The Cupboard is Bare Cooking
These busy summer days have not been too conducive to organized trips to the grocery store. Try as I might to buckle down and plan out dinners for the week, I keep finding myself at the store, starving, and no plan. These trips usually end with a huge cart of groceries, and no clear idea of how the things in it will turn into dinners. Or, on the other hand, we find ourselves at dinnertime with no real food in the house at all, because no one has remembered we actually need to purchase food in order to eat. That would be this week.
We have been eating a lot of the same easy dinners: sandwiches, tacos or burritos, and more sandwiches and burritos. Either too hot, or too busy to spend much time in the kitchen. But Yesterday we found we had even eaten through the last of our tortillas and bread. Hunger struck in the afternoon, before dinner even, and my kids and I looked forlornly in the fridge–oddly stuffed with veggies (thank you CSA), and a couple hunks of cheese, but little else. I opened the freezer. Popsicles. Ice Cream. (Somehow I always remember to stay stocked up on these int he summer). But wait. What was this? Frozen sweet potato fries. That would just might do it.
My children ended up opting for a deconstructed burrito (heated beans, with melted cheese sans tortilla), but I satisfied my snacking with those sweet potato fries, and a little roasted red pepper aioli I fashioned—so proud of myself for noticing those roasted red peppers in the fridge with the cheese and veggies. Nothing is going to waste this week in our house, and I’m determined to not head to the store until I have some dinner plans. Any suggestions? Hot weather here this week, so nothing too stove intensive.
In case you find yourself smilarily desperate, you might want to tuck this aioli recipe away somewhere. You can always make the sweet potato fries from scratch too (I have in the past), but I was glad to use up what I had on hand. Desperation can lead to wonderful things.
Roasted Red Pepper Aioli
You can make aioli from scratch with eggs (epicurious has this version), but we were out of eggs too (having had them for dinner the night before), so I went for the mayonnaise version inspired by this one at foodnetwork.com and a couple other I say, trying to replicate a taste I’d had at Laiola in SF (they served a spicy pimenton aioli with their fried potato wedges–so good I think our table went through 2 or three orders of them). Of course, I just did a little reading, and found that traditional Catalan aioli doesn’t use eggs at all, but oh well–this one sounds easier then their mortar and pestle version.
1-2 garlic cloves
1 roasted red pepper, or about a 1/2 cup-drained
3 heaping Tbsp of mayonaise (approx. 1/3 cup, but I didn’t care to dirty my measuring cup)
2 glugs, or about 2 Tbsp olive oil
couple shakes of tabasco, tapatio, chulupa or other hot taco sauce
salt & pepper to taste
Using a cuisinart/food processor, start with your garlic and chop until fine. Add in pepper, and pulse a few times. Then add in lemon juice and mayo. Add the oil with blade going. Finish with hot sauce to taste. I did about 4 shakes and it had a nice spice level. Serve with bread, sweet potato fries, or what ever catches your fancy. Beware. This is garlicky.
Sweet Potato Fries (from scratch)
Preheat oven to 450. Peel sweet potatoes. Cut into wedges or fry shapes (as you desire). Put on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil or other oil. Bake for about 15 minutes. Flip. Bake for another 10-15 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, paprika, cumin, or what have you. The thicker the cut of the “fry” the longer they may take to cook, or vice versa.