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.Print
ally’s skillet spiced yams
- Yield: 6
- 3 tbsp coconut oil
- 3 cups diced peeled yams or sweet potatoes
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 1/4 cups frozen corn, thawed
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
- 1 tsp red chili flakes
- 1/2 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!)
The dish looks amazingly delicious! The cookbook sounds very interesting. I can feel sincerity. Like all the cooking comes from the heart. And I believe that makes the dishes really great in flavor and appearance.
Maureen, are you in Boho? I’m almost positive I’m just making this connection right now! Ally’s book is fantastic. not only is she such a sweetheart her book really is sincere and that’s what I’m drawn to. The recipes are unique as well.
Your secret island life dream + backwards reading are shared, lady! I always skim in the index + pictures first. And honestly, who doesn’t want to be barefoot at the beach all day long?
Also, cumin + lime is always a winner <3
Ah, yes. Strength in numbers. Glad to know there are other barefoot, backwards, island-loving, cumin craving people out there <3
Pam Green says
I flip through cookbooks and look at all the photos first too! This recipe looks so different…love it!
Thank you Pam! It’s absolutely delicious. The flavors and texture just work. Next time, I’m going to try it with grilled shrimp as a main meal. xoxo
Kim | a little lunch says
Oh holy cow… did I say “NOT” to make this dish… I meant every reason TO make this dish. Sheesh… you know what I meant, lol! (So did everybody else!) MUST MAKE!!!! (And thanks again, xo)
No worries. I got ya! ;)
Kim | a little lunch says
Emilie, if sweet taters are even remotely related to Clever Carrots :) (if not, they should be) your review was a delight to read and your photos were an EXPLOSION for my palate imagination! I’ve been meaning to make this dish and you’ve given me every excuse NOT to (bonus points for Margaritas and Island dream destinations!) Thanks so much for sharing your heart, your stories, and your verve. xo
Thank you so much Kim! First of all, I’ve been reading your blog (via Celia) and I didn’t make the connection that you were Ally’s editor! What? How’s that for a small world. Love it. xoxo
Fabulous! I bought a Kindle copy, but haven’t made anything from it yet. Really looking forward to it though, as it’s a great read! And edited by our friend Kim at A Little Lunch! :)
Kim | a little lunch says
Awwwww shucks (and THANKS) Celia… you’re a love!
Celia, how on earth did I miss that? I never would’ve made the connection (I need more coffee in my life, clearly). I love this community we belong too, it’s such a small fabulous world. xoxo Oh, and ps- you could make this recipe with your ever growing trombie supply…
Looks like an intriguing recipe. I like the way you describe her style in the cookbook.
Intriguing indeed… the colors and flavors certainly caught my attention. Plus, I had some of those beautiful purple chive flowers in the garden, it was definitely meant to be. xo
Emilie, Emilie! First of all, the most poignant part of this everything fabulous post is that you disclosed, ‘she is my friend.’ Yes, we are special friends, friends who have an immense respect for each others’ work…and your talents blow me away! You made a ‘good’ recipe MOST DIVINE! That’s your magic, Emilie…like fairy dust and it all comes alive and talks to me! All I can say is ‘yo mon’ you have rocked this recipe! And, I can’t WAIT for your cookbook, luv! Thank you thank you!! xo ~ally
Ahhhh! You’re making me blush… stop it! It was (and still is) an absolute a pleasure to cook from your book. I said it a million times already, but the unique style, presentation and overall conversional tone of the book elevates you into another category. I can feel your passion and hard work in the pages. It takes an army ( I know this now!) and you pulled it off. Well done and I can’t wait to see where your magic carpet lands next… xo
Don’t you just love this cookbook? Friday is almost here and we can let the weekend begin! xoxo
I do! And I’m so proud to see it all put together- that makes it extra special for me… the journey. xo
Elaine @ foodbod says
The recipe looks lovely, I’ll definitely check the book out :)
Hello Elaine! Ally’s book is fantastic; I’d think you’d really like her recipes and style. There are some great veggie options too :) Thank for stopping by!
I am loving Ally’s book, too, and this recipe is on my must-cook list. It looks absolutely divine and your photos are gorgeous!
Hi Ann! Isn’t it fabulous? I love how unique and unexpected all of the recipes are. Its definitely a good one to add to the collection :)
Traci | Vanilla And Bean says
Oh my, Emilie, I can see how you’d be transported to a tropical Isle with a margarita in hand. The fragrance alone of this dish must have been intoxicating! Thank you for sharing this recipe, a delight for the senses. I adore sweet potatoes and love finding new ways to prepare them. “Sultry” is an excellent word to describe this recipe of comfort! Delicious post and lovely cookbook… xx
Yes! The fragrance of this dish- the cumin, lime, sweet corn and brown sugar- oh, my it’s amazing. I want to bottle it all up. Sweet potatoes are one of my faves too and I love them paired with savory ingredients to balance out that natural sweetness. I’m in the mood for sweet potato fries now… ;)
Jocelyn (Grandbaby cakes) says
I love the warmth in which you describe the voice of the author and even the warmth of this recipe. This is a cookbook I must check out.
You know, it’s easy to write something sincere when it comes from the heart. This book and the author are truly unique, and when you feel that enthusiasm, it’s hard not to share. Do check it out; it’s a great read! xo
Thank you for the nice recipe.
You’re welcome Liz! It’s a fantastic book & recipe ;)