I think the lack of posting regularity speaks to the fact that I’ve been preoccupied with other things in my life – apologies! I have such a backlog of entries I want to publish but haven’t gotten around to. On a different note, I got an e-mail from a reader who remarked that I eat well for a college student… I’m absolutely flattered, but one of these days I’ll show you what I actually eat on a regular basis; it’ll be a whole post of lazy stir-fries, pasta, and peanut butter sandwiches (sometimes with bananas, sometimes without bread. You heard me correctly).
But honestly, things have in fact been a little crazy on this end; I just finished a 6-week winter session in which I took two courses on topics I’ve been wanting to learn about for a long time (Design & Entrepreneurial Thinking and Web Design) and then traveled to NJ both to visit a friend and to help lead a workshop for Design for America at Princeton. Now spring semester is in high gear, to say the least, and all I’d like is just a little bit of free time to decompress. The most common phrases heard around my department recently go something like:
“Have you made your portfolio yet? How many pieces are in it?”
“I need to update my resume…”
“Do you know where you’re interning this summer?”
I sympathize completely; in fact, I’m writing this post as an outlet because, like everyone else, I’m feelin’ the pressure. Right now it’s like everyone’s on edge, looking at each other’s work and freaking about how much more they have to do before their own resume or portfolio is ready.
But a lesson I’ve learned (and forgotten, and am constantly re-learning) is that my value and my worth aren’t derived from my resume, what I do, or even what I say. As Immanuel Kant would say, my value is inherent in who I am. I think this is something we easily forget when we get caught up in our work and projects; the feeling of inadequacy always kind of finds its way in when we observe the incredible things that others do. But our own work isn’t diminished because of someone else’s; it’s not like awesomeness is finite and someone else is using up a portion that could’ve been yours. What you create, who you are, what you will become – these are all things that have their own intrinsic value. It’s ok to look at and be inspired by the amazing work that others may do, but it shouldn’t negate the value of your own.
I hope what I’m saying is true – I want to believe it is. I was going to write that maybe you should take what I say with a grain of salt, but instead I think you should use it for these sweet potato fries (a tenuous connection, I know). Sesame and sweet potato is my new favorite flavor combination: unexpected, but delicious. And with the kick from the pepper flakes and a little salt, these fries are really quite extraordinary.
Korean-Spiced Sweet Potato Fries
1-2 sweet potatoes (I used Hannah sweet potatoes – they look like regular potatoes but are as sweet as yams)
1-2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
pinch of salt to taste (I originally used soy sauce, but I found it a bit too wet)
1 tsp Korean red pepper flakes (as per your spice preferences)
1 tbsp honey
2 tsp black sesame seeds
1. Take your sweet potato(es) of choice and slice ’em into fry shapes (peel the skin off beforehand if you like).
2. Assemble your crew. Mix up everything except for the honey and sesame seeds.
3. Toss the potato slices with the oil-spice-marinade mixture and splay them out on a sheet (I used a silpat so they wouldn’t stick to my pan)
4. Bake at 425 degrees F for 30 minutes, or until desired doneness. Remove and let it cool for a few minutes; drizzle with honey and coat in black sesame seeds.
A few days ago I had the ‘real thing’ (deep-fried sweet potato fries coated in corn syrup and sesame seeds) and I have to admit that I prefer these – they’re more subtle, and have the sweet-spicy-salty interplay going on. But if you’re not a fan of the spices I’ve chosen, no worries! The flavor combinations are truly endless; use whatever’s in your pantry, or just straight up salt and pepper. You can’t go wrong!