Crispy spicy semolina-crusted sweet potato fries

Semolina crusted sweet potato fries

Semolina crusted sweet potato fries

Here at The Ordinary, they call me “oblivia.” I’m not the most observant person on the planet. I’ve been known to watch the same movie twice and not even notice until I was halfway through. I feel as though I’m reasonably observant about people and books, but when it comes to music or art, I tend to let it wash over me, so I get the full effect, but I often miss the details. Some songs, though, I pay closer attention to. This is because they have one part, one moment, that I find very exciting. It could be a strange instrument, a strange rhythm, a sample, a noise. Usually it’s not throughout the whole song, which is why it gets my attention. So this week’s Sunday interactive playlist is a little complicated. We’re looking for songs with a particular unexpected moment that you look forward to, that you pay attention to. For instance, the bagpipe in Belle and Sebastian’s Sleep the Clock Around. The clanging noises in 16 shells from a 30.6 (honestly, listen for it, it makes no sense but it makes perfect sense.) The xylophone at the end of Gone Daddy Gone, when it gets all synchopated (that is a xylophone, right?). All of Nina Simone’s little asides in Nina’s Blues. The Jaws and Psycho samples in Beastie Boys’ Egg Man. This list will take a little thought and a bit of explanation. Especially for me, because as well as being oblivious my memory is useless. So I know there are more songs, but they’re not coming to me just at the moment. Add songs if you like (the list is collaborative) or leave a comment, and I’ll try to remember to add them for you.
Semolina crusted sweet potato fries.

Semolina crusted sweet potato fries.

I like sweet potato fries, but often they’re mushy and disappointing. Not when they’re crusted with spices and semolina flour!! This way they’re crispy outside and soft inside. Perfection. I used a blend of “sweet” and “savory” spices, but you can use any blend you like. And you could use herbs instead of spices, if you want. I also used a mix of white and orange sweet potatoes, but either would do.

Here’s a link to that playlist, as it stands so far. I’ll be thinking about it all day at work, so I’ll have more to add later.

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Spice mix!

I love the idea of spice mixes. Berbere, zatar, Ras el hanout, garam masala, jerk seasoning. Even the names are wonderful! In the past I’ve tried to recreate some of these using the spices most available around here – but it’s sort of exciting that, when they’re at home, these mixes contain spices that are extremely hard to find where I live. Everything about spices appeals to me – the textures, the fragrances, the colors, and, of course, the taste. It’s no wonder that they were once considered precious.

I realized the other day, as I was typing up a recipe for this very blog, that I tend to use the same spices over and over. I’ve got different combinations I like to use, but there are a few that I use a lot. I decided to embrace that fact, and to try to distill the different spices into one perfect (for me) mix. So I did! And I’m very enamored of it, because I think it’s very pretty and smells very good, too. It’s smokey, a little bit hot…it combines some sweet herbs with some more piquant spices. I test-cooked it first with some roasted cauliflower, and that turned out well, so I decided to use it in these little pies. They’re stuffed with roasted mushrooms, white beans and hazelnuts, and seasoned with my spice mix. Very nice!

white bean hazelnut pies

Over the summer, my son Malcolm invented a spice mix of his own. So I decided to accompany the pies with sweet potato fries cooked with Malcolm’s supreme spicy spice mix. They went very well with the pies! And we had a fun time putting it all together.

Here’s Mix it Up by the Kingstonians. That’s the way I like it.

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