I love vegetables. Really, I actually do. Growing up, vegetables were present at each and every meal. I recall fully veggie centered dishes as a child so my love for fresh greens and produce from all over the world is for sure ingrained into my being. I recall a salad to accompany virtually every meal and spicy, fragrant Indian vegetable dishes on the weekends. Yeah, I was a very blessed child.
Then, as I grew up, we began to expand our food repertoire by attending group Thanksgiving dinners and that is when my world changed. I met the sweet potato. They were mashed, baked, and topped with a nut crunch. And guess what…I HATED IT!!! OMG! A vegetable that disgusted me?! Yes. Disgusted. UGH. I actively avoided sweet potatoes ever since.
As an adult, I of course began to cut out white potatoes (and if you have read any potato posts you know and understand that they are my first love) and I began to revisit the horror that I knew as the sweet potato. It was a super rocky start, I tell you. Until I realized the issue. And yes, it sounds dumb and you’re going to roll your eyes…but they were just too SWEET! (duh, Hyam, it’s called a SWEET potato…) Because I lack a sweet tooth, they just weren’t my jam until I figured out that I had to make them a savory dish. Now, I LOVE my sweet ol’ sweet potatoes…as long as I make them savory. Sometimes I top them with a little ghee and salt, but these sweet potato cakes are my new favorite. I love the addition of the garlic and sour cream to make them tangy and I serve them with my yogurt cilantro cream sauce for an extra savory punch.
Feel free to just nuke your sweet potatoes in the microwave like I do. Wash them, poke in a few holes with a fork, and bake five minutes on each side (or fork tender). You can also bake them in the oven, but do avoid a boil because you will add in too much water. Mashing them with everything while they are still hot really allows for a creamy consistency and the garlic and shallot to meld their flavors into the mix.
After the mixture has set, cook patties on each side, and serve hot. Enjoy these as an appetizer, side dish, or even as a base for a weekend eggs benedict!
- 3 1/2 lbs baked sweet potatoes, no skin (bake in oven or microwave until fork tender and remove skin)
- 2 garlic cloves, mashed
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1/2 shallot, chopped
- 2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tbsp half and half
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp seasoned salt
- 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil (use more if needed)
- 2 green onions, chopped
- Mash potatoes while they are hot with all ingredients.
- Set aside for 30 minutes for breadcrumbs to soak up moisture (or overnight is better)
- Shape patties into circles and pan fry on medium high heat until browned
- Serve hot with cilantro cream sauce or your favorite condiment and top with green onions
Kebobs, kebabs, or kabobs. No matter how you spell it, it’s meat on a stick and meat on a stick is DELICIOUS! Ground meat on a stick is so commonplace in my family that many a summer night’s memory involve meat on a stick. Jealous? Yeah, I bet you are. My mom, to this day, serves her delectable ginger-y, cilantro-y, chili-y kabobs with white rice and a lime and dried mint salad. It’s like a marriage of both my Indian (kabobs) and Egyptian (salad) side…just like my parents! Ba-dah-bum. My mom always uses ground beef and what is funny is that my dad actively avoids red meat. However, he makes an exception for my Mama’s kabobs (or as he spells it, kebabs). They are that good.
Earlier this year my friend and colleague, Bryan, and I applied for this really big and amazing grant opportunity to travel to Southeast Asia (Malaysia and Singapore) and were beyond blessed to be selected! A post will come about that experience, but I had to share that note since this is why I was able to visit the neighboring country of Thailand.
I have always dreamed of going to Thailand and thought it would be a great honeymoon destination one day. The allure of the beautiful ocean, islands, and nature experiences have always had a hold on me. However, I am a single gal with no honeymoon in sight…but I am also a single gal that waits for no man. 🙂 So, since we were going to be in that area of the world, the Thailand trip was added to the beginning of our month-ish long adventure. Bryan used to teach and live in Bangkok, so he was definitely the brain child behind this idea and my friend and best travel gal pal, Casey, joined us for this journey.
Casey and I were going to be a day or two behind Bryan and his friend and travel buddy Jessica, but, we followed their trail through three cities until we all finally were stationed together in Phuket. Casey and I left Chicago on separate flights on July 5th headed for Bangkok. I flew Emirates and flew east, which is very different than most routes because the majority are westward. Having become a nervous flyer as an adult, particularly over oceans, I sought out some medicinal help from my doctor before my trip and boy oh boy was I glad. I slept most of the way to Dubai and then again most of the way to Bangkok! Hooray for sleep! And hooray for an exit row! Tip…get to the airport extra early and ask for that exit row, people. Let me break down our travels…
Grab a gallon of milk to soothe the heat that this salsa is going to bring, peeps. It is HOT, HOT, HOT! But, it is also insanely tasty and ridiculously simple to make. I get my chile de arbol peppers from Cermak grocery stores here in the city, but any local grocery store should have them as they are pretty common. You’ll find them dried in your Mexican grocery aisle.
The chile de arbol is hot, but not habanero or scotch bonnet hot. It’s the quantity of the chiles that makes this salsa so fiery. To give you an idea, let’s look at the Scoville scale, the measurement system that measures the spiciness of chiles.
The incredible, edible egg. I can’t get enough of them! Along with coffee and half and half (for said coffee), it’s something that I always have in my fridge. They regularly save me on a late weeknight when I am starving and am too tired to cook and are often the protein addition to my work lunches. Eggs are my favorite weekend breakfast and even a favorite snack. I love a good boiled egg with a tasty, fancy mustard. You see, eggs and I have a relationship since childhood, and like all relationships, we have had our ups and downs.