smoked paprika

sun-warmed and happily exhausted

Ivy and Lucy having tea

For years, I’ve tried to treat the seasons with balanced attention. Like a mother who tries to love all her children equally, I work to find the best from fall through spring. Winter is dark and cold but it’s a good time for contemplation. Spring is a riot of sounds and smells returning to the earth. Summer? Ah, summer. It’s hard not to love you best but I also have to remind myself of the beauty of the fall. I make it through the year by loving each month equally. Carpe diem, and all that, you know?

Ah the hell with it. There’s no use in pretending anymore. Summer, I love you best.

In summer near Seattle, you can sit outside all day, talking with friends on the porch while the kids jump on the trampoline and chase each other around the lawn. In summer, there are blue skies, warm air, and the feeling of being lifted with every passing hour the sun makes an appearance.

In summer, small girls sit on the back deck for hours, having tea parties with imagined hot strawberry tea. More →

roasted orange sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving

I adore sweet potatoes. But those sweet potatoes we ate when I was a kid? (And perhaps you did too?) The canned sweet potatoes baked with brown sugar and marshmallows, an ooey-gooey mess that hardly resembled the vegetable they once were?

No thank you.

These roasted orange sweet potatoes, with smoked paprika, cumin, and orange zest, still taste like sweet potatoes. They’re soft on the fork with a bit of bite. How lovely it will be to have sweet potatoes that are not mushy on your Thanksgiving table!

Take a look.

ROASTED ORANGE SWEET POTATOES

3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1-inch thick slices
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon canola
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 cups orange juice
1/2 teaspoon each kosher salt and cracked black pepper
2 teaspoons fresh orange zest

Preparing to bake. Heat the oven to 400°. Butter a 9x13 casserole dish. Layer the sweet potatoes like shingles, in three straight lines, in the casserole pan.

Making the glaze. Set a small pot over medium heat. Put in the butter and oil. When the butter has melted, add the smoked paprika, cumin, and maple syrup. Swirl them around until you can smell the spices. Pour in the orange juice and add the salt and pepper. Bring the liquids to a boil and let it boil for a moment or two, stirring occasionally.

Baking the sweet potatoes. Pour the glaze over the sweet potatoes evenly. Cover the pan with aluminum foil. Bake until the sweet potatoes are soft to the fork but don’t fall apart, about 35 to 45 minutes.

Take the aluminum foil off the sweet potatoes. Sprinkle the orange zest over the top of the sweet potatoes. Cover the pan loosely with the aluminum foil again until you are ready to serve the sweet potatoes.

Feeds 8.