Cookbook reviews make me anxious.
More specifically, reviewing someone else’s work… someone you know.
After reading Ally’s new cookbook- flipping through the pages, tasting, wondering, imagining- my angst dissipated into enthusiasm. Her enthusiasm.
And it’s infectious.
Ally Phillips is my friend.
And today, I’m talking all about her new book.
She’s the creative mind behind Ally’s Kitchen and most recently, wrote her very first cookbook: Ally’s Kitchen- a Passport for Adventurous Palates.
The biggest problem for me? What to make first!
Side note: I read books (and magazines) backwards, by the way. I start at the very end, check out all of the pictures, and then flip to the front. It’s weird. And no, I don’t know why I do it. My unorthodox browsing system happened to fall liking to one of the chapters towards the end of the book, and ironically, that’s where I began my culinary journey.
Ally’s recipes are inspired by her global travels. So naturally, the book is divided accordingly.
I chose ‘Caribbean Islands Eats’ as my starting point.
Because secretly, I want to live on an island (margaritas) and live the slow life (margaritas) and cook in one of those outdoor kitchens in a sarong overlooking the sea (MARGARITAS!)
I made this sultry, spiced yam dish with corn and lime zest.
You see those yams in the pan? (scroll up). First of all, they’re sweet potatoes. Same thing? I’ll never understand the difference… And secondly, I really wanted to show you all of that caramelized goodness happening around the sides of the pan. That, my friends is melted brown sugar infused with cinnamon and coconut oil.
It tastes like vacation.
And it was a breeze to make.
In addition to the sweet flavors mingling in the pan, balance came into play with cumin, lots of lime juice and zest, green onions, and corn kernels for crunch. Really, it’s wonderful. Ally suggests to serve this with grilled shrimp, as a ‘salsa’ for grilled chicken, or with fish tacos. All 3 ideas would be excellent. My dad happened to be at the house when I made this for lunch and ate the entire thing. So, don’t just take my word for it.
Pretty purple chive flowers form the garden…
I’ve never met Ally in person, only virtually.
Yet after reading this book, I felt like we were hanging out in her bohemian kitchen.
And you will too.
- 3 tbsp coconut oil
- 3 cups diced peeled yams or sweet potatoes
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1¼ cups frozen corn, thawed
- 1 tsp cumin
- ½ cup thinly sliced green onions
- 1 tsp red chili flakes
- ½ cup chopped almonds (optional)
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh chives
- zest and juice of 1 lime
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- cooking spray
- lime wedges
- chive blossoms
- Grab a large, 10-inch cast iron skillet and warm the coconut oil over medium heat. The cast iron skillet will give the potatoes a really nice golden char, however, a regular skillet will do if you don't have one.
- Add the sweet potatoes, salt, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Saute for about 5 minutes, flip to the other side, and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Reduce the heat, cover, and cook for until tender, 5 minutes.
- Move the potatoes over to one side of the skillet, and coat the empty side with cooking spray. Add the corn, cumin, green onions, chili flakes and chopped almonds (if using). Cover the pan and cook for about 5-7 minutes.
- To finish, add the chives, lime zest and juice and stir well to combine. Drizzle with extra olive oil. Serve with extra lime wedges and chive flowers for garnish.
For more info about Ally and her cookbook, please visit:
Cookbook Trailer (a video!)