Saturday, May 29, 2010


Let’s get growing green peppers. They’re easy, and this works for all kinds of peppers.

I can hear you now, saying, "Oh, it's no use; my family won't eat that." Well, try it once. They may surprise you.

My husband and I have kids from all over the world, and it was amazing to me that kids from anywhere, of any color, race or nationality, will eat anything that looks, smells and tastes good--given half a chance. Tell them they only have to eat four bites. That even a good dog will eat four bites. They're children of God--so much better than the best 'mere dog.' Tell them so and ask them to eat the four bites, but they don't have to eat the pepper if they don't want to.

You may be happily surprised!

Back to the peppers:

Of course you know that most peppers (except Bell Peppers) are at least a little bit ‘warm,’ and that some are downright hot, while others still are absolutely incindiary! If you are a 'pepper novice', I'd stick to Bell peppers, Anaheim chiles, and occasionally a bit of jalapeno. Stay away from the habaneros, the cayennes, the Tabascos and especially the pequenos! Leave them to the pros and the reckless!

Some people like to wear gloves while handling them. I don’t bother with that, but then, I’m careful not to touch my eyes, nose, mouth or anyplace else I don’t want to have burning for a week.

If you bite into a pepper that is hot, hot, hot, DON’T drink water! Take a teaspoon of sugar and hold it in your mouth. For some reason, sugar seems to neutralize the “heat” of the warmest peppers. Water just spreads the volatile oil over more of your sensitive tissues. Go the ‘sugar’ route.

Buy nice thick-walled peppers for your salad. I mostly use Bell Peppers in any and all colors—they even come in purple now, you know!—but sometimes I ‘break out’ and use Anaheim Chilis, small sweet yellow peppers and often a bit of jalapeno. Makes a nice change.

I wash everything with plain old dishwashing soap and a good sponge with a ‘scrubby’ side, and then rinse well and dry. Then I simply cut off the tops and bottoms of the peppers--saving every bit of the edible part--open the pepper out and remove the core, the seeds and the membranes, and cut the pepper into dice or strips. Then I put the pepper flesh into a zipper-lock plastic bag, mark it, and pop it into the freezer. This way I have peppers of all kinds, all year long, to use any way I like—except for fresh salads. Thawed pepper is a miserably un-crisp beast and your salad will hate it. So will you. But for everything else, it’s great! By the way, I usually mark the bag before I fill it, which makes writing a lot easier.

About the seeds:
Separate the seed from the membranes and put the membranes and stem in your compost container; then put the pepper seeds on a paper towel overnight. Feel them the next morning and see how dry they are. If you want to plant them, don’t dry them overnight, treat them to a ‘garden bed.’ This ‘garden bed’ is just like the one you made for your tomatoes (See Post # 3, “Will Work For Food”) and cover them with a bit of soil; water well and set on that same sunny windowsill or its clone.

Be sure you keep the different kinds of peppers separate. Grow them in different containers if possible, so you’re not reaching for a cayenne when you thought you were growing Anaheim Chilis.

If you are drying them, wait until they are completely dry, and then put them into a marked ‘paper pocket*’ and store in a cool, dry place until you’re ready to use them.

When your Pepper Babies get their first four leaves (remember, cotyledons don’t count!) you can transplant them to Styrofoam cups with coffee-filter-covered-holes punched in the bottoms of the sides and covered with pieces of. Unlike tomatoes, peppers like to be transplanted at the same level as they were growing before. Don’t tuck them in up to the chin like tomatoes. Just a nice step across to a bigger ‘apartment’ and peppers are happy. Keep them in a sunny window and water when the ground is dry 1/2” from the top.

When the plants get too big for your Styrofoam cup, and the weather has evenly up for spring, plant them out in your garden. They’re pretty plants, so they can hide out in your flower garden if you don’t actually have a veggie garden yet. Sometimes bell peppers bear heavily, and need some support. You can tie them loosely to a sturdy stick with ‘rings’ cut from old pantyhose that have ‘runs’ in them (waste not, want not) or use soft pieces of 1” wide cloth. Try not to make the ties too unsightly; gardens are supposed to be pretty, and we want yours to be the prettiest.

Gardens love veggies. In monasteries all over the world, the monks used to pair veggies and flowers that would help each other. There are several veggies that can enhance your flowers, and several flowers that go nicely into salads or cooking pots. I”ll be doing a post on that in the near future.

Meanwhile, I have a nice recipe for your dinner tonight, and tell the kids (especially the boys) that they need not eat the peppers themselves; that’s only for the men (If you have picky girls, say ‘It’s only for the grownups.’) Whatever vegetable matter they don’t eat can go into the compost bin, to create new earth for your next few years’ gardens, so don’t sweat the small stuff if they decide to stay little boys and girls for a while yet. They grow up too soon anyway.


1 # ground beef
4 green peppers
1 med onion
1 cup cooked rice
2 cloves garlic
3-4 cups pasta sauce
OR canned, diced tomatoes with juice
½ tsp thyme
¼ tsp oregano
olive oil
1-2 eggs
½--1 c grated Monterey Jack cheese
Salt and ground black pepper to taste


Peel and dice onion; reserve. Smash, peel and mince garlic; reserve. Boil some water in a 4-quart pot, and while this is heating up, wash your peppers. Take off the tops and save everything, as above. Using a tablespoon, clean the seeds and membranes out of the pepper and rinse it well.

Now from here you can do it one of two ways:

Either chop the pepper tops, onion and garlic, and sweat them along with your thyme, oregano, and black pepper, then proceed as follows, or you can:

Mix the meat, rice, eggs, onion, garlic, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper all together in a big bowl. Mix it with your hands to make sure it’s all evenly distributed. Reserve. Put your seeds in paper towels and the rest of the membranes and stuff into your compost container.

Now, boil the peppers for 3 minutes (and the tops, if you’re using method two—only watch them--they boil for a much shorter time than the whole-pepper cases—maybe for one minute). Remove them carefully—you don’t want to break them or punch a hole in one of them—and drop them in cold water. I use a large slotted kitchen spoon, or sometimes a large sieve with a handle.

Stuff them generously with the meat mixture and put them in a greased 9” X 9” pan or casserole. Pour the pasta sauce on top and around them and sprinkle the pepper tops with the cheese. If you have a canning funnel with a wide (2 ½”—3” mouth) you can center the opening over each pepper in turn and drop your cheese through, plop onto your pepper, no bits of cheese all over the pan. Cover with greased foil. If you use the spray-on stuff, your cheese won’t stick to the foil, it’ll pretty much stick to the pepper top, where you want it. Why feed the foil when the kids like it so well? An additional sprinkle of Parmesan doesn’t hurt, either, if it’s right there in the cabinet and your family likes it.

Leave a small air hole in the foil so the peppers can breathe.

Bake at 350*F for about 45 minutes to an hour, (or microwave [NOT in a metal pan!] for about 7-10 minutes, lightly covered by greased waxed paper. That should keep most of the cheese off the paper and onto the stuffed peppers.). Serve with a great mixed salad, corn-on-the-cob and iced tea. Nice!

See you next time, when we’ll be talking about

Remember to let me know what you think of the recipes, and of the blog in general! If there is something you’ve always wanted to cook, or grow, or both, let me know and I’ll do a post on it. This is a gift from me to you, and I’d like it to be something you really want. Thanks, and God love you!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Will Work For Food

Have you ever seen those people who stand under stop lights, bearing a cardboard sign that reads, "Will work for food"? I've often wondered why we don't use all that wasted land between freeway ramps and freeways, empty lots, and other unused patches of earth to cultivate food crops. Gasoline suppliers supposedly have removed the lead from their formulae, which makes exhaust safer for roadside plants, as well as for people; why aren't we raising sheep, or carrots, or lettuce or any number of things on that waste land? As long as there is one hungry person in this or any other country, can we really afford to waste one square foot of arable land--or even land that could be made arable? It's something to think about.

Okay, y'all, let's get down to growing! Here's today's post:


When you want to insure your family a supply of nice fresh veggies, look no farther than your own back yard or terrace. It’s very easy to grow many of the vegetables you enjoy most, and fun, too!

Start in your kitchen. Okay, let’s say you’re going to cut up some tomatoes and green peppers for a salad. Roma tomatoes are best for salad, because their flesh-to-seed ratio is higher than the big sandwich tomatoes, which can be a little watery sometimes. The Roma’s are also good for sun-drying, roasting, and using in a Pasta Primavera.

So you go ahead and cut up the tomatoes and green peppers. There will be lots of tomato-and green-pepper-seeds remaining on the cutting board. Separate out the green pepper seeds and put them on a saucer, a piece of waxed paper, or a paper towel. Reserve them for now. For what to do with green pepper seeds, and a great green pepper recipe, see my next post, “It is Easy Being Green—Peppers!”

Here’s what you will do with the tomatoes:

 Collect the seeds while you are cutting the tomatoes, and reserve them.
 Scoop up the tomato seeds and plop them into a clear glass container (a drinking glass or clean jelly jar will do just fine).
 Fill it with water, leaving ½” --1” space at the top of the glass.

What you are doing here is what’s called ‘retting’ the seeds. It’s actually a ‘wet-rotting’ process (Get it? Retting--rotting?) that will erode and destroy the jelly-like orange-red gel that surrounds each seed and prevents them from starting to grow while inside the tomato. It also will prevent their growing in your garden, which is why we’re retting them.

 Several times daily, check the tomato seeds. Stir briskly, then carefully pour off the water, including any floating seeds, loose pulp, gel, or bits of other material. Floating seeds float because they don’t have the elements inside that will let them grow and produce a plant. So it’s okay to dump them. (Note: if the seed has a lot of pulp or gel surrounding it, separate it from the pulp before deciding to toss it; it may be one of your better ‘growers’ that just got trapped.)

 Pour off the water and the floaters, stir briskly, and fill with fresh cool water.

 When the seeds seem to have no more gel left on them, pour them through a strainer, let dry and tap out onto a paper towel.

 When completely dry, save them in a paper ‘pocket’ or a folded, marked paper towel. Do not save seeds in plastic or waxed paper, as they are alive and need to breathe.

 I like to plant my seeds right away, since I have a veggie garden, but I like to start them first in a flat, half a milk carton with holes in the bottom, or a in a plastic box—the kind you buy cinnamon buns or strawberries in at the store. Line it with pieces of coffee filter cut to size, fill the box with good garden or potting soil and just pour your tomato seeds all over the top.

Do this over the sink, since you’ll probably have sort of a flood, or at least a lot of drips. Put up the cover and set them on a sunny windowsill, if you have one. Mine is in the kitchen, and I can watch over my ‘babies’ as they sprout and grow. I like to sprinkle about a 1/4” of soil over them. Either way, they’ll grow; the soil just helps them stay moist, which is absolutely REALLY important.

Pretty soon you’ll have lots of little tomato plants sticking their heads up. When they have four real leaves (cotyledons don’t count), transplant them to foam- plastic cups or clean canned veggie cans or whatever you have, with three holes cut into the bottoms with a “church-key” (a can-opener that makes a triangular hole.) Cover the holes with bits of coffee filter before you fill the cups halfway with good potting soil. Make a 1” hole in the center of the soil. One inch both ways.

Prick the tomato plants out carefully—I use a clean popsicle stick—and never, never, NEVER pick up a plant by its stem. Always pick it up by a leaf, tugging gently at it until it comes free. You can use a bit of water to get it out of the soil without damaging the roots. That usually helps.

Place your baby tomato plant in the hole (in the cup) and tuck it in gently. Fill up the cup until the plant has only its leaves above the soil. Doing this gives the plant a chance to build roots all along the stem, and makes for a stronger and healthier plant. It will just stand there for about a week, and then start growing so fast you’ll think you traded your cow for these seeds.

When the plant outgrows the cup, and the weather is warm enough, transplant your tomatoes into your veggie or flower garden. Provide a stake, a wire cage or something of the sort for each one, so it can hold on and remain upright. You don’t want all those luscious tomatoes lying on the ground, rotting away. Keep the plant straight and tall, and you’ll be eating sweet, fresh, organic tomatoes in no time.

If you grow too many tomatoes to eat right off the vine, you've brought lots and lots to the soup kitchen or food bank, and your neighbors and friends have been given all they will take, here’s something fun to do with the excess:


6-8 fresh tomatoes
1 can refrigerated pizza dough
1 really large (not giant, but big) onion
4--6 cloves (the individual pieces, not the whole head) garlic
About ½ c fresh basil
2 Tbsps fresh oregano*
2 cups , home-made sugo, good tomato sauce or pizza sauce*
Olive oil as needed
A sprinkle of red pepper flakes, if you like*
1-1 ½ c grated Italian cheese-Parmesan,
Peccorino-Romano, Parmigiano/Reggiano,
or if you don’t have any of that, just use
Mozzerella or Monterey Jack. Cheddar is
good, too, unless you’re Italian or Sicilian.


Grease a jellyroll pan or cookie sheet with some of the olive oil. Don’t go crazy, you don’t want greasy old pizza. Just enough. Lay out your dough, spreading it as evenly as you can. Slice your tomatoes into ½” slices and lay them on the dough like shingles on a roof. Chop the washed basil and sprinkle liberally over the tomatoes. Smash, peel and mince the garlic. Peel and slice your onions into ¼” slices like onion rings, and fry them and the garlic in a bit of the oil until they sweat and smell wonderful. Lay them over the basil and the oregano, if you’re using it.

Now this is where you use the sauce, if you’re going to use it. I usually don’t, unless I have made some sugo and have some left over. Famous last word, “left over.” (One time one of my kids came to me and said, “Mom, what’s a leftover?” Poor kid thought it was a baseball pitch. He had big brothers and sisters with insatiable appetites, so he never met a leftover. At least, none that he recognized. More on that later.)

Sometimes I use the 2 Tbsps oregano*, sometimes less. People should cook according to their moods that day. Use the oregano, don’t use the oregano… 'Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Wednesday'... Do whatever you like about that. You know what you like.

Cover everything with grated cheese and bake at 350--400 F (oven heats vary) until the crust is golden and the family is rushing the kitchen salivating, armed with paper plates, and forks at the ready. Hold them off until you cool the pizza a little bit, and then let them at it. Be sure you grab a couple of slices, too, before it disappears. Enjoy!

PS: This is really good on a hot day with an ice-cold soda, and beer for the men.

*optional, but try it sometime.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Squash It!

Personal note here first: I’ve got to apologize for the long time between posts. I took a nasty spill in my garden, and being as old as the hill St. Peter preached on, I landed in the emergency room and have been limping around like a rabbit. I’m better now, so I’m back to work with good stuff to share. I’ll try not to be so clumsy next time, okay? And you say one for me.

My Squash is Up!

Guess what? My squash plants are up and thriving! Well, “thriving” might be an understatement…the plants are so big they’re crawling out of their space and beginning to set flowers, right in the 4” X 4” modules I “potted them up” into. My Al is building me ten 4’ X 8’ raised beds for our veggies, and while some of them are going strong (I’ve got one nice bed full of beefsteak-type tomatoes, with jalapenos bordering half of the bed, and Anaheim chilis on the other half.) Cabbage and english peas, along with german iris, chard, and seed-onions (meaning onions i grow simply because they make so much seed) occupy another, along with a clump of oregano in one corner. The rest are in progress—and so are the veggies! I’m running out of room, so Al and I are working as fast as we can. But Nature (common word for God) always works faster.

Oh, if you don’t believe in God, just say “Nature.” We’ll know Who you mean. Fair enough?

Okay, let’s talk about squash.

Here in North Texas, April is the month when most nurseries start cutting back on carrying veggie plants, because mostly everyone has already bought-(or grown-and put-in) their own Chosen Vegetables by now. I started mine back in early March because I just love to get my hands dirty, feeling the soil and smelling the clean, fresh tang of the good earth. It’s my Italian roots, I guess. Remember in the movie “Gladiator,” when Russell Crowe kept kneeling to take a handful of earth and rub it through his fingers? It’s the same thing. There’s just something primal and extremely satisfying to know that this is the stuff we are all made from, and that the food we are planting will come from it as well.

We never had squash on the table when I was a child, except patty-pan squash, that flat white squash that looks like a flying saucer.
Of course, it was the Depression and then the WWII years, and everyone pretty much stuck to what they knew. We were luckier than most, living in New Orleans, because we had access to all sorts of seafood, and in Louisiana and most the of the Gulf South, you don’t have to worry about whether what you’re planting will grow; you have to worry whether you sat down too long on the old Mississippi mud, because the old people said if you sat too long, you’d come up leaves. Sometimes we kids would quietly strew leaves on each other and then yell that, oh, no, our friends or cousins ‘had been sittin’ too long!’ They’d invariably jump up and scream bloody murder, for the first few times at least.

Oh, well, kids… It was fun, though.

Squash is very easy to grow. You just take a nursery flat, or a flat somebody builds for you out of old wood, or an old rusty 9”X13”x2” baking pan with some holes punched in the bottom for drainage—or even half of a cardboard milk carton, cut top to bottom, with holes put in it. Cover the holes with torn pieces of coffee filter to keep the soil from running away, and fill it up with good dirt (I use potting soil to start my seeds, but do whatever you want.)

Now plant your squash. Put the big old seeds in, pointy side downwards, a couple of inches apart. You can put them closer, but then they get involved with each other, and you have a hard time separating them when the time comes.

Push them in a little way. You shouldn’t be able to see their tops, but remember, they’re not mining for coal, so use some judgment. Water them well and put them in the sun. They should never dry out, but they don’t know how to swim, either, so again, moderation is the key. Water them daily if your air is dry.

If you only want a few—say a dozen—plants, you can make little lines in your flat/pan. One line of squash, one of marigolds, one of bell peppers, and so on. Make them about 1 ½ to 2 inches apart. If you want to, you can put in the seeds of jalapenos, Anaheim chilis or cayennes as well. Hungarian yellows are good, too.

Pretty soon—say in 10 days to a week, maybe sooner if you’re lucky—you should see a curved pale green loop coming out of the ground, and then the first “green things.” They look like leaves, sort of, but they’re not. They’re ‘cotyledons.’ Cotyledons, pronounced “cotty—LEAD—uns” are just the two sides of the seed case. After they look around and make sure the coast is clear, they allow two tiny true leaves to come up from the center, and from then on in, it’s an explosion of large leaves and thick stems.

You can put them in the garden any time the weather is warm enough in your area and they have their second leaves; but I always wait until they’re big enough to intimidate the birds. Birds love to dig up sprouting plants. I guess they get some Vitamin C or something from them; after all, they can’t squeeze oranges, they have to get it somewhere. Just not from our plants, right? You’d better believe it!

Your squash will make two kinds of flowers: male and female. The male flowers have straight, slim stems, and the female flowers have a distinctive bulge at the bottom of the flower. (No comments from the guys in the audience, please.) You can pick and stuff the male flowers--, usually with some sort of cheese, or a cheese and nut mix--and then dredge them in egg-mixed-with a tbsp of water and then in a mix of flour/Parmesan/basil/oregano/garlic and fry them quickly in olive oil. Leave the female flowers alone if you want squash for the table. When the fruit is four to six inches long, it’s perfect. Young squash can be eaten, skin and all. Larger fruits must be peeled, halved and stuffed with turkey dressing-type dressing, or sliced very fine in other dishes. More on thatin another post.

Here’s my favorite recipe for crookneck squash. I got it from my sister-in-law, Suzie Pope Artell. Suzie’s one of the best cooks out there, and this is just one of her many luscious recipes. I make it for every holiday, and the children and grandchildren fall upon it and gobble it up as fast as good manners will allow. Sometimes faster.


2 # yellow squash
½ c mayonnaise
½ stick butter or oleo
1 c bread crumbs
½ large bell pepper
1 large onion
1 egg
1 can sliced water chestnuts
½ # block cheddar cheese
1 tsp sugar or Splenda®
Salt and black pepper to taste


Heat oven to 350*F. Peel and chop the onion fine. Reserve. Wash, seed and chop the bell pepper. Save the seeds for your windowsill garden. Don’t save the onion skins for the compost—they deter earthworms, who are your best friends in the garden. More on that later. Beat the egg and reserve it. Peel the squash if it is longer than 6” and slice into 1/8” discs. Reserve. Butter a 1 ½ qt casserole or baking dish. Drain water chestnuts, rinse in a sieve under running water and reserve.


In a small amount of water, over medium heat, cook the squash until it is very soft. Be careful not to let it burn. Burned squash smells and tastes nasty! You’d have to start all over again. Drain it into your soup container in the freezer and reserve the squash.

In a large frying pan, melt the butter or oleo and sweat the onion and bell pepper until they surrender. You can tell when they’re ready: the onion becomes rather transparent, and the veggies appear to be perspiring. Add these vegetables to the squash. It’s best to let it cool just a bit here so the egg you’re about to add doesn’t scramble on you.

Now, add the remaining ingredients—but NOT the bread crumbs—mix well, and pour all of it into the casserole. Top the whole thing off with an even layer of bread crumbs (well, as even as you can) and bake it for 30 minutes. Refrigerate leftovers, if any. I doubt it.

Enjoy your week-end, and I'll see you next time. God bless you.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Everybody Loves Sweet Potatoes!

Did you ever wish you could buy sweet potato seeds from your garden store? Well, they’re not available yet, unfortunately.

However, you can make wonderful sweet potato plants!--and if you do it right, and you have a nice, warm, well-drained soil for the plants to mature in, you can get some nice results. Here’s how:

Buy a sweet potato from your farm market and stick toothpicks in it all round, about 1/3 of the way to the end. Be sure the pointed end is down. Place the potato into a container with a narrow neck, so that the toothpicks-- or chopsticks or whatever--will support it with 1/3 of it standing above the water and 2/3 submerged. Stand on a bright windowsill or table, and leave it alone. Make sure you keep the water level constant.

Pretty soon you should start seeing little red-and-green leaves coming right through the skin. Be glad. Keep watching. They will grow out into long, slender vines with pretty leaves on them. Here in the South, people used to grow them just for their beauty, but then some smart-aleck spread the rumor that they were bad luck, and the practice fell off somewhat. My guess is, they’re only bad luck if you don’t know what to do with them, or if you drop the container on your spouse’s favorite recliner an hour before the Big Game.

We’re going to suppose that you have light, well-drained and well-enriched soil outside, in your big container, or in your greenhouse; or wherever you intend to grow the sweet potatoes. When the vines are about 14 inches long, detach them from the plant (you can either cut or pull them) and plunge the part you cut/pulled off into a container of clean water. Put them in a bright place and leave them alone. Just keep the water level constant, as before.

Pretty soon, thin white roots will start spreading out from the bottoms of the vines, and they will just fill the jar; this is when you know you are ready to plant them. Be sure you wait until all danger of frost is past, and then put them in. They need nice loose sandy soil and full sun all day long. If your soil isn’t sandy, buy some play sand (be sure it’s not salty!) and mix it in, or use some other additives, like vermiculite, to loosen the soil.

Keep them well-watered but don’t drown them.

You can get a nice harvest of sweet potatoes this way from just one sweet potato if you’re willing to do the work. I love doing it.

Here’s what to do with your sweet potatoes once you’ve grown them:
(Please don’t try this with canned sweet potatoes—really! You will be so-o-o-sorry!)

This is one recipe that couldn’t be simpler!

1 (2-3 #) pork roast 4-5 large sweet potatoes
6-8 fresh garlic cloves olive oil for searing the roast
2 parts Salt white wine, chicken broth or water as needed
1 part black pepper (Be sure to put some of it in the food)
Flour as needed (about 1 c)


Peel the potatoes and put the peels in your compost container. Unwrap the roast and wipe dry with paper towers or a very clean non-lint cloth towel. Place the roast on a cutting board and cover with a towel. Smash and peel the garlic and cut lengthwise into three slices. Reserve. Mix salt and pepper in a small bowl. Reserve. Cut 18-24 pockets into the roast by plunging a paring knife about ¾ way through it. DO NOT GO ALL THE WAY THROUGH.

With the handle of a tsp, pick up a little of the salt/pepper mix and put it into one of the pockets, followed by one slice of garlic. Repeat with each pocket, then mix remaining salt/pepper mix with the flour. Dredge the roast in the flour this way: put the seasoned flour into a gallon-sized zipper-locking plastic bag and put the roast in on top of it. Then roll the bag around until the roast is covered with flour.) Shake off the excess flour.

In a heavy aluminum or cast-iron Dutch Oven or roasting pot, heat enough oil to cover the bottom (and up the sides when you tilt the pot.) You should not need more than four Tbsps. Brown the roast well on all sides until the whole roast is a nice, dark golden brown. Turn down the heat to medium low and add about a cup or two of wine, water or broth.

Cover the pot, leaving the cover offset a bit so the steam can escape, and relax. Check it every 10 or 15 minutes and add liquid as needed. Move ther roast around with tongs from tinme to time so it doesn’t stick. The roast will shrink slightly when it’s about ready, and that’s when you can pierce it with a kitchen fork. Do this twice at most or your meat will be dry.

When the juices run clear, place the sweet potato halves around the roast and let it cook until the fork meets no resistance when you try to pierce the sweet potatoes.

Remove from the heat and allow the roast to repose (rest off the heat) before you try to slice it. When you do, make sure your cutting board has a gravy-gutter to catch all those yummy juices. Serve them with the sweet potatoes.

Present this with some wonderful green veggie—broccoli, mustard greens, or Brussels Sprouts—sweet cornbread, and whatever you choose to drink. With this meal, who cares?