Success: Cooking Sweet Potatoes

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Microwaves Sweet Potato Rounds + Green Pepper in an Egg

As we're still on the no grains/dairy at home thing, I figured we might as well take a closer look at potatoes. For consistency's sake, we're just looking at sweet potato preparations mostly inspired by a discussion thread on NerdFitness, but you could drop the cinnamon/nutmeg and use plain old white potatoes for pretty much all these recipes. The nerd rebellion seems to think that sweet potatoes have a lower glycemic load, but that nonsense is never black and white. PrecisionNutrition has a whole thrilling article about this debate, and pretty much shows that preparation, age of the potato, etc. etc. has some influence on the final figures. Basically, potatoes are okay, so long as you don't eat too many of them because they tend to be high in carbohydrates.

I'm thinking these Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with White Beans and Kale from TheKitchn are next on the todo list. But if you want something that uses, say, actual dairy or sugar, TheKitchn has a nice roundup of sweet potato dishes.

Quick Cinnamon Sweet Potato Slices

The speediest, most convenient way.
  1. Slice sweet potato into 1/4" rounds.
  2. Poke a couple holes in each slice.
  3. Microwave on microwavable plate under a moist paper towel for approximately 5 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle cinnamon on top.
Alternatively, one could put the sliced rounds into a bowl, top with olive oil, rosemary, and lots of thinly sliced garlic. Then microwave until tender (~6 mins).

Quick Once-nuked Sweet Potatoes

Takes the twice baked sweet potato concept and makes it super speedy.
  1. Poke a few holes in the sweet potato.
  2. Cover with moist paper towel.
  3. Microwave until soft (approximately 5 minutes).
  4. Cut the sweet potato lengthwise, but not all the way through.
  5. Scoop innards into a bowl and add a dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, fat of choice, and a bit of water (to get mashed potato consistency).
  6. Mash potato innards until it reaches a consistency of mashed potatoes.
  7. Return the mashed mixture into the potato skin.
  8. Done.

Sweet Potato Steak Fries

Pretty much just a redo of roasted potatoes, but with sweet potatoes.
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Cut sweet potato into desired shape (coins, bite-sized wedges, steak fries, etc. etc.). The thicker the cut, the longer they'll have to cook!
  3. Spread potatoes onto cookie sheet, sprinkle with salt & spices.
  4. Drizzle olive oil over potatoes and toss so that all potatoes are covered in seasonings and oil.
  5. Roast in oven for 20-40 minutes, until cooked through. I like to wait a little longer to get some crispy bits. Be sure to flip potatoes halfway through baking time.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Like regular mashed potatoes, but not.
  1. Boil a large pot of water.
  2. Peel 2lbs sweet potatoes, and chop them up into bite-sized cubes.
  3. Add potatoes to boiling water and boil until soft (20-30 minutes).
  4. Drain potatoes and add to a bowl with 1/2 cup almond milk, 1 Tbsp butter, and cinnamon or nutmeg.
  5. Mash until smooth.

Sweet Potato Hash Browns

You can go veggie, like below, or add bacon a la Emeril Lagasse.
  1. Sautee 1 cup diced onions in some olive oil with salt and pepper until translucent (2 minutes).
  2. Grate the sweet potatoes (or food processor).
  3. Add sweet potatoes to the onions, along with 2 cloves chopped garlic and sautee for 10-15 minutes until crispy.
  4. Serve under some eggs.

Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing 2014

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Grace Hopper Conference 2014
This is a room full of women computer scientists. All women. Or rather, 94% women. The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing sold out with ~8,000 attendees in Phoenix, Arizona this year and I was there as part of a well-timed job networking maneuver. It was actually my third Grace Hopper, but my first one as a graduate student and it was interesting how this new perspective changes the approach to conference-attending. Quite simply, as an underrepresented minority in computer science, Grace Hopper (GHC) is magical. Being surrounded by 7,000+ similarly minded females was an amazing experience back then. But my current department is about 50% female, so there is no longer much need for validation. Of course women are computer scientists, I know plenty!

This year's GHC was unique in its number of public relations disasters. The CEO of Microsoft told women not to ask for a raise, but instead to wait for karma to reward them. Satya has been recovering ever since, because apparently he didn't originally realize that you cannot trust in a system that historically devalues women's contributions (i.e., re:unequal pay) to be fair. And then there was the Male Allies Panel in which male executives from Facebook, Google, GoDaddy, and Intuit, decided to spend their time telling women what they could be doing better to change the system (rather than, say, telling the dominant gender what they can do to check their privilege). I'm always wary of anyone who calls themself an "ally" for any cause, as it's often used as (1) recognition for an attitude rather than action, (2) as a way of transferring power back to a member of the majority class rather than the minority, and (3) it's often used as a way to redeem oneself for bigoted statements/behavior (i.e., the classic "I have black friends" or "I have a daughter"). If this GHC Male Allies panel were to have any redeeming qualities, it should have been men talking to other men about how they can change for the better, and inviting questions from the female audience. Instead it was a standard bout of mansplaining. At least there was a Bingo Card for identifying all the tropes.

Other than the PR fumbling, there were some interesting talks on being a young professor, persuasive speaking, developing your own personal 'board of directors', etc. etc. And as always, the industry-sponsored parties at local restaurants were great for networking, eating, and drinking. I got to learn about Twitter's Growth Teams and Data Scientists by interacting with their employees. 'Learned about another educational technology company, and ran into people I worked with 10 years ago! The job fair was humongous, and had a nice, small sample of companies relevant to my PhD work. The job fair also yielded: 4 free t-shirts, 3 external cell phone batteries, outlet-USB converters, Google sunglasses (Google glasses ahahahahaha), compact mirrors, hand sanitizer, chapstick, nail polish, pens, stickers, hairbands, etc.

Overall, I think Grace Hopper was nice, but I'd be interested to see what they do about the male speakers, mansplaining, and their belief in a false meritocracy next year. I also think that 8,000 attendees is way too many. When I was previously at the conference ~9 years ago, it was much more intimate with more students and less recruiters. I find that large conferences make networking a little bit tricky. This year there were also too many industry representatives and not enough academic representatives.

Google Booth at Grace Hopper Conference Facebook Booth at Grace Hopper Job Fair
Grace Hopper Conference 2014
Phoenix Convention Center (Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing)
Grace Hopper Opening Keynote Grace Hopper Twitter Blue Champagne
Grace Hopper Conference 2014
Pinterest Grace Hopper Event
Phoenix Convention Center (Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing)
GHC Friday Dance Party GHC Friday Dance Party

Success? Nectarine Plum Butter

Friday, October 24, 2014

Nectarine Plum Butter

Alright, so pickled plums weren't the only plums I stocked up on. I bought something like 5 lbs of black plums while they were on sale in September, used half for the pickled plums and the other half (along with an equal quantity of sale nectarines) on LocalKitchenBlog's Nectarine Plum Butter. The leftover bits that didn't fit into a jar were super rich. I think perhaps I cooked them down a bit too much, they almost feel like they suck some of the liquid out of your mouth.

Success: Cheddar Olives

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Cheddar Olives

It's been a very long time since I made TheKitchn's Cheddar Olives. They're very tasty, but a bit of a hassle. Wrapping a jar full of olives each in their own individual circle of dough can be time consuming. But occasionally, it's worth the effort.

It's like a Cheez-it meets an olive. Salty, cheesy perfection.

Cheddar Olives
Cheddar Olives

Success? Pickled Plums

Friday, October 17, 2014

Pickled Plums

With the last of the season's plums (on sale $2/lb), I made a half batch of FoodInJars' Pickled Plums. Pickled fruit is interesting, a nice mix of sweet and sour. I haven't tasted these yet, so the verdict is still out.

Pickled Plums

Success: Curried Roasted Eggplant with Coconut Milk

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Curried Roasted Eggplant with Smoked Cardamom and Coconut Milk

I made The Bojon Gourmet's Curried Roasted Eggplant with Smoked Cardamom and Coconut Milk and put it on top of a bed of cauliflower couscous. It may not be the most photogenic of dishes, but it's not particularly difficult, doesn't really require exotic ingredients, and is quite tasty for the effort. It's also good on top of flavorless cauliflower couscous, which absorbs the tumeric-cardamom sauce.

Just be careful with turmeric. That stuff stains everything.

Curried Roasted Eggplant with Smoked Cardamom and Coconut Milk

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