Baked Beans and Sweet Potatoes

Oof: last night involved too much networking and too many French fries. Re: the former: Sarah, Paul, Alex, and I hit up the Mediabistro party at Medjool. Our hope was to meet cool people who work in our general field — or at least snag some free drinks. Neither goal was  achieved. Spoiler: I didn’t network! Nope, I sat on a sofa, sipping scotch and eating flatbread crisps with goat cheese. This, folks, is why I don’t work in sales, advertising, finance, or, uh, any other job that requires networking.

Re: the latter, SS and I hit up Jay’s Cheesesteak for dinner. Pros: it was quick, cheap, none too crowded, and filling. That, and it boasts plentiful carnivorous, veggie, and vegan options. Cons: the seating area is small, my Boca burger was no more flavorful than cardboard (the bun, too, was papery), and the bathroom was kind of a torture closet, both w/r/t size and smell.

My fries, however, were solid — skinny, deep yellow, and crisp. Those weren’t the only fries I had: oh, no! Later, when Alex got Rosamunde for his dinner, I snagged a few frites dipped in curry ketchup. And then I had some ice cream. And then I slept.

I was going somewhere with this, and the somewhere is that yesterday’s indulgence marathon left me feeling kind of greasy and sluggish today. Attractive, I know. As happens so rarely, I did not feel like eating sandwiches, tacos, jalapeno poppers, or cake. Mostly, I wanted vegetables. Vegetables and chilled green tea, sweetened with a little honey (or stevia). I find it totally rad that my gut serves as a healthy-eating compass; no matter how I stray from the course of complex carbs and good-for-you fats, my gut gets me back on track. It takes a few days, sometimes, but I’ve never not experienced a craving for veggies after a day of fats, oils, and sweets.

Tonight’s dinner was simple and quick. For my main dish, I tried this recipe (“recipe”) from Healthy Tipping Point: sweet potato with baked beans. Seeing it, I thought, “Shit: I like sweet potatoes, and I have baked beans in my cupboard.” Plus, eating beans coupled with a sweet potato seemed less losery than eating baked beans all by themselves (though eating unadorned beans is something I do without qualms).

My side was equally simple: rough-chopped kale sautéed with garlic, salt & pepper, a squirt of lemon juice, and red pepper flakes, then topped with fresh parmesan. Simple, but utterly delicious. I never thought I’d say such a thing about kale (which, for a long time, I considered boooooring), but this kale was so flavorful, so richly savory, that I wanted to eat it forever. What was my process?

  1. Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil to a skillet; allow skillet to heat.
  2. Add to the hot oil three cloves of garlic, minced.
  3. Next, add kale (cleaned, dried, and chopped roughly).
  4. Sprinkle liberally with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and any other seasoning you desire.
  5. Once the kale has cooked down, squeeze the juice of half a lemon over it.
  6. Remove kale from heat. Top with cheese. Allow cheese to melt slightly before serving.

That’s it. Because I bought pre-chopped kale (#lazy), the entire cooking process took 10 minutes.

The potato with beans? Kind of blah: both the potato and beans were sweetish, and their flavors didn’t complement each other in any meaningful way. (I’d rather have eaten the beans alone, truth be told.) But the kale: oh, the kale! The brightness of the lemon juice, the nuttiness of the cheese, and the warm, sharp flavor of sautéed garlic rendered this side dish savory, balanced, and totes homey.

Secret: I might prepare more kale later and bring it for lunch tomorrow.

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