Sweet Potatoes

When you think of sweet potatoes, you might imagine holiday casseroles with marshmallows on top. Gooey and sticky dishes passed around and scooped out with a plop onto plates. You might think of sweet potato pie with pecans on top with a golden flaky crust. You might even think of candied sweet potatoes poured from a family sized can and mashed into orange peaks of buttery goodness. How can we move the noble root to the every day table?

Wait a minute. Root? Yep. Its not a tuber like Irish potatoes. We actually get the word potato from the Incan word batata. Since the sweet potato was actually a cultivated root by the Incans, the name likely followed the tropical root as it was taken back to Spain and spread round the world by explorers. This is a great start to a culinary history lesson, but I am  hungry. Let’s take a look at a few recipes!

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Stew
Recipe Courtesy of: www.wellnessroadtrip.com

1 15 oz can petite diced tomatoes
1 15 oz can black beans (organic if possible)
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 medium sweet potato, chopped in 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
salt and pepper (try smoked sea salt - it's awesome in this!)

Avocado, pepitos (pumpkin seeds), cilantro, non-fat Greek yogurt for garnishes

Directions: Preheat oven to 325. (If making in a slow cooker, cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-6) Place first four ingredients in an oven proof, lidded casserole dish.  Stir to combine.  Add the spices, stir to combine. Bake covered for 1 - 1 1/2 hours.  You can turn the oven even lower and bake for longer if you have things to do :) Top with garnishes and serve.  Serves 4 - 6 as side dish or 2 - 4 as a main course.

Sweet Potato Hummus
Recipe Courtesy of: www.wellnessroadtrip.com

1 medium sweet potato
1 15 oz can chick peas, drained and rinsed
juice from one lemon (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup tahini
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. cumin
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp. salt
3-4 Tablespoons water

Chop the sweet potato into 1/2 pieces.  Steam, boil or cook with a bit of water in the microwave until tender.  Steaming generally takes 10 minutes, boiling 8 minutes and microwave with water about five minutes. Drain the sweet potatoes and run cold water over them. Transfer sweet potatoes to a food processor or blender.  Add the rest of the ingredients except the water.  Process for about one minute.  Add water as needed to smooth. Process another 2 minutes until smooth.  Keeps in refrigerator for up to a week.  Serves with veggies or pita. Makes 2 cups.

Sweet Potato Apple Muffins
Recipe Courtesy of www.wellnessroadtrip.com

3/4 cup oat bran
3/4 cup whole wheat flour (use white whole wheat for a lighter muffin)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup apples, peeled and shredded
1 cup fresh sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
2 large eggs
2/3 cup plain non-fat GREEK yogurt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine bran, flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and apples. In another bowl combine sweet potatoes, eggs, and yogurt. Add sweet potato mixture to flour mixture and stir all ingredients until just mixed. Spray 12 muffin cups with vegetable cooking spray and spoon 2/3 full. Bake for 18 - 20 minutes or until done.

For the little guys:

Making your own baby food using the sweet potato is quite easy. This allows you to control the ingredients in your little one’s diet and add loads of vitamins. Every bite is bursting with vitamin c, manganese, vitamins b6, b1, and b2, niacin, potassium, beta-carotene, copper, and pantheonic acid. It is an excellent source of fiber which benefits big AND little ones. Simply roast the sweet potato on a baking sheet for 45 minutes or until wrinkled and tender. Remove from the oven and scoop out flesh. Puree in food processor until smooth. You can add a bit of your baby’s usual milk to thin it out if you wish. I have heard some moms can add a bit of apple juice to thin it. Of course, there is no need to add sweeteners as the natural sugars caramelize in the oven and sweeten the flesh.

A couple of tips for storage: Avoid storing sweet potatoes in the refrigerator, which will produce a hard center and unpleasant taste. Instead, store your sweet potatoes in a cool, dry, well ventilated container. For best results, store them in a basement or root cellar away from strong heat sources. Your sweet potatoes can store for up to three to four weeks if stored properly.

Mmmmm! I was hungry and now I am starving! Fresh from the farm food makes me so happy. Off to the kitchen, friends.