At the start of every winter, I usually convince myself that I’ll love it, with the same abandon as I loved autumn.
I tell myself that I don’t mind the cold. I don’t. And there’s this chilled breeze that flows through my small kitchen window that reminds me of dry harmattan mornings – those are good memories.
Yet, soon enough I’ll find that I’ve had enough of winter; it’s the darkness that generally does me in.
Even when the days start getting longer, it’s still dark by the time I get home and all I want to do is crawl under the covers and hope for a better day tomorrow.
That said, there’s a quiet gentleness to winter that speaks to me. It’s a sort of reminder not to take on too much and enjoy the season for what is it. Then there’s the hankering for comforts foods, as if the body is replenishing itself.
I’m usually so uninspired that I cobble whatever I can find together and sometimes I end up with simple and delicious gems like this roasted potatoes, pesto and sautéed vegetables.
Sweet potatoes are in season right now and their vibrant colour help brighten dreary winter days. I use a mix of sweet and regular white potatoes. I like the combination of their distinct flavours and colour.
It helps to have pesto on hand for this, serve it with simple roasted potatoes and sauté some veggies while the potatoes are baking.
It’s simple, delicious and makes for a flavourful weeknight meal.
- 1 lb. sweet potatoes
- 1 lb. Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons sumac (or 1 teaspoon lemon juice)
- Kosher salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
- 1 medium red onion, sliced
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger or ground ginger
- 1/2 head cabbage, cut into thin slices
- 1 bunch kale (8 – 10 ounces), stripped (with tough stems discarded) and cut into narrow strips
- Salt to taste
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F., and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil (oil lightly if using foil)
- Cut potatoes into 1/2 –inch thick rounds and place in a bowl
- Sprinkle with pepper flakes, sumac and salt
- Pour coconut oil over potatoes and toss to coat
- Place potatoes in a single layer on the baking sheet
- Roast for 25 to 30 minutes until tender and slightly golden
- Serve with pesto and a side of sautéed vegetables
- Heat coconut oil in a pan or large skillet over medium-high heat
- When oil is hot, add mustard seeds and let it cook for a minute or so until seeds start popping
- Add onions and ginger, sauté until onions start to soften and turn translucent
- Stir in cabbage and kale, turn up heat, and stir-fry for 3 – 4 minutes until vegetables start to get tender
- Add salt to taste, and a little bit of vegetable stock or water (but not too much) if mixture gets a little dry
- Remove from heat, stir in sesame oil, check seasoning and add more salt if desired.
- Serve with freshly ground black pepper
- Select potatoes that are the same size and shape for uniform sliced rounds