Open Sesame

                                             Stack of Potatoes

Sophie's thoughtful Christmas gift to me was an Oxo mandoline.  The best gifts given are those the giver realizes the recipient would love, but never buy for themselves.  It is wonderful to see your child become a thoughtful gift-giver, transitioning from gifts that they not so secretly want (like the ceramic frog I gave my mother at ~age 10).  I suspect that Sophie also had a real fascination with the waffle setting, as do I.

Our first attempt at sweet potato chips was the baked variety, and were slightly disappointing in the way that trading baking for frying always is.  I resolved to do it right this time and fired up the electric skillet.  Much better, no half flabby/half burnt chips.

 As long as my house was going to smell like cooking oil for the next three days I decided to cook some tofu for dinner.  Sophie's response, "Are we going to fry the tofu in there too?" was positively gleeful.  I pressed a package of extra-firm tofu while I was cooking the potato chips, cut into 1/2" thick slices, rolled in flour, dunked in water, then coated with sesame seeds. 

 Fried until golden.  Serve with dipping sauce of your choice.  Sophie had sweet chili sauce.

Rounded out with some Thai-styled Asian slaw I had made earlier in the week.

Som Tom Slaw

3 cups thinly sliced cabbage (you could add some julienned carrot if you like)

1/2 cup crushed peanuts

1 cup finely chopped cilantro

2 TBS lime juice

2 TBS fish sauce

2 tsp palm sugar

Combine sugar/lime/fish sauce.  Toss with all other ingredients.  Chill until cabbage is slightly softened.

I purposely left out any spicy components--but it would be great with a little chopped serrano pepper.

A nice version of this Thai classic that doesn't involve a trip to every Asian market in town (all two of them) trying to find green papaya.

                                               Totoro-Approved