Sweet Potato Fries with Garlic and Herb Butter

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I have been extremely adventurous this past week. And by that, I mean I traveled more than 5 miles from my apartment ONCE in the past several days.

On Sunday, Jonji and I woke up bright and early and drove over to Kelsey’s place at 8 AM. From there Kelsey and I dropped Jonji off at UCLA, and then proceeded to drive all the way to Pasadena. Our destination: the Rose Bowl Flea Market. We got there just as general admission was being let in (the truly dedicated individuals can pay $2 more and get in at 8 AM), and joined the already large crowd swelling the gates. We ventured into the town-sized Vintage and Collectibles section, which boasted everything from fancy furniture and household items to old rusted machinery and random knick-knacks. I spent most of the time drooling over perfectly crafted kitchen carts and tables with built in storage that were a) way too large for our kitchen and b) much too expensive for me to even consider buying. We spent the next hour or so simply browsing, with a minor button purchase for me (livin’ life on the edge, as always). By 10:30 we were already sweating through our shorts. Seeing as sweat like that is a daily occurrence, this didn’t bother us all that much, and we pressed on. We walked around until 12:30, marveling in the endless ways people have found to display little succulents—one stand had planted some in an old toddler’s rain boot—and making mental notes on what to get the next time we return. Kelsey successfully haggled with a vendor over a cool mirror-tray-vanity-thing, thus officially surpassing my $2.50 button purchase in coolness factor. On the whole, that first visit to the flea market made me realize that it’s best to go with a desired object in mind, or else be overwhelmed by the sheer number of options available.

Sweaty and, in my case, smelly, we hobbled back to the car on swollen feet. Fortunately, I had pinpointed an accurate landmark, a tree among all the other trees, to track our car more easily. Despite the sarcasm in that last sentence, the tree actually helped us find the car. Upon reaching it, we gratefully sank onto the sweltering seats. With the AC on blast, we found our way out of the parking lot and pleaded with runners (behind closed windows) to get inside, out of the heat, for goodness’ sake! Clearly I am descended from Goldilocks, because I am the biggest weather wuss: I can’t stand weather that’s too hot or too cold. Our next destination was downtown Pasadena, where we trekked to Intelligentsia for a lovely iced mocha for me and an iced tea for Kelsey. Sitting in the cool coffee shop, I was neither too hot nor too cold, but just right.

After a lengthy drive home, on which we had the chance the rant to each other about food and food quality (I don’t know why we don’t hang out more often), we made it back to Kelsey’s. From there, we parted ways: Kelsey to go grocery shopping and I to the beach. Jonji had been at a casual volleyball tournament all morning in Santa Monica, and was still there by the time I made it down. He was playing at a friend’s private club, to which I finally gained entry and plopped down in a beach chair, lathered in sunscreen, to watch the next game.

Several hours later, after Jonji’s team had earned a second-place spot, we drove home. Upon showering, I realized that I was severely sunburnt in strange places—both my trip to the flea market and the beach had left their marks upon me. Since I had previously been putting albinos to shame, I didn’t mind getting a little color, even if it was a bit too far onto the red side of the color wheel.

The rest of this week has been quite mellow. I made Kitty a castle out of a large Amazon box, which she absolutely loves. Why buy a cat post for $100 when you can make one for free? My printmaking has been on hiatus since my Reading Tree print, as I wait for supplies to arrive. If you haven’t visited my Etsy store but still want to, here’s a link. I also brought Ribbon Street, LA Edition, out of hiding the other day, and made several pin cushion tops. ’Tis a week for crafts, apparently. Oh! I also fixed two of my favorite necklaces with thread. Thread! Who knew I was so full of money-saving ideas.

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This recipe is another one of my go-to recipes because it is fantastically easy to make and superbly tasty. My day with Kelsey reminded me that I had yet to post it—she’s this recipe’s biggest fan. I have yet to get a deep-fryer, so these “fries” should really be called “bakes.” Although, I don’t think anyone would understand what I was saying if I used such an accurate name, so we’ll go with “fries.” Feel free to up the amount of herbs and/or butter to your heart’s content—it’s really hard to go wrong here.

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Sweet Potato Fries with Garlic and Herb Butter
serves 3

2 medium yams
1 large Japanese sweet potato (the maroon-skinned kind)
olive oil
salt and pepper

8 sprigs thyme, stripped
2 tbsp chopped parsley
2 cloves garlic
3 tbsp butter
1+ tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Peel only the Japanese sweet potato and leave the skins on the yams. Slice all sweet potatoes into chunky fries-sized pieces. Toss with a couple glugs of olive oil (you want them to be decently coated), about 1/2 tsp salt, and some pepper. Place on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Stir the fries around on the tray and bake for another 20 minutes, until lightly browned and easily pierced with a fork.

Meanwhile, finely chop the herbs and garlic. Melt the butter and oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and herbs and cook for a couple minutes, until the garlic is lightly colored. 

Toss the fries with the garlic and herb butter. Enjoy!

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