Spicy Sweet Potato Fries and Coconut Spinach

Sunday was Memorial Day, so of course my family busted out the ol’ BBQ for some rotisserie chicken. Yumm.

I know you think I’m about to reveal the secret to perfect, succulent, juicy rotisserie chicken.

Confession: Despite my dad’s insistence that rotisserie chicken is the easiest thing to make in the world, I am not the best barbequer, so I kind of let him handle that. And it turned out delicious and of course I will try it myself at some point this summer… I just didn’t want to start off the first barbeque of summer by setting the backyard on fire (or, worse, drying out the chicken).

So instead, I took care of the sides. These recipes aren’t exactly traditional Memorial Day barbeque fare, but they were easy to make, delicious, and weird enough to intrigue my family, so maybe they’ll become new summer staples in this kitchen.

Ok. First up was Baked Curry Sweet Potato Fries, from Joy the Baker. Just a heads up — these take 40 minutes to cook (and about 20 minutes to prep, if you suck at peeling potatoes, which I do), so if you start this dish right when you put your chicken on the barbeque, they’ll be done at the same time. Perfect!

So first you peel and slice your sweet potato. I used two large potatoes for a family of four. This is what one potato looks like:

Then you brush your potatoes with olive oil. Next, beat an egg white, and mix in curry powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, salt, and whatever other spices you desire. Drizzle over the fries, and bake for 40 minutes at 400 degrees.

And that’s it! Really! The best part about these fries is that you can kind of fiddle around with them, so you can make some of your fries thick and mushy, others small and crispy, some really oily, and some really spicy. And they will all be delicious.

(The recipe also includes a Greek yogurt dipping sauce, but my family keeps kosher and, you know, rotisserie chicken…)

Next: spiced coconut spinach, from 101 Cookbooks.

Wait. Coconut spinach? I know, it’s weird, right? I’m not a huge fan of either of the main ingredients, but together they are really unexpected and yummy.

So first you toast your coconut. Do this by laying it on some parchment paper and putting it in a toaster oven (or a real oven, if you don’t already have sweet potato fries in there). I toasted mine for five minutes, and it came out looking like this:

Toasty. Next, throw some margarine (I don’t have sunflower seed oil… heh) in a skillet, and drop in some chopped asparagus, some garlic, and some onion flakes (I didn’t have shallots). After about a minute, add the mustard seeds, cumin, roasted red pepper flakes, and some of the spinach (the recipe says to add the spices first, but when I did this mine burned and stuck to the bottom of the pan).

A note for spinach rookies: spinach cooks fast and shrinks, so use a lot and continually add more as the spinach shrinks down and you get more room in the pan. Push that around the pan a little until it looks more like this:

Once the spinach shinks down all the way, remove from heat, garnish with coconut, lemon juice, and any additional spices (mine needed more cumin), and baffle your friends and family with your crazy culinary inventiveness.

Here is a close up shot. Is your stomach making growly noises?

(If not, that’s ok. It’s probably still confused about the whole spinach coconut thing. It’s good! I promise!)

Thanks for reading guys! More food coming soon!

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