My friend Crystal and I both have this ongoing bad habit of leaving coffee in our cars that has morphed into kind of a gross competition over who will drink the oldest, nastiest coffee. Every time she picks me up or vice versa, we immediately ask each other: how long has this coffee been sitting in your car? And the answer is always extra funny to me because not only does Crystal own one of the most popular restaurants in Nashville, she's worked staged at many of the best restaurants in L.A. Still, I think currently I'm winning the competition, as I have consumed such old coffee so many times that car coffee is my preferred breakfast. We can't all be fancy in all the ways, ya know? (And if you don't know, go read Keith Pandolfi's excellent piece for Serious Eats, The Case for Bad Coffee).
The alternative to skunky coffee isn't much better. My most ideal breakfast is cold, leftover noodles; pad see ew, drunken noodles, Two Ten Jack garlic butter noodles, and Nicoletto's fettuccini alfredo or eggplant parm over spaghetti have all really hit the spot for me. I just never know what I want first thing in the morning and if some congealed alfredo or room temp, stale coffee is ready to go...well, down the hatch. Still, every now and then I manage to make something nice in advance to have on hand for the week, like cultured roasted garlic cashew cheese on sprouted grain toast or recently- this sweet potato butter. Yeah, sweet potato butter. I considered calling it sweet potato hummus, because that's kind of what the texture is like once it's chilled- beautiful and creamy and light. But since it is without legumes of any kind, we're going with butter.
On it's own this stuff is a solid, but basic blend of sweet and salty, albeit the best kind of salty because MISO. But pile it on a cold slice of cucumber with green onion oil and a sprinkle of togarashi and you're cooking with gas. Seriously: don't skip the toppings. I know it sounds ba-na-na-s to buy 3/4 of a pound of togarashi if you've never had it before, but I promise once you have it in your house you'll be sprinkling it on everything. The one I like (buy it here) is a mix of chili pepper, orange peel, black and white sesame seeds, Japanese pepper and ginger. Wait until melon season is here. Y'all are gonna be like, SHUT UP, togarashi is good sprinkled on melon- WE GET IT. Oh hey, maybe I'll eat that for breakfast come July.
Sweet Potato Butter
-yields 1 1/2 to 2 cups
2 medium Japanese sweet potatoes (1 1/4 pounds to 1 1/2 pounds total)
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1T miso paste (buy it here)
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
3 large whole green onions, thinly sliced
1. Preheat oven to 400 and roast potatoes whole until very tender, about 1 hour.
2. While potatoes are still warm, cut them in half and scoop out the flesh. Put it through a a potato ricer (I like this one) in a small bowl.
3. Add butter and 1T miso paste. Mash it up and taste to see if you need a pinch of salt or a little more miso.
4. Store in an airtight container for up to a week and serve cold.
5. To serve: heat 1/4 cup grapeseed oil (olive oil is okay too!) over medium and throw in the white and light green parts of the green onions with a large pinch of kosher salt. Cook until soft, then add the dark green parts too if you like. When oil and potato butter are chilled, swirl a little reservoir into the potato butter and fill it with the green onion oil. Sprinkle liberally with togarashi.