My parents are in the middle of a serious house cleanse. Their basement is starting to resemble an archeological dig, layered in nostalgia and junk. Long-buried boxes are getting hauled out, including a Rubbermaid bin containing all the journals I ever wrote. Beginning with the one I started when I was six years old, it’s nearly twenty years worth of journals and notebooks.
I’d always intended to just throw everything out. But of course, when the time came, I skimmed through them, trying to decide which ones, if any, I still wanted to keep.
While reading through them, several things became clear.
- Life was very serious. Always.
- Meals were very important to me. Like, really really important. Most early entries began with a recounting of breakfast.
- I went through a phase where I named my journals (?). In one particular journal, I named and renamed it half a dozen times. Each entry was like a letter to the journal itself. I think this was something that I did only after reading a character in a novel do it, but I’m not sure.
- (From a literary criticism standpoint, I’m now fascinated. Like, why? talk to your journal? as if it was an actual person, a friend? What does that say about my relationship with books? Or does it have more to do with a sort of performativity within my own private thoughts, dividing myself into someone I wanted to confide in, someone I wanted to be. WHO KNOWS.)
- I considered myself an expert in list-making, especially lists of my favourite things (not joking, see above seriousness).
As it happens, the other thing that I am good at making (and collecting) is apple chutney. For the past several years, I have made big batches every fall, and as much as I try to eat and give away, there’s always more waiting on the pantry shelf. Now that spring has started, I can feel it coming around again. I know I will make more apple chutney. It’s human nature. It’s fate.
Re-reading all of my tween angst was clearly a bad idea. – Rachel
Sweet Potato Samosas
- 1½ cups flour
- 4 Tbsp butter, softened
- pinch of salt
- water, just enough to bind dough
- Vegetable oil, for deep frying
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/4 tsp each of ground coriander, ground cumin, and smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 1 medium-large sweet potato, peeled and cut into ¼” cubes
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
- sea salt, to taste
In a large bowl, cut butter into flour and salt. Add water, as teaspoon at a time, until the dough comes together (this was about 8 tsp, or 2 Tbsp). Knead dough until elastic. Cover and let chill for 1 hour.
On the stove, fill a heavy pot with a couple inches of vegetable oil, and set to heat slowly on low.
For the filling, heat oil in a skillet. Then add onion, and cook until lightly browned. Add sweet potato and vegetable stock, and let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add lemon juice, the spices, and salt. Simmer for another 15 minutes, or until the potato pieces have softened. Add more stock as needed as the liquid evaporates. Remove from heat to cool.
Divide dough into 7 golf-ball sized rounds and cover with a towel. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough balls into a 6″ rounds. Cut them in half. Gather straight edges of 1 half-round together, overlapping them by ¼” to form a cone; moisten seam with water and press to seal. Spoon 1 heaping tbsp. filling into cone. Moisten inside of top edge of cone with water, press edges together to close top of cone, and pinch along top ¼” of seam to completely seal filling in dough cone. Pleat length of seam by folding over about ¼” of the dough and pinching it together in about ½” increments. Repeat process with remaining dough and filling to make 14 pastries total. Set filled pastries aside.
Using a thermometer, test the heat of the oil. When it is at 350 F, begin deep frying the samosas, several at a time. They are done when they become a consistent golden brown.
Let drain and cool slightly on paper towels before eating with all the apple chutney you can have. Yes, all.
If you are getting tired of apple chutney, or you want something as well as apple chutney, I also mixed up some cilantro pesto with a dollop of yogurt. To make pesto out of anything, check this out.
Or you could just puree a bunch of cilantro, a few leaves of mint, some lime juice, and a bit of yogurt together.