By Cal Orey, The Writing Gourmet
“Said Aristotle unto Plato,'Have another sweet potato?'Said Plato unto Aristotle,'Thank you, I prefer the bottle.'”
Good morning. Yesterday I got the news. Our local paper will be embracing The Writing Gourmet's column once a week in the Food pages. The day before I recalled the character (Diane Lane) in Under the Tuscan Sun--one of my fave movies. On the big screen she expressed her wish to have a house full of people to cook for in her new home. I can relate. And now, I can share my Healing Powers series' recipes (and own favorites) with folks in my town (and online)!
In a recent post I claimed an Anti-Turkey Day protest but I'm dishing out some tried and true holiday-related dishes for you and me. Why? It's in my heart to celebrate special days (and every day) and what better way to do it than turn to good for you comfort foods...
I love pumpkin. I love carrots. I love sweet potato pie. My mom used to bake these tators (chock-full of vitamin A, low in fat and high in fiber) and put brown sugar on top. That said, this recipe caught my eye. The photo above flaunts pecans and I recommend topping your potatoes with these crunchy gems mixed with brown sugar. Or, you can follow this recipe to the word and ingredient, straight from the North American Olive Oil Association in my book The Healing Powers of Olive Oil.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
4 large sweet potatoes (about 5 pounds), peeled and quarterd
Extra light olive oil for greasing casserole
1/4 cup extra light olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 teaspons grated fresh gingerroot
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons orange peel (about 2 oranges)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cardamom, optional
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 slices cinnamon bread, torn into 1-inch pieces
2 teaspoons extra light olive oil
Place the potatoes in a Dutch oven with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover loosely, and simmer 15-25 minutes or until tender.* Drain well in a colander, place in a large bowl, and set aside.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 2-quart casserole with olive oil. In a medium skillet or saucepan, heat the 1/4-cup olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and gingerroot; cook and stir until tender.
Lightly mash the potatoes with a spoon or potato masher. Add the onion mixture and remaining ingredients ecept for hte cinnamon bread and 2 teaspoons olive oil. For a smoother consistency, beat with a mixture to blend. For a chunkier mixture, mash with a potato masher or wooden spoon to blend. Spoon into the prepared casserole.
In a food processor or blender, process the bread pieces until completely chopped. Blend in the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil. Sprinkle over the potato mixture. Bake 35-45 minutes, or until lightly browned and thoroughly hot. Serves 18-20. [You can cut the recipe in half.]
*Potatoes are tender when a knife can easily be inserted into the thickest parts with little or no resistence. For a smoother casserole, cooke the potatoes until very tender. For a slightly chunkier casserole, cooke the potatoes just until the knife can be inserted.
That's my potato recipe gift to you for Thanksgiving. Meanwhile, it's feeling a lot like late fall. Mother Nature is trying her best to bring in a cold winter storm. I woke up to the howling wind and snuggled with my furry duo--Simon and Seth, the Brittanys. Checking NOAA it looks like we may get a little snow at lake level and more in the higher elevations. Or not. Either way these sweet potatoes may make their way to my kitchen table in the Sierras before next week. What a super sweet and super healthy way to stay warm, huh?