Baked Yams with Garlic Aioli, Here and Now

I, the Queen of Nostalgia, and experienced serious bout of said emotion a few nights ago as I paged through the November issue of Food Network Magazine. It was the last issue I worked on as an intern, and it felt strange to realize the reason I initially moved to New York City had fully run its course. Kind of like when the last Harry Potter movie came out, if you know what I mean. It’s debatable which experience was more magical.

This is why I started thinking back on my time in NYC. I can’t believe I’ve lived here for almost six months already, and it’s so strange that this is the longest I’ve ever been away from the Midwest. Moving out here was one of the hardest things I’ve done, and being so far from family is never easy. My nostalgia knows this well.

The tRuth is, I have no little idea how long I will stay in New York City, or where I would go if I left, and what I would “do.” Lost soul? Wandering nomad? Aesthetic voyager? Maybe. But I do know that, nostalgia aside, it feels right to be exactly where I am, right now. Especially when my here and now involves taking a 13-mile walk from the top of the island Manhattan to the bottom,

or sitting in the audience of The Chew, mere feet away from Maria Batali an Michael Symon,

or the random “oh my God I live in New York City in the fall” moments, like this,

and especially when it involves baked yams with garlic aioli. If I do say so myself. What do you love about your here and now?

Baked Yams with Garlic Aioli

Adapted from Food Network Magazine

Makes 6 yams


6 yams

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup grapeseed oil or coconut oil

2 cloves garlic

Sea salt

2 large egg yolks

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Chopped fresh parsley


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Prick each yam with a fork in a few spots and arrange on a baking sheet. Bake until soft, about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil, grapeseed or coconut oil, and whole garlic cloves in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until the garlic is soft, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. Remove the cooked garlic with a slotted spoon and transfer to a cutting board (reserve the infused oil). Using the flat side of a chef’s knife, mash the garlic with a pinch of salt until smooth; set aside. Make the aioli: Put the egg yolks, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon water and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium heatproof bowl. Bring a few inches of water to a bare simmer in a medium saucepan, then turn off the heat. Set the bowl with the egg yolks over the saucepan (do not let the bowl touch the water); whisk just until the egg mixture thickens slightly, 30 seconds to 1 minute, then remove the bowl from the saucepan. Using a hand mixer or a whisk, gradually beat in the garlic-infused oil in a slow, steady stream until the aioli is thick and creamy. (If it gets too thick, beat in 1 to 2 teaspoons water.) Mix in the mashed cooked garlic and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cover and refrigerate. Remove the yams from the oven and let cool slightly. Split open and fluff the insides with a fork. Thin the aioli with water, if desired, and spoon onto the yams. Sprinkle with parsley.

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