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26 recipes down, 232 days to go

Updated: Mar 13, 2021

Saturday, October 10th.


- Spiced Peanut Sweet Potatoes -

Deliciously Ella


Blackened sweet potatoes and all, this salad was delicious.


I'm pretty sure this is the closest a salad can get to comfort food—warm, sweet, and a touch salty—with sweet potatoes and peanut butter, my favorite foods in the whole world! I have been so impatient to make this recipe since I first opened the cookbook and looked through the pages. It not only looked delicious in the accompanying picture and was composed of my favorite ingredients, but in the introduction to the recipe Ella says that this is her favorite recipe in the book!


Her favorite recipe in the book.


I have been excited about making this recipe all week!


I was in the kitchen, starting the prep of the sweet potatoes at 10:30, because they had to bake for 45 minutes and I wanted to eat lunch at 11:30. The person who did my shopping picked out good, ample sweet potatoes this time—thank goodness! (they were puny one of the past weeks)


I peeled the sweet potatoes first. I have gotten much better at peeling vegetables since I've started this challenge, and I'll share some tips I have learned. One annoying thing about peeling is the peels getting stuck in the peeler. I have found that peeling the vegetables under a steady stream of warm water helps it go more smoothly. For safety reasons, it is important to make sure you have a firm grip on the vegetable, and always peel AWAY from you! Applying the right amount of pressure is also important for efficiency in peeling, and I have found pressing my thumb (of the hand holding the peeler) gently on top of the peeler while I slide it down helps get the most traction.


After both sweet potatoes were peeled, I got to cutting them into small "cubes". You definitely want the big chef's knife for this—it makes easy work of it. The way I did it, was I first cut the potatoes into rounds a little less than one inch thick. This made about 18 circles, which I then chopped liberally into small cubes. It was repetitive, but relatively easy, requiring no mass exertion of effort.


Then is the fun part where I tossed the sweet potatoes with some olive oil and a generous amount of spices on the baking sheet. To be specific, it was 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons ground ginger, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, and 2 teaspoons ground cumin. Oh, and some salt and pepper. A LOT of spices, probably this biggest quantity I have used so far in seasoning. My hands got absolutely covered in them when I mixed around the sweet potato chunks to coat them.


I put them in the oven!


Next, I made the dressing, which just involved whisking together 4 ingredients: maple syrup, peanut butter, sesame oil, and juice of 1/2 lemon. Some dressings I have made in past recipes had VERY long lists of ingredients, so I am always relieved when it is short and simple.


There wasn't much left to do after that. I chopped 2 dates. These dates I had gotted were incredibly soft and plump, so this turned out to be a bit of a challenge. If I wasn't careful and precise they would become mush. I literally had the remove and spread out each bit of date after cutting it. I have included a picture of the finished process below:



I then picked them off and put them into the designated salad bowl, so I could use the cutting board to chop the radicchio.


The addition of radicchio to this salad was not mentioned in the ingredients, however it was shown in the picture, and mentioned in the intro text above the recipe as a delicious addition that adds more colour to the dish. I thought I would add it to make this a bit more of a 'salad'. This was actually my first time using this vegetable, and I didn't know how to chop it! I didn't want to screw it up, so I went back to the Knife Skills 101 in search of a video (mentioned 2 posts ago: https://www.acouplecooks.com/basic-knife-skills-for-home-cooks/). I found their 1 minute video on how to cut cabbage: https://www.acouplecooks.com/how-to-cut-cabbage/—super helpful and straightforward! My radicchio was chopped perfectly in less than 5 minutes.


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A Close Save From Spectacular Failure!


By then I had about 10 minutes left on the timer for the sweet potatoes—and they had been smelling aromatically for the past 15 minutes. My dad had just came into the kitchen asking what I was making because it smelled good.


Something compelled me to check on my potatoes then. I'm not sure if it was a third sense, but whatever it was, I'm so thankful to it...


...I opened the oven to see my potatoes burning!! Immediately, I rushed to put on oven mitts and take them out, already prepared for the worst.


The edges and underside of all the sweet potatoes were burnt black, but I had been just in time to save them from complete inedibility—the center of potatoes were still soft and orange.


To stop them from cooking any more, I quickly scraped them off the baking sheet and into the bowl with the dates, radicchio, and toasted sesame seeds. Even with slightly burnt potatoes, I felt it was my duty to complete this salad. I poured the prepared dressing over, and tossed everything to perfection.



I was honestly too hungry to be overly apprehensive about how it would taste. I served myself a plateful, and tentatively tried a bite...


...I couldn't believe how delicious it tasted, blackened potatoes and all.


This incident has taught me to always make the most of everything, despite disappointments. I almost let myself throw the potatoes away and give up because I was so disappointed in the close to spectacular failure. May this teach you not to do that.


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Nothing can beat a dish served warm out of the oven. However, the leftovers I ate for lunch Sunday at room temperature. I figured I had to refrigerate it, even though I didn't much want it cold. So, I took it out of the fridge to sit on the counter for about an hour before I ate it. It was still delicious (I was enjoying eating it while writing the above part of this post).


This is a recipe I will definitely make again. The next time I make it, I will cook the sweet potatoes for 15 minutes less so they won't burn! One modification I made on this salad was taking out the handful of parsley included. As I figured out from the other salad recipe I made from this cookbook (see week 3), I have an aversion to parsley. I didn't want to risk messing up the delicious flavor of this dish by adding some. This also saved me from food waste, because I can't only buy a handful, and I have no other use for the leftover parsley. I still have to figure out how to use up leftover herbs... like that sage from the salad in the last post.


No family opinions for this recipe, because I was the sole taster :). It said it served four as a side—instead I ate it on its own because it was just so good—and it was the right amount for two meals.


How did I feel after eating it?

It left a sweetness was in my mouth that made me crave something sweet. I'm afraid I wasn't mindful in my eating Saturday, because even though I was full from eating this, I additionally helped myself to a piece of pecan pie my dad had made the night before. This was not healthy pecan pie. I'm afraid to say it was loaded with not so good for you stuff, like corn syrup, and I could SEE the little sugar particles in the filling. I did not feel good after eating this. Yet it's SOOO hard to stop myself when a craving hits—and I have a lot of cravings. Really though, I only get cravings when there is something junky to eat at home, and while I rarely ever make make junky anymore, I can't control my other family members from making them. And even though I have told myself time and time again that I am not going to eat the junky things that they make, I always end up eating them. Until I live in my own place where I control the food in the house, what can I do?? Yup: frustrating. Yup: practicing self-control is tough.


Sunday, however, there was no pie left, and I felt satisfied and content after eating the leftover salad.


 

You can make this salad yourself!


A couple weeks after making this, when I found the nutty granola recipe I needed on the deliciously ella blog: https://deliciouslyella.com/, I saw that she had made a video sharing this same recipe!


Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVb21YkZzDU

(if you click the show more in the recipe description it gives you the specific quantities for each ingredient)


And don't make the same mistake I did! Make sure you keep an eye on those sweet potatoes!

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Hello Friends! It's almost time to close off what's turned out to be a rather sporadic nine months of blogging on this platform, but nevertheless transformative in my learning and personal growth—WOW!