Life begins anew when you finally realize the magic of hyper-ingredient-focused meals. A healthy recipe doesn’t have to have thirty elements and a thousand add-ins — sometimes just a hearty helping of a single, seasonal veg topped with a killer make-ahead sauce gets the job done.

A gorgeous new cookbook from Bon Appetit’s former food director, Carla Lalli Music, Where Cooking Begins, presents a beautiful guide to truly modern cooking. Laid back and built to share, these simple but sophisticated recipes are the kind you accidentally memorize and learn to live by.

Carla’s recipe for sweet potatoes with a tangy, citrusy tahini butter will cure you of any major craving and leave you feeling full land nourished. Enjoy alongside some clean protein and greens or on its own for a quick and completely satisfying meal…

Sweet Potatoes With Tahini Butter
Makes 6 servings 


3 lbs sweet potatoes, any color (6 small or 3 large), scrubbed
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 Tbsp tahini
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
¼ cup fresh lime juice, plus wedges for serving
kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
flaky sea salt + toasted sesame seeds, for serving


Bring a few inches of water to a boil in a medium stockpot fitted with a steamer basket. Halve the sweet potatoes crosswise if large and place them in the steamer. Cover, reduce the heat to medium and steam until potatoes are completely tender, about 30 minutes. (I use a cake tester to check doneness, but the tines of a fork or tip of a paring knife would work, too.)

In a small bowl, combine the butter, tahini, soy sauce, sesame oil and lime juice and use a spatula, spoon or fork to smash them together. You may think the butter and the liquids will never fully combine, but don’t give up — it will happen. Season tahini butter with salt and a generous amount of pepper.

Use tongs to transfer cooked potatoes to a large plate or platter. When just cool enough to handle, split potatoes in half and spread tahini butter generously onto flesh. Don’t be skimpy: The tahini butter is a sauce, not a schmear. Top with a liberal coating of sesame seeds and season with flaky salt. Serve with more lime wedges — these really come alive with lots of bright citrus.

Reprinted from Where Cooking Begins: Uncomplicated Recipes To Make You a Great Cook. Copyright © 2019 by Carla Lalli Music. Photographs copyright © 2019 Gentl and Hyers. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.

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