I didn't really start dating until junior high (and I use the word "dating" loosely--it was mostly just note-passing and hand-holding), but from the time I was in kindergarten, I always harbored at least one crush--usually a secret one, disclosed only to my closest girlfriends and usually my mom. I almost never shared my feelings with the object of my affection (way too scary!), but my feelings would churn and build inside, rendering me distracted and flustered whenever I encountered my crush of the moment.
But despite my in-the-flesh nervousness, there was no denying that having a crush made my day-to-day so much more fun. Whether I was re-routing my walk from biology to algebra so I could pass by a certain someone's locker, or doodling our names next to each other on my lab notebook (though, even in the marriage fantasies of my youth, I kept my last name), the preoccupation was more energizing than depleting.
As I got older and started to develop passions other than boys, I found I recognized the dizzy, slightly obsessive thought patterns that surrounded my artistic process. When I was excited about a play I was acting in or a piece I was writing, I'd once again encounter that familiar high school crush-like frenzy, only instead of Trevor from Western Civ, I'd become fixated on my project du jour, mulling over every detail, imaginging my future with the project.
I'm sure you're not surprised to learn that recipes and ingredients fall into the crushable category as well (remember my cauliflower obsession of 2015?). I tend to discover a dish or ingredient, and then cook it over and over again until I'm either sick of it (almost never happens) or I feel like I've perfected it. My current food crush is these garlicy sweet potato fries. Instead of the orange-fleshed garnet yams I usually use, I'm using the sweet potatoes I just cannot get enough of lately: purple-red skinned, beige-interior Japanese sweet potatoes (which are very good for you, and will apparently make you as beautiful as Olivia Munn's BTW). These have the sweet, nutty flavor of yams, but the baking integrity and firmness of regular potatoes, making them the most perfect oven fry sweet potato, in my opinion.
I like to use ones that are roughly the length I want my fries to be, and I never peel them (the skin is full of nutrients and I like its texture). I just cut them into relatively thin fries.
I toss them in olive oil, sprinkle them with salt, and bake until they get brown and crispy. Then I let them cool--do not skip this step! It helps make them crispy.
I toss them with the fixings of the ball park garlic fries my dad and I used to share at baseball games (because like all of my crushes, they remind me a little bit of my father): another drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, a touch of salt, chopped raw garlic, parsley, and Parm.
They're the perfect side for burgers, tacos, or even scrambled eggs. Try them tonight and get ready to start crushing.
- 2 medium Japanese sweet potatoes, cut into thin fries $1.50
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided Pantry
- salt Pantry
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced Pantry
- 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan $4 for 6 ounces
- 1 handful fresh parsley, chopped Pantry
- 1 teaspoon red chili flakes, optional
Recipe Serves 2
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the sweet potatoes with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.
- Spread the sweet potatoes out so they are not touching.
- Sprinkle lightly with salt.
- Bake for 20 minutes on one side, then flip and bake for 12-14 minutes on the other side, until brown and crispy.
- Let cool for 5 minutes (this step is crucial, as it helps crisp them up!).
- Toss with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, a pinch of salt, the garlic, Parmesan, parsley, and red chili flakes, if using.
- Serve immediately.