The Rock is such a great movie. I’m not a huge Nicolas Cage fan, but I really like him in this flick. And Sean Connery? Fantastic actor. One of my favorite lines in the movie is, “The second you don’t respect this, it kills you.” I dare say this is true of the mandolin. You know how it comes with that little food guard thing so you don’t slice your hand? Yeah, apparently if you don’t use it you can cut yourself pretty good. I don’t like using it because I feel like I have less control and I can’t cut as much of the food.
As it turns out, mandolins slice flesh much easier than they slice vegtables. I was julienne slicing a yellow squash, got to the top where it was thinner, and my hand slipped right off and into the protruding blades. I can’t remember a time I’ve bled so much. Gross, right? The lesson here: if you’re going to be cocky and use a mandolin without the food guard, keep a first aid kit handy.
Second thought for today: when you’re broiling thinly sliced vegetables, there is a very fine line between “crisp” and “burned.” Like seconds. I found that out the hard way. I’d seen Paleo bloggers posting pics of sweet potato chips that looked amazing, and I’ll tell you, they either have luck on their side or they have impeccable timing. It took me a couple of tries to get it right. I will say, though, once you can get your timing down, these are hands down one of the tastiest chips I’ve ever had. Both my teenage boys commented on how good the meal was, and if that isn’t saying something I don’t know what is. Although you could substitute ground turkey, I really liked the flavor the grass-fed ground beef brought to the dish.
There’s quite a few steps to this dish, but don’t let it intimidate you. This actually comes together fairly quickly and easily.
For the chips:
3 sweet potatoes
1-2 T. olive oil
Sea salt & black pepper
For the meat mixture:
1 T. olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 lb. ground beef
1 T. chili powder
1⁄2 tsp cumin
1⁄2 tsp paprika
1⁄2 tsp onion powder
Sea salt & black pepper
For the guac:
1 T. coconut milk
Sea salt, ground black pepper and onion powder, to taste
Olives, green onions and red pepper for garnish
Preheat broiler. Slice sweet potatoes very thinly on a mandolin (I set mine at 1/16”). Put potato slices in a bowl and toss with olive oil. Arrange in a single layer on a parchmentlined baking sheet. Broil 34 minutes per side or until crisp (will take longer if slices are thicker). Watch very closely to prevent burning.
For the meat mixture, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute until soft. Add ground meat and break it up with a wooden spoon. Add seasonings and continue cooking until meat is cooked through. Check and adjust seasonings if necessary. Cover and set aside. Put avocado in a small mixing bowl and smash well with a fork. Add seasonings and stir to combine.
To assemble nachos, layer the following: sweet potatoes, ground meat mixture, dab of guac, red pepper, olives and green onions. Serve.