Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Shallots

1 to 1-1/2 pounds sweet potatoes [1 large or 2 medium]
3 to 4 shallots, peeled, ends trimmed and halved lengthwise
2 cloves garlic, chopped
olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into bite-sized chunks. Place in a 9?13-inch glass baking dish. Add shallots and garlic to baking dish and drizzle with 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Toss gently with a wooden spoon to avoid breaking up shallots. Season generously with salt and pepper, then sprinkle with cayenne pepper. Toss gently again to spread seasonings more or less evenly.

Place baking dish on middle rack in oven and roast 40 to 55 minutes, stirring gently a couple of times during the roasting, until sweet potatoes are tender and slightly browned. The sweet potatoes may absorb a bit of the olive oil and appear to be drying out?just drizzle with some more oil before tossing them. The shallots may brown even more than the sweet potatoes, and the chopped garlic will almost certainly blacken. That?s okay?all will be delicious. If your sweet potatoes were refrigerated before roasting, as mine were, you will probably need the full 55 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve immediately.

Arroz con Leche

1 cup long-grain white rice
2 cinnamon sticks
2 strips of lemon or orange zest
3 whole cloves or a tiny pinch of ground cloves
4 cups water
1 egg
3 cups whole milk
1 (12-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup raisins (optional)

Soak the rice, cinnamon sticks, lemon or orange zest and whole or powdered cloves in the water in a heavy saucepan for 1 hour.

After soaking, bring the rice mixture to a boil on high heat, uncovered. When it starts to boil (about 5 minutes), lower the heat to medium and cook for 10 to 12 more minutes or until water is almost evaporated.

While rice is cooking, beat the egg in a bowl. Add the milk and stir well to mix. Add the egg mixture, vanilla extract and condensed milk to the rice and cook over medium-low heat, stirring carefully, until it thickens slightly or until desired consistency, about 25 to 35 minutes This pudding does most of its thickening as it cools, but the end result should still be thinner than traditional rice pudding.