Cold nights call for warm food; Uneventful nights call for guilty-pleasures. Tonight turned out to be chilly as well as boring and my cravings were teetering between something fried and something roasted. Other than a rare handful of chips, or an odd (and usually regretful) midnight diner visit, fried foods are infrequently seen in my diet. So maybe it was the hunger that had been building up for the last five hours, or perhaps it was the tempting smell of the diner across the way, but something made me decide that tonight would be a fried-food night. Now, before you go running off scared that I’m about to show you something greasy and heavy, I’ll let you in on a little secret: my fried dish was surprisingly nutritious. Since my budget for the week lies somewhere between zero and zero, I had to make due with what I had in the fridge. Alas, delicious sweet potato pancakes were born! I served my creation alongside roasted herbed acorn squash rings, filled with peppered smashed apples. Topped it all off with cool refreshing sour cream and chives. Cravings satisfied.

Herbed Roasted Acorn Squash
(serves one or two)

what you’ll need
• 1 acorn squash
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 1 tbsp crushed basil
• pinch salt, pepper
• 1/4 cup apple sauce

how to do it
Preheat oven to 375F. Cut squash into rounds, scooping out the middle. Place in shallow baking dish, coating with oil, basil and salt. Bake, covered in foil, for 30 minutes. Remove, flip pieces and return to oven, uncovered for 15 more minutes or until squash becomes slightly translucent and is tender to the touch. Serve with a dollop of apple sauce in the center of each, and top with fresh ground black pepper.

Sweet Potato Pancakes
(serves one)

what you’ll need
• 1/4 sweet potato, peeled
• 1 egg
• 1 tbsp milk
• 2 tbsp oil
• 3 tbsp sour cream
• 1 shallot, chopped

how to do it
Grate sweet potato into a small bowl. (I used a hand-held fine cheese grater.) Beat in egg. Add milk, beating until battery consistency is reached. Heat oil in fry pan. Drop half the batter in, spreading it in a circular motion. Flip once, when the edges are yellowing and bubbling. Blot on paper towels before serving. Mix sour cream and shallot (add a pinch of salt if desired). Garnish.