Friday, October 29, 2010

baked sweet potato fries

My first year of college, I lived a right around the corner from the place called Kerbey Lane Cafe. If you live in Austin, you've heard of it. If you went to UT, you probably had a few wee-hour, post-party chow-downs there. They have these totally amazing sweet potato fries, served with chipotle mayo. And they're open 24 hours a day, every day! Also, I gained a hefty 15 pounds my freshman year--what a coincidence, right?

Since then, I've said a not-so-heartfelt goodbye to my freshman 15, along with the 2am meals at Kerbey Lane. But I still crave those sweet potato fries. Except now I make them myself, in a slightly healthier, baked incarnation.


1-2 large sweet potatoes
4-5 tbs olive oil
1 tbs salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp chili powder

Preheat the oven to 375. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into uniform fry-shapes. Toss them on a baking sheet with a few tablespoons of olive oil and the seasonings (use your own seasoning discretion; it's an inexact science.) Arrange in a single layer and bake 30-40 minutes, turning once in the middle of baking.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

flourless peanut butter cookies

If you know me "in real life," you probably know my love affair with peanut butter. It's one of my main food groups. I've been known to carry a jar around in my car. Just in a case of a, you know, emergency requiring, uhh, peanut butter.

I firmly believe that peanut butter deserves respect beyond pb&j's (though I love them) and pad thai (still one of my favorites.) It deserves to be fabulous. It deserves to be a cookie.

These are totally flourless, but they compromise nothing. They're gooey on the inside, crunchy on the outside, and oh so peanut butter. If you can spring for the organic, stir-up kind of crunchy peanut butter, do it. The taste is infinitely better, not to mention hydrogenated oils do scary and mysterious things in your gut.

Also, thus far I've found that these freeze pretty well. Keep them stocked for your cookie fix.


1 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar, plus extra for dusting
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350. Thoroughly combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Roll tablespoons of dough into balls, then roll them in the extra white sugar to coat. Arrange on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Press down with a fork (you know, those pretty fork marks.) Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

roasted butternut squash soup with a secret ingredient

Check me out, being a grown-up, cooking squash! Enjoying squash, even. It's surreal. If I ran into my 10-year-old self, I do believe she'd give me a very scathing "I don't even know who you are anymore."

Clearly, I've jumped on the fall flavors wagon. While I was researching butternut squash recipes, I found a video of Giada making a savory butternut squash risotto with vanilla. Being a practical skeptic, I found myself leery of savory vanilla. Even though I love Giada. Even though everything she makes is heavenly. Even though I have what we may call a "girl crush" on her.

Yet again, foodie curiosity got the best of me. I threw some vanilla (acting on wild impulses occasionally works in my favor) in the soup. It is. So. Good. I'm sorry I ever doubted Giada. The vanilla makes the soup fragrant, and beautifully delicious in that "I have no idea why this is so good but it is" kind of way.


1 butternut squash
1/2 large onion
1 tsp ground sage
1 tbs vanilla extract
16 oz (half a box) chicken stock
salt & pepper
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400. Peel, core, and cut the squash into cubes. Dice the onion.
On a baking sheet, toss the squash with a drizzle of olive oil & a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Bake until soft, about 10-15 minutes.
In the meantime, heat a large pot with a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Cook the onions until they are soft and start to brown, about 10 minutes.
The squash and onions should be ready about the same time. If the onions go to far, remove them from the heat for a few minutes until the squash is ready.
When the squash is cooked through, throw it into the pan with the onions. Toss together for a minute or so, then add the chicken stock. Allow to return to a boil.
When the soup is cookin' again, use an immersion blender to blend until completely smooth. (I'm assuming you could do this in a regular blender, though I didn't try.)
Add the sage, and the salt & pepper to taste. Allow the soup to reduce for a few more minutes. When it's thickened to your liking, remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

carrot green apple salad (slightly tardy)

Right now you're probably thinking, "Carrot salad, Amanda?" It's October. Shouldn't you be breaking out the pumpkin?" Well, perhaps you're right. But remember when I said, we don't have autumn in Texas? All we have is "godawfully hot" and "those couple months where you have to wear jeans." And while it has been a beautiful and mercifully mild 80 degrees here the past couple weeks, I'm not quite ready to start my "fall" flavors.

So here's one of my very favorite summery salads--in October. I like mine a little sweet (I know, shocking), but if you prefer, you can leave out the honey & cinnamon.


2 cups carrots (I used baby carrots)
1 granny smith apple
1/3 cup raisins
2 heaping spoons of plain yogurt
1 tsp honey
1/4 tsp cinnamon
salt & pepper to taste

Using a food processor shredder, shred the carrots and half of the apple. Peel and dice the other half of the apple. In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt, honey, and seasonings. Stir in the carrot mixture and diced apples.

Makes 2-ish servings.