Last week, after recovering from my last disastrously costly expedition into Whole Lotta Cash Foods, I mustered up the courage and the funds to go back. Cradling my tiny, sorely-depleted-from-having-a-house-that-won’t-sell purse tenderly in my arms, I was determined to get JUST A FEW things, chief among them cream, bacon, a chicken, and some wine (to help me cope with the stress of spending all my money at Whole Foods). I revelled in my newly-acquired sense of frugality, even as I taxed the limits of my mathematical skills, as I added up each item in my head as I went along.
When I got to the counter, the total was a few dollars more than I’d imagined. No surprise there–after all, I am the woman who bounced fifteen checks in a few memorable days in 1987, one for 78 cents, in part because I had accidentally added my bank balance in as a deposit. But still, as I put my bags in the car, I thought I’d better take a look at the receipt, just to be sure.
And there it was: The bacon was EIGHT DOLLARS A POUND. I’d read the wrong label on the shelf, and the two half-pound packages I’d picked up were FOUR DOLLARS EACH.
So I took them back. “What’s the reason for the return?” the clerk asked.
“I didn’t realize they were eight dollars a pound,” I said, silently adding, “and of course only crazy people pay eight dollars a pound for bacon even if it is organic and the pigs slept on silk cushions and were hand-fed truffles their entire piggy lives.”
The clerk’s look said it all: “Don’t I know it,” he seemed to say, “but lady, save my time and get your sorry poor self over to the Food Lion next time.”
Still, some good things came out of this trip. The best turned out to be the beautiful organic Garnett sweet potatoes, which I baked a couple of nights ago and turned into sweet potato pancakes tonight.
There are a zillion different kinds of sweet potatoes, if you can figure out the difference between sweet potatoes, yams, boniato, and the thousands of other starchy tubers from around the world. (The link to Garnett sweet potatoes offers a pretty good guide.) But these Garnetts were exceptionally sweet and flavorful, and I would even dare enter WF again to get them.
My version of the sweet potato pancake is a remake of the potato pancakes my mother made for us growing up. They were made from leftover mashed potatoes rather than from raw grated potato–but the recipe for those will have to wait.
Sweet Potato Pancakes (makes 6 medium-sized pancakes)
NOTE: Cook your sweet potatoes any time–it requires practically no effort. Just cut one end off each potato (Garnett if you can get them) and bake on a cookie sheet in 375 degree for about 1 hour. That’s right: Turn on oven, cut the end off the potato, put it on a cookie sheet, and cook it. You can store the cooked, unskinned potatoes in refrigerator for several days.
2 large baked sweet potatoes, peeled
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. curry powder (or more to taste)
1 tsp. cayenne (more or less to taste)
2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup flour
Oil for frying
Place sweet potatoes in large bowl and mash with fork or potato masher. Heat olive oil in skillet on medium heat. Saute onions in large skillet until translucent. Add garlic and spices and continue to cook for 1 minute. Turn off heat. Add eggs to sweet potatoes and mix. Add onion mixture and flour and stir until blended. The mixture should be just slightly thinner than mashed potatoes–it’s better if they are too thick rather than too thin. Coat bottom of skillet used to saute onions with oil and heat on medium high heat until a small bit of mixture dropped in skillet sizzles gently. Spoon mixture into skillet to make 4 – 5″ diameter pancakes. Cook for about 4 minutes on each side, checking frequently to avoid burning. Place on plate covered with paper towels to drain before serving.