled chicken breasts with Harissa.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cubed watermelon
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes
  • 1 medium cucumber
  • 1 small red onion
  • cup pitted kalamata olives
  • cup crumbled feta (I used goat cheese.)
  • Some chopped parsley and mint
  • Olive oil and red-wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

Preparation

  1. In a large bowl combine 3 cups cubed watermelon; 2 large ripe tomatoes, chopped; 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped; 1 small red onion, sliced; 1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives; 1/3 cup crumbled feta; and some chopped parsley and mint. Drizzle with olive oil and red-wine vinegar, sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss and serve.

If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.

Israeli Couscous, Bean and Tomato Salad

Simply delicious.

Quoting Martha Rose Shulman writing in The New York Times/Cooking:

Finely chopped tomatoes seasoned with garlic, balsamic vinegar and basil serve as both dressing and vegetable in this main dish salad.

I’ve been making tomato concassée all summer and using it as a sauce for pasta and fish. I decided to use it as a stand-in for salad dressing in this hearty salad, a simple combination of cooked Israeli couscous and beans. I used canned pinto beans, and they were just fine. Chickpeas would also work. Use lots of basil in the mix. The red onion contributes some crunch. You can add a little celery if you want more texture. Make sure to use sweet, ripe, juicy tomatoes. I love the finishing touch of the feta, but it is optional.

Ingredients

  • ¾ pound ripe, sweet tomatoes, finely chopped (about 1 1/3 cups chopped)
  • 1 plump garlic clove, puréepureed with a little salt or put through a press (I minced the garlic.)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar (more to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons extra- virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups cooked pinto beans (or other beans of your choice) (if using canned beans, drain and rinse)
  • 2 cups cooked Israeli couscous
  • ½ to ⅔ cup chopped red onion
  • cup chopped fresh basil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped chives
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Romaine lettuce leaves for serving
  • Feta cheese for topping (about 1/2 cup, optional) 

Preparation

  1. In a large bowl, combine finely chopped tomatoes, garlic, salt, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. Add beans and Israeli couscous and toss together. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes (or longer).
  2. Meanwhile, place chopped onion in a small bowl and cover with cold water. Soak 5 minutes, drain and rinse. Drain on paper towels and add to couscous and bean mixture. Add basil, chives, and pepper, and toss together.
  3. Line plates or a platter with lettuce leaves. Top with salad. Sprinkle feta over the top and serve.

Tip

  • To cook Israeli couscous: Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat and add the couscous. Toast the couscous, shaking the pan or stirring often, until it colors very lightly and smells aromatic and toasty, a bit like popcorn. Immediately add 2 quarts water and salt to taste (be generous, as if you are cooking pasta) and boil 10 minutes, until the couscous is al dente; it should not be mushy and there should still be plenty of water in the pot. Drain through a strainer and rinse with cold water. Tap the strainer against the sink to drain well, then return the couscous to the pot, cover the pot with a kitchen towel, and return the lid. Let sit for 10 minutes.

 

If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.