Baked Sweet Potato with all the fillings

Dinner for two sounds awfully romantic doesn’t it? I know what you’re thinking – candlelight, some soft jazz and a glass/two/bottle of Merlot. It’s a night to remember as you gaze at that someone special/mildly memorable and wonder if it would blow the mood to suggest binge watching Game of Thrones.

But folks, dinner for two can be something a lot more down to earth. Ditch the candles and bin the George Benson cd – dinner for two can be survival on a week night. If you’ve got children (I feel your pain) then it’s homework and tantrums and trying to prise a phone out of their sharp, beady talons. It’s laundry and work emails that don’t care what time it is.

Then suddenly 9:00 p.m. and you realize – hey, guess what? – you haven’t eaten anything since that highly suspect tuna fish sandwich at noon. It’s at times like this – and we’ve all had them – that you need something you can get on the table ASAP. Before you can press speed dial for pizza delivery, you can have a baked sweet potato done and on the table. (That is if you use our very good friend the microwave.)

And if you’re really tired, feel free to eat dinner in bed. We won’t tell. Honest.

Serves 2

1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes (about 1 lb total weight)

1 oz goat’s cheese or feta cheese, a nice size chunk

3-4 radishes, sliced thinly

1 or 2 spring onions, sliced

pumpkin seeds, to garnish


Green chile butter

1 stick/4 oz. butter, softened

1 tbsp cilantro, chopped plus extra for garnish

1 tsp green jalapeño powder

zest of 1 lime


Wash and dry the sweet potatoes and prick them all over with a sharp knife. Microwave at high heat for 5 minutes, check and microwave in 2 minute intervals until tender all the way through.

To make the green chile butter, mix the softened butter with the chopped cilantro, green jalapeño powder and lime zest. Taste and add salt as needed and place in a ramekin.

When the sweet potatoes are done, slice down the middle, add a healthy spoonful of the butter. Divide the cheese between the servings, add the sliced radishes and spring onions and garnish with a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds and the extra cilantro. Eat it up while it’s hot and then in bed – it’s a school night.

Chile Roasted Vegetables

Winter is like a dinner party guest who won’t go home. You know the one – he (or is Winter a she?) hangs around after everyone else has gone home, has another glass of wine, and drones on about his kid’s recent tuba recital. It’s not that you don’t like him, you just wish he’d go away. Now.

Let’s face it, we’re ready for Spring and something flashy and fresh. It doesn’t help that we’re told to ‘eat seasonally’ which right about now feels like a diet of acorns and tree bark.


But it’s not all doom and gloom. It simply takes a bit of culinary ingenuity and a lot of chile to snap our taste buds out of the winter doldrums.

So this week we’re sharing two recipes: one with sweet potatoes and another with cauliflower. I can hear the collective groan before I’ve even finished typing ‘flower’. Poor cauliflower suffers from a horrible image, not helped by my grandmother who boiled it to smithereens, slopped it on my plate and lurked over me as I forced down each bite. But it’s not the vegetable’s fault. All it takes is a bit of kindness, a little thought and a really hot oven.

Roasting cauliflower and sweet potatoes– and lots of other winter and root vegetables – brings out a lovely caramelized flavor that wakens the taste buds and puts a spring – excuse the pun – in your step. Both recipes use Chile Molido which is a real work horse in the Chile Trail kitchen. Choose mild or hot and feel free to up the amount of chile.

And relax. Spring is coming. It’s official.

Roasted Cauliflower with a Chile, Honey & Citrus Dressing

4 to 6 servings as a side dish

1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
Sea salt

Juice of one orange, approximately 5 Tbsp
5 Tbsp olive oil (or equivalent to the amount to the juice)
1-2 tsp. Chile Molido (hot or mild, depending on your taste)
1 Tbsp honey
Chile pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Place the cauliflower onto a baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil over the cauliflower, season with salt and toss to mix. Roast in the oven until cooked through and slightly browned.


While the cauliflower is roasting, make the dressing. Zest the orange and set the zest aside. Slice the orange in half and squeeze out the juice. Mix the juice with the olive oil, chile and honey. Season with salt.


Drizzle several tablespoons of the dressing over the cauliflower during the last ten minutes or so of cooking. This allows the cauliflower to absorb some of the dressing. Remove from the oven, plate and garnish with chile pepper flakes and the orange zest. Serve with the remaining dressing.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with a Green Tahini Sauce

4 to 6 servings as a side dish

Tahini is a sesame seed paste and is popular in Middle Eastern cooking. You’ll find it in many grocery stores or at health food shops.

1 ¼ lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into rounds
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
1-2 tsp. Chile Molido (hot or mild, depending on your taste)
Sea salt

Green tahini sauce
1 small clove garlic
½ cup parsley leaves
1 Tbsp tahini
½ cup Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Place the sliced sweet potatoes onto a baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil over the sweet potatoes, season with salt and toss to mix. Roast in the oven until cooked through and slightly browned. During the last ten minutes or so, toss with the chile powder, this gives the chile a slightly toasted flavor without the risk of it burning.


While the sweet potatoes are roasting, make the sauce. In the small bowl of a food processor, mix the parsley and garlic together. Add in the remaining ingredients and pulse until well blended. Season with salt and place in a serving dish. Serve alongside the roasted sweet potatoes.