A Market Affair-y-tale (with updated pictures)
In quest of something to satisfy my creative appetite and attraction to the fresh, spring-like weather, I went to the Farmer’s Market in Dallas. I had never been, and I am glad I went. There, my senses gained a heightened perspective, sort of similar to what it feels like when, after a few stubborn moments of boycott, you finally decide to put those terribly awkward 3-d goggles on at the movies.
As I scrutinized the market’s venue, I noticed how the colorful, vine vegetables and fruits harmoniously contrasted amongst the earth-like tones of their groundling counterparts. The abundance of farm-fresh produce inspired me to feel awakened as it mesmerized me out of my winter-like slumber.
I came across a rotunda-sized sweet potato that was as large as my intrigued eyes. Although I opted for the strawberries, baby eggplants, and avocados, I cannot get those sweet potatoes out of my head:
I keep thinking about how I will go back next weekend for them so I can make my delicious, garlic-sweet-potato-fries recipe (which I ended up doing, and posted pics below).
This is a flexible recipe, which you can adjust the INGREDIENTS according to like, I usually play-it-by ear and eye-measure everything:
3 Sweet potatoes
4 cloves of garlic
1 and 1/2tsp turmeric or curry powder
1tsp fresh ground black pepper (or just crank out a few grinds)
1/4 cup olive oil (or you can melt some unsalted butter)
1 tsp paprika
1 large, sharp, smooth-edged knife
1 mortar and pestle
In a snapshot, this is a generalization of what the ingredients/tools should look like (minus a few of the essentials):
Above all, preheat oven to 425 degrees
Detach three garlic cloves (or more, if you like ) and peel.
Pound them with the mortar and pestle, until completely mashed.
In a large, glass bowl add the olive oil, garlic, pepper, curry powder (or turmeric), and paprika. Mix together with a spoon.
Part II- Sweet Potatoes:
Microwave the sweet potatoes for about 2 minutes and 30 seconds (you want them a little soft, but not too soft), and then again for another 45 seconds.
Place them on a cutting board, on their sides. Keep the skin on.
Stab the middle of the knife onto the sweet potato in a way that will allow you to get two even sides.
Place your dominate hand on the handle and the other on the top, non-sharp edge of the knife, which should be longer than the length of the potato.
See-saw the knife through the potato until it is cut in half.
Put the flesh side of the potato down on the cutting board.
Make cuts length-wise down the potato. (you can make wedges, and re-cut the wedges to make them thinner). Repeat this process with the other potatoes.
Part III-The Union:
Toss the sweet potatoes in the bowl, and mix/tousle around with your washed hands. If this is not enough oil to coat, or spices, then add more.
Line the potatoes along a foil-laced cookie sheet, or you can use a Pyrex.
Cook for about 20-25minutes,or until crispy or limp enough for you, making sure to flip the potatoes once.
Let cool for a few minutes.
Part IV- When things get salty:
Top off with goat cheese and Louisiana Hot Sauce.
I developed this recipe after an encounter with sweet potatoes at the movie theater. Although the movie theater ones did not have a lot of flavor, they tasted more wholesome than the regular potato fries. After I stumbled across Gordon Biersch, an OKAY restaurant with amazing garlic french fries, I got some more ideas—add as much garlic as possible. In order to enhance the healthier attribute of the sweet potato, and to help my dad with his high blood pressure, I opted for no-salt ingredients, some of which have anti-inflammatory properties: turmeric powder, paprika, olive oil, and of course—crazy amounts of garlic.
It’s funny how I am more inspired now than ever to get in the kitchen and whip up some of my favorites rather than dine out. There’s a thrill in the idea of saving money and knowing I can make it better–as in the way I like it. And there’s something special about creating a work of art from the simple and natural medium that fresh produce is.
What’s your favorite sweet potato recipe?
*Also, I noticed that one of my favorites, SecretMenu, has a recipe for Yams (although, some may argue that the term yam is used interchangeably to describe sweet potatoes). Check that one out for additional ideas.