My sister was born with an insatiable addiction to sweet potatoes. I think in a past life, she must have been a horse living on a sweet potato farm or something.
I, on the other hand, was never all that big on them – until one fateful day at my grandmother’s house in Clearwater, Florida. We were about to sit down for a dinner that involved baked sweet potatoes when I whined a little and my grandma’s friend, Larry, said: “Have you ever tried putting maple syrup on it?”
After that, I *loved* sweet potatoes. And every time my mother fixed them and I reached for the maple syrup bottle before sitting down at the table, she’d grumble a little bit about how she wished Larry had never said anything.
I’m an adult now, and I still prefer baked sweet potatoes with something sweet on top, whether that be a drizzle (okay, maybe more than a drizzle) of syrup, a sprinkling of brown sugar or a few dashes of cinnamon and sugar. Give me a little sugar and I’ll make the entire thing go down, skin and all.
The more I learn about sweet potatoes, the more I appreciate them. They are highly nutritious and extremely versatile – you can bake, broil, boil, grill, steam, nuke or fry them. They can be mashed up and incorporated into baked goods. And they can add a surprisingly delicious layer of flavor to savory stews and ethnic dishes. I even had sweet potato maki at Wasabi in downtown Roanoke one time. Talk about a tummy filler!
February is National Sweet Potato Month, which seems like a perfect excuse to buy some sweet taters and put them on the supper table soon. As if my sister needed an excuse…
Stratford University in Northern Virginia has a culinary program, and they sent me an unusual recipe for sweet potatoes that involves mashing them up with chipotle peppers and lime juice. I think the tartness of the lime and the spiciness of the peppers would marry beautifully with the gentle sweetness of the potato, and this dish would be a nice change from the typical rice and beans we often serve with Mexican entrees. It strikes me that you could tweak this recipe as much as you want. I’d probably add a pat of butter, just because. I’ve added this recipe to the PlateUp database here.
Tell me, my little sweet potatoes, what is your favorite way to eat this magical veggie?