Baked Sweet Potato Fries

I’ve had these in restaurants before, but I wanted to try making them at home. I dutifully looked up a variety of recipes from different sources. They all had similar techniques and all called for salt, black pepper, garlic and paprika.

My tastebuds disagreed. Apparently so did my partner’s, for we decided to do half my way and half to his tastes.

Not liking the look of the sweet potatoes immediately available to me, I grabbed a bag of frozen, crinkle-cut instead. While these had some processing done to them, there wasn’t muchin the way of chemical additives. When one is determined to experiment, one isn’t always too picky.
Sweet Potato Fries a’ la A.C.

Ingredients: (that I used)
1 bag of frozen sweet potato fries, appx. 20 ounces
1 TBSP grapeseed/garlic oil, for tossing
1 tsp dried dill
1 salt to taste
1 TBSP Jamaican jerk spices

Make sure the fries are thawed and patted dry. Place in a bowl large enough to toss them.

 

Add oil and toss lightly. Add dill and salt, toss some more.

Reserve half.

Lay out half of fries in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in a 450F oven and bake for about 15 minutes, turning them once or twice during the baking time. The fries should be sizzling when removed from the oven.

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Spread the fries onto a paper towel to drain, if needed.

Add the jerk spices to the second group of fries and toss well. Follow the steps above to cook them up.

Serve hot with dipping sauces of your choice.

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Not only are these fries tasty, they are a visually appealing and colorful addition to any plate.

While we used a garlic/dill spicing and Jamaican jerk, you may use whatever flavors tickle your fancy. Use any spice or spice combination: chipotle powder, smoked paprika, Chinese five-spice, pumpkin pie spice, garam masala, Cajun seasoning, etc. for a little extra caramelization, add a little brown sugar to your toss.

A couple of things that all of the recipes I’ve looked at have stressed: Don’t cut the potatoes any thicker than 1/2-inch square, though make them as long as you like. And be sure to lay the potato slices out in a single layer before putting them into the oven. This makes a lot of sense, if you want the fries to cook evenly especially if they are hand cut and not of a uniform size. Wherever two or more fries touch, the potato will not cook properly, leaving you with somewhat raw bites.

Any potatoes that can be sliced into fries may be used with this recipe, though raw potatoes will take longer to cook all the way through. Some of them will take up to half an hour. Thinly sliced carrots, chunky zucchini slices, and other types of veggies are also excellent when cooked up in this manner. Try several and see which ones you prefer!

Enjoy!

–Ann Cathey

Crock Pot Adventures – Sweet Pork Loin

Once again we found ourselves with a crock-pot in need of exercise. Upon inspecting the kitchen, we found an interesting combination of ingredients to try out with a pork roast, all of them on the sweeter side of the flavor spectrum.

While we have done a pork roast with onion, apple and mead, we went for a slightly different track this time. Pork, sweet onion, yams, and some mild yellow bell pepper.

There are no photos of the prep as it was early and I had yet to have my first cup of coffee before getting excited about this meal. As you will soon see, however, we got a few shots of the end product.

Ingredients:
1/2 of a fist sized sweet onion (my fist), diced
4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
1/2 of a large yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp season salt
1 pork roast, about 3lbs
1/4 cup home-made ciser (apple mead)

Directions:
If you use crock-pot liners, insert one. Spread diced onion evenly across the bottom. Layer sliced sweet potatoes on top of the onion, with a sprinkle of garlic powder or diced raw garlic between the layers.

Lay in the pork roast, fat side up. Sprinkle remaining garlic, onion powder and season salt across the top. Arrange bell pepper sliced across the top of the meat.

Half-way through the cooking time, open the crock and pour the ciser across the top of the meat. Pour slowly so as to get a good coverage of the liquor across the entire roast.

Seal and cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 4 hours, or until the meat is cooked through.

Serves 4-8 depending on your serving sizes. We tend to serve large.

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photo 2Enjoy!

— Ann Cathey

Not the Turkey You Were Looking For

For Thanksgiving this year, I was unfortunately unable to secure the turkey I was looking forward to cooking and consuming. Instead, I wound up scrounging in the kitchen to come up with a passable meal. I think this one counts as a win.
IMG_0471We had a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon from the Wine for Dummies collection to start with, that my partner found in, of all places, a dollar store (but not for a buck). It had a lovely, dark color, a somewhat fruity nose, and a delightfully full-bodied tartness.

IMG_0476In the chest freezer I found a pound each of ground buffalo and lamb. When mixed with the right spices (onion, garlic, and white pepper) and with a bit of red wine, this became what is affectionately known as a BAM loaf. With all the ingredients thoroughly mixed by hand, it went into a 300F oven for about two hours.

IMG_0475Then there were the sweet potatoes. they were peeled and washed rather than simply baked whole. We played with spiral cutting them, the spirals becoming “butterflies” and the leftover chunks going into a pan to roast. We seasoned with garlic, cinnamon and seasoned salt. While the chunks cooked to a turn, the spiral butterflies did not bake so well. I think we will try deep frying them next time.

IMG_0481In a heating skillet we dropped some butter and minced garlic with white pepper. Once it was browned a bit in went some sliced crimini, fresh baby spinach leaves, and a couple of tablespoons of red wine. Stir, heat to wilting stage, and serve!

 

 

 

 
IMG_0487The plate turned out attractively, and everything passed the discriminating taste testing. Voila!

— Ann Cathey