A spicy sprinkle

I baked some sweet potato fries the other night. I love them, but they do not get crispy like deep-fried fries. They stay a little soft in the middle, but they’re still great. It’s just part of who they are. Cutting the potatoes no more than half an inch thick helps with crispiness, as does keeping the skins on.

I gave them extra oomph with this spicy salt. I don’t heavily salt my food, so I like it to count. This blend, based on a recipe from “Fast, Fresh and Green” by Susie Middleton (Chronicle Books, 2010) could be used on white potatoes, or even grilled salmon or chicken. I used a Hawaiian salt, but any kosher or sea salt would do.

Spicy Seasoning Salt

1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon strong spicy cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cardamom

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon paprika (regular or smoked)

Combine everything in a small bowl. Store in a covered glass jar.

Food news roundup

As someone who has been trying to limit salt intake for many years, I was aware of some of the salt traps noted in The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) today. But it’s still shocking to see where salt creeps in unexpectedly (cereal? really?) I hope that, with the new emphasis on reducing sodium in food, that more low- or no-sodium products will appear. Until then (and even after), the best ways to limit salt are the ones mentioned in the article: Avoid processed foods and lunch meats, and cook as much of your own food as you can (including salad dressings, sauces, etc.) Read more here.

An outpost of Cary’s Grand Asia Market has opened in Charlotte, and the Charlotte Observer’s Kathleen Purvis reacts. If you haven’t been, it has everything Asian in food that you could be looking for. And, as is the case in many ethnic groceries, the produce is often cheaper and of better quality than in supermarkets. Read more here.

The Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal writes about Chapel Hill author Jean Anderson’s latest book, “Falling Off the Bone” (Wiley, $29.95). The book is about using less expensive cuts of meat. Read more here.

I’ve been telling y’all, cupcakes have jumped the shark. Look here at these gorgeous macarones in the Independent Weekly (Durham, N.C.) and tell me you don’t agree.

They’re crazy for quiche over at KitchenScoop.com. Find out why here.

Gluten-free alternatives that let sensitive folks enjoy baked goods are at the San Antonio Express-News. Check out the recipes here.

Tiny versions of big things are just cuter. That’s true of vegetables, too, as the Salt Lake Tribune offers tips for growing your own microgreens and using them in the kitchen – even a recipe for a cocktail. Read more here.

The Chicago Tribune says that four American star chefs will participate at a salute to French dining at Versailles. Who’ll make the Freedom Fries, I wonder? Read more here.

Now that it seems to be free of the Great Firewall of China, I can mention this interesting blog. After being involuntarily separated from his sports writing job, Roger van der Horst decided to leave Raleigh, N.C. and teach in China. He occasionally writes about encounters with Chinese food and dining habits, and one such entry is here.