I have just one criticism about my cooking from my husband, Daniel, and that is that every time I prepare something he like, I never make it again for him.
Although I have no intention of ever cooking it again, I can’t help but imagine what would happen if I added a touch of this and spritz of that to the mix. Would it make the meal seem more vibrant, fuller, and tastier? This tinkering is, in my opinion, an important part of the enjoyment of cooking and is one of the primary reasons I like it.
And that’s exactly what happened when I set out to prepare some coconut oil roasted sweet potatoes, a recipe I invented in 2011 and continue to tinker with on a regular basis.
Over the course of a decade, I’ve experimented with different spices, added more veggies, and piled on sauces, meats, and herbs. As long as I didn’t tamper with the fundamentals of the recipe — the coconut oil, the sweet potatoes, the roasting temperature — I was pretty well guaranteed a successful outcome. The sweet potatoes would always come out with a rich taste and a delicate crispness on the surface, with a velvety inside.
That is, as long as I didn’t take the sweet potatoes out of the oven too soon after they were done.
In the comments of the original recipe available at New York Times Cooking, a reader named Steven D. noted that the potatoes were mushy after about a half-hour, but that the crusts hardened in the second half-hour, giving them the delightful texture that distinguishes the meal.
When I cooked this recipe the previous time, I intended to offer it as a main course rather than as a side dish to complement a meal. Because of this, I went down the well-trodden road of adding an egg on top — in this instance, one that had been cooked in coconut oil until the edges ruffled and crisped, eventually becoming brittle and golden.
It goes without saying that thinking about fried eggs made me want to have a side of bacon. However, since I was trying to avoid eating meat, I substituted a dash of smoky paprika for the bacon’s savagery. It enhanced the flavour of the potatoes and provided a burst of colour to the eggs immediately before serving, with the deep crimson powder streaking orange through the yolks.
Besides the salted almonds for crunch, I also used a cream-and-garlic-infused yoghurt sauce to bind everything together. As a result, I had a beautiful, comforting, and filling supper that I will almost certainly not prepare again.
Despite this, you are free to build it as frequently as you like and customise it to your liking.