Tuesday, October 14, 2014

They're Not the Same

They're not the same.  Potatoes and sweet potatoes, I mean.  They're actually really different.  Ever cut up potatoes, then leave your knife on the cutting board for a while?  The white residue is potato starch.  Sweet potatoes are much less starchy.  They have a different nutritional profile, too.  Like most orange veggies, they're really high in Vitamin A.  Even though they're different, you can use the them in a lot of the same ways.

Photo via Chez Us
When I asked around the staff, the most common use of sweet potatoes was simply baked.  Way easy, too.  Use a fork to poke holes in them to vent steam, then nuke 'em for 8-12 minutes.  Done.  Serve with butter, sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup... You get the idea.  You can even twice-bake them (recipe at the end of the post).

Photo via Simply Recipes
This is my favorite way.  You can actually replace potatoes in most recipes with sweet potatoes, so make just like you would standard mashed potatoes.  Don't add sour cream or creme fraiche, though.  Just butter.  To dress them up, molasses is wonderful.  Or do something with a touch of bourbon.

Photo via Cookstr
Anyone else love potato pancakes?  Replace regular potatoes in whatever recipe you use.  You might change out the seasonings, depending on what you do.  Or add some shredded apples.

Photo via Parade Magazine
Not being from the South myself, this isn't something with which I've had much experience.  But the staff would likely run me out on a rail if I don't mention it.  Some promising-looking recipes are here, here and here.

Sweet potatoes don't have to be the big Thanksgiving production with marshmallows.  But they're great that way, too.  Or, this year, try a little twist to the old favorite.

Twice-Baked Orange Sweet Potatoes

  • 3 sweet potatoes, scrubbed
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 oranges peeled, sectioned and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Prick sweet potatoes with a fork; bake 1 hour or until tender. (Leave oven on.) Halve sweet potatoes lengthwise; scoop out the pulp and reserve the skins. Mash pulp with orange juice, butter, salt, pepper and ginger; stir in oranges.

Pile mixture into reserved sweet potato skins; top with almonds. Bake 15 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serve hot.

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