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Friday, December 05, 2008

Appetizers are my favorite food.

Cooking is like sex and exercise. If you get out of the habit, you lose interest. Once you start again, you realize what you were missing. Well, it's not quite like sex. Or even exercise. But, um, whatever. This metaphor is boring.

When I've lost the habit of cooking, I start with appetizers. Appetizers fascinate children and entice them to eat vegetables they would otherwise shun. I shun sweet potatoes, or I did before I knew they could be served without marshmallows. Although I have nothing against them, marshmallows on sweet potatoes make me gag. I'd like to propose we put the "potato" back in sweet potatoes. The "sweet," although it comes first, is secondary. It's comparative, not definitive. Sweet(er) potato chips and fries thrill me to no end. But, 'tis the season to eat hors d'œuvres...fa la la la la la la!

Potato (Sweet-type) Appetizers
(Or...Hors d'œuvres de Patates Douces)

Peel and chop two large-ish sweet potatoes. Boil them in a pot until soft.

Drain the potatoes and add half a stick of butter, a dash of cinnamon, a splash of milk, salt and pepper to taste and a dollop of crushed ginger, like this, from Trader Joe's.

Trader Joe's Crushed Ginger

This recipe is interrupted for a brief whine: Why can't we have a Trader Joe's? Why? Please join me in my campaign to bring TJ's to Columbia. /whine

Mash everything together until you get this*:

Sweet potato mush.

A pbrrrt would perform this task nicely. I abused mine mercilessly until it finally broke, so I used a bamboo spoon. Allow the mush to cool and shove it into a plastic zip-loc bag or one of those fancy pastry squirters. Set out a bunch of these

Mini Fillo Shells. Duh. or these
Um. Crispy shells. on a tray. Or if you want to do a taste test, use both.

Now you are here:

Ready to make sweet potato snacks.

Cut off one of the bottom corners of the zip-loc and start filling the shells. Sploosh...sploosh...sploosh...away you go! And now, shall we discuss garnish options? I *heart* garnishes! I tried two yesterday, pecans and chives, which seem to be the only thing I can grow consistently. Probably because they qualify as weeds in certain cultures. But I digress. And not for the first time.

Et voilà! Je vous présente...Hors d'œuvres de Patates Douces**!

Sweet potato snacks.

Perhaps you would prefer to offer them to your guests on a cool tray from Target (damn them and their inexpensive, well-designed home accessories!) with a bottle of wine ($13.99 at Simply Savory, even less with the 15% case discount) and some mildly humorous cocktail napkins (Cloud Nine).

Yummy snack tray.

In a taste test performed by one ten year old boy and his friend, the small shells won out in a surprise upset over the fillo pastry. Only one judge participated, as the friend merely eye-balled the appetizers and politely declined. The friend, previously responsible for turning us on to the delicacy known as M & M's Dumped in a Bowl of Popcorn, remains a favorite. The ten year old expressed a mild preference for the chives, but he doesn't like pecans. I like them all. I found the fillo somewhat overwhelming, but tasty nonetheless. I like funny cocktail napkins. Is that gay?

Cocktail napkin.

Namasté, y'all!

P.S. If you don't use all the mush de patate douce, freeze it for another party.

* Please enjoy this brief apology to anyone who thought yesterday's picture of broken eggs was actually a picture of diarrhea all over my kitchen floor. I'm sorry if you had nightmares. I know looking at a pot of orange mush can't be easy for you during this difficult time. Be strong!

** I am so totally into the French version, in which "douce" follows "patates", as it should. Vive la France!


Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings said...

These sound awesome. Will have to try them out when I get the time to make them...that would be....?

Well, maybe I'll just have to hire you sometime.

When I get rich.

That would be...???

Anonymous said...

"Is that gay?" I LOVE that! Oh wait, THAT is so gay! I don't think anyone should be offended by this statement. It is sooooo early 90's and hilarious; although, I have used this phrase, much to my chagrin, in the presence of a gay person who I did not know was so, and I got the stink eye. I am not offended when someone uses the word honky. In fact - I once had a friend that said her mother referred to all white people as cracker-faced cracker, and I thought it was funny in fact HILARIOUS p.s. that doesn't mean that her mother HATED ALL white people! Aghhh people are just so sensitivo these days, and I think that is gay.

Court D said...

That actually sounded like something I could do. And it was a pleasure to read which is always a plus.

bamboo cooking utensils said...

Perfect set of bamboo cooking utensils to add to my kitchen. They are light weight and colorful. I use the blue and red handles for my salads, the yellow handle for my flipping of burgers and eggs, orange & green handles for my pastas and mashed potatoes. Every kitchen should have a set of bamboo cooking utensils. This is such a modern way to go…..