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October 10, 2011: Yams in Maple Syrup

October 10, 2011

Baked Yams with Maple Syrup

I’m still trying to get used to the tide of generosity from my friends. For years the tide has gone out in the form of dinners for them, and now the tide has reversed to my favor. On their way out west to writing retreat, Teja and Barb stopped by on Friday night with large bags of groceries. I’m going to have to return most of the oatmeal that they gave me (I’m very appreciative guys, but the only way I can take oatmeal is if it is filtered through an apple crisp, first!) In addition to enough carbs to choke a horse, they also gave me some yams, which is coincidental, as I had promised my friend Lisa a recipe for them, just a few days ago.

Chris and Sara stopped by on Saturday and we had a great day with this perfect New England weather visiting Tower Hill, strolling through the gardens and taking a tour of their Heritage Apple Orchard and learning about the types, origins, and histories of some of America’s oldest apple strains. We learned that the perfect looking apples we find in the grocery store are not necessarily either the most healthy or tasty of what we can find in apples. We also learned that a few flyspecks on the skin of an apple doesn’t alter the taste at in the least. All three of us unanimously judged the best variety to be “Jonathan” and we all took some home. The “Jonathan” is medium-sized apple from 19C. New York , with a brilliant red color, sometimes shading to green and is a great eating apple.

We then had lunch in the “Secret Garden” with lively “chippies” darting in and out of the hedges, for entertainment. We ended lunch with the most perfect cider apple donut I’ve ever had in my life. Tower Hill had a craft fair and market that day and Chris bought me a jar of Grade “A” Amber Maple Syrup. That got me thinking how I could combine some of my friend’s gifts.

Yams in Maple Syrup:

Wash and peel the yams (save skin for soup stock) and immediately immerse in a pot of H2O to keep air from browning the yams. Add a little sal de mer to the H2O and boil the yams 1/2 hour, turning the yams so they cook uniformly. While yams are boiling, preheat oven to 350°F. Transfer yams to a buttered ovenproof pan, and spread more butter on top of yams. Sprinkle sal de mer and white pepper on yams. Bake for 15 minutes, top with maple syrup and sprinkle with lemon zest. Continue baking for 15 more minutes. Yams should be able to be pierced easily with a fork. Serve with a little more syrup.

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3 comments

  1. Delicious! Can’t wait to try this, sounds easy enough for an amateur like myself 🙂


  2. Pardon the ignorance my long time friend but what is sal de mer? 🙂


    • Tom,
      “Sal de mer” is “sea salt” and has a much better and more natural flavor than commercially-made salt. Try it yourself: take a small pinch of the commercial stuff and follow it with the sal de mer. You can find it in most grocery stores, usually near the spices. It comes in a coarse grind and a fine. I used fine for this dish.



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