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Recipe Redux

Sometimes I cook from recipes, sometimes I cook from my own native wit. Sometimes recipes fail, sometimes my wits do, too, and then I try to see what else can be done.

Last weekend, I made a side dish based on a recipe that I'd made once but I didn't take the time to find again. It was for sorta southwestern spicty sweet potatoes with brown sugar and cinnamon and chili powder and I used what I remembered and what else I've done with them and what else I had. I made a lot, because I wanted to take the leftovers into work for lunches.

Version 1.0: Pare and cut up 3 pounds of sweet potatoes and 2 pounds of carrots. Mix with brown sugar, ground cinnamon, ancho chili powder, garlic powder, a little nutmeg and salt and black pepper, and enough olive oil to make the seasonings stick to the vegetables and the vegetables not stick to the pan. Roast at 400 to 425 degrees Fahrenheit for about 45 minutes, till done.

But I used too much spicing and the proportions of sweet and spicy were out of whack. There were more carrots around. There were also some leeks in the fridge that were going bad. So a few days later...

Version 1.1: Pare and cut up another 2 pounds of carrots. Clean and chop a couple of leeks. Mix with some olive oil (but nothing else) and roast as before. Mix with the previous vegetables, also adding honey to taste.

This worked much better. The added vegetables spread the spicing around and the added honey blended the sweet and spicy flavours together. We had them as a side dish again with dinner, and I got a couple of lunches at work, and today when I needed lunch there wasn't much left. So...

Version 1.2: Pare and core and cut up an apple. Mix with the leftover vegetables. Top with sliced or shredded cheddar cheese and cook in the microwave on med-high for 2 to 3 minutes.

The apples added wonderfully to the dish. So now I have to work from scratch again to get out a version 2.0, which will have sweet potatoes, carrots, leeks (or scallions? or onions?), apples, brown sugar, honey, cinnamon, chili, garlic, nutmeg, salt, pepper, olive oil, and the option of either pan-roasting as is, or baking in the oven with cheddar cheese as a casserole. Leaving out the garlic and chili would make it more traditional, but I think I like having them there. I just need to work out proportions better, which means I really should dig up that original recipe. :-)