Last night, I decided to try something new for dinner.
I know. This is dangerous, especially on a Monday. Nobody wants to cook something worthy of a spot on Worst Cooks in America on the Worst Day of the Week. Even worse, if you're anything like me, a ruined dinner means a hard left into hangry territory. Trust me (and my poor husband). No one wants this.
But I'm also easily bored, especially when it comes to food, necessitating some level of variety in my diet. So that's why I was hunkered over my island yesterday evening, desperately trying to make sweet potato "rice" for a Mexican-inspired dish. I had spotted the recipe on one of my favorite food blogs. The blogger, with all of her culinary finesse, made the creation of the sweet potato rice look simple. Just grab your spiralizer (a device that shreds vegetables into an approximation of noodles), rotate the sweet potato until it transforms into ribbon-like curls, then chop up said spirals into rice-sized bits. As Ina Garten would say, "How easy is that?"
Spoiler alert: it was not that easy, Ina.
Like most things, at first it was. Vibrant orange curls came out of my spiralizer like pencil shavings from a particularly aggressive sharpener. But quickly, my potato resembled a very fat pencil. Which, if you know anything about sharpening Ticonderogas, you know that they don't produce many shavings past a certain point, no matter how hard you try.
I began to feel the first inklings of frustration, but I kept my cool, as if I was on an episode of Cutthroat Kitchen and trying to recover from a grievous cooking faux pas. I tried different techniques. I pressed harder, trying to force the sweet potato to bend to my will. It resisted all attempts at transfiguration. I put the obstinate spud down on my island. Great. What am I going to do now?
Thankfully, Scott saw me struggling and suggested trying my food processor. Oh yeah, I thought. I own one of those. I cubed the potato and threw it in the processor. A few quick pulses later, I had sweet potato rice. "Good call," I told my husband, admiring my orange confetti.
From there, it was a matter of throwing the rice in a hot pan, seasoning it liberally with my favorite garlic-jalapeno seasoning and stirring in the rest of the accoutrements: black beans, pico de gallo, cilantro and some cubed chicken. Add a dollop of sour cream, and dinner was served.
And it was pretty good, if I do say so myself. It was the kind of dinner that makes you look forward to having your leftovers for lunch. High praise in my book.
So all's well that ends well. Maybe I wouldn't make it past the first round of Chopped with my culinary prowess, but, with a little help of my practical sous chef, at least I can try something new on a Monday and survive to tell the tale.