I do enjoy the textured, fermented nuttiness of tempeh, and was glad to make the “Tempeh, Kale, and Sweet Potato Skillet,” from Nava Atlas’ vegkitchen.com. The great flavor combo included “crunchy” kale, soft sweet potatoes, tempeh, and cashews. The recipe is presented with curry powder and spicy curry paste, but I toned these down with no loss of flavor or charm. This skillet did not need to be spicy to be exciting.

I always feel so clever when I microwave my sweet potatoes as a head start to a recipe. I used a lovely bunch of purple kale, which exuded a “spicy” scent when I chopped it up -- really! I cooked the kale for 6 minutes, with the required water, canned tomatoes, a modest 1 1/2 tsp. curry powder, and 1/2 tsp. tomato paste instead of Thai red curry paste (in the interest of my young child’s palate). At the end of cooking, I added 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt and 1/2 tsp. black pepper.

Onion rings are a shameful indulgence that I reserve, occasionally, for visits to the pub. The recipe for “Baked Onion Rings,” from fortheloveofcooking-recipes.blogspot.com, however, does not ask to deep-fry the rings. Therefore, no shame. So I tried them. Were these rings worth the time and effort of slicing and dredging and coating and cooking, in an oven hot enough to set off the smoke alarm in my apartment? Well…

…not really. First, I was frustrated by the recipe’s inappropriate amounts of ingredients: a single egg was not enough to coat two onions worth of rings, and I needed an additional 1/2 cup panko crumbs to cover my rings. I did make sure to line one baking sheet with a Silpat and one with parchment paper, but the 450-degree oven temperature triggered my smoke alarm and sent me on the vain mission of fanning smoke out of my apartment door and windows.

Yes, the onion rings were adequate and were especially good when dipped in a bit of mayo. But worth all the fuss? Tell me what you think.

PRICES
Sweet Potatoes (2) = $1.87
Tempeh (8 oz.) = $2.25
Kale (1 bunch) = $2.02
Canned Diced Tomatoes (15 oz.) = $1.60
Sweet Yellow Onions (2) = $1.14

RECIPES: Nava Atlas cleverly collects sweet potatoes, tempeh, and kale into a delicious stew, while well-intentioned onion rings exasperate the cook
PREP TIMES:
enjoy the tempeh skillet after 30 minutes of prep and cooking; onion rings need more time than this, due to all the slicing, dredging, coating, and baking
TASTES: there’s a bit of tang, a bit of crunch, a bit of sweet in the tempeh skillet, making if a crowd-pleaser; onion rings are great when someone else makes them

Next time, I want to cook the “Bourbon Chicken,” from Genius Kitchen, along with the “Avocado Mashed Potatoes with Caramelized Garlic,” from Angie’s Recipes. See this winner when you come back to my site on Thursday, March 17.