For those who don’t know, this summer I’ve been working at Opal Basil, a fine dining restaurant in Mandeville, Louisiana. For the past couple of months, I feel like I’ve just been soaking it all up and I forget how far I’ve come. The first day that I worked in the kitchen, the knife honestly scared me. Not because it was sharp, but because I wasn’t comfortable with using it yet. Now I can’t wait to get back in the kitchen whenever Chef Rob needs me!
One of the things I love about the restaurant is its versatility. Every time I go in I’m surprised at what event we have to cook for and what we will be making. Each week we make over 100 pre-made Paleo meals for clients, and the menu just depends on what’s in season and what we have on hand. Some customers get meals for the whole week, or some get meals for just dinner each week. We always include a protein and a ton of vegetables.
This week we sent out this side dish. Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Blueberries and Pecans. This is another creation I can only attribute to the Chef, because he tells me what to put together and then I do it. I love the freedom I have at my cooking “station” because I get to have a bit of fun with whatever he asks for!
I cooked these again at home with 3 other dishes going! Working in the kitchen has made me a lot more efficient with my own home cooking. The Chef tells me to “always remember there’s something in the oven”, “don’t stress”, and “have fun”. Cooking is a lot like a sport or learning an instrument. Practicing everyday is bound to make you better. It’s that simple! : )
- 3 sweet potatoes
- ½ Tablespoon butter or coconut oil
- ⅔ cup pecans
- ⅓ cup blueberries, frozen or fresh
- Preheat the oven to 400 F.
- Place sweet potatoes in the oven on a baking sheet. Cook until a fork can easily puncture the sweet potato (about 40-50 minutes).
- While the potatoes are baking, melt the butter or oil on a skillet on medium heat. Then add pecans and stir, allowing them to be toasted. Add blueberries to skillet and stir into pecans. Turn off heat, when blueberries are warm and fully incorporated. Put aside.
- After sweet potatoes are removed from the oven, cut them in half. Scoop out the potato (from the skin) into a medium sized bowl. Repeat this for each potato. Then incorporate ½ of the pecan blueberry mixture to your potato bowl.
- Scoop out the potato mixture evenly back into the potato skins. Place back in the oven for 7-10 minutes, or until the potato forms a crispy top. Enjoy!