Sunday, January 18, 2009

my current favorite restaurant and also mashed sweet potatoes

[photo from the Tender Greens website]

I can't believe I've gone this long without mentioning my favorite restaurant Tender Greens. The one we go to is located in the (recently?) gentrified downtown neighborhood of Culver City about 20 minutes away. There's a discount movie theater down the street from it that m and I go to nearly every weekend and that's how we found out about this place.

At the base it's a salad place using fresh seasonal local ingredients for their salads with some dishes featuring grilled meats added on top. Or if you prefer, you can order a hot plate of the grilled meat with a small side salad and mashed potatoes. Or the grilled meat (or veggie) on a ciabatta bun with a small side salad. I'm making it sound like their menu items aren't terribly original, but that's just me lacking the ability to fully describe how awesome this food is (I'm going to blame the allergy attack I've been suffering from). I've been going down their menu trying each salad one by one and I've yet to find a clunker.They also feature a weekly special salad and soup. And all of this is very reasonably priced which makes it a win/win/win for us.

[photo from the Tender Greens website]

We were there recently and M ordered their special which was a hot plate instead of a salad. A slow cooked duck leg on a bed of mashed sweet potatoes with a small side salad. It was damn good. I particularly enjoyed the mashed sweet potatoes. They were creamy, lightly sweet and just that right porridge/pudding consistency that screams of comfort food.

[photo from the Tender Greens website]

So Friday night, my first night feeling up to cooking a meal, I decided to make some of those mashed sweet potatoes. I roasted two medium sized potatoes for about an hour (pricking the surface with a fork a few times) and then scraped the flesh from the skin into a medium sized bowl. I was a little worried about how maybe the oven roasting might have dried out the potatoes so I added about 1/4 cup of milk and a dollop of light cream cheese for flavor. This is the thing with mashed potatoes in my opinion, add a dollop of cream cheese before mixing/whipping and I think you'll find that it adds a little extra va-voom to your 'taters. Just a little extra creaminess, you won't be able to taste the cheese flavor at all. Try it, I think it'll change that way you make mashed potatoes. To the mashed sweet potatoes I didn't even add any salt or pepper or any of my other mashed potatoes seasonings (sometimes I add a dash of nutmeg or ground white pepper - I guess the secret's out now). And dudes, let me tell you it was out of this world!

Oh and I cooked honey glazed porkchops and garlic sauteed spinach to go with it.

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