Highs And Lows And Sweet Potatoes

You probably don’t need me to remind you of this, but: it’s the middle of February. I don’t know about you guys, but for me, that means that cold, snow, slush, frost, short days, salty boots, slippery sidewalks, and kooky hats with ear flaps and pompoms have OFFICIALLY lost all their charm. I am, as they say, totally over this winter.

I feel like the cold has sapped all my energy. When I get home from work all I seem to want to do is curl up under a blanket and watch Glee and maybe have a hot toddy. I haven’t wanted to spend that much time in the kitchen, or even on the computer, for that matter.

sweet potato

That is partly why I haven’t been blogging much lately. I mean, who can type and hold a scalding hot alcoholic beverage in their hand at the same time? Not I, it seems. I think about this blog all the time, though, and a few things have happened over the last couple of weeks that have been bringing me back to these pages.

The other day I was looking for a post to forward to someone, and poking around through the recipes I’ve posted really made me realize how much I’ve missed it, and how much fun I had coming up with ideas, taking pictures, writing posts, etc. Then on the weekend, a friend mentioned to me that she’d made the beef stew I posted, and she said it was actually the best thing she’d ever made. The best thing she’d ever made! Can you believe that? I honestly don’t think there’s a higher compliment as a food blogger.

And then something else cool happened this week — I found out I was one of five finalists in c, in the category of ‘Eating Well’. Seriously!

It was a total shock — I know a friend had mentioned nominating me but I honestly didn’t think anything of it. What were the odds, I figured? And yet yesterday I got the email, and today I was stunned to find myself in the company of Angela from Oh She Glows, and Meghan from Making Love In The Kitchen, and two others that I’m not as familiar with but look forward to getting to know.

The finalist will be determined based on votes, so please feel free to head on over and vote for me! You can vote once a day until March 21, and you only have to enter your name and email address (even just a first name seems to work fine.)

Anyway, I’m posting today not because I desperately want you to vote for me (although, hey, I wouldn’t mind!) but because all these things just seem to have conspired to draw me back in. What can I say, I love blogging, and I guess I’ll just have to put down the hot toddy and pick up the camera again.

This meal and variations of it have saved my ass on many a Monday night. The whole thing roasts up in one pan, in about 20 minutes. You can do the chopping while the oven preheats. And when it’s done cooking you can turn off the oven and leave the door open a smidge (assuming you don’t have small children) and enjoy that extra bit of run-off heat. Ahhhhhh.

Sweet Potato, Pear and Tofu Bake

Sweet Potato, Pear and Tofu Bake

(serves 1, with a small portion for leftovers*)

• 1 large sweet potato, scrubbed and cut into 1” chunks
• 1 pear, scrubbed and cut into bite-sized pieces
• ⅓ a block of firm or extra firm tofu, cut into bite-sized pieces
• 1 small onion, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
• 1-2 tsp olive oil
• ½ tsp cayenne pepper
• 1 tsp minced garlic (one clove, or buy the pre-minced kind that comes in a jar)
• 1 tsp minced ginger (use fresh or the pre-minced kind that comes in a jar, or substitute ½ tsp dried ginger)
• splash of balsamic vinegar (optional)

Preheat oven to 400*. Chop the potato, pear, and tofu and dump into a big bowl. In a small bowl mix oil, cayenne pepper, garlic, and ginger and give it a good stir. Dump on top of sweet potato mixture and use your hands to toss so that everything is well coated.

Spread out onto a baking sheet, and bake for 20-25 minutes, until potatoes are fork tender, tossing once after about 10 minutes.

As always, none of these ingredients or measurements need be exact. Substitute a regular potato for the sweet potato, swap in an apple for the pear, or trade chickpeas for tofu. If you like it spicy add extra cayenne pepper, and if you don’t, go for a milder chili powder. I enjoyed topping mine with a splash of balsamic vinegar.

*You’ll probably end up with a bit of leftover with this, depending on the size of your potato. I dumped mine on top of a bed of spinach the next day, topped it with an olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette and it made a seriously fantastic salad.

Here are 4 other ways to cook sweet potatoes


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