Glazed Sweet Potatoes

Given the choice between potatoes and sweet potatoes, I'd pick potatoes anytime. My parents used to put chopped up pieces of orange sweet potatoes into their rice gruel. I don't doubt it was nutritious but it just didn't excite me. Until I discovered glazed Japanese sweet potatoes. Done well, these beautiful morsels had a slight crust on the outside which gives way to a soft inside. I have two versions of this and the difference is only in the sauce you toss the sweet potatoes in at the end.

For both versions you need 1 big or 2 medium sized Japanese sweet potatoes, oil, and black sesame seeds.

Glaze for version 1: Taste like apples. 
1 T sugar

1 T lemon juice
cinnamon powder
salt to taste

Glaze for version 2: Savory sweet. 
1 T sugar
1 T mirin
1 t soy sauce

Wash the sweet potatoes. Pat dry. Wrap in aluminum foil and bake in 350-400°F for 40 minutes. Cool. Chop into bite sized pieces.

Heat oil in pan. Toss the sweet potato pieces until slightly browned and crisp outside. Pour the sauce for glaze. Toss quickly coating all pieces. Add the black sesame seeds. Remove from heat and serve.

Better than Market O Brownies

I confess I used to buy those individually packaged Market O Real Brownies Original (from Korea? Japan?). At almost $2 for a small square inch piece of sweet, I only bought it to celebrate something and they were always too small to satisfy. Then I graudated to making brownies from Trader Joe's brownie mixes and you can only get a package or two to last you until your next trip to the US. Then one day I decided to make them from scratch. My neighbor said brownies are hard to mess up but that's not true. I've baked hard and dry brownies and overly sweet messes. I've made brownies that were sorely lacking in nuts. My dad likes to say all those mistakes are our tuition fee. I've paid my way to Better than Market O Brownies. 

½ cup butter
¾ cup sugar

2 eggs
1 t vanilla
½ cup cocoa powder (Dutch process is best)
⅓ cup flour
1 cup chopped walnuts
⅓ cup chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix in cocoa and flour. Fold in chopped walnuts and chocolate chips. Pour in parchment lined pan. Bake in preheated 350°F oven for 20 minutes. First 12 minutes covered in foil and last 8 minutes uncovered. After exactly 20 minutes take out of the oven to cool. Do not leave in the oven to cool or the brownie dries out.