Scoping Out Other People’s Lunch

It’s already halfway through the week! How did this happen?

I’ve had a crazy busy two days at work, going to a bunch of meetings. I worked from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. yesterday on about five hours asleep, went to the gym, made dinner and was asleep by 10:30 p.m.

Luckily, today is much more relaxed, and I’ve been able to sit at my desk quietly and work. But when I was going through my work email this morning, I discovered an email from a colleague in one of the other news bureaus in Tallahassee with a recipe for sweet potato chips!

In the Florida Capitol, the reporters work out of a big room on the third floor (our regular offices are a few blocks away), and frequently on busy days, everyone eats lunch while they work. So, you know what other people tend to eat. One person brings carrots to munch on, another friend brings a sandwich and fruit, another likes yogurt.  And one reporter, Lloyd, brings homemade sweet potato chips.

Luckily for me, Lloyd offered me a few one day and they were amazing. So, I picked up a sweet potato at the store the other day and asked him how to make them.  He initially just said some olive oil, cinnamon, salt and bake for about 25 minutes, but when I came in this morning, I found a fully written out recipe in my inbox. 🙂 I think I’m going to make them tonight.

Here’s the recipe, courtesy of Lloyd:

Ingredients: Two large sweet potatoes, a liberal tablespoon of olive oil (but you can adjust depending on how you feel about the calories), two heaping teaspoons of cinnamon (I may use more than that because I like it), salt to taste (about half a teaspoon I would guess; you can also add a little pepper)

Preparation: Cut up the potatoes into slices, leaving the skins on. The thinner the slices the crisper the end product will be, but the thinnest ones cook the quickest and can burn. (I tend to cut my slices into sort of half-moon shapes, but whatever works for you is fine.)

Mix the potatoes, the oil, cinnamon and salt in a one-gallon plastic bag, making sure each slice is coated.

Place the potatoes on a baking sheet (I cover it first with foil for an easier cleanup. And depending on the size of the potatoes, you might have to cook more than one batch.)

Cooking: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees (you might have to adjust the temperature or time based on your oven; 425 may do the trick as well). Bake the potatoes for 40 minutes. I would begin checking periodically from about 25 minutes onward with closer scrutiny near the end. I pluck out the pieces or flip them if they look like they’re starting to cook too quickly. If you’re really efficient you could try flipping all the pieces at some point, although I never do that.

The potatoes should be ready after 40 minutes. But I also use what I call my desiccation process. After the 40 minutes, I turn off the oven and let some of the heat escape, but leave the potatoes in for 10 minutes or longer. I do tend to flip most of the potatoes before beginning this process to make sure none are burning on the bottom.(Also keep an eye on them because they can burn if too much heat is left in the oven.) The process dries out the potatoes and makes them more fry-like to me. If you like them moister you might not want to do this; but you can experiment with what suits your taste.


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