I’m Sweet on Sweet Potatoes
I must admit that my relationship with sweet potatoes did not start off well. My not-so-fond memories of this root vegetable began as a child when my mother would remove them from the oven—all shriveled up, brownish-grayish-orange, and smelling of burnt sugar. Yuck, yuck, and triple YUCK!
My next encounter with sweet potatoes was at a holiday party where they were almost unrecognizable lying under a heavy blanket of brown sugar and burnt (toasted) marshmallows. This did not appeal to me either. So I spent decades avoiding them.
It wasn’t until I became aware of their important nutritional value—high in fiber and beta carotenes, a precursor of vitamin A—that I decided it was time to find a way to prepare sweet potatoes which would make a convert of my taste buds.
So here’s how I finally became sweet on sweet potatoes:
First of all, when baking these tubers, make sure NOT to overcook them! They should be slightly firm to the “squeeze” when removed from the oven. Same deal if you peel, chunk, and boil them. Now the fun can begin.
Add a bit of butter, salt, and a splash of milk. If the flavor is too strong for you, “dilute” them with mashed white potatoes (but boil them separately). I find a 1:1 ratio works well.
I serve cubes of baked sweet potatoes with turkey chili ladled over them—the sweet and spicy combination is a real palate-pleaser.
Now this is possibly my favorite way to eat sweet potatoes. I cube them up (raw) and toss them in some extra virgin olive oil and a mixture of salt, black pepper, cumin and a touch of cayenne pepper. Spread out on a baking pan and bake at 350° F for approximately 30 minutes, depending on the size of your cubes. (I always spray the pan with a coating of olive oil, but you can also use non-stick aluminum foil for an easy clean up.)
I trust these recipe ideas will make you sweet on sweet potatoes, too!