My drive to work is a lengthy one. Sixty miles of highway driving...and that's one way. Fortunately it's only twice a week. But I can't complain as I take full advantage of uninterrupted time to listen to music, podcasts and think. That's also the time when most of my ideas come to me. The trouble is my thoughts are fleeting and I'm unable to write anything down. But one of them in stayed with me.
It occurred to me that I have this underlying feeling of not completely fitting in. I've been living in the US now longer than I have in the other two countries, but part of me has always felt slightly misplaced. Perhaps this happens to all transplants who've had to up and leave most of their family, but it is very much a strange feeling. Not one I dwell on too often but it does come and go.
This may also have something to do with the 17 times I've moved since I was 9. But for a nomad at heart, I found it surreal to finally settle down, own a home and be in it with my family. Sometimes I look around and can't quite believe that it's mine (well the bank's until the mortgage is paid off in 6000 years). My family helps to indirectly remind me that yes, I do belong, even when those feelings start to bubble to the surface.
One other way I've found to create a bridge between the life I used to have and the one here, is through food. No matter where I lived, food was always an important component of daily life. And not just because obviously we need it to live. For me preparing food is much more than just throwing things together and making a meal. It's grounding and helps to connect me to the place where I am.
One of the nice things I find about living in the US is having access to a variety of food. I've mentioned this in previous posts but I was limited in terms of what food was available in Europe. An example being sweet potatoes. I more than make up for the years I didn't have them as they now go in most things I make: soups, curries, get roasted, baked, fried, etc. They're versatile and delicious.
Since we're on the brink of Thanksgiving, I decided to play around and put a little spin on the standard dishes I've had over the years. Whenever possible, I like to healthify (yes, I made up a word) dishes, this one being no exception. These sweet potatoes are roasted and tossed with kale and caramelized onions. Needless to say the combination is pretty damn delicious.
So to bring it full circle, I realize that I can live perfectly well knowing that I'm never going to be 100% content anywhere I am...but always a little divided between the places where I've lived and the place I now call home. But I'm okay with that.
And on to the recipe.
sweet potatoes with kale and caramelized onions
- Prep time: 5 minutes
- Cooking time: 30-35 minutes
- Serves: 4-6
- 3 large sweet potatoes cut into cubes
- 1 bunch kale stems removed and chopped into bite size pieces
- 1 large onion thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp olive oil or avocado oil divided
- 1 tsp salt divided
- 1/2 tsp pepper divided
- roasting sheet
- foil or parchment paper
- heavy bottomed or cast iron pan
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line your roasting sheet with parchment paper or foil. Add sweet potatoes, 1 tbsp oil , 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Combine well and roast for 25-30 minutes until sweet potatoes are soft. Toss once half way. Remove and set aside.
Meanwhile, preheat pan on medium low heat. Add the other 1 tbsp of oil, onion and 1/4 tsp of salt and cook stirring until soft. Turn heat to low and cook until onions start to caramelize, stirring occasionally - about 25 minutes.
Next add the kale to the pan along with other 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and cook for 5-10 minutes until leaves begin to wilt and soften. Add roasted sweet potatoes and toss everything together to combine. Feel free to add additional seasonings and a drizzle of olive oil.