In which the author tells you how to run your life -- or at least how to make the most of the fun parts of it.

For instance, inside these pages you will learn how to weather a mortar attack in good spirits; how to avoid booking yourself on the Internet into a bed and breakfast full of twee quilts and dusty tchotkes; and how to plan a dinner party that will stun your guests with deliciousness and style and not destroy your will to live with the amount of work you have to do to pull it off.

These are things I know firsthand, and things people who know me often ask me about (though I usually just book them into bed and breakfasts myself -- identifying ruffled death traps is an acquired skill). I am almost always right about everything (food, style and travel-related, anyway, and often many other things) and if everyone would just do as I say, dinner would taste better, cupcakes would not be dry, your parties would be more fun (for you), and mortar attacks... well, they always suck. I can't do anything about them.

*except laundry. I can't manage my own laundry, much less yours.

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

How Not To be Hungry When Poor

Here's one way.  At $1.34 a pound for organic sweet potatoes in Park Slope -- probably the most expensive you're gonna find -- you get a belly full and one of nature's super foods. With potatoes in particular, because they sit in the soil and absorb what's there, chemical or otherwise -- organic is important.

Wash your sweet potatoe. Prick it with a fork a few times. Pour a little olive oil in your hand and rub it all over the potato. Put it in an oven at about 375. Bake it till its done  -- maybe  30 minutes? The skin will be crispy. If you don't prick it it's gonna burst it's sugary insides all over, so do as I say.

Split it open while it's warm, put in a nugget of butter, then shake some Penzey's chipotle powder over the opening and a little bit of kosher salt.

Eat it hot. The sweetness of the potato, the spice of the chiptole, the saltiness of the salt and the unctuous butter... this is a good meal, and costs less than $2.

If you have some arugula, make a quick salad out of it. A more satisfying meal you are unlikely to find (and relatively low calorie too -- if you're trying to lose weight, swap this out for one or two dinners a week and see what happens.

You can eat more expensively but not more deliciously. You know I'm poor-ish now, right? That's how I came to understand the power of the sweet potato.

(Roast other sweet potatoes while you are at it in the same oven. A day later scoop out and mash the insides of another roasted sweet potato and heat up a can of drained, rinsed black beans  spiced up with some of that chipotle powder and some smoky cumin and salt. Spread the potato and black beans in a corn tortilla that you've heated in a cast iron skillet or toasted in your  gas flame. Top with a little cheese -- Monterrey Jack, cheddar, queso blanco -- fold it over and turn into an enchilada (scroll back. you'll find "my" enchilada sauce). Cilantro on top and sour cream... yes.

The next day fill the skins with a little cheese and toast them under the broiler for a healthy-ish snack. (Cheese is healthy, if calcium is your goal). (And it should be, ladies).

Anyway, the point is: sweet potatoes. Good with something spicy to cut the extreme sweetness.

(You can also make sweet potato pancakes with leftovers). (and biscuits). (and sweet potato and green apple soup with curry). (and pie)

you're welcome.


  1. Preaching to the choir on this one (too?).

  2. Have just realized it's you and me, over here, conversating.
    I'd love your email address.