“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” ― Julia Child

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

As If You Didn't Know

These are sweet potatoes.

The sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) is a dicotyledonous plant that belongs to the family Convolvulaceae. Its large, starchy, sweet tasting tuberous roots are an important root vegetable. Apparently, the young leaves and shoots are sometimes eaten as greens. Of the approximately 50 genera and more than 1,000 species of Convolvulaceae, I. batatas is the only crop plant of major importance—some others are used locally, but many are actually poisonous. The genus Ipomoea that contains the sweet potato also includes several garden flowers called morning glories, though that term is not usually extended to Ipomoea batatas. Some cultivars of Ipomoea batatas are grown as ornamental plants; the name "tuberous morning glory" may be used in a horticultural context.

The sweet potato is only distantly related to the potato (Solanum tuberosum). The softer, orange variety is often called a yam in parts of North America, a practice intended to differentiate it from the firmer, white variety. The sweet potato is botanically very distinct from the other vegetable called a yam, which is native to Africa and Asia and belongs to the monocot family Dioscoreaceae. To prevent confusion, the United States Department of Agriculture requires that sweet potatoes labeled as "yams" also be labeled as "sweet potatoes". This is why you will see cans of 'sweet potato yams' in your local Wal-Mart, and the reason why candied yams and  sweet potato casserole  taste almost identical.

Personally, I cannot stand sweet potatoes that are further sweetened in this way. They are sweet enough, aren't they, without layering butter and marshmallows and brown sugar and syrups and all that gunk on them? The clue is in the name, people. SWEET potatoes. No wonder America is such a fat-assed nation.

Just to illustrate the difference between a sweet potato and a yam, here is what a yam looks like:

But what can one make with a sweet potato, Jeff, that doesn't involve insane amounts of butter and sugar?

Well, let's see. Aside from baked sweet potatoes, sweet potato fries, and sweet potato wedges?

7-Minute Sweet Potatoes
Each serving contains 681% of the Daily Value for vitamin A!

Prep and Cook Time: 7 minutes


1 lb sweet potatoes, diced
2 cloves chopped or pressed garlic
Sea salt and pepper to taste
3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
2 TBS ground pumpkin seeds
2 TB fresh chopped rosemary
1/2 onion slice (cook with the sweet potatoes)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves


Fill bottom of steamer with 2 inches of water.
While steam is building up press or chop garlic and let sit for at least 5 minutes.
Cut potatoes in half and cut into 1/2" slices.
Steam sweet potatoes for no more than 7 minutes.
Transfer to a bowl. For more flavor, toss sweet potatoes with the remaining ingredients and any of the optional ingredients you desire while they are still hot.

Serves 2 

Spicy Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Only 98 calories!

Prep and Cook Time: 15 minutes


2 medium-sized sweet potatoes, sliced thin for quick cooking
2 TBS fresh orange juice
½ tsp garam masala
1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
salt and white pepper to taste


Bring lightly salted water to a boil in a steamer with a tight fitting lid.
Steam peeled and sliced sweet potatoes in steamer basket, covered, for about 10 minutes, or until tender
When tender, mash with potato masher, adding rest of ingredients.

Serves 4

OK y'all, what's today's new food?

Name This Food! (Hint: it's not what you think - or is it?)

1 comment:

  1. ?not a parsnip then ? a white radish or something I have never heard of


Come on and chew the fat!


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