August: Chai-Spiced Yam Bruschetta with Crunchy Kale

I first encountered Plum when I was volunteering at KEXP 90.3 FM: before the radio station’s new home was built at Seattle Center, the major giving offices were located upstairs in the Armory, where the food court is. I stopped by Plum Pantry for pre-made salads and sandwiches on my way to my other job, but at the time I didn’t know it was part of a larger group of restaurants owned by Makini Howell. Today, the Plum brand encompasses a vegan bistro, bakery, food truck, pantry, catering and a cookbook. Although the Plum Pantry food is delicious, I’m excited to try something more elaborate.

Plum: Gratifying Vegan Dishes from Seattle’s Plum Bistro

Makini Howell, Sasquatch Books (2013)

Bruschetta, in its most basic form, is grilled bread with garlic, salt and olive oil. It originated in Italy during the 16th century, although dipping toasted bread in olive oil can be traced back to Ancient Rome when olive growers wanted to taste a new pressing of oil. The word bruschetta is derived from the Roman word bruscare, which means “to toast.” Bruschetta can be topped with a variety of regional ingredients, including herbs, beans, cheeses, vegetables and meat – but toasted bread always plays a central role.

Get the recipe here!

Modifications, Testing and Recommendations: This recipe was extremely easy to follow, I didn’t need any special kitchen gadgets, and the end result was amazing. My kitchen smelled delicious for hours because of the yams and chai roasting in the oven. I admit that I didn’t use “soy-free vegan buttery spread” and just used butter instead. In the future I would slice the baguette a little thinner, and brush the slices with olive oil before toasting in the oven.

Roasting the yams was the most time-consuming part of the process, but once they were finished, everything came together relatively quickly. The flavors are great for the autumn, and I could definitely see myself bringing these as an appetizer to Thanksgiving. The ginger and chai and a nice substitute for the cinnamon and nutmeg you would usually see with yams.

“A woman who can eat a real bruschetta is a woman you can love and who can love you.” – Nick Harkaway

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