Daily Archives: August 14, 2007


I’m back in Seattle, I really am. It’s gorgeous here, much drier than the east coast, where from the moment the flight attendant opened the cabin door, the air I breathed in felt like a liquid form of peanut butter.

It was good that we left for so long: I relaxed. I really relaxed. I read, and slept, and let my mind wander untethered in situations where I usually keep it so purposefully focused, so steady: in the gym, on walks, in the kitchen, at restaurants. I ate plenty, but I didn’t cook at all, save the batch of boxed brownies I made with two other friends who cook and bake for a living.

I’m on autopilot here, trying to get revved up again, with little success so far. I’m back to cooking, writing, watering the plants, fixing the minor flood in our basement. But I don’t feel as guided as I did before I left; I’m a little directionless. I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing. Maybe it’s just a thing.

I sat down today to tell you about my vacation, but now I’m feeling a little selfish. I’m sure it’ll all come out: How my mind left work, really left, and cuddled up to family and friends, their love like electric blankets around my brain, always comforting and available. How I was so completely and simultaneously overwhelmed and underwhelmed at Arrows, and why. How I felt so free but so yesterday, driving up I-95 listening to Sunday Morning Over Easy with the sunlight glinting off the cheap plastic dashboard of my rented red Chevy Cobalt, wondering if Modest Mouse could be right, if the radio might still work if the dashboard actually melted. How I almost cried in the dressing room at TJ Maxx when I tried on a dress in the same colors of a friend’s wedding dress, not just because I missed her, but because I missed her and felt so guilty I didn’t go to Cape Cod to see her and all the others I didn’t get to see last week. And how I let go of that, too.

But now, I don’t want to tell you any more. It was mine. It was ours. And it was wonderful. I didn’t even bring a camera.

Yesterday I went to Trader Joe’s, hoping inspiration would find me. It did, in the form of no-brainer convenience foods like pre-made pizza crust, shelf-stable pesto, and these, made from pre-cut sweet potatoes.

I want to thank him, this Joe character. He always shows up when I’m feeling blah.

spicy garlic sweet potato fries 3

Spicy Garlic Sweet Potato Fries (JPG)
Recipe 226 of 365

Look for pre-sliced sweet potato spears at Trader Joe’s, or find a roughly 3/4 pound sweet potato and slice it the long way into 1/4” thick matchsticks.

These are great alone, but you could also dip them in ketchup or aioli.

TIME: 5 minutes
MAKES: 2 to 4 servings

Olive or vegetable oil spray
1 (12-ounce) bag pre-cut sweet potato spears
2 teaspoons olive or peanut oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Spray a large baking sheet with the oil spray.

In a large bowl, toss the sweet potatoes with the 2 teaspoons oil, then sprinkle the spices evenly over them, and toss to mix well. Spread the potatoes out on the baking sheet in one layer and bake 25 to 30 minutes, stirring halfway through, or until the fries are browning and beginning to dry out. Serve immediately.

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Filed under appetizers, recipe, vegetables