Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sweets for the Sweets

Well, it's been a while, sorry about that. I was immersed in a copy-editing job for a university report, which meant I was swimming in a world ruled by passive voice. This voice is hypnotic and deceptive; it lulls you into believing that things happen on their own accord, with no one taking responsibility, or credit, for anything.

In this world, things just are. They are reviewed, formed, analyzed,
shifted, reorganized, studied—with no human hand intervening. I spent hours upon hours resurrecting lost verbs, animating committees, revving up an entire university on paper. I asked a lot of questions in red, most predominantly: "What do you mean by this?"

I sent off the last chapter Saturday morning. Phew. But that passive voice still drones in my ears, and I'll need to do some serious exorcizing in the next few days, to hear my own voice calling faintly, like an avalanche survivor hoping to be rescued.

In the meantime, here's a lovely recipe for Sweet Potato Salad with Chili and Lime; I made it for 4th of July, and the rhythm of peeling sweet potatoes, chopping them into uniform chunks, squeezing lime after lime, soothed me after all those hours on the computer.

It was even better the next day, with a can of black beans added to the mix! Next time, I'll leave out the red pepper and bump up the lime and salt a bit.

Sweet Potato Salad with Chili-Lime Dressing
Epicurious | March 1999
Lauren Chattman
Just Add Water
Yield: Makes 6 servings
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 medium-size red bell pepper, seeded and diced.
4 scallions, white and light green parts, finely chopped

Place the sweet potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until just tender, 7 to 10 minutes (don't overcook or your salad will be mushy and falling apart.) Drain and transfer to a large bowl.

While the potatoes are cooking, make the dressing. Whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, chili powder, cumin, cilantro, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Add the red bell pepper and scallions to the potatoes and toss with the dressing. Season again with salt and pepper. Serve warm or refrigerate and bring to room temperature before serving.