Please tell me that I am not the only girl who leaves her keys in the door. Or loses her car in parking lots. Or drops her wallet on the sidewalk. Distracted is my middle name, but committing all three of those mistakes over the past few weeks is a personal record.
I suppose I have to tell you the stories now, don’t I? I’ll start with the best one. A couple of weeks ago, I took Cookie outside before dragging myself to bed. I was exhausted—apparently so exhausted that I left my keys in my door when I shut it behind me. Dumb, right? The next morning, I woke up and searched around for my keys. I couldn’t find them in any of the normal spots. It finally occurred to me to check the door. Aha! Keys. Relief.
Then I walked down the front steps, looked over to my left, and saw my car. My car was parked in front of the fire hydrant with a white ticket flapping underneath the window wiper. That’s not where I parked my car, you guys. I walked over to my car with trepidation and peered through the windows.
Everything inside my car seemed to be in order. Not a serial killer in sight. I got in and noticed that the seat had been scooted back a few inches. All I know about the thief (borrower?) is that he’s a few inches taller than me, drives a manual transmission and has an iPhone, apparently, since he took my cord with him. That leaves a lot of suspects.
I’m still wondering what that stranger did in my car. Maybe he just wanted to cruise around the neighborhood. Maybe he ran out of beer and decided to drive over to the gas station. Maybe he intended to steal it, but quickly realized that stealing my beat-up car was a waste of time and brought it back. Maybe he dropped off some drugs. Let’s hope not. I just wish he’d dropped off the stuff in my trunk at Goodwill while he was at it.
The other stories aren’t so exciting. I was thirty minutes late to Bev‘s baby shower (she’s having twins!) because I lost my car on The Plaza. Then my wallet fell out of my grandmother’s little black purse in between Sur la Table and the corner. Thankfully, a good samaritan found the wallet and brought it to customer service, which is what I would have done for him. All said and done, I’ve really lucked out in all of these situations. I have a sixty dollar ticket to pay but that’s not the worst that could have happened.
Sometimes I wish I had someone around to catch my silly mistakes in real time. I make a lot of them. I do have you all, though. You let me know when I list garlic twice in a recipe, or when there’s a little too much pumpkin in my pancakes. You leave feedback for me in the comments section and tweet/instagram/email me photos of the recipes you’ve made at home, which makes me super happy. Even if I don’t respond right away, know that I’m listening and glad you’re here.
This recipe, for example, was inspired by a convincing comment left on my sweet potato fries recipe. Carla said, “These are wonderful and are even more unbelievable with THAI SPICY PEANUT SAUCE. Sorry to yell, but these two things were born for each other. Ketchup, honey, mayo based sauces do not do them justice.”
She sounded like she was onto something, so I grabbed a bottle of San-J Thai peanut sauce at the store and roasted up to sweet potato fries. She was indeed onto something. I did my best to recreate San-J’s version based on the ingredient list and made it a full meal by adding jasmine rice, red bell pepper, cilantro and chives. Thanks, Carla!
- ½ cup creamy peanut butter
- ¼ cup reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey (or agave nectar, to taste)
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1 inch long, ½ inch wide chunks
- 1 red bell pepper, cored, deseeded, and sliced into bite-sized strips
- about 2 tablespoons coconut oil (or olive oil)
- ¼ teaspoon cumin powder
- Sea salt, to taste
- 1¼ cup jasmine brown rice (or any variety of long-grain brown rice)
- 2 to 3 green onions/chives, sliced into thin rounds (green and white parts)
- Handful cilantro, torn
- Handful peanuts, crushed
- Sriracha/rooster sauce on the side (optional)
- Prep: Bring a large pot of water to boil. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit with a rack in the middle and another rack near the top.
- Roast the vegetables: Toss the sweet potato chunks with a generous tablespoon of coconut oil, the cumin and a sprinkle of salt. Toss the bell pepper with about a teaspoon of coconut oil and salt. The vegetables should be lightly coated with oil on all sides.
- Arrange the sweet potatoes in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Arrange the red bell peppers on a separate, smaller baking sheet. Roast the sweet potatoes on the middle rack for about 35 minutes, tossing halfway, and roast the peppers on the top rack for about 20 minutes, tossing halfway. The vegetables will be tender and caramelized on the edges when they are ready.
- In the meantime, cook the rice: Once the water is boiling, pour in the rice and give it a stir. Boil the rice for 30 minutes, then turn off the heat and drain the rice. Return the rice to the pot and cover the pot. Let the rice steam that way for 10 minutes. Remove the lid, fluff the rice with a fork and season with salt to taste.
- Make the sauce: in a bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients. If the sauce is too thick or too spicy, whisk in a little more water.
- Serve: Top rice with roasted vegetables, a heavy drizzle of sauce, and a sprinkle of chopped green onions, cilantro and peanuts.
Make it gluten free: Tamari is a Japanese soy sauce that has a great flavor and is gluten free, unlike most other soy sauces. I like the San-J brand.
Make it vegan: Use agave nectar instead of honey for vegan sauce.
Other recipes you might like: my summer rolls with spicy peanut sauce, peanut soba noodle bowl and Thai green curry. Jeanine is also on a peanut sauce kick with peanut noodles and salad wraps.