Look a Hot Mess: Sweet Potato Biscuits

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

-Sweet potato biscuits for when you look like a hot mess.-

So I know I'm the furtherest thing from a fashion plate, a term that still perplexes me because if I can't eat cake on it then it has no business being a plate of any sort, but I actually can lace up my shoes and dress myself without anyone having to worry. At times I can even put together a simple outfit with coordinating accessories such as a pair of leather gloves and actually look competent. For example, the other day I happened to pair some boating shoes with socks that weren't white (my usual per diem), some indigo washed jeans the color of a sharp bruise, a smart pea coat, hand knit gray scarf, glasses, and a tousled dress shirt in a perfectly smart olive color. Somehow it all worked and I received a compliment or two. Huzzah.

I'm not sure I can properly articulate how proud I am when I look like a real adult.

I can't imagine I will ever be able to call myself fashionable. I'll keep at it, but the idea of washing whites and colors separately, never mind my sheer avoidance of the phrase "Dry Clean Only", doesn't provide much hope. I generally just heave myself at the closet and hope for the best every day.

Still, once or twice I have been mistaken for a homeless person. The first time, shamefully, by my mother.

One of my favorite coats is a drab khaki tarp with a million pockets and a million more snaps that was my dad's old hunting coat. It has enough mark and wear to make anyone look like a bedraggled frump, but nothing keeps the rain and wind out better. One day I was wearing it at the airport having just gotten off the plane to a very miserable and wet JFK airport. Waving at my mom to pick me up I ran for her car and she quickly swerved lanes and drove right by. The second pass she didn't even make eye contact before she peeled off.

Her third way around the pickup zone I waved the coat like a colorguard flag. She slowed down and let me in and as I gave her a look while I threw in my now sopping luggage, "Oh! That coat is awful! I thought you were some crazy homeless person trying to get insurance money."

Love you too, mom.

One time, fine, sure. I can blame the coat on that one.

-Pardon the picture, it was ten at night and my house uses energy efficient lights. This is what cooking in the dark actually looks like.-


The other day I stepped outside of work to make a private phone call in the park nearby, a park which happens to be a major homeless rest stop. I was wearing earlier said bruise-colored jeans, a Gap undershirt, and brand new Banana Republic sweater. I was chatting on my iPhone simply pacing up and down some of the lawn. Nothing that screams, "Times are tough."

When some lady pulls up in a minivan and calls out, "You hungry?"

Me: *blank stare*

Minivan Lady: "You look like you could use a hot meal!" *waves me over*

Me: "Uh, no. Thank you? No, thank you. I'm on a conference call." *point to the phone* "But... thanks…?"

She drove off and I spent the rest of the day sulking and asking my coworkers if I looked homeless.

I went home early and made my own hot meal. A basic butternut curry soup (roast butternut and onion for an hour at 450F; heat oil in a pan and sauté curry powder, ginger, and turmeric; add veggies, kaffir lime leaves and some chicken stock; simmer for 20 minutes; fish out leaves; puree and add some coconut milk; serve with hot sauce and lime) and some sweet potato biscuits.

The biscuits were something I literally made up as I went along much in the way the soup was. To be honest, I'm pretty darn happy with how they turned out and the only think I would change would be to brush them with a bit of beaten egg and sprinkle them with some salt or sesame seeds to add some texture and one more pop of flavor.

Either way, they're crazy simple and worth making tonight. Get on it.

Garrett out.

Sweet Potato Biscuits

1 cup sweet potato puree
3/4 cup coconut milk
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of ground cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes

Preheat oven to 450F. In a bowl whisk together the sweet potato and the coconut milk. In another whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder and soda, cayenne, and salt. Use a pastry cutter, two forks, or your fingers and combine the butter with the flour mixture until it resembles bread crumbs. Add the coconut-sweet potato mixture until well-combined. Turn onto a floured surface and knead once or twice into a shaggy dough. Spread it out until it's about 1-inch thick and start cutting out biscuits. Bring scraps of dough together and reform as needed. Bake for 15 minutes or until browned on top. Eat. Preferably with soup.


  1. What?! How can someone think you look homeless while on a cell phone? It's probably just because you've been working out lately and you look fit and trim. <--yeah maybe that's a lame attempt at flattery. but I think you could use it, hot stuff! <-- more flattery, this time, not so lame.

  2. Blargh. I think the blog ate my comment. Just wanted to thank you for helping me kick my writers block this morning, your posts always make me feel like we are just chatting I love them. Shared on our FB page :)

  3. I think your next book should be just a book. Though barely old enough to really write a memoir, you have a wonderfully developed comedic style and I really enjoy your slant on your experiences. The recipes are wonderful, too!

    1. That's very kind of you, Anon. Maybe someday. ;)

  4. Just wanted to clarify on the sweet potato puree: you cooked the sweet potato's and pureed them? Boiled them, roasted them? Recipe sounds good and I want to give it a try. I haven't cooked with sweet potato's before (a newbie) so I want to get it right. Thanks! Amy
    PS bought Melt and made the pumpkin mac and cheese. Hubby and I loved it!

    1. Amy, I used a can of sweet potato puree, but yes, you can boil them until they are fork tender.

  5. I think we call these scones? Are they a bit cake/dumpling like as opposed to cookie like please? Sometimes Aussie and American are different languages?! I make pumpkin (butternut squash) scones that I think might be similar but they are sweet for a cup of tea, but I like the idea to go with soup (when it stops being 40 degrees Celsius here tho!)

  6. These biscuits were wonderful! I just boiled a sweet potato and mashed it up. My husband and I loved them. Thanks.

  7. Thank you for sharing this! I've GOT to make these soon! I have butter and sweet potatoes that are begging to be something greater. Weekend brunch, anyone? ;)


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