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.

Going coconutty

I was in the mood for something sweet this morning. Actually, what I really wanted was ice cream, but I was contemplating a baked good that the dairy-allergic husband could eat. There was a can of coconut milk in the pantry, so I adapted a buttermilk spice quick bread that I used to make a lot. It came out a little dense, so I think I will up the baking powder next time, but it’s pretty good. Only a hint of coconut flavor – not excessively so. See what y’all think. Mace is similar to nutmeg, but I prefer the flavor over nutmeg.

Coconut Milk Spice Bread

1/2 cup unsalted nondairy margarine, at room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon mace

1 cup canned coconut milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8-by-4-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the margarine and sugar together. Add the egg and mix well.

In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and spices. Canned coconut milk can separate, so pour the entire can of coconut milk into a small  bowl and stir it until it’s recombined. Then measure out 1 cup. Stir the vanilla into the cup of coconut milk.

Running the mixer on low, add the flour mixture and coconut milk alternatively, beginning and ending with flour. Pour the batter into the pan. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.