Monday, December 27, 2010

Roasted beet pizza

From this week: spinach

From weeks past: beets!, mozzarella cheese, feta cheese, best whole wheat pizza crust

Staples: olive oil, garlic


I'm perplexed. I can't figure out how I feel about beets.

A few weeks ago, after my first beet debacle, I went on a tirade about how eating beets went against nature. Humans, I said, are biologically programmed to dislike foods that look or taste or feel like flesh or blood. If we weren't, it'd be cannibalistic chaos! And beets, to me, look exactly like solidified blood. Ick.

But the truth is, I think they taste pretty good. Sweet, earthy, slightly starchy. Hmmm.

I thought I should give cooking with beets a second chance - a better chance. Stewing them was a mistake. If I was turned off by the blood-like solid that is whole beets... you see where I'm going.

I decided to stack the deck in beets' favor by sneaking them in my favorite thing: pizza (I know I just made one, but this is a totally different one - variety, another awesomely logical advantage of pizza...). Nestled in a bed of mozzarella and feta cheeses, surrounded by slightly bittersweet, chewy fresh spinach, all atop a thin, crispy crust coated with garlic olive oil. How could that be bad?

It couldn't. It was delish. But I'm not sure the beets really did anything for it.

The sweetness was kinda nice against the salty cheese and garlicky oil, but I think the crust was probably sweet enough.

The color contrast was pretty, but the red stains were off-putting.

I ate 4 pieces, but by the fourth piece, I had picked all the beets off.


Roasted beet (or not) pizza
Serves 3

1 ball pizza dough (i.e. 1/2 recipe best whole wheat pizza crust)
1 small beet
3 tbsp olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
handful of fresh spinach leaves, torn
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
3 tbsp crumbled feta cheese

Roast beet: Preheat oven to 400. Wash beet and place on a cookie sheet or roasting pan. Cook for 45-90 minutes, or until a knife slides into the beet with very little resistance. Cool, peel, and slice into 1/4 inch slices.

Make garlic oil: While beet is roasting, heat olive oil and garlic in a small pan over medium low heat for 15 minutes. It's okay if the garlic sizzles, but don't let it get more then slightly toasty brown. Remove from heat and let sit until you're ready to assemble.

Assemble pizza: Preheat oven to 500. Press dough out into a 1/4 inch thin round and place on a cookie sheet (or pizza peel, if using a pizza stone). Brush round with most (about 2 tbsp) of garlic oil. Sprinkle with half of the mozzarella cheese. Top with beets and spinach. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and feta. Drizzle with remaining oil. Bake on cookie sheet (or slide onto pizza stone) for 10-12 minutes, or until crust is lightly browned and cheese is bubbling. Let cool slightly before serving.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Spinach and sage grilled cheese

From this week: spinach, whole wheat bread

From weeks past: asiago, sage

Staples: butter

I'm not sure I've been clear: it's snowing here.

And I've been cooking up a storm (hehe).

First I made Brunswick stew for lunch.

Then I made these pretties:

And then, because there's nothing like tomato (-based) soup and grilled cheese on a snow day, I made this.


Spinach and sage grilled cheese
2 slices of bread
2 oz asiago cheese, sliced into at least 6 pieces
3 large spinach leaves
3 sage leaves, torn in small pieces
1 tbsp butter, divided

Melt 1/2 tbsp of butter over medium heat in a small skillet. Meanwhile, place one layer of cheese slices on one piece of bread, then top with spinach leaves, torn sage, and another layer of cheese. Put stack, bread side down, in the skillet, and top with second piece of bread. Press down with a spatula. Let cook until bottom bread is browned, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from pan, add remaining 1/2 tbsp of butter to pan and let melt. Put sandwich back in pan, uncooked side down. Cook until browned, 1-2 minutes. If cheese doesn't appear to have melted all the way, turn heat down to low and cover until cheese melts, about 1-2 minutes.

Vegetarian Brunswick stew

From this week: lima beans, corn, spinach

From weeks past: potatoes, chili sauce

Staples: tomato puree, oil, onions, garlic, cayenne, worcestershire sauce, salt, bay leaf, sugar

I told my boyfriend, Alex, that I was going to try to make vegetarian Brunswick stew. His response was "what's the difference between that and vegetable soup?"

He's sassy.

Brunswick stew is a deliciously sweet/spicy/tangy tomato-based stew that you can find at any BBQ restaurant from Virginia to Florida or, if you're lucky like me, on the stove at your grandparents' house. The Bible Wikipedia says that Brunswick stew is traditionally made with any combination of chicken, pork, beef, rabbit, squirrel (!!!!!), lima beans, corn, okra, and other veggies. So yeah, I guess removing the meat does sort of make it vegetable soup, but there's just something about Brunswick stew that your typical vegetable soup doesn't have.

I think that something is ketchup. For me, it's that zippy sweetness that makes Brunswick stew, Brunswick stew. Okay, so I don't know that the most traditional of Brunswick stew recipes call for ketchup (every one I've tasted seemed like it did). And actually, I didn't use ketchup (chili sauce is basically extra-zippy ketchup). But just go with me.

The other two essential ingredients are lima beans and corn (creamed, for sweetness), and lucky for me, there's no shortage of canned vegetables at my sad local grocery store. So I strapped on my boots and headed out in the blizzard to collect the ingredients for my Brunswick stew.

Since I wasn't using meat, I added potatoes for substance and spinach for the stringy, chewy texture that chicken and pork (and rabbit and squirrel?) lend. And it's great. Unfortunately, I had the bright idea to turn on my dishwasher full of spoons at about the same time as I set the soup to simmering, so I can't enjoy a whole bowl, but I'm pretty positive it'll be a great snow-day late lunch.

Next time I make this (and I'll advise you to do the same), I'll probably add an additional can of corn (regular, not creamed) or lima beans, and maybe some okra. As is, it's pretty soupy, which is not a bad thing, but I think it could use some more veggies.

It is vegetable soup, after all.

Brunswick stew
Serves 8-10

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 lb potatoes (any kind), diced
1 tsp cayenne pepper*
1 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 28 oz can tomato puree
44 oz (1.5 cans-ful or 5.5 cups) water
2/3 cup chili sauce
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
1 15oz can lima beans
1 15oz can creamed sweet corn
5 oz fresh spinach leaves, torn, tough stems discarded

Heat oil in heavy soup pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, potatoes, and cayenne and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Add salt, tomato puree, water, sugar, chili sauce, worcestershire sauce, and bay leaf, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender when stuck with a knife. Stir in lima beans and corn, and simmer for 20 more minutes. Add spinach and let wilt. Discard bay leaf and serve. Note: Stew will get better as it cooks, so you can make this early and leave it over low heat until you're ready for it (or your spoons are clean).

* This recipe is spicy; if you don't like spice as much as I do, you can half (or omit) the cayenne. The chili sauce, by itself, adds a decent amount of spice.

This week (12/27)

- 2 bananas
- dozen eggs
- whole wheat sandwich bread
- 15oz can lima beans
- 15oz can creamed sweet corn
- spinach
- corn meal
- 2 small containers yogurt (vanilla and blueberry)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Exciting new features!

Merry Christmas! Hope yours is a white one like mine.

My Christmas/belated Hanukkah presents to you:
1. Alphabetized, categorized recipe box
2. Pared-down list of staples (the things I truly always have)

Both pages are permanent and can be accessed under the "Pages" heading in the right-hand margin. Enjoy!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Acorn squash and caramelized onion pizza

From this week: acorn squash, whole wheat flour

From weeks past: ricotta cheese, asiago cheese, sage

Staples: onion, AP flour, salt, olive oil, yeast

Pizza is my all-time favorite food. My tastebuds would probably tell you that freshly-baked bread is number 1, but they wouldn't be giving you the whole story. You see, I have this paralyzing problem: I'm absolutely unable to do almost anything without first undertaking a thorough analysis of the possible outcomes. I guess I chose the right career path; although, about the only thing I can do without scrutiny is say inappropriate things... probably not great for a lawyer.

Anyway, to say that bread is my favorite food would be going with my gut, which isn't something I'm really inclined to do. No, pizza is more a rational choice. It's bread + cheese + different toppings, which can be healthy. So you see, in choosing to make pizza, I execute a fully-considered decision to eat a well-balanced meal. And pizza is always a good way to use up cheese, of which I happen to have a lot. Very logical.

It's difficult living inside this brain.

Obviously, because I love bread so much, the crust is really important. Store bought crusts are great, but I think it's fun to make your own. I usually make Mark Bittman's basic pizza crust. Very good but, as he warns, adding whole wheat flour makes it kind of dense and tough. So I got the idea to sift the flour and, wow, what a difference. Light and crispy and airy. The perfect palette for my "healthy" dinner.

Decision well-made. I think I deserve a pat on the back.

Best Whole Wheat Pizza Crust
Makes 2 small pies (each serves 2-3)

2 cups AP flour (plus more as needed)
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 tbsp olive oil
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup cool water (plus more as needed)
2 tsp kosher salt

Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large bowl and let sit until foaming, 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile, sift flours into a separate bowl (discard whole wheat dregs). When yeast is foaming, add flours, salt, cool water, and 2tbsp of olive oil. Mix with a wooden spoon until combined, adding water or flour as needed to bring dough together into a ball. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 2-3 minutes. Place in a bowl greased with remaining tbsp of oil. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot. Let rise until doubled, about 1.5-2 hours (the longer the better, but put in the fridge if it's going to be more than 3 hours).

When it's doubled, split the dough ball into two pieces on a lightly floured surface. If you only need one small pie, the other ball can be frozen at this point. Cover remaining dough ball with plastic wrap or a towel and let rest until slightly puffed, about 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees (place a pizza stone on the bottom rack if you have one). Press the dough out to about 1/4 inch with your hands, letting it rest periodically so it doesn't tear or snap back into place to quickly. Top and slide onto pizza stone using a pizza peel or the back of a baking sheet, or place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.

Acorn squash and caramelized onion pizza
Serves 2-3

1/2 recipe best whole wheat pizza crust (above)
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 cup shredded asiago cheese
1 small acorn squash
1 tbsp chopped fresh sage
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 tbsp butter

Roast acorn squash: Preheat oven to 400. Cut ends off squash, cut in half, scoop out seeds and threads, and slice into 1/2 inch pieces, leaving peel on. Toss with 2 tbsp olive oil on baking sheet. Roast until soft, about 20 minutes. Let cool and peel, using your hands or a small peeling knife.

Caramelize onions: While squash is cooking, heat remaining 2 tbsp olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 20-30 minutes.

Assemble pizza: Spread ricotta cheese in a thin layer on crust. Scatter caramelized onions over top, then sprinkle with 3/4 cup of the asiago. Top with squash slices and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Slide onto baking stone or lightly greased baking sheet and bake until crust is golden brown, about 10-12 minutes.

This week (12/20)

It's another short week, so obviously I mooched off my parents (specifically my mom's CSA haul). Duh.

- 1 acorn squash
- 4 reddish (fuji? macintosh?) apples
- whole bunch of potatoes
- 1 red onion
- whole wheat flour

Friday, December 17, 2010

Amarilis Dip

From this week: sour cream, celery

From weeks past: carrots, parmesan cheese

Staples: salt

My mom's a great cook. While I was growing up, she made fabulous dinners every night (well, except for that one-time Italian Extravaganza gone wrong), which we always ate as a family, gathered around the dining room table. I know I got the cooking bug from her, and most of my best-loved meals come from her repertoire.

My favorite childhood food memory, though, would not pass muster at Ames's dinner table. My sister and I had a long-time babysitter from El Salvador named Amarilis, and on half days or snow days or any sort of day when we were home for lunch, she would make us homemade tortillas. And serve them with canned green beans. Which we dipped in this.

I know, I know, my high-class taste is intimidating. But I dare you to try this and tell me it's not awesome. Cool, salty, creamy with a little bit of texture.

For me, it's like a time machine. It takes me back to the days of cut up hot dogs, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, American cheese, and canned green beans.

Oh yeah, and those homemade tortillas were pretty good too.

Amarilis Dip
Makes a snack for 1

2 heaping tbsp sour cream
1 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
pinch of salt

Mix it all together. Serve as dip for carrots or celery... or canned green beans.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Herb roasted vegetables and bulgur pilaf

From this week: rosemary, sage

From weeks past: carrots, parsnips, mushroom broth, bulgur

Staples: butter, olive oil, salt, onion

There's snow in the forecast. A lot of snow (for Richmond, at least), and I can't wait. It doesn't take a lot for me to feel celebratory: a good day at work, the end of a bad day at work, a pretty nail polish color, a two-night Lifetime special starring Lucy Liu. For me, the mere chance of snow is plenty reason to pop the bubbly. Literally.

(Weird that I'm drinking champagne alone? Maybe. Shout out to my dad for facilitating my parties for one by sending me back to Richmond last weekend with three bottles of champagne.)

Since it was a celebration, I felt entitled to cook myself a delicious snow-inspired meal, despite the double leftovers in my fridge. And I'm really proud of myself because, for the first time in my frugal cooking career, I was clever enough to make a small amount of this dish; just enough for this meal, plus one more. Another reason to celebrate! Go me!

This has the warm, wintry feeling I was going for last week with my disastrous attempt at root vegetable stew, but it's even better. I don't know if I'm seasonally accurate, but the stars of this dish - root veggies, rosemary, and sage - scream winter to me. Combined with nutty bulgur, they are warm and soothing without being too heavy. Kind of like oatmeal, but not sweet, or mushy, or dense, or bland. So not really like oatmeal at all....

Anyway, carrots and parsnips have complex enough flavors that the dish has a lot of depth with only three real flavoring agents - onion, sage, and rosemary. And roasting the vegetables not only makes them super tasty, but also softens them up enough to make them the perfect textural contrast to the grainy bulgur.

Hopefully, if the frigid temps aren't enough to make tomorrow a snow day to remember, my dinner is. A snow dance in a pot.

Herb roasted vegetables and bulgur pilaf
Makes 2 servings

2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 tbsp butter
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
2 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 small onion, diced
2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary leaves, divided
2 tsp chopped fresh sage leaves, divided
1/2 cup bulgur
1 cup mushroom broth
1 tsp salt, divided

Preheat oven to 350. Toss together 1 tbsp olive oil, carrots, parsnips, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp rosemary, and 1 tsp sage on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven until soft and lightly browned, about 35 minutes. Meanwhile, heat remaining olive oil and butter in a pot over medium heat. Sautee onion until soft and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add bulgur and remaining herbs and toast, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Add mushroom stock and remaining salt to the pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until liquid is absorbed, about 15-20 minutes. Toss together cooked bulgur and roasted vegetables and serve warm.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Curry chicken pasta salad

From this week: chicken, mayo, sour cream, lemons, celery, grapes

From weeks past: lemons, sour cream

Staples: honey, curry powder, salt, rotini

I deflowered my kitchen this weekend.

Inappropriate? Sorry, but it's true. I cooked meat for the first time in my beautiful, pristine kitchen. Sigh. I feel guilty for bending my rules and stealing my kitchen's virtue, but it was a special occasion: my first official office holiday potluck lunch!

Not impressed? Okay, so it wasn't that special of an occasion, but these days it's rare that I get to cook for others, and I wanted to kill it. And kill it I did. This pasta salad has been my mom's potluck dish of choice for years, and it's a holiday party stunner. Better if made ahead, good cold and at room temperature, pleasing to spicy lovers and losers - er, I mean mild lovers - alike, it was made for potlucks; literally, it seems, since my mom told me today that she got the recipe at my 28-year-old sister's preschool potluck/auction.

It's easy enough to take the chicken out of this. In fact, I split the recipe in half, made half without chicken, and kept it to feed myself for the week. But being the altruist that I am, I thought I'd embrace the holiday season and include the chicken to please my coworkers.

And man, did I get a lot of compliments. Potluck WINNER!

Wait, did I say that? I meant 'tis better to give than to receive.

Ames's curry chicken pasta salad
Makes 12 HUGE servings (seriously, you probably want to make half of this for any normal sized group)

3 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts (or 7 cups cooked chicken)
1 lb rotini
2 cups mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (approximately 3 juicy lemons)
3 tbsp curry powder
4 tbsp honey
2.5 cups thinly sliced celery
2.5 cups seedless red grapes, quartered
1 tsp salt, plus more to taste

Make dressing: mix together mayo, sour cream, lemon juice, curry powder, and honey. This can be made well ahead of time and refrigerated

Poach chicken (if uncooked): cover chicken and 1 tsp salt with cool water. Place over medium low heat and bring to a simmer. Simmer until cooked through, about 30 minutes (depends on the size of your chicken pieces - cut down the middle of each piece to see if it's cooked). Cool and dice into bite-sized pieces.

Cook rotini according to package directions. Combine 1/2 of the curry mayo with pasta while warm. Combine remaining 1/2 curry mayo with the chicken and celery. In a large bowl, combine pasta, chicken, and grapes. Salt to taste. Cover tightly and refrigerate. Best if made and refrigerated for at least 6 hours or overnight.

This week (12/13)

- shredded mozzarella
- shredded parmesan
- chicken tenderloins (GASP!)
- sour cream
- mayonnaise
- 3 lemons
- 1 can artichoke hearts
- red grapes
- celery hearts
- fresh rosemary
- fresh sage
- Trader Joe's gorgonzola crackers (awesome, if you're in the market for new crackers)

- garlic
- rotini pasta
- peanut butter
- honey

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Creamy baked pasta

From weeks past: ricotta cheese, asiago cheese, bell pepper, frozen spinach, parmesan cheese

Staples: milk, butter, flour, pasta, olive oil, salt, herbs/spices

This week was almost a total bust. I told you about Monday's mushroom turnover disaster. As if that wasn't bad enough, Tuesday I made this:

Blood and guts and a bay leaf.

Sorry, that was unnecessarily graphic.... but true. I have come to the conclusion that beets should not go in stews. Except maybe if you're Russian.

The truth is, it tasted okay enough for me to eat it for a couple of meals. But it wasn't worth telling anyone about, and I threw a whole bunch of it away. Sad sad sad.

Two major failures in a row, I was so traumatized that I was forced to eat out Wednesday and Thursday nights. I began to wonder if I'd ever cook again!

Never fear; there's nothing a little bechamel can't fix. Seriously, if you're feeling bad about yourself, for any reason at all, you should make this. Butter, cheese, milk, cheese, pasta, cheese.

Too fattening, you say? I find over-dramatizing your troubles helps to quell the guilt.

Creamy baked pasta
1/2 lb rotini pasta
1 tsp olive oil
1 green bell pepper, chopped
8 oz frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp granulated garlic
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
3/4 cup milk
2 cups asiago cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Heat olive oil over medium high heat. Sautee green pepper until soft and combine with defrosted spinach, ricotta cheese, salt, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, and herbs, in a large bowl. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350. Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente. While pasta is cooking, melt butter in a small saucepan or skillet. Add flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in milk and continue to stir until combined. Slowly add 1.5 cups of asiago cheese, stirring constantly. Leave on low heat, stirring regularly until the pasta is cooked.

When pasta is cooked, drain and add to ricotta/vegetable mixture. Spread pasta in 8x8 baking dish and top with cheese sauce.* Sprinkle top with reserved asiago and parmesan. Bake until brown and bubbly, about 20-30 minutes.

*This is how I did it, but next time I'll layer so there's sauciness all the way through. If you want to try it out, here's how I intend to do it: Spread half of pasta mixture in an 8x8 baking dish. Top with half of cheese sauce, then repeat layers.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Mushroom turnovers

This week: cremini mushrooms, chanterelle mushrooms, onion

From weeks past: ricotta cheese

Staples: flour, spices, oil, butter, white wine vinegar, garlic

My kitchen is a mess.

My kitchen is a mess because I made a terrible meal.

My kitchen is a mess because I made a terrible meal, and I don't have any paper towels to clean it up.

My kitchen is a mess because I made a terrible meal, I don't have any paper towels to clean it up, and I'm watching Did you hear about the Morgans?

I feel lost.

It was a valiant effort, I suppose. I did it all in the name of "real" food. My mom used to make these low fat individual chicken pot pies when I was in high school, and they were great. But the recipe called for some diet-y substitutions, and, snooty eater that I am, I turned my nose up at the ingredients. Margarine? Low fat cottage cheese? Not for me. I was sure I could class up the recipe with a buttery crust and ricotta/mushroom filling.

Dry dry dryness was the punishment for my pretension. Pastry crust isn't the kind of thing you can fool around with unless you know what you're doing, and obviously, I don't know what I'm doing. That margarine crust, on the other hand, was damn good; whoever came up with that must be a pastry genius.

The good news is the flavors are right, so my next attempt will undoubtedly be better. The bad news is I have three leftover turnovers I have to eat this week.

Needless to say, no recipe today. I'm off to pout and whine... and maybe clean.

This week (12/6)

- chanterelle mushrooms
- cremini mushrooms
- carrots
- parsnips
- beets
- rutabaga
- french baguette
- mushroom broth
- bananas
- tomato paste
- black beans
- chickpeas

- veggie broth
- onions
- olive oil
- canola oil

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Sweet potato latkes

This week: sour cream, apples, egg

From weeks past: sweet potatoes

Staples: whole wheat flour, salt, vegetable oil

So I know it's Hanukkah, not Yom Kippur, but I have a confession to make: I bought more groceries today. And I spent $20, on top of the $60 I spent on Sunday.

In my defense, I had to throw away the mushrooms I bought on Sunday because they were totally rotten. My grocery store sucks. Rotten mushrooms, collard greens labelled as kale, no Hanukkah candles. Major white girl problems.

Also, although I enjoy pushing the boundaries of spoiled, I didn't think it was a good idea to keep testing my stomach with over-a-month-past-its-expiration-date sour cream. And you can't have latkes without sour cream... and homemade applesauce.... and bubbly... and Hershey's kisses? Oy.

Anyway, these latkes are bangin'. My mom and I make regular potato latkes together every Hanukkah season, and sometimes I make them again without her just because I love them so much. I'm a huge sweet/savory fan, so sweet potato latkes make sense. Plus, I still had some sweet potatoes I bought a couple of weeks ago. It felt like fate (strange that I continue to be wowed by the way these things work out, considering that this is a blog about making use of the ingredients I already have, but just go with it). It was a true Hanukkah miracle.

Important note: These are very lacy because that's the way I like my latkes, but if you want them more pancake-y, you can probably double up on the egg and flour. Personally, I think there's nothing better than fried sweet potato, but hey, different strokes for different folks. If you do it my way, just make sure you tightly mash the strands into patties because there's not a lot holding them together. I like to press the patties against a slotted spoon (or any kind of holey spoon) until they feel like clumps rather than a bunch of individual strands.

Happy Hanukkah!

Sweet potato latkes
Makes about 15 2 inch latkes

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and grated (in a food processor or with a box grater)
1 small yellow onion, grated (same)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup whole wheat flour (AP flour would work too)
1 tsp kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
vegetable oil (I used about 1/2 cup total)

Preheat oven to 250. Line a cookie sheet with 2 layers of paper towels. Mix all ingredients except for oil together in a large bowl. Heat 1/4 inch of oil in a cast iron skillet over high heat until shimmering. Keep the bowl next to the stove, and form 2 inch patties one at a time, pressing them against a slotted spoon so they stick together (see above), then gently placing them into the oil. Be careful not to crowd the pan (I usually do 3 at a time). When the edges are lightly browned, after about 2 minutes, flip the latkes gently. Cook for 1-2 minutes more, until the other side is lightly browned. After a batch or two, you will get the hang of the timing. When the latkes are browned all over, remove to the paper towel-lined cookie sheet, sprinkle with salt, and place in the warm oven. Sweet potato bonus: the burnt parts don't taste bad! Serve with sour cream and/or applesauce.

Note: the oil will change temperature as you add and remove latkes, so keep adjusting the heat so that the latkes continue to sizzle, but not sputter and burn, when you place them in the pan. You will probably also need to add vegetable oil to keep 1/4 inch in the pan as you fry.