March 15, 2010

Sweet Spuds

I've never loved potatoes. Except the gratin a former farm friend made for my 21st birthday (with '21' written in cherry tomatoes!), I've never had a potato dish that has floored me. Not until I started dating someone from Eastern Europe did I realize my disdain towards potatoes. If you skipped geography class, know that their land and climate is very conducive to potatoes. And potatoes. And beets. And potatoes.

The potato issue was sure to surface. As what happens too often when you know you're right, compromise is glaring around the corner. For me, that compromise came by way of sweet potatos.

Growing up in a lefse-baking household, the closest my heart came to liking potatoes were the square bumps of potato mixture that would soon become lefse. And these were potato flakes, mind you. So it doesn't even count. (To my mother's defense, I have heard from many-a-lefse baker that dried potato flakes do work best.)

A sure sign of this Sprout's maturation was the move from flaky potato tendencies to deep sweet potato love. I never saw the full potential of these beauties as they were usually disguised under a large pillow of marshmallows at Thanksgiving. My recent situation had me digging for alternatives, and soon things became clear. The sweet potatoes unearthed themselves. (I hope you're all catching these puns I'm throwing at you.)

Unlike my awful puns, sweet potatoes don't need much help to get noticed. But remember, they're called sweet potatoes for a reason, so please put that bag of marshmallows away. Or else I'll have to send a sad bag of Idahoes your way.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

4-6 sweet potatoes
olive oil (we used sunflower oil)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Scrub sweet potatoes to remove any dirt. (I keep the skin on as it adds texture and an earthy quality.) Trim a portion of the pointy ends off if you wish, in order to make cutting consistent pieces easier. Cut each sweet potato in half horizontally and vertically, then into 3-or-so wedges, depending on the size of the sweet potato.

Try your best to have all the wedges the same size so they will be cooked through consistently. Put them in a baking pan and drizzle oil, salt, and pepper over the potatoes. Stir or toss to coat. Put in the oven until they're at the texture to your liking - approximately 30 minutes.

Sometimes, for fun, I crank up the heat towards the end to get things nice and toasty.


Jenny said...

I do love sweet potatoes, which is good, because there are lots of them down here in Georgia. Sometimes just a simple wedge of sweet potato is all you need. I do that a lot. Sometimes I add cumin, or garam masala if I want to spice things up. Or chaat masala (which is more of an acquired taste if you're not South Asian, though I definitely have acquired the taste). Thanks for stopping by my blog, I like yours too.

Erica said...

First of all, I love your photography. I aspire to take pictures as inviting and naturally beautiful as yours. Second of all,I LOVE sweet potatoes! Thanks for sharing a little more of your life with us!

Sprout said...

Jenny, cumin or garam masala - wow, sounds great! Will definitely try it next time.

Erica, thanks for the kudos. Looks like you're having fun over at your blog too!

Anne Zimmerman said...

I think of sweet potatoes are so much better than ordinary potatoes. Try them in a salad with chickpeas, cilantro, and tahini... in fact I will share the recipe on my blog soon!

keely steger said...

Thanks for the comments!
Your photography is beautiful. I just added you to my reader.
Hello! :)

Maddie said...

You're too sweet to stop by, Melinda — and also right on about the best way to eat sweet potatoes! I like mine sprinkled with rosemary and paprika.

I've been creepin' around your blog, and must say your photos and writing are lovely. Looking forward to reading more!

Sprout said...

Anne, I can hardly wait for that post!

Keely, I'll add you to mine as well.

Maddie, I was thinking the exact same thing about your blog! We'll be seeing each other :)


Ode to a sweet potato. And yes, marshmallows should be reserved for something other. :)

monica said...

love sweet potatoes! only problem is the hubs hates them, and they are really hard ti disguise! love your blog!

Sprout said...

Monica, right about the disguising part! Bummer .... well it gives you something to look forward to while he's away :)

Loving your blogs as well.