If my life were a novel, the way I found Joanna Linberg’s blog, Honey & Salt would be a classic example of foreshadowing. Picture it: November 2010. I’m posting some scattered thoughts on thankfulness (or, really, unthankfulness) here at the blog. Three days later, unbeknownst to me, a magazine editor from Iowa links to that post in a roundup at her site, sending a pingback to my email inbox, landing me on her thoughtful piece of the Internet; I start reading her blog; we become friends; we visit each other; we cry in my kitchen; we write letters; and now, here I am, bringing you a sweet potato recipe from the woman I would now call one of the most thankful people I know.
You probably remember Joanna—the Joanna of Brad and Joanna, the friends we went to see in St. Louis last month? She could just as easily be called the Full of Wisdom Joanna or the Writes Beautiful Letters Joanna or the Joanna Who Points Me to Truth and Gratitude Every Time We Talk. But, I suspect, to you, she will quickly become the Joanna Who Makes Cajun Sweet Potato Fries, and nothing else will matter, at least after you try this recipe that is, because, people, it’s something else.
I first pinned these fries way back in July when Joanna first posted them, the way I’m always pinning things I like, just about every day when I scroll through my Reader and click Twitter links and find random photos that make me go woah.
Every time I would think about making them, I’d realize we didn’t have cumin or, worse, sweet potatoes, and I’d file them back in my brain, or, more accurately, Pinterest, because, let’s be honest, that site is nothing if not a great way to stop having to remember everything all the time.
But this week, going through my to-cook board and realizing I had everything I needed to make these, which is another way of saying no reason not to, I went to work right away. And one afternoon while we worked side by side on the sofa near our Christmas tree, Tim and I ate one giant plateful of these spicy, savory beauties, crispy on the outside, hot and soft when you bite in.
Joanna cuts hers into thick wedges; I slice mine into thin strips. Either way, they’re covered with just the right amount of dark, fragrant spices to make them both satisfying and addictive, the kind of snack to leave you longing for more when the last fry is gone. Do yourself a favor and make them tonight—only double the recipe if you’re smart—and, in the meantime, pop over to Honey & Salt for some good reading from a generous soul—I like going over there to find myself laughing and crying and nodding along with Joanna whenever she gets to write.
Joanna Linberg’s Cajun Sweet Potato Fries
Adapted from Joanna Linberg’s Honey & Salt
The original recipe calls for three sweet potatoes, but I only had two, and I wasn’t about to let that stop me (again!) from trying this recipe out. Good news: two works great! But either way is probably cool.
Also, how good would these be with a harissa dipping sauce or a homemade honey mustard! I’ll leave it to you to try that out.
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1/2 tablespoon onion powder (I went with a garlic-herb spice blend instead)
1/2 tablespoon red paprika
salt to taste (I like coarse salt on these)
2 or 3 sweet potatoes, washed and cut into skinny matchsticks
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Combine chili powder, cumin, onion powder (or substitute), red paprika, and salt in a large bowl. Add the sweet potatoes and melted coconut oil and toss until the potatoes are evenly coated.
Spread onto two pans and bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Then, turn the oven to broil and broil for 3 to 5 minutes or until the skin and tops of the fries are crispy.