Saturday, November 20, 2010

Xan: Sweet potato fries!

Once upon a time, Catherine did not like sweet potatoes.  As a stand-alone fact, mind you, this does not trouble me.  Economists are not in the business of telling people what their basic preferences should be; to the contrary, we are some of the more accepting people out there.

But combined with some other facts, I start to become troubled.  For one, I believe -- and Catherine would surely agree -- that adding "sweet" in front of a food makes it more delicious.  And for another, Catherine likes potatoes.  Yes, I think we can see where this is going, ah, deeply troubling indeed.  If Catherine likes potatoes, and she prefers sweet X to X, then she has revealed a preference for sweet potatoes.  She should like sweet potatoes even more than she likes regular potatoes*!

Thus reasoning, I knew that she must simply have missed some important information about the deliciousness of sweet potatoes.  And so I gave it to her, in the form of Lin's Sweet Potato Discs.  The recipe is super easy:

Preheat oven to 400**.  
Peel and slice a sweet potato into quarter-inch-thick discs. 
Spread some olive oil on a baking pan, sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper, lay down the potatoes in a layer.
Cook for 20 min, flip and cook for another 20, done.

There.  Simple, right?  And in my case, it turned out to be enough for the required conversion.  But indeed, from this simple starting point, one is driven to ask: How might I alter the recipe? How can I take it a little farther?

Here's my problem: I haven't mastered spices, and I mean really haven't fact I hardly know what's going on there at all.  In most recipes, there are lots of ingredients -- often including several spices -- and it's usually hard to tell what's contributing what to the final product.  By contrast, this recipe is simple.  It provides a nice jumping-off point from which to experiment.  I can try things and see what happens.  It's easy and delicious pretty much no matter what I do.  So, slowly I'm figuring my way around.

I started cutting the sweet potatoes like fries, coating them in olive oil, and then mixing the salt/pepper/whatever spices in a bowl before laying them in the pan.  I have also found that a small amount of sugar works well (sweeter potatoes, anyone?).  So far the results have been pretty yummy:

Maybe one day when I have gravitated to something really awesome, I will post the recipe.  But if you are like now-me and you want to be like future-me, then for now...just experiment!  Cut them however you want. Put whatever you want on them.  Smaller things should be cooked at a higher temperature for less time (e.g. fries at say 450 for 25-30 min).  Just keep an eye on them, and have fun.  And deliciousness.  Your tummy will thank you.  So will everyone else's.

*I hope this doesn't have to be said, but no, I am not being particularly serious right now.
**Here you have an option.  Fahrenheit if you like your sweet potatoes soft in the center but browned on the outside, Celsius if crispy is more your thing.  Try it both ways, see what works for you!

1 comment:

  1. Xan, I think the culinary verb you're looking for there is "toss". If it's not, it should be!

    and as I said, cumin! have you tried brown sugar instead of white? also consider: ginger, or nutmeg, or going the scarborough fair route and doing parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.