Maple Sesame Sweet Potatoes

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Hi again! Posting two days in a row, this might be a first. Oh boy. I’m just here to say that you can do the exact same thing I did with yesterday’s salmon to today’s sweet potatoes. Exact. same. sauce.!! And it’s REALLY GOOD. And this way it’s vegan. I served these sweet potatoes on buttery white rice with an egg fried in sesame oil (not vegan). All drizzled with sriracha. One of my better thrown together dinners in memory.

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Maple Sesame Sweet Potatoes

a swanky original but its the same recipe as previous except with sweet potatoes

a lil coconut oil
2 biggish sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into long thin “toasts”
⅓ cup real maple syrup
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
¼ cup sesame seeds (I did a mix of white and black)
Chopped scallions to serve (optional)

Preheat oven to 450F. Find a baking dish that will fit your sweet potato slices in basically a single layer. I halved the recipe and did an 8-inch square dish. Put a little coconut oil on the dish and arrange your potatoes. Mix together maple syrup, soy sauce, sesame oil, and garlic in a measuring cup, then pour over potatoes to coat. Cook for about 20 minutes. Flip sweet potatoes and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Cook for another 20 minutes, until sauce is bubbling and thick, and sweet potatoes are coated and tender.

 

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Maple Sesame Salmon – 11/67

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My little sister is officially more educated than I am. I mean, she was always on the fast track to becoming an adult before me. She had a job with a regular paycheck (and benefits) way before I did. She’s been a vegetarian since before it was cool. She actually knows how to (and enjoys) exercise. She sets her sights on what she wants to do and does it! Multiple half-marathons, check. Wants to go on vacation in a year? Buys her tickets healthily in advance and plans a sensible itinerary. MSW? Check. Sigh. I’ve officially worn matching socks without holes in them all week, so that’s a thing.

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My parents hosted a little gathering to celebrate her achievement with close family and her grad school friends. A lovely bunch of pesca-vega-tarians. Toasts were made. The grads’ altruism and friendships were rightly lauded. We went on a still unnamed boat and ate lots of good food. The sun showed up after a long morning of rain. And then I watched my first ever game of thrones episode, the series finale. (Probably not the right time to start watching.)

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I happily helped prep food the afternoon leading up to the party and was happy to learn my mom was planning to make one of the salmon recipes from my book. Alright sure I’ll check a recipe off the list! This fish was so easy to make, and it received rounds of compliments at the table. Paired really nicely with an orzo salad and grilled vegetables. A perfect first outside meal of the season. A perfect way to tip a hat to hard work and new beginnings.

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Such a beautiful place to cook. And eat.

two years ago: garlicky tomato zoodles
(nothing of note in years one, three, or four)

Maple Sesame Salmon

thanks Mom! Note – this exact same recipe works really well with sweet potatoes replacing the salmon. Click here for details of this revelation!

2 lbs salmon cut into serving size pieces (my mom says “skin removed if you remember to ask at the fish counter”)
⅓ cup real maple syrup
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
¼ cup sesame seeds (I did a mix of white and black)
Chopped scallions to serve (optional)

Combine maple syrup, soy sauce, sesame oil, and garlic. Pour over fish fillets. We did this in a shallow baking dish; a ziplock bag would also work. Let marinate in the fridge for at least ten minutes, or up to 8-9 hours.

Preheat oven to 375F. (Update! My mom says she always does 425F, even though the recipe says otherwise.) 

Take fillets out of marinade, drip dry, and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet (keep the marinade!). Then, sprinkle fish all over with sesame seeds, pressing them in a bit to help stick. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour the marinade into a small saucepan or skillet. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Serve salmon with thickened maple sauce and sprinkle of scallions.

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bar (Ice Cream Sandwiches) – 10/67

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You know what’s so good that I look forward to taking the train home so I can have a piece? Peanut butter chocolate chip bars. Perfect texture, just the right amount of nutty brown sugar, buttery sweet tooth satisfier.

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You know what’s even better? Peanut butter chocolate chip bar ice cream sandwiches. I only made two, and cut the rest into small squares for Daniel to bring to work, so I couldn’t go off the deep end with these. I definitely regret this decision. Especially because Daniel was all like “I don’t get it, why add ice cream, it’s already great” and then he had a bite. And I’ve never seen him acknowledge being so wrong about something. This combination is truly wonderful. Then he was an equal sharer :(.

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Side note – Daniel is good about acknowledging when I am right about something. For a stubborn dude, it’s a very charming quality. Once we were on a bus in Guatemala going to a hike and he said “oh, you’re right’ about something dumb and these two Christian missionary white dudes from Alabama started talking about “oh my god how rare is that, right? He actually is admitting he was wrong. Wow, what a moment, remember this one, probably once in ten years, right?” and they thought they were being funny and I was like, take your fragile outdated male fragility and find another tree to bark up, assholes, my partner is confident and masculine and has a conscience and is respectful and no we don’t want to talk about jesus, you ignoramuses. But I probably just smiled and said ha and then fumed silently.

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Which is all to say, admitting when you’re wrong is powerful. Some people, cough, people in charge of countries and states and corporations who would never read my blog, should think about this. People make mistakes, and acknowledging that and fixing it shows maturity. Sulking and pretending it doesn’t exist doesn’t.

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Know what makes me feel better about the sorry state of our leaders’ sense of right and wrong? Peanut butter chocolate chip bars. With or without ice cream.

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one year ago: nothing of note, but we ate tacos here last week and I’m really excited to go back. Tuna tostada of my dreams
two years ago: nothing of note, but have you watched Dead to Me? I’m halfway through and it took a lot of willpower to write this post instead of watch it this morning…
three years ago: za’atar and pomegranate molasses granola
four years ago: gingery coconut rice

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars (Ice Cream Sandwich)

from my mom’s friend Judy, baker extraordinaire

1 ⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
⅛ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
Heaping ½ cup peanut butter (I used all natural chunky and it was great)
½ cup sugar
½ cup + 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 heaping cup chocolate chips (I used mini chips but would use regular next time)
flaky sea salt 

Heat oven to 350F. Grease a baking pan. (Recipe says 11×7 but I used 10×14 and it was fine but brownies were a tad thin)

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine butter, peanut butter, both sugars, and vanilla. (I’m sure this would work with a hand beater too.) Beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes, until light and fluffy, scraping down as needed. Add eggs one a time, beating to incorporate after each addition.

Remove mixer bowl from mixer and add dry ingredients in one go. Mix with a spatula to begin to incorporate, then put back on mixer and mix at lowest speed until just blended. Add chocolate chips and mix for another moment, until evenly mixed in.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes (mine were in for probably 32 minutes), until edges are golden brown and center is slightly puffy. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Let cool before serving.

To make ice cream sandwiches

The center of my bars sunk a bit and were a bit underbaked. I cut longer rectangles out of that bit, and carefully cut them in half lengthwise. I froze each of these sections for a couple hours, then topped with vanilla ice cream and sandwiched. Thought I’d need to refreeze but nope, wasn’t necessary. 
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Sweet Potato Tahini Buddha Bowl – 9/67

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Daniel was supposed to make a chicken recipe a week while I was in Russia (so, 5 recipes total). He was going to blog them and it was going to be great. Well, this site still has 0 chicken recipes, so you can see how well that went. He did make one recipe but took no pictures of it, so here we remain. Sigh.

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I can’t blame him too much. Cooking requires time and love and follow-through, which I am only sometimes in the mood for. Tonight I was in the mood for it. My lovely friend Caroline gave me this recipe and said it seemed like something I would really like. Accurate, as I have made many versions of meals similar to this. I hope you’ll forgive me, Care, for adding extra things and making this far less simple than you intended. I had the time tonight. Recipes are for breaking, right? I veered from the recipe by pan roasting the chickpeas a bit and adding spices (I don’t like them straight out of the can), and adding brown rice, some crunchy veggies, and sesame seeds. To make it a “buddha bowl” I put everything in a giganto bowl that appeared in the mail while I was in Russia. (Did someone send us this? I think they got our registry mixed up with someone else’s but … now I have a great giant bowl and I love it.) It’s as full and rounded as Buddha’s belly.

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There’s another recipe on this site with very similar ingredients, just combined slightly differently (and kale would be great here too). I like this version more for a quick weeknight meal – you don’t have to wait as long for the sweet potatoes to cook, since they’re cut into small cubes. Also its called a Buddha bowl, so it’s automatically healthy 🙂

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Meals like this are the best after traveling for a while. This bowl was my post-Guatemala craving and mmm here’s my savory granola I invented after our Jordan trip. We did have a kitchen in Russia, so I wasn’t forced (ha) to eat 3 meals out a day, but it wasn’t so easy to cook. We couldn’t find some staples — tortillas, coconut milk, black pepper, chickpeas, most leafy vegetables, popcorn. The house we were in had one LOUSY glass cutting board, no can opener, and really abysmal knives. I managed roast cauliflower, a mushroom pasta, and many eggs, but that was about it. Feels good to make food exactly as I want it, then eat it.

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one year ago: anyone else currently reading The Power? I can’t decide if I like it or not…
two years ago: eggplant salad and goat cheese sandwiches
three years ago: herby sunchoke gorgonzola salad
four years ago: grilled pineapple and baked bean tacos

Sweet Potato Tahini Buddha Bowls

inspired by my friend Caroline

Roast sweet potatoes
1-2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 big sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
s&p

Combine everything on a roasting tray or two (keep veggies in a single layer!), and bake at 425 for 30ish minutes, mixing halfway through roasting.

Chickpeas
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Coconut oil
Salt, smoked paprika, cumin
s&p

Heat a medium saute pan and add a bit of coconut oil. Add chickpeas and spices and cook over highish heat for about 5 minutes, until chickpeas are charred and smell awesome. Stir frequently so they char all over.

Tahini dressing
1 clove garlic, minced
3ish tablespoons tahini (I just scraped out the rest of my jar, so this is a rough estimate)
Juice from ½ a juicy lemon
1 tablespoonish olive oil
Small dollop of honey (oops I guess this negates the veganness – can use maple syrup instead)
s&p
Warm water

Combine everything except warm water in a measuring cup, and mix with a fork. Add water a bit at a time until desired consistency is reached.

Cooked brown rice
Thin sliced shallot or red onion
Sliced cucumbers
Halved cherry tomatoes
Enoki mushroom – I added half a package to the sweet potatoes when they were halfway done roasting. They added a funky, almost noodle-y texture and great flavor. Yum!
Chopped parsley
Black (or white) sesame seeds

Combine in bowl as you wish. Post a picture to instagram. Eat!

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