I eat this nearly every night and it never gets old. Ask anyone who knows me, they probably feel jealous of the yams and/or sweet potatoes. There actually IS a difference between yams and sweet potatoes. I like both though. I love both, to be honest. Sometimes I really question the deepness of my devotion to certain plants. Like last night I baked some potatoes and just stood there in the kitchen gobbling them down plain, while murmuring phrases of adoration to them. Is this normal? Ah, whatever the answer... I LOVE YAMS AND I DON'T CARE YOU KNOWS IT! As long as I have baked yams and/or sweet potatoes in my life, I am at peace with the universe.
I am going through a white sweet potato phase so they are my absolute favourite at the moment, but I still like to eat them with jewel yams because the extra colour is always welcomed and then it makes it more exciting when I get a bite of sweet potato. Happiness is contrast, people.
Feel free to add more to this recipe (hummus, more salt or pepper, other veggies, beans, rice, sun-dried tomatoes...) In fact I usually don't even add cilantro but I figured I should make it look a little prettier for you folks. It's kind of a miracle I got some shots of this before it met my mouth. Baked yams/sweet potatoes are like my MDMA.
It makes me extra stoked to eat them now that I have FINALLY read The Starch Solution (by Dr. John and Mary McDougall). Bottom line of the book: fill up on rice, beans, potatoes, yams and other starchy whole plants foods, add on colourful fruits and water-rich veggies, drink lots of water, don't eat animal foods or processed crap. There were a few sentences that I didn't agree with, but all and all (or is it all in all? *shrug*) I really dug it. His logic - along with the results of a buttload of new studies and a lot of citations - is that humans have been living on these starchy plant foods for at least tens of thousands of years and probably much longer. I have always liked this train of thinking since I romanticize everything; I really love the fact that an early homo sapien could walk into my kitchen tonight (ignore all the time-space continuum inconsistencies) and although they would be very confused and most likely terrified, they might find comfort in the familiar look and smell of a cooked yam or sweet potato. Yes, our environment has changed drastically - this cannot be exaggerated - since 100,000 years ago, but our bodies have hardly evolved at all. So we need to feed them the same stuff we have been in the past. White sugar is a substance that our system is just not "designed" for.
Eat yams. They taste freaking amazing.
BAKED YAMS with TAHINI (AKA HEAVEN)
4 yams and/or sweet potatoes
2-4 tablespoons tahini, as desired
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cilantro leaves, if desired
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wash and scrub the yams/sweet potatoes, then poke some holes in them with a fork. Put them in the oven whole, or if they are really big, slice in half lengthwise (I tend to this even if they're not that big because then they're done faster).
Bake on a parchment paper-lined pan for 30-60 minutes. Baking time will depend on the size of them, but you will know when they are done because they'll be bubbling around the edges and when you stick a fork through it will easily sink in. I like mine really tender and mushy whereas Jack prefers his with a little crunch, so take them out when they are the stage you like.
Drizzle with tahini, sprinkle with salt and pepper, garnish with cilantro (totally optional). THE BEST.
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