Thursday, September 4, 2008

Sweet potato fries and Tamales (otherwise known as: Another Duh! Moment)

I guess I must be in denial that summer is really over. Labor Day is past. The kids have been back to school for weeks. But for some reason I can't seem to let summer go this year. I'm also still pretending that it's still August. It was a shock to me to look at the calender and see that it really is September. (Give me a break! It was 95 degrees here yesterday. Hotter than it was for most of the summer around here.)

In my denial, I let a couple of important blogging events get away from me. On the last day of August, I was supposed to post my version of Baked Sweet Potatoes for the Food Bloggers Throwdown over at The Great Cooks Community. Now, at least here in Indiana, Baked Sweet Potatoes are synonymous with Thanksgiving. And always covered in gooey, sticky, melted marshmallows. Apparently I was physically unable to wrap my mind around Baked Sweet Potatoes when the heat index is in the triple digits because I totally forgot all about it! Sorry guys! To try to make it up I'm gonna give you my favorite sweet potato recipe: Sweet Potato Oven Fries with Avocado Dip. This is my all time favorite sweet potato recipe, year 'round. I like my sweet potatoes savory, not sweet. I love the kick that the chili powder and coriander give the fries. I also love that they are baked, not fried so they are actually good for you! Woohoo! (Shhh! Don't tell the kids!)

There are benefits to living in small town middle America. Always running into a friendly face at the gas station. Lots of fairs and festivals. Farmer's vegetable stands on every corner. Kids playing in backyards. Lots of diversity at the grocery store? Uh, not so much. In August, Recipes to Rival whipped up Tamales. I was excited because I'd never tried tamales. Excitement soon turned to frustration as finding corn husks turned into a quite a quest. By the time I was able to get them, the month was over. I do plan to make them later this week. You should check out some of these great looking tamales while you're waiting on me:

Here is CanaryGirl's take on Tamales.

Temperance of High on the Hog and co-founder founder of R2R, made her tamales with black bean chipotle filling.

R2R's other co-founder, Lori of Lori's Lipsmacking Goodness talks about her tamale-making experience here.

Check out A Good Appetite's amazing tamale pictures!

Here are Debyi from The Healthy Vegan Kitchen's tamales.

Be sure to check out everyone else's tamales here.

And don't forget my Sweet Potato Fries recipe:

Sweet Potato Oven Fries with Avocado Dip

Sweet Potato Fries:
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled or unpeeled, cut into 4-inch long and 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick fries
2 tablespoons olive oil, or more as needed
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
Coarse ground rock salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Avocado Dip, recipe follows

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside.
Place the sweet potatoes in a large bowl and toss with olive oil until the sweet potatoes are coated. Add the paprika, chili powder, coriander, salt, and pepper; toss to distribute evenly.
Arrange the coated fries in a single layer on the prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes on the lower rack until the sweet potatoes soften. Transfer the pan to the upper rack of the oven and bake 10 minutes longer, until fries are crispy. Serve with Avocado Dip.

Avocado Dip

1 avocado, see Cook's Note*
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup cream cheese
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
2 scallions, white and light green part only, chopped
1 lime, juiced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the avocado, mayonnaise, cream cheese, jalapeno, scallions, and lime juice into a blender or small food processor. Blend for 1 minute or until you have a smooth paste. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve as a dip for the Sweet Potato Oven Fries.

* Cook's Note: We find that Hass avocados make the smoothest and best tasting Avocado dip.


Elle said...

I love sweet potato fries. LOVE them! I'll bet they're fabulous with that dip, too!

canarygirl said...

Oh, wow! Sweet potato fries + avocado dip? I think I died and went to heaven. YUM!